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Belgian Open - report.

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  • Belgian Open - report.

    It is a pity that there wasn't much information about the tournament format and schedule beforehand. Even the directions information was minimal … so when driving to Duffel on Friday late afternoon, through the usual traffic jams, I got lost and didn't know what to expect really! I had bought myself a VIP tix and soon discovered that this gave me access to most areas so that I had plenty of opportunities to chat with the players, especially on days 1 and 2 when they were hanging around waiting for their next match.

    Days 1 & 2
    They were devoted to the round robin stage, last 48 and last 32. The 8 tables were spread between a big hall, with 6 tables and a smaller arena with 2 tables. The VIP room gave access to a gallery allowing a very good view of the 2 main tables from above. That's where some players gathered to cheer or boo for their friends who were playing "downstairs". Michaela Tabb sometimes had to wag a finger at this lively fan club!
    The players were apparently satisfied with the conditions, at least Joe Perry, Dom Dale and Ken Doherty certainly were!
    I basically went from one match to the other, watching one frame here, one frame there and taking pictures. So I can't really comment on any specific match except for a few highlights.
    Young Luca Brecel, 13, gave Matthew Stevens a hard time, putting him in all sorts of trouble while displaying an amazing safety game for such a young player!
    Julius Crauls, just 15, reached the last 32 and made Ryan Day work hard to go through that round, forcing a decider. The boy impressed me: he was extremely composed and patient; he took his time to think over his shot selection and overall showed great maturity. When 0-2 down against Ryan, in a best of 5, he kept his head and clawed his way back to 2-2. Not a mean feat for such a young man! Before that Julius already had given Stephen Maguire a very good game in the round robin. Watch this boy!
    On a lighter "touch"… "Maff" got himself fit again . Andrew Higginson gave everyone a little scare as he failed to turn up for a match and was nowhere to find, so matches where swapped … he reappeared though in time for the rescheduled one . Michael Holt spent some time on the Internet between his matches. His facebook status said "in love" … it showed . Shaun Murphy waited an unduly long time for his sandwich at the wrong counter … nobody "rerouted" him. How naughty .

    Day 3
    This was the day for last 16, quarters, semis and final. All matches were still best of 5 except for the final that was best of 7. This was not the format initially announced but my and The_Teach educated guess is that they had to shorten it because some matches were obviously dragging longer than expected. Dave Harold, who reached the semis, was no stranger to that

    When I arrived Mark Selby was practising and obviously his long potting was not quite there . He did not appear to be at his best and his defeat in the last 16 confirmed my impression....

    Last 16:

    Mark Selby 2-3 Dave Harold
    77(61)-55, 60-46(36), 16-108(108), 15-69(54), 36-82(81)
    Mark Davis 3-2 Mark King
    91(43,46)-1, 69(57)-28, 24-83(46), 0-77(76), 75-6
    Neil Robertson 2-3 Ricky Walden
    34-71, 60-44, 0-110(110), 61-49, 32-67
    Tom Ford 3-2 Ryan Day
    7-72(38), 52(32)-66(45), 136(128)-0, 113(93)-2, 90(85)-0
    Stephen Maguire 3-2 Matthew Stevens
    0-101(79), 114(78)-1, 68(53)-1, 0-102(67,35), 75-29
    Jamie Cope 0-3 Joe Perry
    48-79, 68-86, 29-58(34)
    Graeme Dott 3-2 Gerard Greene
    Mark J Williams MBE 3-2 Shaun Murphy

    I watched the Maguire vs Stevens match that was quite enjoyable. Maybe not the very best snooker but hard fought in good natured spirit. The real winner of this match though was a fly that pestered the players throughout the game. Maff looked particularly annoyed! Mags also took the "excuse" of the fly … to whack his cue on Maff's bums after the latter had snookered him nastily!

    Williams vs Murphy was higher quality, with some very good breaks but a bit less fun! Beware! Mark Williams is on his way back.


    Dave Harold 3-1 Mark Davis
    Ricky Walden 3-1 Tom Ford
    Stephen Maguire 3-2 Joe Perry
    Graeme Dott 3-1 Mark J Williams MBE

    Graeme Dott played excellent snooker to dispose of Mark Williams. Overall "Dotty" appeared relaxed and rather cheerful. It looks as if he's on the mend and that is great!


    Dave Harold 1 - 3 Ricky Walden
    Stephen Maguire 0-3 Graeme Dott

    Another excellent performance from Graeme! He most probably would have made a century in the last frame … but Stephen threw the towel in! Why?
    Because … on the other table Dave Harold was on his way to a maxi! He took all reds with blacks, with some tricky shots, potted the yellow and … missed the green with the rest . The tension and emotion was huge in the arena! Dave got a warm ovation from the audience. I'm sure that this will be the thing most of the presents will remember! Despite this anti-climax Dave put a hard fight against an in-form Ricky Walden but couldn't prevail …
    It must be noted that before their semi, those two had lunch together … quite sympathetic and the prospect of the match did not appear to have affected their intake capacity (of food of course!)

    Trick shots:

    As a diversion Jimmy Michie, John Parrot and Dom Dale executed a few hilarious trick shots for the greatest pleasure of the audience. Dom is obviously the ladie's fav …
    A six-red frame was played between Luca Brecel and John Parrott … poor John got just one shot!


    Ricky Walden 4–0 Graeme Dott

    Sorry I don't have the frame scores. But basically Graeme who had been really excellent until then could not get his game going while Ricky was on a roll … Some very lovely breaks!

    As a conclusion …

    HB : Neil Robertson 142 ...
    Face of the tournament: Barry Hawkins ... pic to come!

    I thoroughly enjoyed myself ! Ken Doherty reflected that the level of the local players was higher than he expected and the audience quite good taking into account that this was the first event of some importance in 16 years in the country.
    All players I chatted to were happy with the tournament and ready to be back next year.
    And next year the tournament should be broadcasted by Eurosport if I got it right.

    It won't stop me to go there … I have no telly to start with!

    PS: I have over 350 pics, a lot quite good! Watch the gallery, but you'll have to be patient …
    Last edited by Monique; 24th September 2008, 05:38 AM.
    Proud winner of the 2008 Bahrain Championship Lucky Dip

  • #2
    thanks for the report mon! see ya there next year hopefully


    • #3
      Thanks for this great review ! I wish I had been there

      I fully agree on your opinion about young Luca Brecel. He played at the PHC in Fuerth and gave all his opponents a very hard time. Not to mention that he was a crowd favourite I really enjoyed to watch him play. A great talent !


      • #4
        Interesting, thanks!


        • #5
          Thanks for the report, interesting read. Also there are pictures already I noticed, good stuff as well


          • #6
            Thanks for the great report Monique,sounds like you had a pretty good time.


            • #7
              Nice impression

              Realized now I could have gone, so near, but well, its not always a party!

              Next time a little summary would be appreciated by the management.


              • #8
                Thank you so much for the wonderful report. Very much appreciated.


                • #9
                  If this tournament begins to grow, and Brecel becomes a solid top 32/48 professional, then this tournament may turn into a ranking event in future. Hopefully!