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Ssb - first among equals

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  • Ssb - first among equals

    Among all the moans and groans this week – some of them from me – we must not overlook some significant personal bests.

    Ben Woollaston and Kurt Maflin will today appear in the quarter-finals of a world ranking event for the first time. One of them is bound for the semis.

    Woollaston played really well against Mark Williams before dodging a bit of a bullet against Joe Perry.

    Maflin refused to be worn down by the methodical Rod Lawler, winning the last two frames to beat him 4-3.

    These are two players who may do well under the new system next season when there isn’t so much qualifying to slog through. Maflin in particular looks settled in the arena and Woollaston has certainly improved in the last couple of years.

    Even if he makes the final his Belarussian wife, Tatiana, will be unable to travel to Galway as she won’t be able to get a visa in time.

    Good luck to Woollaston and Maflin: they've earned their places through hard work and results.

    The two best performances of the day came in the first two matches. Ding Junhui began with two centuries and finished with a third in beating Anthony McGill 4-3.

    I thought McGill was a little too hard on himself afterwards on Twitter – perhaps just the disappointment of losing. The clearance he made to win the sixth frame was superb but he had just a half chance in the decider.

    Most would surely agree that Robertson is due another big title soon and he certainly played well enough in beating Barry Hawkins 4-1 yesterday to suggest that it could be this week.

    Meanwhile, Ali Carter’s 4-1 defeat to Marco Fu proved how important the unexpected can be in sport.

    Leading 1-0 and nicely in for 2-0, Carter feathered the cue ball when lining up a pink and everything went wrong for him after that.

    He got really frustrated towards the end but snooker can be a really cruel game at times.