The qualifying competition for the British Open continues on Thursday when another 16 players head to the Morningside Arena in Leicester looking to win the four frames they need to book their place in the main draw next month.
We are beginning to see those who are higher ranked who have to qualify come to the venue and play their match and that remains the case over the course of another four sessions of play throughout Thursday.
Cao Yupeng is the highest player on show in the morning session as once again we have a Chinese cueist headlining the part of the day which is nearest primetime in the country he is from. The Chinese fans should end up quite happy too because Cao will be a very warm favourite to get the better of Liam Graham. Two overseas players meet in the other match in this session too when Mohamed Ibrahim takes on the former women’s world champion Mink Nutcharut with both players sensing a huge opportunity there.
Early Afternoon Session
Hossein Vafaei is the highest ranked player on show throughout all of the sessions on Thursday and he will be on the baize in the first of the afternoon slots. The former Shootout champion will go up against his fellow Asian player Andy Lee in a game he will be widely expected to win. Elliot Slessor had a good run in this tournament two years ago when he made the semi-final and that makes this a big event for him as he’ll be defending the money from that. He certainly won’t want to lose to He Guoqiang on the other table.
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Later Afternoon Session
Dave Gilbert has the talent to be a danger in any tournament that he enters and he has entered this one. He will make his bow in it in the second of the afternoon sessions when he faces the Australian player Ryan Thomerson in a match Gilbert will be hugely expected to come out on top in. Over on the other table we have the entertaining Jackson Page to watch. He meets Ashley Carty in a match which will bring about something of a clash in styles.
Jak Jones will be the main draw in the evening session on Thursday. The World Championship quarter finalist has an elevated status in the game now and he’ll be out to show he is worth that when he takes on an Ashley Hugill who is frustrating because he can beat most players on his day but is far too inconsistent. The other table will see Stuart Carrington looking to make the most of a second chance on tour when he takes on Ross Muir who is very much in the same boat.
When Jackson Page last met Ashley Carty at the World Championship qualifying a couple of seasons ago he won 6-1 and I fancy the Welsh youngster will come through again on Thursday with a fair bit in hand as well. I say that because he is much more established now. He might feel that his season hasn’t really got going yet given that he went out of the Championship League in the first group even though he didn’t lose a match and he has had his European Masters qualifier held over to the venue.
To be fair to Carty, he has started the season pretty well but he doesn’t score as well as I would like him to and the reason I would want him to score if I was backing him is because his safety is going to be under so much pressure with the quality of the Page long game and one thing we do know about the Welsh youngster is that when he gets in he can seriously fill his boots. Page leads 2-0 on the head-to-head between the two and I expect him to extend that with a bit in hand here.
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