The International Championship qualifying competition continues on Thursday when another three sessions of action takes place at Ponds Forge in Sheffield as players look to book their space in the Chinese main draw.
We have seen some big names already qualify for the main draw later in the season and plenty more take to the baize on Thursday including a set of men from the top 16 in the world rankings, which will add to the attention.
Two of those top 16 players take to the tables in the morning session. Mark Allen is the highest ranked player on show on the entire day and he will be on the main table when he goes up against Ma Hailong, who will be eyeing up a place in a home event. Jack Lisowski is the other from the elite band playing in the morning session. He Guoqiang will be his opponent. Two other Chinese players will look to qualifying for a home tournament. They are Lyu Haotian and Fan Zhengyi. They meet David Lilley and Mostafa Dorgham respectively.
We have three matches taking place in the afternoon session with the world finalist Mark Selby the leading player on show. He will be on the main table when he faces the outsider Muhammad Asif. Selby isn’t the only top 16 player competing in the afternoon though. Kyren Wilson will also take to the baize in this session and he will go up against Adam Duffy. The other match in this session will be a good opportunity for both Elliot Slessor and Hammad Miah when they meet in a key match in their season.
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We have a largely quiet evening session on Thursday with just the two matches taking place in it. We are not done with the top 16 players taking to the baize on the day yet though even though there is a shortage of matches. Mark Williams is the final star on show on the day. He meets the female player Rebecca Kenna in the high profile match on the evening. The other one might be the better watch though as Jamie Jones looks to continue a solid start to the season when he meets Ashley Carty, who has also made a promising start to the campaign.
I’ll go with one bet over the course of Thursday and we have to wait for the evening session for it to come along. It is the match between Jamie Jones and Ashley Carty, where although I think the outsider might be a bit of value, I do like Jones and I think these two can combine for a good match, one which has more than 9.5 frames. Both players have made good starts to the season which should lead to both thinking they have what it takes to make it through.
Jones is the better of these two players but there is no doubting that Carty is much improved after a year off the tour and picking up a number of wins at the amateur level. Unlike some who drop off the tour, Carty looks to have used the time to work on his game and he has come back much more like the level required. Carty has qualified for all but one tournament this season and made the quarter final of the European Masters, while Jones has qualified for all of the events but has twice needed a deciding frame. I wouldn’t be surprised if requires another here but whether he does or doesn’t I like over 9.5 frames in this one.
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