06 february 2021 publish date

64 players left. R1 Shoot Out 2021

Mark Allen beat Jimmy Robertson in the first round of the BetVictor Shoot Out with a 142 total clearance, the highest break made in the ten-year history of the event. The Pistol’s tremendous break eclipsed the previous record of 139 set by Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in 2019. Allen goes through to the last 64 of the world ranking event in Milton Keynes.

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There was no shortage of drama in the first session of the tournament which has a unique set of rules; all matches lasting a maximum of ten minutes.

Sam Craigie led amateur Phil O’Kane 38-33 with just a few seconds on the clock. Thinking victory was secure, Craigie carelessly tapped the cue ball at a red, but neither ball hit a cushion, which meant his opponent was awarded five penalty points, leaving them tied at 38-38. That meant a sudden death blue ball shoot, and a relieved Craigie came out on top.

Matthew Stevens provided another thrilling finish with a last gasp win over amateur Fergal Quinn. With less than 30 seconds remaining, Quinn led 53-37 when he missed a long pot on the final blue. Stevens was left with a tricky blue to a baulk corner and slotted it home before adding pink and black to book his second round place.

Defending champion Michael Holt got off to a strong start by beating Jamie Jones with a break of 87. That was Holt’s 14th win in his last 15 matches in this event.

Rebecca Kenna, one of two female players in the draw, was beaten by Germany’s Simon Lichtenberg. Kenna was unlucky at a crucial moment in the match as the ‘beeps’ which count down on the shot clock could not be heard in the arena and she committed a time foul.

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A WST statement explained: “The players both agreed that they did not hear the ‘beeps’ in this incident, so it would appear that there was a temporary fault in the sound effects in the arena. The lights in the arena were working so the players still had a warning when the time was ticking out. The referee is able to hear the ‘beeps’ in his ear piece. He made the correct decision that there was a time foul. It is an unfortunate incident for the players but the rules were followed.”

Big guns Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and Mark Williams all survived the first round of the BetVictor Shoot Out on Friday evening.
They are through to the last 64 of the one-frame knockout world ranking event in Milton Keynes. The event concludes on Sunday when the winner will bank £50,000.

A deep run in this event would be handy for Murphy as he currently lies 19th on the one-year ranking list, with only the top 16 after the next event – the  BetVictor Welsh Open – to qualify for the Cazoo Players Championship. He saw off Luca Brecel thanks to breaks of 32 and 29.

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Selby got the better of a cagey frame against Billy Castle by a 41-31 scoreline. Williams might have lost if his opponent Paul Davies had not missed a tricky red to a top corner late in the frame, but in the end it was the three-time World Champion who won 58-37 to get his name into the hat for round two.

Ian Martin, a 38-year-old businessman from Bury, was one of five amateurs to win on day one, as he beat Robbie McGuigan 59-16. The other amateurs to score victories were Michael White, Leo Fernandez, Declan Lavery and promising English 18-year-old Connor Benzey, who beat Stuart Carrington 43-0.

“I’m over the moon, it makes all the practice worthwhile,” said Benzey. “My safety was really good which is something I have been working on. It was my first time in front of the TV cameras and I felt great, I really enjoyed it. I’ll be going for Q School later this year and trying everything I can to get on tour.”

Fightback of the day came from Martin O’Donnell as he recovered a 34-0 deficit to beat Ben Woollaston with an excellent break of 41 – albeit helped by a fluked red on 17.

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Rory McLeod saw off former World Champion Stuart Bingham, while Robert Milkins made a rapid break of 73 to beat Anthony Hamilton.

The match between 15-year-old Ukrainian snooker player Iulian Boiko and Northern Irish Jordan Brown was certainly the most important event for Ukrainian snooker fans at the Shoot Out this year. Iulian Boiko was the first who knocked in a brilliant long shot on a red ball, but then he made an unfortunate mistake on a pink in a right-middle pocket and gave the open position to his oppponent. Jordan took advantage of his mistake and made a good break of 51, but he mistook and gave a semi-chance to the youngest professional in the history of snooker. Going up to the table Boiko had 4 minutes to recover 50 deficit, but also commited a blunder in the same right middle pocket on the next red ball. 

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Later Iulian attempted once again to start break with long shots after Jordan’s safeties, but under time pressure and score backlog, he made more mistakes. As a result of such Iulian’s attempts, Jordan Brown attacked and finished the match with 96:1 win, secured the place in the second round. 

Barry Pinches has an average shot time of 31 seconds this season, but somehow managed to pot ten balls in 100 seconds to score a dramatic win in the first round of the BetVictor Shoot Out. Pinches trailed amateur Joshua Thomond 36-1 with just one minute and 45 seconds remaining. But the Norwich cueman, nicknamed the Canary, potted five reds with blacks in an inspired break of 40 to snatch victory.

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His son Luke Pinches was also in action but he lost to Dylan Emery, a promising 19-year-old amateur from Wales.

Soheil Vahedi almost pulled off victory from 31-5 down against Nigel Bond, but missed the match-ball pink in the closing seconds. Bond, who won the inaugural Shoot Out ten years ago, goes through to the last 64 of the world ranking event in Milton Keynes. 

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, who won this event two years ago, saw off Brandon Sargeant with two breaks of 32, while legend Jimmy White got the better of Adrian Rosa.

Barry Hawkins, winner of this title in 2012, knocked out Gary Wilson, while two-time Shoot Out finalist Xiao Guodong made an excellent break of 72 to beat Ricky Walden.

Tour rookie Peter Devlin scored an impressive win over Jack Lisowski, and performed an even more impressive rap afterwards live in the Eurosport studio:

Hamim Hussain, a 19-year-old amateur from Birmingham, beat Peter Lines 9-7 in a low-scoring battle. Hussain trailed 7-1 with 30 seconds to go, but then knocked in a brilliant long pot on a red and added the black for victory.

Higgins tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the BildBet German Masters and headed home to Scotland, but his isolation period finished just in time for him to return to Milton Keynes and compete in the Shoot Out for the first time since 2016.

His battle with Donaldson was a cagey affair and Higgins trailed by four points with just 80 seconds on the clock, but then knocked in a long red and made a break of 14 to book his second round place. 
“I’ve been in my room for the last ten days, with my wife and kids bringing me meals and cups of tea,” said Higgins. “I was looking forward to having a game of snooker even if it was just one frame. And it gave my mum something to watch on TV!”

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The most dramatic match of Friday evening was Liam Highfield’s last-gasp win over Rod Lawler. Highfield trailed 52-16 with just 78 seconds remaining, but potted the last three reds with colours then cleared to the pink for a fantastic 41 clearance to clinch a place in round two.

There are 14 amateurs among the 64 players remaining, including Ben Mertens, Sean Harvey, Kuldesh Johal, Hayden Pinhey and John Astley who all scored impressive wins in Friday’s second session.

Astley ended the hopes of 12-time World Women’s Champion Reanne Evans. Two breaks of 22 helped Astley to a 63-5 scoreline.

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After finishing of the first round there was a random draw for round two which will start today at 13:00 GMT:

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The article is based on WST.TV