Snooker Championship League (group 4) - Cue Man-Fu and Welsh Dragon take the lead

06:14:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Fu taking revenge after almost being elminated
Here we are, back on the road with Group 4 players, the first day of the competition being a true battle of cues. Unlike the previous matches, yesterday’s snooker encounters were faster and player’s performances were more consistent - this means that it was easier to set up a provision ranking system at the end of the day, as earned points made quite a difference between the place that each player is on.. So, at the end of Day 1, we have two lead players, Marco Fu and Matthew Stevens (3 points each), who are closely followed by Ali Carter and Mark Allen (with 2 points a pair), Peter Ebdon and Mark King with only one lonely point and Stephen Hendry with ... no points at all, unfortunately.

The Hong Kong cue man has stunned the audience with a perfect form of playing the game. Moreover since just a couple of days ago he was in danger or being eliminated from the competition. But Marco has stood up and proved that if he is in this competition then he belongs here. He started his day by defeating Peter Ebdon 3-1 (with breaks of 133 - which is the highest break so far for Group 4 - 46, 59 and 93), continued his run with the same score against the legendary Stephen Hendry (breaks of 82, 99 and 50) and "The Captain" Carter (breaks of 52, 92 and 41), only to lose one single match - the one played against Mark Allen, when the score he’s been "using" all day turned not to be in his favor 1-3.

Stevens takes his time...he knows he`ll win the match
In the same way, The Welsh Dragon - Matthew Stevens won three out of four matches, booking himself a place in the Top 5 at the end of the first day. He whitewashed Mark King 3-0 (breaks of 62 and 53), hammered Mark Allen 3-1 (breaks of 64, 126 and 116), ended on a very tight 3-2 the match played against the Scot Stephen Hendry 3-2 and lost 1-3 to Peter Ebdon at the end of the day.

Next in line are Ali Carter and Mark Allen, both of them winning two of three played matches."The Captain" had a very good start as he crashed Mark King 3-0 (breaks of 61, 38 and 52) and also Peter Ebdon with breaks of 73, 78 and 60. On the other hand "The Pistol" Allen was the one who ended on a 3-1 lead the match played against Stephen Hendry (breaks of 72, 64 and 35) but also the battle with Marco Fu (breaks of 67, 121 and 66).
Peter Ebdon seemed not to be in that beautiful form that made him reach Group 3 semi-finals, as he only cashed one match, the one played against Matt Stevens with breaks of 97 and 69; the same situation applying to Mark King who also had a wonderful run in the previous group and also reached the semis, but unfortunately for him, he only won the battle against (ironically) Ebdon 3-2, by hitting in breaks of 41, 83 and 54.

No one is in big trouble, as Hendry is, though! The Scot didn’t win any matches, the only time he got close of taking the lead being when he played Matt Stevens. Hendry hit a 76 break to take over the first frame, but lost his leading advantage as Matt won the next one by just one point (66-67).That got to hurt as from that moment one, they shared frames, but the last one wasn’t Hendry’s. Unfortunately, with no points and only 3 matches to play, Hendry seems very close to being eliminated.

Today’s matches are:
Table 1 (all times are approximate)
10.30 am - Mark King v. Mark Allen
11.45 am - Marco Fu v. Matthew Stevens
Not before 1.30 pm - Ali Carter v. Matthew Stevens
2.45 pm - Peter Ebdon v. Stephen Hendry
5.30 pm - Play-off - first v. fourth
6.45 pm - Final 

Table 2 (all times are approximate)
10.30 am - Ali Carter v. Stephen Hendry
11.45 am - Peter Ebdon v. Mark Allen
Not before 1.30 pm - Mark King v. Stephen Hendry
2.45 pm - Ali Carter v. Mark Allen
4 pm - Mark King v. Marco Fu
Not before 5.30 pm - Play-off - second v. third
*all hours are UK time

You can watch the boys online, by clicking on this link. Good luck to all of them and see you tomorrow when we’ll find out who’s Group 4 champion. ;-)