Premier League 2011 (week 9) - Higgins conquers Banbury

12:11:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

Higgins - better late than never
After a poor run in this year's Premier League, John Higgins managed to gain some form and win week nine of cue action by defeating Ali Carter and Mark Williams by 3-1. Although after last night victory in Banbury, the Scotsman has 11 points in his pocket he didn't qualify for the play-offs of the competition.

Higgins started his Premier League journey right from the beginning (aka. week one) and even though he beat Jimmy White by 3-0 he was going to lose the weekly final to Matthew Stevens this time with a "up side down" scoreline (0-3). Week three saw the "Wizard of Wishaw" being crashed in the semis by Neil Robertson, while during week five he lost the semi-final’s decider by playing Matthew Stevens (again).

As last evening started we all knew that no matter what, considering the provisional rankings, Higgins had no chance to qualify. However, the Scotsman had something to prove: that snooker is to be played even if you don't have an opportunity to go further in the competition.

The Captain Carter flies away from the play-offs
With breaks of 101, 79 and 49 Higgins wrote off Ali Carter's Premier League dream by a final 3-1 result. With only one point earned after last night defeat, added to his previous 9 points, "The Captain" Carter doesn't stand a chance to grab a spot in the final stages of the competition.

The second semi-final saw two great friends and fellow-country facing each other: Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens. A tough battle of cues since both of them needed to win.
Although the player known under the nickname of "The Welsh Potting Machine" wasn't playing at his best, he did manage to beat Stevens 3-0 by hitting in breaks of 32, 45 and 105. In the end a victory is a victory.

Matthew  Stevens' PL dream ends here
The final match started in the best possible way: with a brilliant 125 clearance preformed by an on-fire John Higgins. But Williams knew he needed a frame in order to keep his faith alive that he's got a place in the play-offs, so he did his best to get it. After a series of 24, 22 and 26 the mission was an accomplished one.

The next two frames were easily cashed by the current world champion, who used breaks of 89 and 48 to freeze the scoreline at 3-1 in his favour. He was the weekly champion and he ended his Premier League's run with a well deserved victory.

Mark Williams grabs a place for the final stages
So, after nine weeks of cue action, and one more left to take place a week from now, the provisional rankings look something like this: Ding Junhui occupies the first place with 16 points, closely followed by Judd Trump with 14 and Mark Williams with 13. Neil Robertson and Ronnie O'Sullivan have 12 points each, John Higgins 11, Ali Carter 10, while Matthew Stevens has only 9. 
The last two to complete the list are Shaun Murphy that has 7 points and Jimmy White with 2 lonely points.
This means that no matter what happens next week Ding, Trump and Williams have a secured spot for the play-offs.

The last stop that the Premier League caravan will make before the final stages will kick off is at Grimsby where Judd Trump will face Shaun Murphy, while Ronnie O'Sullivan will meet his good friend Jimmy White.