We are sorry to announce that Tony Drago has been identified as a close contact of someone who has contracted COVID and his enforced period of quarantine means he cannot travel to the UK for next weeks event. Tony will be replaced in the event by Patrick Wallace who is the current World Number 1 ranked Seniors Player. Patrick will face Jimmy White in the Last 16 Bonus Arena, Hull WAYS Facilities Management
Of course, we wish Tony the best. Hopefully he won’t develop any (severe) symptoms.
This is the updated first round draw:
We have some interesting matches in prospect!
Michael Judge v Peter Lines.
This is a hard one to call. Both Michael and Peter have loads of experience, a good tactical nous and a vast knowledge of the game. This should be good and it should be close. Peter is playing on the main tour, he should be sharp. How much and how well pthe epared Michael will be is the unknown factor. I’m certain though that he will do everything in his power to be ready: He’s the defending Champion. I can’t pick a winner.
Ken Doherty v Lee Walker.
Expect hard match play. Expect grit and patience. Expect fancy socks… 🧦. I will go with Ken for this one, but only just. Ken is very shrewd and has more experience of the “main table situation”. Lee though is a very solid player: if he manages to dictate the pace and style of the match, he will definitely give Ken a serious challenge.
Jimmy White v Patrick Wallace.
Patrick is the number one Senior player for a reason. In the past however he has struggled with nerves in the big matches, on the main table. Jimmy on the other hand loves such situations, he thrives on them. He’s a showman. Because of these differences in personality, and because these are short matches, I fancy Jimmy to win, but not by much.
John Parrott v Wayne Cooper
John Parrott has very rarely performed convincingly since the Seniors Tour started. I’m not sure why. I must admit that I don’t know much about Wayne’s game, but he has come through the qualifiers which isn’t easy. Wayne Cooper to win.
Joe Johnson v Rod Lawler
Joe Johnson’s cue action is all over the place these days, but he still relishes the battle, and still pots some very good balls. The competitive animal has not been tamed. Rod Lawler is someone I fully respect because he always tries 100%, but I’m not a fan of his pace and he has struggled in recent years. I can’t call this one. I have a feeling that it will just depend on either player’s form on the day.
Cliff Thorburn v Kuldesh Johal
Cliff is 73, getting down of the shot is a struggle, the shot-clock a nightmare. He is however a great champion, and still has the heart of a great champion. Will it be enough to beat Kuldesh? I’m not sure. I would absolutely love to see Cliff do well but I think that Kuldesh will have too much for him.
David Lilley v Philip Williams
Philip Williams has been a strong presence in qualifiers on the WSS tour those last years. He sure can play. David Lilley is the Seniors reigning World Champion and he plays on the main tour. This should be a quality match but, ultimately, I expect David to win it.
Stephen Hendry v Barry Pinches
Now this is an interesting one. Stephen Hendry has hinted that he is playing well in practice. Every time he plays on the main tour he has lots of expectations to cope with and, because of his ranking, he usually faces a “current” top player. This will be a different proposition and an interesting “test” for Stephen. Barry Pinches had a very decent career, he is/was very solid but never really classed as a “top” player. I will go with Stephen here, mainly because, given the opportunity, he still has the scoring power. However, if Stephen goes for too much and gives Barry a lot of opportunities, he will probably pay the price.