NORTHERN IRELAND TOP GROUP AFTER FIGHTBACK
Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen and Jordan Brown moved to the summit of group B at the Beverly World Cup in Wuxi, after beating Hong Kong 3-2 in a hard fought match.
Hong Kong’s team of Andy Lee and Ka Wei Cheung had assumed a surprise 2-0 lead after the opening singles frames. However, Northern Ireland kept themselves in it by taking the doubles, before a break of 68 from Allen forced a decider. Brown held his nerve to secure the win.
With group table standings being determined by the number of frames won, that result puts Northern Ireland into the first position, after they defeated Saudi Arabia 4-1 in the opening round of games. Hong Kong remains in contention, having narrowly lost out to England 3-2 in their first match.
Brown said: “That was just typical Northern Ireland style. We all get behind each other, no matter what tournament we are in. It was pure grit and determination. It wasn’t pretty by any means, but it doesn’t need to be.”
Allen added: “We did really well, in the end, considering the fact we made a lot of mistakes to go 2-0 down. It was looking bleak but we dug in and I’m proud of Jordan to get us over the line in the end. He played the perfect frame really.”
Saudi Arabia made history by winning their first ever World Cup match with a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Iran.
The Saudi pairing of Omar Alajlani and Ahmed Aseeri are competing as amateurs this week, but both won matches at Q School earlier this season. They opened up an early 2-0 lead after winning the first two singles frames.
The Iranian duo Hossein Vafaei and Soheil Vahedi battled back by taking the doubles before Vahedi claimed the fourth frame to force a decider at 2-2. Ahmed then stood up to the pressure and composed a break of 66 to secure the momentous victory.
Meanwhile, England’s Kyren Wilson and Jack Lisowski currently occupy second place in the group, after narrowly edging past the Republic of Ireland with a 3-2 win.
Wales and China B are locked together in the first position of group D. The Welsh partnership of Mark Williams and Ryan Day beat Australia 4-1. China B has a slightly less comfortable afternoon, requiring a deciding frame to beat Malta 3-2.
Scotland’s John Higgins and Stephen Maguire were runners-up in 2015 and they kept themselves on track to progress this week after a 4-1 defeat of the UAE in group C. They are tied for the top spot with Belgium, who also won by a 4-1 scoreline with a defeat of Isreal.
China’s A team of Ding Junhui and Yan Bingtao are top of group A after defeating Norway 4-1. Elsewhere Thailand secured an important 3-2 win over Austria, while Poland beat Germany 3-2.
Source: World Snooker