|Carter finally in Groups Final|
Along with the winners, there are also the ones that weren’t fortunate enough to stay in the competition, this being the case for Stephen Hendry and Peter Ebdon. While the Scot has been struggling for some time now to win tournaments and perform like in the old days, Peter gave his best in Group 3 matches, but lost some of that enthusiasm in Group 4 matches.
Hendry won one single match, the one played against Mark King, whom he beat 3-1 by hitting in breaks of 45, 70, 57 and 66. Along the way, he had some really tight and tense encounters with Peter Ebdon and Ali Carter, in both matches the Scot losing 2-3; he did hit a wonderful 129 break, though! Because a legend is always a legend ;-)
Peter won two matches, one in the first day of the competition and the second in the last day, earning only 2 points, not enough to continue his run in the Championship League, I’m afraid :-(
|Matt Stevens almost but not quite there|
Needless to say that Ali Carter and Matthews Stevens had received a free passage to the semis, Carter having four points in his pocket and Stevens five.
So, the Welshman Stevens was taking on Northern-Ireland’s Pistol Allen, a match that ended on a very decisive score 3-0, in favor of Mark who fired in breaks of 71, 93 and 131!
On the other side (meaning Table 2), Ali Carter was fighting Marco Fu in a true battle of strong nerves. The boys shared frames, only to bring the match to a decider who was taken by "The Captain" with a break of 63. Tough luck for the little man from Hong Kong, but I’m sure he’ll get back on his feet and win his way through Groups Final.
And since we are talking about the final, here we were: Mark Allen and Ali Carter. The Essex boy started by taking the first two frames with breaks of 32, 43 and 73, but Allen took his revenge with a 73 break to reduce the gap at just one frame. It would have been nice and more exciting to see a decider, but the next frame was going to be also the last one. Not a very bright one, I might add, as a lot of mistakes were made by both players, but Carter succeeded in taking the lead and leaving Mark in need of two snookers. "The Pistol" concealed the match, so "The Captain" can now fly away to Blackpool for the Shoot-Out snooker event due to start today!.
It was a lovely week for snooker, with many twisted situations and a lot of surprises, just like snooker likes to present itself every time :-)
The next set of matches will start at the end of February when Group 5 players will try to secure a place in the Groups Final, where Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter are ready to welcome them (we need three more to complete the gang :-P).