By Simon Kendal-Williams
Jackson Page claimed the biggest win of his professional career to progress to the second round of the 19.com Northern Ireland Open.
The Ebbw Vale teenager looked to be heading out of the second of four Home Nations events when he trailed veteran Barry Pinches 3-1 in their best-of-seven encounter on Monday night.
But breaks of 81 and 71 either side of a scrappy sixth frame booked the 18-year-old’s place in the last 64 – where last weekend’s Champion of Champions winner Neil Robertson potentially lies in wait.
On a mixed opening day for Welsh players in Belfast, Matthew Stevens and Jak Jones both completed comfortable victories.
Forty-two-year-old Stevens arguably produced the most impressive display, making back-to-back centuries in a 4-1 win over Chris Wakelin.
The world number 43 raced into a 2-0 lead, and although Wakelin hit back to take the third frame, breaks of 136 and a 134 total clearance in the fifth earned the Carmarthen player a second round clash against Mark Selby.
Jones – a player at the opposite end of his career – continued his impressive start to the season as he eased past Malaysia’s Thor Chuan Leong.
A 96 break in the opening frame gave Jones the perfect start, and despite making no further notable breaks, the Cwmbrân man booked his place in the last 64 with a 4-1 victory.
World number 58 Anthony Hamilton lies in wait after his shock 4-3 win over David Gilbert.
Meanwhile, Ryan Day’s miserable season shows no sign of improving.
The two-time ranking event winner slumped to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Northampton’s Harvey Chandler, meaning Day has tasted victory just twice since July.
On paper at least, this had looked a favourable draw.
At 21st in the world, the Pontycymer player is ranked 61 places above the Englishman – and Chandler arrived in at the Waterfront Hall in even worse form than Day, having failed to win a single match this season.
After Chandler took a scrappy opening frame, a break of 60 looked to have hauled Day level, only for the 24-year-old make it 2-0 with a gutsy 70 clearance.
Day did win the third, courtesy of a run of 57, but a 67 break was enough to leave Chandler one frame from a rare victory.
Very disappointed to lose 4-3 to Jackson Page from 3-1 up but it was a match he won very well with two one frame visits from that position . I only had one long ball and one medium range ball to go at from 3-1up.
Good luck to him in the next round.
— barry pinches (@barrypinches) November 11, 2019
That duly came, as the final frame mirrored the second.
Day broke down on 51, allowing Chandler to clinch the win on the black with a 53 clearance.
Also heading home is Cardiff’s Kishan Hirani.
The 27-year-old world number 90 let slip a 2-1 lead as he crashed out 4-2 to China’s Chen Feilong.
Tuesday sees half a dozen Welshmen in action.
Lee Walker – the only man to defeat Judd Trump in the world champion’s last 15 matches – takes on Martin O’Donnell, while Llanelli’s Jamie Clarke faces Ben Woollaston.
Two Neath-based professionals have been drawn against in-form players.
Michael White is up against Michael Holt – a quarter-finalist in the World Open earlier this month – with Daniel Wells drawn against world number 29 Matthew Selt, a semi-finalist in the same event.
Dominic Dale faces Luo Honghao, while Duane Jones plays a resurgent Graeme Dott.