Antrim favourite Mark Allen soars into NI Open second round at Waterfront
Home hero Mark Allen ensured he wouldn't suffer an early exit at the Northern Ireland Open as he cruised into the second round at the Waterfront Hall.
In front of a passionate home crowd, which was firmly in his favour throughout, Allen breezed by England's Sam Craigie, winning 4-1 to book his place in the second round.
That sets up a clash against England's Jamie O'Neill, who defeated Sunny Akani earlier in the day, in round two on Wednesday, a match Allen will be confident of winning.
Meanwhile, defending champion and World No.1 Judd Trump needed a crucial seventh frame to reach the second round in a nervy match against James Cahill.
The reigning world champion was pushed all the way by World No.113 Cahill, who roared back from three frames down to take it to a decider, only for the Trump to win with a break of 75.
Trump will now face Zhang Anda in the second round at the Waterfront Hall, where he will be joined by World No.12 Stuart Bingham, who overcame Lu Ning by the same scoreline.
Irish teenager Ross Bulman will join them in round two after he stunned Zhang Jiankang, the 18-year-old amateur winning 4-1 against the World No.89 to record his first ever win in a professional ranking event.
Bulman is now on course for a second round clash with World No.15 Joe Perry, provided the Englishman overcomes Zhao Xintong as expected later on.
There was disappointment for local man Patrick Wallace, however, as he fell to a 4-2 defeat to Chen Zifan in what was a first round tie on Tuesday afternoon.
The shock of the morning session saw World No.127 Billy Joe Castle triumph 4-3 in a seven-frame thriller over Noppon Saengkham, condemning the Thai cueman to an early exit.
But there were wins for other high ranking players such as Graeme Dott, who defeated Duane Jones 4-2; Jimmy Robertson, who overcame Brazil's Igor Figueiredo 4-3; and Peter Ebdon, who saw off Jimmy White 4-2.
Some of the bigger names, including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Neil Robertson and Kyren Wilson, are all in action during the evening session at the Waterfront Hall.
10am: Liang Wenbo 4-1 Kurt Maflin; Noppon Saengkham 3-4 Billy Joe Castle; Ross Bulman 4-1 Zhang Jiankang; Graeme Dott 4-2 Duane Jones; Bai Langning 1-4 Craig Steadman; Jamie O'Neill 4-2 Sunny Akani; Jimmy Robertson 4-3 Igor Figueiredo; Louis Heathcote 2-4 Peifan Lei
11:30am: Lee Walker 3-4 Martin O'Donnell; Scott Donaldson 4-1 Alfie Burden; Sam Baird 4-2 Nigel Bond
1pm: Judd Trump 4-3 James Cahill; Chen Zifan 4-2 Patrick Wallace; Riley Parsons 3-4 Kacper Filipiak; Stuart Bingham 4-3 Lu Ning; Dominic Dale 2-4 Luo Honghao
2pm: Peter Ebdon 4-2 Jimmy White; Matthew Selt L-L Daniel Wells; Mark Allen 4-1 Sam Craigie; Jamie Clarke 2-4 Ben Woollaston
4:30pm: Jack Lisowski v Soheil Vahedi; Gary Wilson v Yuan SiJun
7pm: Kyren Wilson v Alan McManus; Ricky Walden v Alex Borg; Michael Holt v Michael White; Fan Zhengyi v Fergal O'Brien; Brandon Sargeant v Joe O'Connor; John J Astley v Stuart Carrington; Zhou Yuelong v David Grace; Ronnie O'Sullivan v Oliver Lines
8pm: Neil Robertson v Mark Joyce; Joe Perry v Zhao Xintong
Belfast Telegraph Digital