Live Malta Cup Snooker



That's us for the evening

Thanks for your company, we'll be back with more action from the Northern Ireland Open for you tomorrow.
Northern Ireland Open
Can Allen emulate fellow Northern Irish icon Higgins by winning world title?

Around the tables

  • Jimmy Robertson 4-0 James Cahill
  • Stuart Bingham 4-3 Ashley Carty
  • David Gilbert 4-2 Louis Heathcote
  • Shaun Murphy 1-2 Tian Pengfei

Judd Trump is through to the last 16

What a fascinating match. Trump made enough mistakes in it to put victory in doubt, but Lu needed to capitalise on all of them and couldn't quite do it to take us to a decider. Trump is so hard to beat over this distance, because you need to hit the ground running against him or you're done for. Ultimately, Lu left himself to much to do. In the studio Trump makes the not unreasonable point about the moveable feast of start times in the second match of the evening unsettling the players involved. It didn't matter this time though, and he's through to face Jimmy Robertson in the next round and still has a shot at winning his fourth Northern Ireland Open title on the spin.

Trump 4-2 Lu

Trump needs up to the pink, and after a superb thin green into the yellow pocket to hold for the brown he duly sinks what's needed and he's won the match.

Trump 3-2 Lu (41-53)

Trump leaves a red over the bottom right and Lu helps himself to that and the black, before playing safe off the final red. Trump leaves a cut on it, which is enough to tempt Lu who drains it and lands perfectly on the blue! If he can clean up the baulk colours Trump will need a snooker...but he's missed the yellow and left it for Trump!

Trump 3-2 Lu (41-39)

Lu is intent on taking advantage of Trump's carelessness again here. On 39 though he has a shocker, missing a simple pink to the right middle and handing the advantage to Trump. In response Trump can only muster 13 before running out of position; whoever gets in next will be favourite, and it's Trump; he drains a long red to hold perfectly for the black. The final two reds are on cushions though and he can't get on either, so it's back to safety for the time being.

Trump 3-2 Lu (20-0)

Trump picks up four early as Lu misses a thin contact on a red from an attempted safety. He then gets in first, bridging over the baulk colours to sink a long red into the bottom left and spin back up the table for the brown. It's hard work with the pink and black tied up - one stunning shot to pot a red and avoid the forest of reds to go back up for the brown keeps his break going - and then he misses another routine shot by his standards as a mid-range red rattles in and out of the bottom left.

Trump 3-2 Lu

A total break of 74 secures the fifth for Lu. There's heat under this; Lu has proved more than capable of punishing Trump's mistakes tonight.

Trump 3-1 Lu (5-66)

Lu's taking these nicely. His break moves to 37, and red-colour-red-colour will peg back a frame if he can hold it together here. He duly dispatches red-pink-red-black, and he's right back in this.

Trump 3-1 Lu (5-14)

Lu batters in a long red at the start of the fifth frame, but in trying to split the pack off the blue he's only left with an awkward red to right middle. It could be curtains if he misses it but he plugs it confidently, and this is a great chance for Lu to prolong the argument. It goes awry on 14 though as he tries to free the black and land on it, fails, and can't convert a difficult pink into the right middle. It was played with safety in mind though, but it's not safe enough; Trump booms in a long red from baulk, and he's on the brown. That goes, but then he misses a simple red to the bottom left and leaves it in the jaws! Huge chance for Lu.

Trump 3-1 Lu

Trump glides frame ball red in to the bottom right to move 68 ahead with 59 remaining. He eventually makes 83 before missing a red to the green pocket, and will need just one more frame for victory.

Trump 2-1 Lu (56-0)

The black spot is tied up with a red but Trump is picking it off from the pink spot time after time, and takes his break to 56. He looks really locked in here, and those aberrations in the previous frame don't seem to be weighing on his mind.

Trump 2-1 Lu (24-0)

Trump has Lu in all sorts of bother from a series of safety shots, and eventually forces an error as Lu clatters into a stray red when trying to get the white back to baulk. Trump's in, and this is a very inviting table indeed.

Around the tables

  • Jimmy Robertson 4-0 James Cahill
  • Stuart Bingham 4-3 Ashley Carty
  • David Gilbert 3-2 Louis Heathcote

Trump 2-1 Lu

Lu mops them up! The pink with the rest was a tough shot, but he dropped it in deadweight to land perfectly on the black. That's the frame and, crucuially, Lu has stopped Trump's momentum.

Trump 2-0 Lu (56-39)

Lu gets 23 down, but the final two reds are awkward. He tries to double one to the left middle, but it catches the bottom jaw and sits up near the green pocket. Trump pots it, then plays a worldie of a shot in potting the yellow, coming off two cushions and shifting the final red over the bottom left. Just as the frame looks in the bag though, he misses the pink! Oh my word. Lu needs the colours for a huge steal.

Trump 2-0 Lu (52-16)

Lu's tiny lead is wiped out, before Trump makes a slightly offline plant and lands perfectly on the black. A few shots later he turns another offline plant of two reds into a pot, followed by the blue for his half-century. It's great stuff, but then Trump inexplicably misses a red to the bottom left with the frame at his mercy. What a chance for Lu now!

Trump 2-0 Lu (0-16)

Trump is so dangerous in this format. If you allow him this start, you could be needing to source a number for a local taxi firm within the hour. Lu makes a nice plant to get a red down at the start of the third, followed by a superb cut on pink to left middle to hold position on his next red. Can he get something going here? Just when the answer seems to be yes, Lu jaws a black in and out of the bottom right, and he's left Trump in. This could be trouble.

Trump 2-0 Lu

A spectacular double on a red to right middle keeps Trump's break going, but not for much longer. No matter; his 58 comfortably wins the frame and Trump is purring.

Trump 1-0 Lu (69-0)

Trump pots the pink in baulk to get it back down the table, and it looks a formality from here. His break goes to 33 with the pink, and with six reds and 75 points remaining he's almost there.

Trump 1-0 Lu (36-0)

Lu fails to drop deadweight on a red on the bottom cushion twice, and gives up eight points. From a snooker behind the green Lu misjudges a similar attempt to chuck Trump four more, and an easy starter to boot. Trump's into this break quickly, and opens the reds from high on the blue early on. The split is good, and there are big points on here. His break ends on 20 though after failing to land on a colour after trying to free the tied up black. He ties Lu up tight behind the black instead, which quickly elicits another four points as Lu catches the yellow from his attempted escape and he's left it all on for Trump.

Trump 1-0 Lu

Lu adds 13 and then concedes, so Trump takes the opener.

Trump 0-0 Lu (67-1)

He's middling everything is Trump, and another long red flies down and this time he lands on the green. An additional 26 leaves Lu needing four snookers to tie. Lu's back at the table, to get his cue arm moving more than anything.

Trump 0-0 Lu (41-1)

Trump's break ends abruptly on 40 when he catches the jaws of the bottom right while deep-screwing off the blue, and he's on nothing. A safety exchange follows, before Trump pots a red with a shot to nothing and then tucks Lu in tight behind the green.

Trump 0-0 Lu (18-1)

Lu's off to a flier, gliding in a long red, but makes a hash of his attempt to roll up behind the yellow and doesn't get the snooker. Trump then gets a red down and pulls the white up short of baulk, and he's not hanging about; there's 18 in this break already and he's cleared the path for the black to pot in the bottom corner pockets.

Next up

Judd Trump and Lu Ning will be on the baize shortly. These two have met twice before with Judd winning both, most recently and relevantly by a 6-2 margin in the UK Championship semi-final.

Around the tables

  • Jimmy Robertson 4-0 James Cahill
  • Stuart Bingham 2-2 Ashley Carty
  • David Gilbert 1-1 Louis Heathcote

Mark Selby is through to the last 16

These best-of-sevens can get away from you very quickly. Gary had frame ball for 2-2, missed it and two swift breaks later his tournament was over. Mark closed that out impressively, and moves on to face the winner of David Gilbert and Louis Heathcote.

Selby 4-1 Wilson

Selby moves his break to 80. In playing a canon into a red and pink though he sticks to the red, and it's touching ball; that leaves a wafer thin cut on a red to the bottom left, and he overcooks it. Gah! Gary comes back, but with 67 left on it's a lofty old order. He pots one red but misses the black, and immediately concedes.

Selby 3-1 Wilson (56-0)

Winning the match is paramount, but the delicate way Selby has opened the pack here suggests he's going for the maxi. The half ton is sorted and the frame will be soon; one stray red near the right rail is the one remaining problem ball. Have at it Mark!

Selby 3-1 Wilson (32-0)

Can Gary recover from that blow? It's not looking good already in the fifth frame when he escapes off two cushions from a snooker but hits the wrong red around the black spot, and he's served up a great chance for Mark to win the match. Fancy getting overexcited? Mark's plugged four reds and four blacks already.

Selby 3-1 Wilson

He's some player. Mark dispatches the colours for a clearance of 62 to move within one of victory, while Gary sits in his chair staring a thousand yards away.

Selby 2-1 Wilson

After taking lower value colours early in his break, Mark has to mop up the final three reds with blacks, and duly does. If he can dish the colours, which are all on their spots, he will take it by a point. He's going up for them now...

Selby 2-1 Wilson (8-69)

My oh my. Gary rushes frame ball red to the left middle, and he's missed it! That's end of break on 69, and with 67 still out there Mark has a great chance to nick this one.

Selby 2-1 Wilson (8-53)

Gary runs out of position after missing a canon on two reds above the black, but recovers it by stroking in a mid-range red. A later pink takes him to another half-century, and he's really hit his stride in the last two frames.

Selby 2-1 Wilson (8-12)

A clever safety from Mark splits the reds and leaves the white welded to the bottom cushion. Gary tries to drop on a red on the top cushion twice, coming off the side cushion to do so, and gives up eight; as he can see a red full ball, he gets a warning that one more miss will cost him the frame. Gary plays a containing safety off a nearby red, leaving the white in baulk but a straight red for Mark to go at. Mark misses it though, and leaves it on for Gary. There are reds everywhere, and there's a load on here. Gary gets to work.

Selby 2-1 Wilson

Oof, that nearly stayed out! Gary wobbles the third to last red, which wipes its feet and takes off its hat and coat before going in. That takes him to 61 - just - and the black that follows leaves Mark needing a snooker. They all look set to go though, and they do - a 111 from Gary wins the frame.

Selby 2-0 Wilson (12-51)

Gary's soon up and running, motoring to a half-century in no time at all. He's really zipping around the table here, and all reds and colours are in the open. There'll be a ton here, I shouldn't wonder.

Selby 2-0 Wilson (12-16)

Off Gary's break, Mark cuts a thin red to middle, sends the yellow to the opposite middle ... and then ruins all his good work by missing a black with the rest! Gary will know he can't afford to lose this frame, and that he couldn't ask for a better chance than this. Strangely, he opts not to go into the pack off his first black, but he quickly fashions himself another decent angle and it works well.

Around the tables

  • Jimmy Robertson 3-0 James Cahill
  • Stuart Bingham 1-0 Ashley Carty

Selby 2-0 Wilson

Yup, Gary did well to fight his way back in, but he's playing nowhere near well enough to beat someone of Mark's fibre.

Selby 1-0 Wilson (65-34)

Gary leaves Mark a long green to right corner; steadily and smoothly, he rolls it home, and it'll now take two four-point snookers to relieve him of the frame.

Selby 1-0 Wilson (58-34)

Gary alternates potting balls and trying for snookers ... and eventually he gets one, on the green, with Mark down around the black spot and behind the blue. It wasn't a ball you expected him to miss and in the process of putting him there Gary knocked the black onto the top cushion, but he's in the frame, and if you'd offered him where he is now 10 minutes ago, he'd've took it.

Selby 1-0 Wilson (58-14)

Trying to secure things. He runs out of position with Gary needing a snooker, then plays a poor safety, so Gary returns to the table with the frame still there for him - just.

Selby 1-0 Wilson (52-6)

Eesh! After more poor play from both, Mark hammers in a fine red, then sends a pink towards the knuckle ... which it raps before somehow dropping. IN co-comms, Uncle Joe is not at all happy - and how rarely it hat so? - having previously said the pockets were generous. Meantime, Mark sets about securing things.

Selby 1-0 Wilson (30-5)

But he gets in next ... to the tune of four ... and when Mark wins a short safety exchange, he has a problem. But a missed blue into the yellow pocket, Mark worrying about reds he's lying over, means it's Gary who gets the chance. Thing is, the black's tied up, so is the pink, and the reds are blocking each other, forcing him to miss a pretty straightforward blue; then Mark quickly runs out of position. This is very scrapy now.

Selby 1-0 Wilson (26-0)

He needn't be! Mark splits the pack and the lie is gorgeous, apart from the fact that he's on nowt. So Gary has a go at one and misses, then Selbz ignores one to play safe ... and playing off the side cushion to the far corner, Gary goes in-off. He's not settled yet, at all.

Selby 1-0 Wilson (17-0)

A poor break-off from Mark leaves Gary a tempter to left corner and he takes it on; whoops. Not only does he miss it, but a flick off the red takes the white across the table, during which time it liberates the black. Gary will be gearing the worst already.

Around the tables

  • Jimmy Robertson 1-0 James Cahill
  • Stuart Bingham 0-0 Ashley Carty

Selby 1-0 Wilson

Gary comes back to the table when it's well over, but only for one shot, and he'll know he tossed that frame with one poor shot.

Selby 0-0 Wilson (66-17)

Hello! Mark chases position as the frame draws near and eventually a red doesn't move for him, gliding straight to the far knuckle of the middle pocket. He leaves it and Gary can steal, but he'll need to take blacks with ever ball, one of which is marooned in the middle of the bottom cushion. Well, he won't be doing it at this visit, missing a red by plenty, and a poor safety allows Gary to force home an opener that sends him back to the black .. which he misses off its spot! That will be the frame.

Selby 0-0 Wilson (43-0)

Mark takes his chance; Gary takes his medicine.

Selby 0-0 Wilson (7-0)

Wilson has yet to lose a frame in this tournament and is ranked 28 in the world; this is a tough assignment for the reigning world champ and world number one. He'll be better for that black-ball win in round one. Gary tries a red to centre and he misses, but worse than that, the ball clips the knuckle and clatters the pack; that's going to cost him. Mark will expect to win the frame at this visit.

And here they come!


We'll be majoring on the Selbz game and the Trump game, but will keep you informed as to the rest.

Tonight's menu

Wed 13 19:00
  • Jimmy Robertson [58] v James Cahill (a)
  • Stuart Bingham [12] v Ashley Carty [69]
  • G Wilson v Mark Selby [2]
Wed 13 20:00
  • Judd Trump [1] v Lu Ning [34]
  • Shaun Murphy [5] v Tian Pengfei
  • David B Gilbert [18] v Louis Heathcote [101]

Evening all!

Stay tuned

We'll be back at 18:50 BST for live coverage of the evening session, featuring one Judd Trump...

Ronnie speaks!

He says he didn't have a good feeling about today, then returns to what he said the other day about the atmosphere being flat; it's not the fault of the fans, but because there are three tables next to each other there are no fans down the side to get you going. All snooker fans are family, he says, and just wants to make sure nothing was misconstrued - he doesn't like the set-up of the venue, that's it.
Having watched the first game, he was concerned because the standard was so high, and then says that most of the time he wins tournaments he wins them playing poorly, because that's what top players can do. During the game, he was feeling bad for Alfie, thinking he needed the win more, and he saw the press he did pre-match in which he said he'd have preferred the qualifier to be in Barnsley to save hotel and travel expenses.
As for his next game, he thinks Lines has gained in confidence but he'd like to see him play with more energy and attitude.; showing your personality helps you play well, and Oli has more to give than currently.

Around the tables

Mark Williams 3-2 Jak Jones
Yan Bingtao 2-0 Oliver Lines

Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Alfie Burden 4-1!

A 70 is enough, and he plays Oliver Lines or Yan Bingtao next; if it's the latter, we'll be in for something extremely serious.

O'Sullivan 3-1 Burden (70-1)

This game. Ronnie uses all of the green pocket and some of the cushion to despatch a blue - that was nowhere near as good a shot as Alfie's on the brown - but in the time it took me to type that, Ronnie sinks a succession of other pots and is more or less home. LIke Neil Robertson, he's missing a ball here and there, so the breaks aren't where you'd expect them to be, but he's hitting it very nicely thank you very much.

O'Sullivan 3-1 Burden (16-1)

Oh dear. Alfie takes a red which takes him back to baulk, and after cogitating for a while, rams the granny out of a brown along the baulk line ... missing by a fraction. Meantime, the white careers down the table and splatters the pack; Ronnie gets underway and this might be that.

Around the tables

Mark Williams 2-2 Jak Jones
Yan Bingtao 2-0 Oliver Lines

O'Sullivan 3-1 Burden

He can! A total clearance of 127! In a parallel universe, this is 2-2.

O'Sullivan 3-0 Burden (0-75)

Well done Alfie Burden! He smacks home a black and Ronnie now needs snookers; can Alfie make it a ton?

O'Sullivan 3-0 Burden (0-61)

Excellent from Alife; A cannon doesn't work out well, sending the white back to baulk, but he does superbly to pot his way out of trouble and is now back in control of the break. Can he force home the advantage?

O'Sullivan 3-0 Burden (0-28)

Ronnie misses a long red to left corner and this is a chance for Alfie; can he steady himself? Yes he can (for now).

Around the tables

Mark Williams 1-2 Jak Jones
Yan Bingtao 1-0 Oliver Lines

O'Sullivan 3-0 Burden

I'm afraid Alfie hasn't put his frame two mishap behind him. Ronnie is nearly there.

O'Sullivan 2-0 Burden (50-10)

When I said could be, I meant most definitely is. Ronnie is going to finish the frame at this visit unless something very odd happens because the balls are set lovely.

O'Sullivan 2-0 Burden (31-10)

Ronnie sets about punishing Alfie's miss, and sends the white into the cluster early to develop more reds. It's hard work though with pink and black tied up, and Ronnie then misses an awkward red to the bottom left. It sits up over the bottom right for Alfie, who has a chance to counter. He pots red-blue, but misses a wild bash at a red just beneath the black. That's scattered reds everywhere, and this could be trouble.

O'Sullivan 2-0 Burden (8-4)

Alfie's in lumber early in the third as his attempt to drop the white deadweight onto the bottom cushion goes awry; the dreaded double kiss on the red has left Ronnie on it to the left middle. That goes, but Ronnie can only snag eight points from this chance before missing a difficult cut on a red to left middle. Alfie then gets a chance as Ronnie goes in off from a safety, but with ball in hand from the D he misses a long red to the bottom right by a shocking margin. Even worse, he's left Ronnie an easy mid-ranger to the bottom left.

O'Sullivan 2-0 Burden

It's the colours for the frame, and Ronnie drains the yellow into the bottom left. Safety follows, before Burden misses the green to the same pocket by a huge margin. Ronnie plugs the green, screwing back up for the brown, and it's a formality from here. The blue is dispatched with the rest, pink and black follow and Ronnie's nicked this from right under Alfie's nose.

O'Sullivan 1-0 Burden (34-52)

Ronnie gets the mop out and starts clearing up the remaining reds even, his position is far from perfect on several shots. The final red is along the bottom rail and into the bottom left, but he catches it all wrong and it jaws out to safety. Within a few shots Ronnie flukes a snooker when he lands the white behind the jaw of the bottom left, only for Alfie to swerve the cue ball and fluke an outrageous pot into the yellow pocket! A snooker follows, and he's got control here.

O'Sullivan 1-0 Burden (0-52)

Alfie registers 51, but lands the white in between the pink and black and with no shot on either. Rather than have a yahoo at the green he puts it safe instead, and Ronnie comes back to the table. When Alfie returns he gets a good look at a mid-range red which will surely set up a frame-winning clearance, but he's missed it and left Ronnie in.

O'Sullivan 1-0 Burden (0-31)

A well worked-out safety from Alfie, sending the white to the baulk cushion via the blue, earns him the first chance of frame two, and on nine he spends a wholte weighing up a long red to the green pocket, in that catch-22 that has afflicted so many: does he prolong the break, knowing Ronnie can manufacture a chance of his own from anywhere, or does he pass up a opportunity to prolong the break, knowing Ronnie can manufacture a chance of his own from anywhere? He opts for the former and nails it - well played sir - then carries on accumulating.

Around the tables

Lü Haotian 4-1 Mark King
Mark Williams 0-1 Jak Jones
Yan Bingtao 0-0 Oliver Lines
O'Sullivan 1-0 Burden
Ronnie doesn't secure the frame at that visit, but another shot from Alfie and he's back, eliminating the remaining balls like they're nothing, which to him they're not.

O'Sullivan 0-0 Burden (49-0)

Oh, the black spot is occupied by a red, so when Ronnie has to play for it, it returns to the table on the green. Ronnie is as arsed by this as you'd expect, taking reds with blues, but it's not an easy run, and when he falls out of position he eventually misses a red he tries to tuck in behind, thereby sending it along the top cushion. So Alfie has a go at is and gets close, but against TMNTPETPUAC that's not enough, and this will cost him the frame.

O'Sullivan 0-0 Burden (12-0)

Alfie dropped off the tour last September and decided to retire as a consequence, but a few months later he couldn't help himself and went to Q School, where he won himself another two years. He's old pals with Ronnie - apparently they practise together - but they've never played in a tournament. Well, here they are, and Alfie starts nicely, matching Ronnie's safety, before a double kiss leaves a red. Down it goes, and though the black is close to the top cushion, there are a lot of points out there.

Here they come!

The Class of 92

It's astonishing how good t hey are. And in a few minutes, another of its members, Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan, will be with us.

The Class of 92

It's astonishing how good they are. And in a few minutes, another of its members, Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan, will be with us.

In the last 16

Higgins meets Jamie Jones or Mark Williams. Not bad.

More on Higgins

He's delighted with how he's playing.

Scores and results

Liam Highfield [42] 4-1 Ryan Day [25]
Chris Wakelin [57] 2-4 Tian Pengfei [54]
Rory McLeod [76] 0-4 Gary Wilson [31]
Lü Haotian [56] 3-1 Mark King [55]
Mitchell Mann [93] 4-2 Kyren Wilson [6]

As such

O'Sullivan and Burden will soon be with us.

Afternoon all!

A terrific performance from the terrific John Higgins, punctuated with a terrific hundred break in the final frame, seem him beat Luca Brecel 4-2, in a terrific match.

'You can't criticise the best in the world' - Trump responds to Virgo comments

Judd Trump has responded to snooker legend John Virgo's comments about him being 'disappointing' last year and said, 'you can't criticise the best in the world'.
Trump, who thrashed Gao Yang 4-0 at the Northern Ireland Open on Tuesday, must start ‘stepping up to the plate’ in the biggest events more regularly, according to Virgo in an appearance on the Talking Snooker podcast.
Virgo said of Trump: "He’s won one [World Championship], he’s won a UK and won a Masters but he’s got to start building on that because he was disappointing, for me, last season."
Speaking to Eurosport after he raced through in Belfast, the Bristolian expressed his feelings about the comments from the 75 year old and was clearly less than impressed.
"To be honest, I just ignored it when it came out," Trump said with a laugh in the Eurosport studio.
"But obviously when you get asked questions, I've just learned to be honest. If someone criticises me for winning five events, six events, winning the Masters, the World [Championship] within three years... I don't think that says anything about me, it probably says something about himself.
You can criticise anyone, but you can't criticise the best player in the world - it's strange he picked on me, really, because I've done the best.


Wed 13 10:00
  • Liam Highfield [42] v Ryan Day [25]
  • Chris Wakelin [57] v Tian Pengfei [54]
  • Rory McLeod [76] v Gary Wilson [31]
Wed 13 13:00
  • Lü Haotian [56] v Mark King [55]
  • Mitchell Mann [93] v Kyren Wilson [6]
  • John Higgins [7] v Luca Brecel [37]
Wed 13 15:00
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan [3] v Alfie Burden [112]
  • Yan Bingtao [14] v Oliver Lines [67]
  • Mark J Williams [10] v Gould / Jak Jones
Wed 13 19:00
  • Jimmy Robertson [58] v James Cahill (a)
  • Stuart Bingham [12] v Ashley Carty [69]
  • R McLeod / G Wilson v Mark Selby [2]
Wed 13 20:00
  • Judd Trump [1] v Lu Ning [34]
  • Shaun Murphy [5] v C Wakelin / Tian Pengfei
  • David B Gilbert [18] v Louis Heathcote [101]
- -
Watch the 2021 Northern Ireland Open and the entire prestigious Home Nations snooker series live on Eurosport, and the Eurosport app.
Northern Ireland Open
'One of the all-time greats' - Allen pays tribute to Higgins after Northern Ireland Open win
Northern Ireland Open
'He's done it the hard way' - O'Sullivan praises Allen after Northern Ireland Open win