Phase Two in this year’s WST Pro Series takes place this week, with some of snooker’s big guns on show at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
With a total prize fund of £420,500 the stakes are high and some top-class action on the green baize is expected.
The Pro Series Story so Far
The first half of phase one took place in January with no notable casualties, but that wasn’t to be the case this week as it concluded.
The 128 entries are split into 16 groups of eight players with the top two qualifying through to phase two, but this week the biggest name of them all fell at the first hurdle. The second batch of phase one groups concluded with world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan finishing bottom of Group I and eliminated.
Phase two starts on Wednesday, with Group 1 kicking off the proceedings and featuring three-time world champion Mark Williams.
Williams Among Wednesday’s Action
Welshman Williams cruised through phase one, winning six of his seven group matches, dropping just two frames in the best-of-three format. Williams goes in the first of the four groups of eight players with, again, the two two progressing through to the final phase.
The 22-time ranking event winner faces a tricky first match against talented young chinese player Lyu Haotian, who also impressed in phase one. He was another player to bag six wins from seven and the 23-year-old has the game to trouble Williams.
A dangerman lurking in this group is Blackpool’s James Cahill, who is expected to make waves in the sport in the coming years. Cahill progressed from one of the toughest groups in the first phase – Group J – which featured the likes of Dave Gilbert and Martin Gould – both of whom were eliminated.
In 2019, the 25-year-old became the first-ever amateur to qualify to play at the Crucible in the world Championships and pulled off one of the biggest shocks in snooker when beating Ronnie O’Sullivan. Cahill boasts a great game and tremendous temperament, he is a man to follow in this group.
His first game is in the morning and against Martin O’Donnell, he appeals at
1/1 to start with a win.
Punters can profit backing Cahill on Wednesday, he is
20/21 to beat Sunny Akani and a very appealing
8/5 to also beat the inconsistent Ali Carter, who has recently struggled with health issues that forced him to withdraw from the Welsh Open last month.
The Week Ahead
One of the players to look out for later this week is former Crucible finalist and three-times ranking event winner Barry Hawkins.
Traditionally, ‘The Hawk’ saves his best form for the second half of the season and that is proving the case once again this time around. He has reached the semi-finals of both the German Masters and the Players Championship since Christmas. Hawkins topped Group D in phase one and is fancied to go well in Group 3 on Friday.
*All odds correct at time of writing