Northern Irish Open 2018

Williams Waltzes, Greene Glides, But Hawkins Halted

Defending champion puts pay to Alfie Burden, while Gerard wastes little time in clearing the Lines

The Northern Ireland Open has returned to the Waterfront for 2018, and Day One saw defending champion Mark Williams pick up where he left off twelve months ago.

The Welshman, currently number two in the world, fired breaks of 90, 91 and 100 to beat Alfie Burden, who reached the third-round last week in China, four frames to two.

The biggest casualty of the afternoon session was Barry Hawkins. A runner up at the Waterfront in 2016, the world number six crashed to a 4-3 defeat to China’s, Chen Zifan.

Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill, also inside the world’s top 20, failed to make negotiate the first day.

There was better news for local favourite Gerard Greene. The Kent native, who’s parents are both from Belfast, made light work of youngster Oliver Lines. Breaks of 81 and 92 helping Greene to a 4-0 whitewash.

Gerard Greene has made it safely to Round Two, but things aren’t looking as straightforward for Mark Allen, right now.

And whilst Greene advances to Round Two to await the winner of tomorrow nights clash between Ricky Walden and Matthew Stevens, Lines will be hoping that father, Peter, fares better in this evening’s session against Stuart Bingham.

Antrim man Mark Allen, is currently on the baize, and not having everything his own way, it has to be said.

Fans of the reigning Masters Champion, who reached the semi-final of last week’s Champion of Champions series, and won in China a fortnight ago, will be hoping to see the world number seven, capitalise on his recent good form, in front of his own.

Having dropped the opening two frames to Niu Zhuang, Allen looked in trouble in the third, when the Chinese man had control of the table. But a missed pink, handed the initiative to the Northern Irishman, who rattled in a break of 88 to reduce the deficit in a race to four.

*Feature image courtesy of World Snooker

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