Friday, 15 July 2011


After five long days of graft at the World Cup, we've got a grand total of zero shocks.

They say cream always rises to the top and that's been proved the case in Thailand this week as all eight seeds managed to find their way to the quarter-finals , albeit with differing levels of ease.

England, Wales and Scotland have as predicted led the way with an impressive four wins out of four, while Hong Kong, China, Australia and Northern Ireland suffered a single slip-up apiece en route.

Republic of Ireland's Fergal O'Brien and Ken Doherty made the hardest work of qualification though winning only two of their four matches and scraping through right at the death.

Trailing 3-1 against Wales today, 1997 world champion Doherty went into the final frame knowing only a win would do against Matthew Stevens. But he called on all his years of experience to get the job done and ensure the most experienced partnership in the tournament recovered from a shock opening match defeat to Pakistan.

This week's action means some of the biggest names in professional snooker, players we've grown fond of over the years, will compete in this weekend's knockout phase of the competition.

But it also means the massive efforts of the some of world's lesser known players from Malta, Pakistan, Poland and hosts Thailand go unrewarded.

Who wins it now is anyone's guess, as we're pretty much as we were before the competition kicked off.

The big three are still the big three and the outsiders are still slight outsiders despite showing glimpses of quality in patches.

While to some, the story so far may sound like we've been short changed this week, it also means you can't afford to miss any of the action this weekend with no nation emerging as real runaway contenders to lift the title.

My heart still says England. My head still says Wales but my tip is still Northern Ireland. Read into that what you will.

Enjoy the rest of the action!

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