Friday, March 11, 2011

Baird out of World Championship

Sam Baird saw his chance to qualify for next month's World Championship snuffed out by Mike Dunn in Thursday's scintillating action.

Baird had been on a strong run of form going into this qualifying game, having won five of his previous matches but he came unstuck against the Redcar player.

Dunn's success means he will now face Mark King in the final qualifying round of the World Snooker Championship.

Baird ended the first session 5-4 up, with breaks of 77, 125 and 74 contributing to his dominant position. However, Dunn was not to be deterred and won the next three frames to give himself a 7-5 lead.

The match changed direction more often than a pendulum as Baird struck back, overturning Dunn's 8-7 lead by winning the next two frames to give himself a 9-8 advantage.

However, Dunn won the next frame with a score of 87 to take the match into a deciding frame - and this went down to the wire and the snooker betting odds suggested things could have gone either way.

Baird scored 32 but Dunn's following breaks of 27 and 36 appeared to be enough for him to prevail. He was leading by 32 points on the brown but Baird scored snookers on the blue and the pink to give himself a glimmer of hope.

Baird potted the pink but Dunn sunk the black to claim victory by the narrowest of margins.

In Thursday's other games, Michael Holt came back from being 7-3 in arrears to beat James McBain by ten frames to eight whilst Jamie Burnett turned an 8-5 deficit around to beat James Wattana 10-8.

Jimmy White's conqueror Liu Chuang beat Tom Ford 10-8 whilst David Gilbert and Robert Milkins also tasted success.

The 16 qualifiers from this tournament will play in the prestigious World Snooker Championship which is held at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre from April 16 to May 2. John Higgins and Ronnie O'Sullivan are the two favourites to lift the crown.

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