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Jimmy White enjoys a winning start to the new season as Martin Gould crashes out of the Riga Masters

Martin Gould crashed out on day one of the 2017 Riga Masters Qualifiers (credit: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Jimmy White enjoyed a winning start to his 38th professional season with a narrow 4-3 victory over Jak Jones on the opening day of the 2017 Riga Masters Qualifiers, while Martin Gould suffered a surprise defeat by the same scoreline against Kurt Maflin at the Preston Guild Hall.

The Whirlwind, who is back on the tour via an invitational wildcard following his relegation at the end of last season, was pegged back to 3-3 from 3-1 up against the Welshman, but held his nerve in the decider to advance to the final stages in Riga.

White opened with a run of 58 but Jones responded with 57 before taking the second frame on a re-spotted black to level things up at 1-1.

The 55-year-old won the next two frames to move to the brink of victory, but his opponent dug deep with a top run of 60 on the way to setting up a seventh and final frame.

Jones was in first but saw a mistake pounced upon by White who, despite needing a couple of bites at it, eventually got his nose over the line for a place in the main draw.

Fellow invitational wildcard holder Ken Doherty also made a winning start against World Seniors champion Peter Lines – recovering from 2-1 down with a top break of 85 as he reeled off the next three frames for a 4-2 victory – while 2015 runner-up Tom Ford repeated the feat against Hamza Akbar with a high run of 66 along the way.

However, there will be no place in the final stages for world number 16 Gould who, despite recovering from 3-1 down to level at 3-3, was ousted in the decider by former Crucible qualifier Kurt Maflin.

Former World champion Stuart Bingham eased through after a comfortable 4-1 win over Li Hang, as did Alan McManus and Michael Georgiou against William Lemons and Sanderson Lam respectively, while Jimmy Robertson hit breaks of 109, 132 and 89 in a 4-2 success over Martin O’Donnell.

Mark Davis had runs of 60 and 73 on the way to a 4-0 whitewash of Zhao Xintong, as Stuart Carrington and Robin Hull also reeled off four frames without reply against Ashley Hugill and Josh Boileau respectively.

Gary Wilson hit a top break of 115 to complete a 4-2 win over Hao Hu and Zhang Anda had runs of 95 and 124 to see off Allan Taylor by the same scoreline, while two-time World finalist Matthew Stevens recovered from 2-0 down to eventually see off Chris Wakelin 4-3 on the colours.

Jamie Jones survived Fergal O’Brien’s comeback from 2-0 down to 2-2 before advancing a 4-2 winner, but Chinese prodigy Yan Bingtao succumbed by the same margin against Andrew Higginson.

Meanwhile, Eden Sharav hit back from 3-0 down with a run of 70 in the decider sealing an impressive 4-3 victory over Thor Chuan Leong, as a run of 66 saw John Astley edge out Declan Brannan.

Thepchaiya Un-Nooh also prevailed in a decider against Ian Preece – making a top run of 116 on the way – as did Jamie Curtis-Barrett and Sam Craigie against Duane Jones and Soheil Vahedi respectively.

Riga Masters Qualifiers 2017 Results

Wednesday May 31

 

Ian Preece 3-4 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh

Michael Georgiou 4-1 Sanderson Lam          

Ashley Hugill 0-4 Stuart Carrington    

Martin Gould 3-4 Kurt Maflin  

William Lemons 1-4 Alan McManus   

Thor Chuan Leong 3-4 Eden Sharav 

 

Jimmy White 4-3 Jak Jones   

Gary Wilson 4-2 Hao Hu        

Ken Doherty 4-2 Peter Lines  

Josh Boileau 0-4 Robin Hull   

Zhang Anda 4-2 Allan Taylor 

 

Tom Ford 4-2 Hamza Akbar  

Jimmy Robertson 4-2 Martin O'Donnell         

Yan Bingtao 2-4 Andrew Higginson   

Stuart Bingham 4-1 Li Hang   

Jamie Jones 4-2 Fergal O'Brien         

 

Declan Brennan 3-4 John J Astley     

Duane Jones 3-4 Jamie Curtis-Barrett  

Zhao Xintong 0-4 Mark Davis

Sam Craigie 4-3 Soheil Vahedi          

Chris Wakelin 3-4 Matthew Stevens  


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Jimmy White enjoys a winning start to the new season as Martin Gould crashes out of the Riga Masters

Jimmy White enjoyed a winning start to his 38th professional season with a narrow 4-3 victory over Jak Jones on the opening day of the 2017 Riga Masters Qualifiers, while Martin Gould suffered a surprise defeat by the same scoreline against Kurt Maflin at the Preston Guild Hall.

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