Ding Junhui came back from 4-2 down to take the last three
frames and beat Paul Davies in an absorbing first-round match in
the Northern Ireland Trophy. The Chinese star looked dead and
buried when his opponent built a decent lead needing just a single
frame to progress.
But Ding took his chance when Davies missed, and managed to hold
on to the next to set up a tense final frame.
Both players had chances to win a long, tactical battle, but
Ding knocked in a superb blue and pink to move on to a second-round
match against Anthony Hamilton.
The Chinese double act was complete when 18-year-old Tian
Pengfei snatched a memorable 5-3 win over left-hander Andy
This is Tian's rookie pro season and he had to win three
qualifying matches to make it to Belfast. Clearly a prospect who
could follow in Ding's footsteps, he got the better of experienced
Hicks by coming from 2-1 down to win with breaks of 50, 62 and
The teenager, also based at the Academy, now faces former world
champion Shaun Murphy.
In other matches on Monday, world number 21 Michael Holt
suffered a shock first-round defeat by qualifier Mike Dunn, while
local favorite Mark Allen slumped to a 5-1 defeat to Welshman Ryan
And Thailand's James Wattana recorded a 5-4 win over Pontefract
player Jimmy Michie, knocking in breaks of 44, 61, 59 and 64 to set
up a second-round match against provisional world number one Ken
(CRI August 15, 2006)