Stan Moody’s Breakthrough and Unconventional Matches at BetVictor Northern Ireland Open

Stan Moody: (Picture credit: World Snooker)

In a remarkable victory, Stan Moody secured his most significant achievement to date by defeating former Crucible semi-finalist Gary Wilson with a 4-2 scoreline, thereby advancing to round four of the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open.

Initially experiencing a slow start to his inaugural professional season, Moody had encountered five consecutive setbacks in knockout ranking events. However, this 17-year-old prodigy is now beginning to fulfill his potential, exemplified by his impressive wins. His performance included notable breaks of 63 and 61, which were instrumental in his triumph over the 18th-ranked player in the world, Gary Wilson. With three consecutive wins in this competition, Moody is now set to face either Jordan Brown or Yuan Sijun in the last 16 on Thursday afternoon.

Moody, who currently holds the title of WSF Junior Champion, expressed his delight with his performance, especially on the TV stage. He stated, “Out on the TV stage, to get over the line, I was very pleased.” Reflecting on his journey, Moody recognized the room for improvement, saying, “I made silly mistakes during the match so I need to improve. I am learning loads from being here and just trying to enjoy it.”

Despite his initial struggles, Moody now views his early years as an apprenticeship and remains open to whatever comes his way. He noted, “It was frustrating for me losing matches before this tournament, but I am viewing my first two years as an apprenticeship and accepting whatever happens.”

Interestingly, Moody could potentially face his mentor, Shaun Murphy, in the quarter-finals if both continue their winning streaks. He emphasized the importance of staying composed during matches, recalling, “A few months ago, I would have lost this match 4-3 because my head would have gone after missing the chance at 3-1, but today I stayed calm.”

In a somewhat unconventional turn of events, a fire alarm temporarily disrupted the match between Robbie Williams and Mark Williams. Despite the interruption and a brief evacuation, Robbie Williams managed to secure a 4-2 victory. This world number 51 was on a break of 53, which proved sufficient to claim victory before the interruption.

Robbie Williams had earlier displayed his resilience with breaks of 87 and 55, coming from behind to win four of the last five frames. His strong start to the season, which included a notable victory over John Higgins, continued as he progressed to the third round, where he is set to meet Zhang Anda.

As Robbie Williams recounted, “I still needed match ball when the alarm first went off, but I wasn’t sure what it was so I just carried on, and thankfully did enough to get over the line.” He also shared his ambition, saying, “My belief and concentration have really improved this season, especially out there on the TV table. I fully believe I can win a tournament, and that’s my biggest ambition, to pick up a trophy.”

Hossein Vafaei demonstrated his prowess with a high score of 86, leading to a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Anton Kazakov. Vafaei expressed his contentment and fondness for Belfast, where he feels at home. He is now looking forward to his next challenge against Joe Perry.

Aaron Hill, a quarter-finalist at the recent Wuhan Open, notched another victory by defeating Dylan Emery with a commanding 4-0 score. David Gilbert showcased his resilience by coming back from a 3-2 deficit to prevail over Matthew Stevens with a 4-3 win. The BetVictor Shoot Out champion, Chris Wakelin, delivered an impressive performance, recording a top score of 79 in his 4-1 victory against Martin O’Donnell.

Zhang Anda, the runner-up in the BetVictor English Open, displayed his prowess by recording a high score of 131 in a 4-1 triumph over Thor Chuan Leong. Reflecting on his recent success, Zhang humorously noted, “I’ve been very busy recently, and that’s perhaps because I kept losing back then!” He is now focused on maintaining his winning streak and going further in tournaments, saying, “Hopefully I can win a few more rounds in every tournament.”

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