In an inconsistent season, it is a slight surprise to witness a day of action that has followed the form book, as the race to qualify for the Crucible heats up at Ponds Forge.
Walker in the park
Luke Walker was the first man to add his name to the list of qualifiers, as he became the second player to whitewash an opponent this week, with a comfortable victory over amateur Conor McCormack. There was not much chance for any of the young hopefuls as fellow amateurs Alex Taubman and Luke Simmonds both bowed out with 10-2 defeats to Jack Lisowski and Liam Highfield respectively. Highfield in particular looked impressive, missing out on a potential maximum with a break of 120.
Anthony McGill and Craig Steadman were also not in the mood to hang about for long, as they quickly disposed of their opponents. McGill defeated Hatem Yassin 10-1, whilst Steadman saw off Michael Leslie with just three frames dropped.
Struggle for Brecel
Yet it was not a walk in the park for some of snooker's more established names. Young Belgian star Luca Brecel had to work hard to see off Steven Hallworth as he failed to make a real break of note in his 10-8 victory.
Sam Baird scraped victory by the same scoreline against Thor Chaun Leong, whilst David Gilbert also progressed with a 10-5 victory over Rhys Clark. A solitary surprise did arrive late in the day, as Paul Davison saw off Yu De Lu, ranked 50 places above him, in a final frame decider.
Matthew Selt, Mark Davis, Ali Carter and Dominic Dale used the afternoon session to full effect, as all four put themselves in prime position to qualify during Saturday's action. Those matches will complete the first qualifying round as the tournament heats up, with those players winning their matches just two steps away from the Crucible.