Star names struggle in the opening stages of the Northern Ireland Open

No less than five top 16 seeds have departed in the first two rounds of the competition.

Star names struggle in the opening stages of the Northern Ireland Open
Trump faces a fine after a surprising conclusion to his first round contest (photo: Getty Images / VCG)

Judd Trump headed a substantial list of sporting snooker stars to fail in the opening stages of the Northern Ireland Open as he crashed out in dramatic circumstances.

Trump concedes as frustration gets the better of him

In the absence of World champion Mark Selby, Trump was the highest ranked player to enter the tournament. However, after finding himself 3-2 down against Stuart Carrington, the World number two uncharacteristically lost his cool and threw his cue on the table to concede the sixth and final frame despite having enough points available to get himself back into the contest.

It was one of many shocks in the opening round. Number four seed Shaun Murphy was thrashed by Chen Zifan as his inconsistent season continues, whilst Barry Hawkins lost a final frame decider against another Chinese hopeful, Zhao Xintong.

Kyren Wilson lost 4-1 to Sam Craigie whilst Peter Ebdon was knocked out by Malta's Alex Borg, despite having a 62-place advantage in the seedings. Meanwhile, eight players outside the top 100 reached the last 64, including veteran Jimmy White.

Li Hang produced an epic comeback after going 3-0 down to compatriot Cao Yupeng and Noppon Saengkham formulated three snookers to defeat Hamza Akbar in a thrilling final frame decider.

O'Sullivan continues his £1 million chase

Xiao Guodong continued the Chinese rout in the early stages as he defeated Ali Carter 4-1 in the second round. However, number 13 seed Liang Wenbo was stunned by Liam Highfield despite being the highest ranked Asian player with Ding Junhui and Marco Fu not taking part in the tournament.

Craigie continued his impressive start to the week with a victory against Ben Woollaston, although it was the end of the road for Zhou Yuelong who was shocked by Robin Hull who sits 74 ranking places below the number 24 seed.

Fan favourite Jimmy White thrashed Jak Jones to progress as the lowest ranked player in the last 32, whilst defending champion Mark King joins Neil Robertson, Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins as the only top ten seeds remaining. O'Sullivan is chasing the second of four potential Home Nations titles, with the reward for a quartet of successes standing at a startling £1 million bonus.

However, Li Yuan, seeded 97, Chinese superstar Yan Bingtao and former World champion Mark Williams have not dropped a frame in the opening two rounds.