Simon Fitzsimmons kept his composure in a 6-reds shootout before enjoying a more comfortable margin of victory in the evening’s Group Nine final to qualify for the last 16 of the Ultimate Pool Masters.
‘The Bouncer’ broke brilliantly throughout the night – producing several break dishes including a golden break – and he needed to against quality opposition in front of the live FreeSports television cameras.
Action began with a keenly contested affair between Fitzsimmons and Mike King.
UK Tour event winner King immediately showed his class with consecutive break and dish clearances but it was the reigning Shootout Grand Finals champion who led after five frames with the aid of a break dish and a reverse dish.
Fitzsimmons’ momentum was halted, though, as he overran position for the black in frame six and subsequently missed the tricky pot. King capitalised to level and then chalked up the next two to create a cushion at 5-3 up.
Just as that miss in the sixth was looking like being the defining turning point, King perhaps missed a trick himself by not extending his lead with frame nine. Fitzsimmons reduced the gap and then compiled further break and reverse dishes to move back ahead at 6-5, although King kept his cool with a pressure finish – which included a treble – to effectively take it to the second 6-reds shootout of the competition so far.
However, after he was put in first by his opponent who won the lag, King could only manage a time of 48.21 seconds, a target that was easily surpassed by Fitzsimmons who potted all six red balls in 28.21.
In the second last 64 tie of the evening local player and Staffordshire Open finalist Andy Cragg set his stall out early with a reverse dish followed by a break dish to go 2-0 up on match favourite Chris Day.
Day – a three-time world team championship winner with England – responded by winning five of the next six frames, including two break dishes and a reverse dish. Cragg set up an exciting finish by taking frame nine but the 50-minute match-clock soon expired and Day advanced 5-4.
FITZSIMMONS SECURES PROGRESSION
Between them, Fitzsimmons and Day would tot up a total of seven break dishes in the Group Nine final – more than any other match in the tournament so far.
Day break dished frame two to level at 1-1 but Manchester cueman Fitzsimmons took firm control of the tie by stringing together five consecutive frames to go 6-1 up in the race to eight. This run included a break dish in frame five and the event’s second golden break in frame seven.
Despite the daunting deficit, Day constructed three successive break dishes in frames 8, 10 and 12 but it wasn’t enough as Fitzsimmons – who crafted another break dish of his own in the ninth frame – guaranteed his return later this summer with a 7-5 triumph.
STATS A FACT
Some incredible numbers were produced during the three matches played at the Players Pool and Snooker Lounge on Tuesday night.
In total, 14 break and dish clearances (including Fitzsimmons’ golden break) were made – four more than any other group so far.
Day was responsible for six of these, and he now moves to the top of the break dish chart. The four he made in the final is also a record for an individual match in the tournament so far.
Fitzsimmons legally potted off all six of his breaks against King, whilst Day did the same against Fitzsimmons in the final. These are only the third and fourth instances that a player has had a 100% break success in a single match in the event at present. The other two were Carl Morris (Group Four) and Martin McIntosh (Group Six) who both struck five out of five.
Culled from Ultimate Pool Group