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Boiko Wins Thriller Against Fellow Teenager Sykes

Iulian Boiko came through a thriller against 17-year-old Oliver Sykes needing pink and black in a decider to secure his place in the third round of Q School.

After losing the opening frame, Boiko, who is also 17, won three on the spin to move within one of victory. Sykes then hit back and drew level in frame six with a break of 56. The Hampshire-based potter was on the verge of victory in the decider with a 12-point lead and just pink and black left on the table. But Sykes missed match-ball, allowing Boiko to steal.

Boiko’s win sets up a fourth-round tie with Liam Davies, with the Welshman easing past Paul Burrel 4-0. Boiko defeated Davies 4-3 when the pair met in the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Federation Junior Championship in February, only for the latter to get his revenge a week later in the WSF Championship by the same scoreline.

Earlier in the day, Bai Yulu narrowly missed out on booking her place in the third round, losing 4-3 to Craig Steadman. The Women’s British Open champion led 2-0 and 3-2, but it was the Englishman who held his nerve in the decider to take the match.

Barry Pinches rolled back the years against Peter Lines claiming a 4-2 victory to earn a place in the fourth round. The Canary, who part-owns Pinches Snooker Club in Norwich, dropped off the tour this spring after his most recent four-year stay.

“I’ve got plenty of motivation to still play,” said the 52-year-old. “Luke, my son plays, and George Pragnell plays in the club I’m now a partner of in Norwich. And the main thing is I still enjoy playing. If I don’t get through Q School, I’d play on the Q Tour with Luke and George.”

“Peter (Lines) and I played from junior level in the mid-80s so we’ve known each other for years. Those sorts of games are coin-flick games. Perhaps luck was the difference, but I’m quite happy with the way I’m playing.

“I think the standard at Q School gets better every year. There are more people here. With the prize money guarantee that World Snooker Tour put in place, which is a brilliant initiative, people are willing to take a shot it. I see a lot of really good young kids from different countries but it’s just so difficult.”

On a day when Mitchell Mann and Farakh Ajaib both crashed out, Alexander Ursenbacher and Louis Heathcote continued their strong form to ensure safe passage into the Last 32.

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Event one runs until May 31st when the final round will be played and the four remaining players will earn tour cards. Event two then runs until June 6th, with another four tour cards up for grabs. Click here for our Q School Explainer.