Louis Heathcote took a big step towards tour survival by defeating Ashley Carty 6-2 in a must win second round clash at Betfred World Championship qualifying.
Leicester’s Heathcote was Rookie of the Year last season, in a campaign that saw him come within a match of the Crucible at the 2020 qualifiers. On that occasion he defeated Ali Carter on his way to the final round, where he eventually lost out against the recently retired Alan McManus.
However, he has struggled during his second season on the circuit. Heathcote came into today’s match knowing that only a win would keep his hopes of tour survival alive. The world number 67 produced a fine performance just when it was required.
The 23-year-old showcased his breakbuilding talent this morning, firing in runs of 51, 72, 65, 57, 77 and 104 on his way to a crucial victory. Heathcote now faces two-time ranking event winner Ryan Day in round three.
Heathcote said: “I played really well and I’m really proud of how I dealt with the pressure. I’ve been putting a lot of hard work in and it is nice to see the rewards there.
“I’ve really struggled in the second half of the season. I’ve not been in the best place with my confidence. I just thought I’d go out and enjoy it and if I have to go to Q School, so be it. That was the best I’ve played all season, so it is good to play like that with the pressure I was under.
“I’ve lost about four deciders this season and missed easy balls. I always say to my mum how bad I am under pressure! To play like that with my tour card on the line is amazing.”
James Cahill will require a trip to Q School if he is to retain his professional status. The Blackpool cueman succumbed to a 6-5 defeat to Gerard Greene to drop off the tour.
It was a crucial victory for Greene, who himself needed to win to remain in with a chance of staying on the circuit. Next up he faces Gary Wilson in round three for a Judgement Day spot.
Welshman Daniel Wells also suffered relegation from the circuit after a 6-4 loss to compatriot Duane Jones. Victory for Jones means he is still in the hunt to stay on tour. He plays Martin Gould in the third round.
Poland’s Kacper Filipiak came through a vital clash with Jackson Page 6-5 to keep his tour survival bid alive. Defeat for Welshman Page sends him to Q School.
Swiss number one Alexander Ursenbacher booked his place in round three with a comprehensive 6-2 defeat of Germany’s Lukas Kleckers. He faces Martin O’Donnell in round three.