Martin O’Donnell edged out promising Chinese teenager Liu Hongyu 4-3 on the final black to book a third round meeting with James Cahill at Q School event two in Sheffield.
O’Donnell is a former UK Championship quarter-finalist, but a difficult last two seasons saw him drop off the circuit at the conclusion of the recent World Championship. He’s no stranger to Q School, having successfully negotiated the event three times since initially turning professional in 2012.
He faced stiff opposition today in the form of 18-year-old Liu, who is appearing in Q School for the first time. Liu showed his considerable potential in event one, making breaks of 134 and 137 en route to winning his first three matches.
It was Liu who made the better start this afternoon, moving one frame from victory at 3-1. However, O’Donnell dug in and clawed his way back into contention. A break of 70 in the sixth frame forced a decider, where O’Donnell eventually deposited the pink and the black to progress.
Cahill earned his place with a 4-2 win over Germany’s Umut Dikme. Blackpool’s Cahill, who became the only amateur ever to compete in the Crucible stages of the World Championship in 2019, is aiming to rejoin the tour after dropping off in 2021. Cahill avoided a deciding frame this afternoon courtesy of a 79 break in the sixth frame and he now faces O’Donnell on Wednesday.
Former Ruhr Open champion Rory McLeod earned his place in the third round with a 4-0 defeat of two-time ranking event finalist Dean Reynolds, while Scottish 17-year-old Liam Graham beat India’s Digvijay Kadian 4-1.
Event two runs until Friday, with the four semi-finalists to earning two-year tour card.