PartyPoker Premier League – Event 4,
Group A: Shaun Murphy 2-4 Neil Robertson
Group B: Mark Allen 4-2 Peter Ebdon
SHAUN Murphy’s hopes of winning this season’s PartyPoker Premier League ended tonight after a 4-2 defeat to Neil Robertson.
The 2005 world champion had to win tonight in Banbury to keep alive his hopes of reaching the semi-finals but it was the Australian who had the better of the night.
But Murphy started on the right track winning a long and scrappy opening frame as both players struggled to settle in the early stages of the match.
Robertson then levelled winning a close second frame potting a superb final pink after forcing Murphy into two costly fouls when he was snookered behind the black ball.
Murphy restored his single frame advantage in frame three with a century break of 111 before Robertson pulled back level again with a break of 70.
Murphy’s chances of victory ended up in smoke in the fifth frame but things could have gone so differently. While on a break Murphy potted the blue and then cannoned into the reds only to see one of the reds fall into the bottom corner pocket.
A determined Robertson then took full advantage of Murphy’s misfortune with a classy break of 113 – which proved the highest of the night – to go ahead for the first time at 3-2 and guarantee himself at least a draw.
And there was more bad luck for the Sale star in the final frame when he got a bad kick on a red while on a break of 21. Like the last frame Robertson replied strongly with a break of 58 before closing out the frame and sealing consecutive Premier League wins after his opening win against Mark Selby.
Murphy can now only get a maximum of three points out of his four matches – a tally which will not be enough to make the top two in Group A.
With two wins out of two, Robertson is in a strong position to make the semi-finals with still two matches to play.
The night’s first match saw Mark Allen get his first ever Premier League win under his belt with a 4-2 win over Peter Ebdon.
After last year’s China Open winner took a scrappy opening frame, the Northern Ireland potter levelled the contest with a break of 84 after laying a a tough snooker behind the yellow at the start of the frame.
Allen, who lost his first Premier League match against John Higgins in the last event, then took a 2-1 lead after a careless miss on a red from Ebdon was duly punished with a break of 76.
The fourth frame saw Allen guarantee himself at least a draw as a break of 50 helped him take a 3-1 lead with two more frames to play.
Ebdon’s chances of snatching a draw were well and truly alive after a century break of 108 in frame five reduced his deficit to just a single frame ahead of the final frame.
His chances of getting a draw looked good at the start of the frame when he was in the balls but a missed yellow was to prove costly. Allen cut a fine red in the pocket which resulted in a break of 69 as he ran out a 4-2 winner.
The PartyPoker Premier League resumes next Thursday (October 4) in Southampton. The night will see Ding Junhui take on Stuart Bingham and Shanghai Masters finalist Judd Trump is back in action with a match against Ebdon.