In round 1 Sam made light work of amateur Josha Baddeley wining 4-0 ending with breaks of 91 and 101. Next up top 16 ranked player Michael White, Sam has not beaten White in their previous three encounters, so a good match to win. Sam went 2-0 up with breaks of 70 and 88 and arguably should have made it 3-0 but for some indecisive shots which handed a frame to White.With his tail-up White posted a well executed 104 in the next frame to level at 2-2. In the fifth frame Sam pounced on mistakes to lead 3-2 having made a 73 break. The final frame was tight, White posted a 58 to which Sam replied with a solid 68 clearance to win 4-3 and set up a match against the world No. 1 Mark Selby in the last 16. (You can see the Baird v White match on YouTube). After a day of rest Sam started well taking the first frame with a superb 125 break, Selby hit back to level with a 68. Sam then took the next two frames to lead 3-1 but you always know that Selby will come back at you and this he did with an excellent 121 and two 50 breaks to win 4-3. Sam had a couple of chances to win but you cannot afford to miss them against the Jester from Leicester.
The up-shot of this is that Sam finished high enough in the Euro rankings to qualify for the Players Championship, boosted his chance of staying in the top 64 in the World rankings and he picked up more than enough prize money to cover his expenses.
Sam's Blog >