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Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Baird can be the punters' mate against Mehta

Young Lines should remind backers of his vast potential

Sam Baird has a big chance to do Devon proud in York
1 of 1

Day two
From 9.30am Wednesday

Aditya Mehta has been struggling for consistency this season and Sam Baird has a decent opportunity to make a positive start on the second day of the Betway UK Championship.

Baird is blessed with plenty of natural ability and that should stand him in good stead in his career. He's no world-beater but is capable of making life tough for top players and it will be disappointing if the Devonian comes up short against Mehta.

India's top professional can be a decent operator on occasions, but the fact that he is prone to the odd stinker makes life tough for potential backers. Mehta made the final of his inaugural homeland open in 2013 so merits respect, but he has not pressed on much since that effort.

Baird looks an acceptable price given that Mehta could afford him plenty of scoring opportunities and punters are advised to side with the market leader.

Mei Xiwen has played some promising snooker in the early part of the campaign, but he doesn't look to be in the top echelon of Chinese players and could struggle to live with Oliver Lines.

The Yorkshireman, who could line up against his father Peter in round three in York, is one of the best young players in the country but the fact that he has made a slow start to the campaign makes him something of a forgotten man.

Lines junior is well on course to surpass the achievements of his dad and if big things are still on the horizon, he should be dismissing opponents such as Mei at a venue where he can count on plenty of support.

Liam Highfield is a capable performer but may be a shade overrated for his clash with Daniel Wells.

Highfield prides himself on his fitness and his endeavours have seen him reach the quarter-finals of the Indian Open in September and the last 16 of the Northern Ireland Open last week.

But Welshman Wells, the world number 63, is ranked six spots higher than the Swindon native and may have more room for improvement and a slightly stronger all-round game than his opponent.

Ding Junhui, who was 1-14 to defeat Leo Fernandez yesterday, was sent packing 6-5 by the Tooting veteran.

S Baird
2pts 8-13 Coral, Ladbrokes
O Lines
2pts 5-6 Betfair, Paddy Power
D Wells
1pt 11-10 general

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The fact that Mehta is prone to the odd stinker makes life tough for potential backers
E.W. Terms
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