THERE was joy at the oche for Carlow’s Steve Lennon on Saturday when he saw off Swede Daniel Larsson with relative ease to progress to Round 2 of the World Championships. It was a comfortable win for Lennon who scored well, hitting several 100+ scores, 17 140’s and 4 180’s, averaging 96.95 and even had a chance at a nine darter as he won just his second match at the World Championships, winning 3-1. He got off to the perfect start, winning the first two sets with ease, breaking his opponent twice before Larsson mounted a comeback in the third set as Lennon struggled. However, he fought back with ease to win the fourth and final set to see out the match.
Lennon admitted he was happy but more so relieved to get past the first round. “Yeah it’s nice feeling, I haven’t won a first round game since 2018 so it feels good. I’m happy with my overall game. I didn’t feel I played as well as the stats show but I was definitely happy with how the last set went. Pretty much just a lack of focus on my part (the third set). I knew in the fourth set if I didn’t win then the pressure would be back on to me. I think in the fourth set I just relaxed and stopped thinking and that’s what done it for me. Set play is a lot different to get used to than the format of other events. Each set feels like a mini game in itself so it’s just trying to stay as sharp as you can in the game. I’m definitely happy with how this match went.”
The one concern from the match for Lennon that let him down was his doubles and finishing but Lennon insists it’s nothing to worry about. “No, not a worry. I was nervous going into the game more than I should have been, especially knowing how much rankings were at stake. The 3rd set missed doubles was down to lack of focus which I’m sure will be rectified by the time the next game comes around.”
At one stage, Lennon hit two 180’s in a row to give him a shot at a famous nine darter but blew it. “Oh yeah after the 2nd 180 it entered my head, I would have loved to have got it as it would have been the icing on the cake and definitely an iconic moment.”
He faces the South African Devon Petersen tonight and knows that it will be a tough test ahead as it’s been a big breakout year for the world no.29. “He has had a good year but so have I but unfortunately for me the results never went my way as they did for him. I just need to play my best and hopefully if I stay focused and calm then anything is possible.”
By Harry Shorthose