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World Championship Snooker
  • Where is Nick with the run-down? I have bought a streaming pass for snooker at an extremely reasonable GBP4 for 2 months, but I can’t pretend to show the same vim and panache in giving an overview as our beloved King Ink.

  • Thanks GI!

    Very excited about this, of course, but sadly it coincides with an extremely busy time, both at work and outside. I did toy with the idea of starting a thread, but just didn’t have the time to do it justice. Alas, I won’t even get to see that much of it outside weekends and late night catch-up sessions.

    The qualifiers were quite an event in themselves this year. As well as six-time champion, Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis’ falling at the last hurdle (the eyes have gone, Steve), two other former winners (Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon) were eliminated, along with England’s favourite loser and thoroughly-toupeed crackhead, Jimmy ‘Whirlwind’ White.

    jimmy ‘The Whirlwind’ - not happy.

    The biggest story of all from the qualifiers however, was the wildcard invitation to Reanne Evans, the women’s world champion. Evans put up a good show, but lost 10-8 to Doherty in the second of the three qualifiers she had to win. It’s a pity really, as there’s no reason why women shouldn’t compete at the same level as men, and a role model in the televised stages for the first time ever would have been an exciting change.

    reanne Reanne Evans - maybe next year.

    And so, with the sixteen seeds planted regularly throughout, the first round draw looks like this:

    • Mark Selby (Eng) v Kurt Maflin (Nor)
    • Stephen Maguire (Sco) v Anthony McGill (Sco)
    • Joe Perry (Eng) v Zhang Anda (Chn)
    • Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Robin Hull (Fin)


    • Barry Hawkins (Eng) v Matthew Selt (Eng)
    • Mark Allen (NI) v Ryan Day (Wal)
    • Ali Carter (Eng) v Alan McManus (Sco)
    • Neil Robertson (Aus) v Jamie Jones (Wal)


    • Ding Junhui (Chn) v Mark Davis (Eng)
    • John Higgins (Sco) v Robert Milkins (Eng)
    • Marco Fu (HK) v Jimmy Robertson (Eng)
    • Judd Trump (Eng) v Stuart Carrington (Eng)


    • Ricky Walden (Eng) v Graeme Dott (Sco)
    • Stuart Bingham (Eng) v Robbie Williams (Eng)
    • Mark Williams (Wal) v Matthew Stevens (Wal)
    • Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) v Craig Steadman (Eng)

    If the draw runs to form, then the semi-finals should see defending champion Mark ‘The Jester From Leicester’ Selby play Aussie heartthrob Neil ‘Thunder From Down Under’ Robertson in the top half, and flawed genius Ronnie ‘Blink And You’ll Miss It, It’s The Rocket!’ O’Sullivan against Judd ‘The Trump’ Trump.

    selby Mark Selby - no first-time winner has ever successfully defended his title.

    Selby struggled for a few months with the pressure after winning last year, but he’s just won a couple of good tournaments, so comes into this with some momentum. I think Ding Junhui is also a contender based on talent, but he always seems to go into his shell at Sheffield, and hasn’t had as good a season as the previous year. But the bottom half of the draw looks a bit easier this year, so he should make the quarters at least.

    Not necessarily title material, but in the top half, Barry Hawkins is still on an upward curve, Shaun ‘Fat Baby Bird’ is playing well, and Joe ‘Gentleman’ Perry usually does ok in this tournament.

    One player who’s just happy to be there this year is two-times losing finalist, Ali ‘The Pilot’ Carter, who has done amazingly to recover from cancer twice in the last few years and get his form back on the tour. What a brilliant reception he’ll get when he walks out for his match against veteran Scot Alan McManus. Spare a thought for the current number 16, Michael White though. White should have been aan automatic seed, but was bumped for Carter who had his old seeding frozen on compassionate grounds. White lost in the qualifiers two weeks ago.

    ali Ali Carter - should play Robertson in Round 2

    Of the rank outsiders, Kurt Maflin and Jamie Jones come with good reputations, and could cause an upset.

    The bookies odds are below. They make 39-year old Ronnie a ridiculously short price to win at and join Steve Davis on 6 titles. He’s made the final in each of the last 3, and is unique in maintaining his best game at that age. Definitely the man to beat.

    • O’Sullivan 9/4
    • Robertson 6/1
    • Trump 6/1
    • Selby 8/1
    • Murphy 10/1
    • Ding 14/1
    • Higgins 28/1
    • Allen 28/1
    • Maguire 33/1
    • Williams 33/1
    • Bingham 40/1
    • Hawkins 40/1
    • Fu 66/1
    • Walden 66/1
    • Perry 66/1
    • Carter 80/1

    I’ve had a little flutter. My brother has an online account and he owed me money for a Luna concert ticket I bought him, so I told him to stick it on this! I went for four players all from the top half, with the rationale that that would give me a better chance of a player in the final. So, I have Selby as my main bet, but a little one on Murphy and then Carter and Maflin (250/1) as tiddly each way bets to make the final.

  • I know I’ve posted this before, but if anyone isn’t sure about snooker and has 5 minutes and 20 seconds to spare, watch this. 17 years ago this month, Ronnie O’Sullivan made the greatest break of all-time:

  • Selby as a main bet looks good to me, and very good value at those odds. I watched a bit of the China Open, and he was gloriously in control all the way through, never made it look like anybody else had a chance of winning it. And, of course, he has form against O’Sullivan in the Crucible.

    I also noticed Reanne Evans run in the qualifiers, where she gave a perfectly good account of herself judging by the short high video I saw, but it shows just how competitive this sport is that she was knocked out by a former world champ who himself was knocked out the next round.

  • Marinus said: he was gloriously in control all the way through, never made it look like anybody else had a chance of winning it.

    This is exactly how I feel when watching a top player producing his A game in a tournament. O’Sullivan and Robertson are the other two players who seem capable of looking unbeatable when they get going. I’d be quite surprised if one of those three didn’t win, but you never know.

    Selby V Maflin starts in just over an hour, and like all the first round matches, is Best of 19. On the other table, Barry Hawkins plays Matt Selt. I like Hawkins, a talented but unspectacular trier who surprised everyone by making the final two years ago where he lost to an imperious O’Sullivan. Last year, he made the semi-final again and he’s now ranked number 5 in the world. If his name wasn’t Barry, you could argue he might be even higher by now. The draw looks tough, but he should make the quarter finals to play Robertson or Carter.

    barry Barry Hawkins - dark horse

  • Spare a thought for the current number 16, Michael White though. White should have been an automatic seed, but was bumped for Carter who had his old seeding frozen on compassionate grounds. White lost in the qualifiers two weeks ago.

    Talking of players rankings, here’s a breakdown of the prize money won this season which determined how the top 16 (including the youngest of them all, poor Michael White) achieved those places (all GBP):

    • 1 Mark Selby 756,382
    • 2 Ronnie O’Sullivan 685,866
    • 3 Ding Junhui 586,150
    • 4 Neil Robertson 578,693
    • 5 Barry Hawkins 446,433
    • 6 Judd Trump 387,832
    • 7 Ricky Walden 370,171
    • 8 Shaun Murphy 356,549
    • 9 Joe Perry 342,823
    • 10 Stuart Bingham 332,078
    • 11 Marco Fu 311,566
    • 12 Mark Allen 300,500
    • 13 John Higgins MBE 270,000
    • 14 Mark Williams MBE 252,233
    • 15 Stephen Maguire 206,966
    • 16 Michael White 195,270

    white Michael White - understandably morose

  • A good standard in the Selby V Maflin match this morning. They shared the first 4 frames and Selby has just gone 3-2 up in the first after the mid-session interval. Looks like the defending champion is going to have to work hard to get through this one.

  • Four-time champion John Higgins is looking very impressive in the early stages of his first round match against Robert Milkins. Ostensibly, a respected elder statesman of the game, Higgins reputation (and form) has in reality been in tatters since an undercover newspaper sting filmed him agreeing to throw matches in 2010. He won the last of his titles around that time but has onlky one a single match at the Crucible since then. Higgins and his manager Pat Mooney were cleared of match-fixing but found guilty of not reporting it and thereby bringing the game into disrepute, and he was banned for six months.

    Higgins always claimed he went along with the conversation merely for appearances as he feared for his safety. Nobody will ever know 100%, but I have to say I’m sceptical. If he was scared, he’s a very very good actor:

  • Wow, this thread looks amazing if I could understand it. Right now I’m debating whether it would take more of an attention span and appreciation for extremely fine details to become a fan of cricket or snooker. I guess snooker you could at least sort of understand what’s going on.

  • Don’t worry Joe, back on LPTJ this thread used to contain posts from lots of people who were equally clueless!

  • What a match!

    An incredible first day of the championship saw defending champion Mark Selby pull back from the brink of disaster with a 10-9 win over Kurt Maflin

    Selby had been looking safe at 8-4, but Crucible debutant Maflin won 5 in a row to go 9-8 up, needing one to win. Somehow Selby regained his focus and got the two frames he needed.

    It was a gripping match which will be remembered for a long time as classic resilience from Selby, but I hope people also remember Kurt Maflin’s part. He had a bit of luck here and there but it was a bold and skilful performance that would have been enough against a lot of other seeds.

    kurt Kurt Maflin - on his way back to Norway

  • Elsewhere in the first round, Hong Kong Number One Superstar, Marco Fu is 5-4 up on Jimmy Robertson. Fu is favourite there, but it’s good to see Robertson improving on the 10-1 battering he received last time he made the competition in 2010. Graeme Dott leads Ricky Walden by the same score. That one could go all the way as both are battlers.

    In an all-Scottish tie, top 16 stalwart, Steven Maguire surprisingly trails 3-6 overnight to another newcomer Anthony McGill. Alleged match-fixer, John Higgins is also 6-3 up against Robert ‘The Milkman’ Milkins (I don’t make these up, by the way).

    milkman Robert Milkins - walks on the The Wurzels’ “I Am A Cider Drinker”

  • Selby v Maflin: what a match! There were a few easy frames thrown away with the odd careless shot, and then laser-like focus from Maflin made his run the closest an Anglo-Norse threat has come to taking Sheffield by storm since Harald Hardrada lost at Stamford Bridge. I must admit it was the first time I’d seen a frame go to a re-spot, showing that I am still callow in my snooker fandom.

  • The 1985 World final between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor will always be remembered for its final frame black ball finish, watched by 18.5 million people at 1 in the morning on a Monday! But in 1998 the Masters final went one better, going to a respotted black before a young Mark Williams made it four frames in a row to beat Stephen Hendry 10-9. The tension is palpable on this video:

  • Wonder if Ignatius is watching this.

  • A commanding start this morning from world number 5 Barry Hawkins, who leads 7-2 against the unfancied Matt Selt.

    This afternoon’s two games are now underway, and the 2010 champion, Neil Robertson has taken the first frame against Jamie Jones, while the 2006 winner Graeme Dott and Ricky Walden are nip and tuck on the other table, with the Scot 6-5 up. That match has got a final frame decider written all over it.

    It would be good to see Dott get through after his well-documented struggles with depression

    dott Graeme Dott - hasn’t got past the second round since 2010

  • Walden just took 13 reds and 13 blacks before breaking down. 6-6 there now. I wonder if we’ll get a maximum 147 break again this year.

    Talking about Graeme Dott has got me thinking about the tradition of Scottish snooker players. Here’s my top 3:

    1) Stephen Hendry : seven-time winner and arguably the finest player of the modern era, Hendry destroyed his opponents with a machine-like efficiency in the 1990s. Now one of the game’s best commentators, he has somehow mutated from Stan Laurel with bad skin into a suave and goateed elder statesman.

    hendry Stephen Hendry at 14

    2) Walter Donaldson : Donaldson reached the final on 8 consecutive occasions in the 1940s and 1950s, winning twice. All 8 of those were against the great Fred Davis. I actually remember seeing Fred play when I was 7 or 8 and just getting interested in snooker. He must have been in his 60s by then, but he was still in the top 16. A lovely man too. But back to Walter Donaldson - after losing to Fred for the last time, he became disillusioned with the sport, retired and converted his snooker room into a cowshed.

    walterandjoe Walter Donaldson (right) with Joe Davis, 15-time champion and older brother of Walter’s nemesis, Fred

    3) John Higgins : Higgins came through at the same time as Ronnie O’Sullivan, but after winning the title in 1998 took a long time to get his second title. He then, however, had something of an Indian summer career-wise, winning 3 more titles between 2007 and 2011. His reputation will forever be tarnished by the corruption scandal discussed above, which is a shame as at his peak he played with a fantastic combination of control, concentration and accuracy which made him unplayable on his day.

    hig John Higgins : third best Scot of all-time, plays to a finish tonight and currently leads Robert Milkins 6-3

  • Graeme Dott just managed to take his match 10-8, with some really top-class potting. In the end the tension got to both players, but Dott consistently managed really excellent pots in order grab frames and pull ahead. The highlight reel from this one would be worthwhile to see.

  • Yep. Ricky Walden made two centuries earlier in the match, including a 135, but Dott held his nerve better at the death.

    Forgot to say, Marco Fu is through too, 10-6 against Jamie Robertson. Fu will play the winner of Trump V Carrington.

  • An absorbing match between Stephen Maguire and Anthony McGill tonight. Neither player is at his best but McGill is almost over the line now, 9-5 up. Nice to see a new face and he looks like he has a good temperament. Saying that, he’ll probably choke and lose the next 5 now.

  • Phew! McGill squeaks through 10-9 after Maguire fought back to take it to a decider.

  • Just got back from work to find that Barry Hawkins is now through, but only after another 19th frame decider. Like McGill, Hawkins had been 9-5 up and seen his opponent charge back to 9-9 before he finally got that frame he needed. Funny how often that seems to happen.

    Neil Robertson is through too, with an ominously easy 10-2 thrashing of Jamie Jones.

    The other big news is that perennial underperformer Ding Junhui is 4-0 down to my fellow Sussexman, Mark Davis. Ding is super-talented and looked sure to be a future world champion when he broke through, but he never looks right at Sheffield. Even so, it would be a huge shock if he lost that match. The winner plays John Higgins in the next round, whose initial 28/1 odds for the title are now looking extremely generous.

    ding Ding Junhui - having a mare

  • He’s back! Now 4-3! Mid-session interval!

  • 5 each between Stuart Bingham and the improbably-named Robbie Williams. Williams has a very unusual approach and stance. Whereas most players walk into their stance, he stands upright at the table and then suddenly crouches into position. It’s a lot more vertical than most. Maybe it’s not that strange.

    I was always taught to stand like a boxer, not that I knew what that was, but basically left foot forward pointing in the same direction as your cue, and right foot square and back a bit pointing out. The acid test was that if someone gave you a firm push, you wouldn’t wobble or fall over. The other golden rule is to keep your head still and stay down through the whole shot. I find it bizarre that as good a player as Mark Selby seems to bob and weave like a king cobra when he’s down on the ball. Steve Davis of course famously spent so many hours sliding a cue back and forth under his face that he chiseled a groove into his chin.

    steve Steve Davis - malformed in the name of excellence

    While we’re on the unorthodox, two-time semi-finalist Joe Swail had a weird cue action. Having learned as a kid who could just about see over the table, Swail used to twist his cue arm right round behind his back to make sure he was hitting straight, a habit he never rectified as an adult pro. A popular player, Swail was also hearing-impaired.

    swail Joe Swail - made the semis in 2000 and 2001

  • Amazing scenes today. Ding Junhui had taken 12 reds and 12 blacks and the whole of the Crucible was watching with baited breath, hoping for a 147 maximum, when he slotted in the 13th red and screwed back for the blue! “Ohhh no, what’s he done?!” gasps Ken Doherty in horror on the commentary. Ding only realised when the crowd gasped in unison, and then instantly put his head in his hands. Everyone saw the funny side - co-commentator Willie Thorne (once known as Mister Maximum) said “How to lose £30,000 in one minute”, his opponent Mark Davis said “You must have too much money” and even Marco Fu on the practice tables was watching on the monitors and laughing.

    That notwithstanding, Ding goes through to the second round. Also through is Ali Carter. Ali is back after his second cancer episode. Having already come through testicular cancer a few seasons ago, he’s now in remission after being diagnosed with lung cancer last year. Great to see him through!

    ali Ali Carter - plays Neil Robertson in the second round.

  • In what passes for earth-shattering news in snooker circles, baize-genius Ronnie O’Sullivan is facing a fine for breaking dress code after briefly padding round the table in his socks this afternoon. His shoes were hurting, apparently. Had to borrow another pair off the tournament director. Crazy times.

    ron Ronnie O’Sullivan - snooker’s wild man, leads Craig Steadman 7-2

  • A quick look at where we are. Neil Robertson and Barry Hawkins have probably produced the highest standard, with John Higgins next in line. The champion squeaked through in one of 3 matches that went all the way. Ronnie is surely as good as through now too. Graeme Dott has been in the final three times, so it doesn’t surprise me that he beat Walden. I would say McGill knocking out the disappointing Stephen Maguire is the only upset so far really.

    • Mark Selby (Eng) 10 v 9 Kurt Maflin (Nor)
    • Stephen Maguire (Sco) 9 v 10 Anthony McGill (Sco)
    • Joe Perry (Eng) v Zhang Anda (Chn)
    • Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Robin Hull (Fin)


    • Barry Hawkins (Eng) 10 v 9 Matthew Selt (Eng)
    • Mark Allen (NI) 7 v 3 Ryan Day (Wal)
    • Ali Carter (Eng) 10 v 5 Alan McManus (Sco)
    • Neil Robertson (Aus) 10 v 2 Jamie Jones (Wal)


    • Ding Junhui (Chn) 10 v 7 Mark Davis (Eng)
    • John Higgins (Sco) 10 v 5 Robert Milkins (Eng)
    • Marco Fu (HK) 10 v 6 Jimmy Robertson (Eng)
    • Judd Trump (Eng) v Stuart Carrington (Eng)


    • Ricky Walden (Eng) 8 v 10 Graeme Dott (Sco)
    • Stuart Bingham (Eng) 10 v 7 Robbie Williams (Eng)
    • Mark Williams (Wal) v Matthew Stevens (Wal)
    • Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) 7 v 2 Craig Steadman (Eng)

    A good looking match starting tonight, between fellow Welshmen, Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens. Both players are enjoying good form in the autumn of their careers. Stevens is probably one of the best players ever not to win the championship, and whoever wins it would be nice to see them against O’Sullivan in round 2.

  • nickinko said: In what passes for earth-shattering news in snooker circles, baize-genius Ronnie O’Sullivan is facing a fine for breaking dress code after briefly padding round the table in his socks this afternoon. His shoes were hurting, apparently. Had to borrow another pair off the tournament director. Crazy times.

    This won the prize for ‘most Ronnie O’Sullivan-like thing I’ve heard this month’. And the Championship is still young!

  • Didn’t get home from work until 9.30 last night after a devilishly brilliant workshop on Testing and Assessment Principles, so I just popped in to mention yesterday’s matches.

    With the first round nearing its end now, ’Gentleman’ Joe Perry, who always overperforms at the Worlds, beat Zhang Anda. He’ll probably play the in-form Shaun Murphy, 7-2 up overnight, in round 2. Matthew Stevens had a surprisingly easy win over Mark Williams in that all-Welsh tie, but it was a poor match from what I saw and he’ll need to find some more to be competetive against O’Sullivan. Finally, Judd Trump, who for some reason I find sneaky, arrogant and somewhat disrespectful of the balls, is also through to play Marco Fu.

    joe Joe Perry - not the Aerosmith guitarist

  • Second round is underway now.

    Got home from work to discover there’s a bit of a crisis on the wager front with Mark Selby losing 10-6 to new boy Anthony McGill. But he’s famous for hanging in there, so if he can get a good start in tonight’s session it could be an interesting finish. Whatever happens, it will be two tough, tough matches for the Jester from Leicester, following his 10-9 first round win, and I’m starting to think he might not make it all the way this year.

    mcgill Anthony McGill - no nerves so far

    In another intriguing second round match, Ding Junhui has fought back from 5-1 down to lead 9-7 over the cheating weasel, who won’t sleep easily tonight having lost the crucial last frame. They have to come back in the morning to finish that, but Ding is hot favourite now to get through to play Trump or Fu in the quarters, Ding V Trump could be sensational, and having come back from 4-0 in his first round match as well, the Chinese player is starting to look like he might have a say in this tournament.

    In Neil Robertson’s quarter, Barry Hawkins trails 5-3 to the Northern Irish Mark Allen. I just saw a bit of that and it looks very evenly matched.

    Back in the bottom half of the draw, Stuart ‘Ball Run’ Bingham is having a good week too, now 6-2 up in his second round match with Dott. The winner plays Ronnie O’Sullivan or Matt Stevens.

  • Hey Nick, I’ve watched quite a bit of the morning sessions thus far, but now that we’re through to the second round and after, the timezones are very unkind to me. I’d really appreciate it if you could point me to especially worthwhile matches so I could catch up on them afterwards.

    Also, what the hell is up with Selby?! He’s making me look dumb, I started this off with saying he looks unbeatable!

  • OK, I will try! Work and time zones, eh? If only life was all about snooker.

    So, the ‘Curse of The Crucible’ (no first-time winner has ever successfully defended his title) has struck again and the Jester is now po-faced. I think the pressure of winning last year took its toll on Selby this season. It took him half the year to get his form back and he had a draining first round match. Snooker’s often in the mind, and all the media hype around the ‘Curse’ might have got into his mindset. Having said all that, I thought he played some great stuff last night, McGill just played even better.


    While I regret the fact my bet is down the tubes, part of me quite enjoyed seeing Anthony McGill win last night. In his two matches so far, he’s been gliding around the table with a look of utterly calm serenity. His shot selection is fearless and adventurous and it’s exciting to see a new player with so much potential. He’s 45 in the world and has been around a few years without doing much until his run to the quarter finals in the UK Championship this year (one of the 3 snooker ‘majors’). Selby himself is in the papers this morning, saying McGill can win the whole tournament, and you never know. There’s certainly precedent. Joe Johnson was a 150/1 outsider when he won in 1986, and the legendary slowcoach Terry Griffiths (at my pub, people used to shout “Tez!!” whenever someone played a defensive safety shot) won in 1979 a year after turning professional. A year later, when interviewed after being knocked out by the upcoming Steve Davis, Griffiths gave one of my favourite quotes of all time, and something that has become a frequent saying amongst my family whenever things go pear-shaped. Asked how disappointed he was, he replied in his lilting Welsh accent, “You know, there’s a beauty in defeat”.


    Terry Griffiths (left), a longshot champion in 79


    In terms of the schedule for the next few days, today we have the final 3 frames of Ding Junhui v John Higgins and the middle of the Barry Hawkins V Mark Allen match at 10.00 BST. At 14.30BST Dott and Bingham resume at 5-11, but the main feature for me is the first session between Ali Carter and Neil Robertson. The Australian looked imperious in his first match, but there’s a gathering feeling that two-time finalist Carter (who carries a whole pound of my hard-earned cash at generous odds of 80/1) is playing with a belief and freedom that could make this quite a match. This evening (19.00BST) , there’s the potentially close finish between Allen and Hawkins, as well as the start of Matthew Stevens V Ronnie O’Sullivan. Can the Welshman up his game to make a match of it? Like Ali Carter, he’s been a beaten finalist twice, but that all feels a long time ago. The bottom half of the draw suggests a fairly easy path to the semis for Ronnie, but we’ll see.


    Carter V Robertson starts today


    Tomorrow, two matches start in the morning and continue in the evening, though neither will finish until I’m back at work on Monday morning, annoyingly. Those games are Joe Perry V Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu V Judd Trump. In the good-looking afternoon session, Carter and Robertson come back, as do O’Sullivan and Stevens. Those two look like the pick of the weekend, and both matches finish 19.00BST on Monday.


    Ronnie O’Sullivan plays on Sunday/Monday

  • Marinus said: Hey Nick, I’ve watched quite a bit of the morning sessions thus far, but now that we’re through to the second round and after, the timezones are very unkind to me. I’d really appreciate it if you could point me to especially worthwhile matches so I could catch up on them afterwards.

    I just had a thought - do you mean I shouldn’t give away the scores?

    Ding v Higgins producing the tension and Hawkins v Allen producing the quality so far this morning.

  • I just had a thought - do you mean I shouldn’t give away the scores?

    Oh no, I’m not a stickler for spoilers at all!

    Ding v Higgins producing the tension and Hawkins v Allen producing the quality so far this morning.


  • Well done to Ding for holding on against the match-fixer, but especially to the underrated Barry Hawkins who battled back to win 5 in a row and beat Mark Allen last night. Hawkins is ranked 5 in the world, but tends to fly under the radar despite making the final a couple of years ago and the semis last season. He’s a quiet and modest person, who I find very likeable, and I was pleased to see him win against Allen. His biggest test yet will come in the quarters, where it looks like he’ll meet the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ and second favourite for the tournament, Neil Robertson.


    Barry Hawkins - a dark horse

    Trump V Fu and Murphy V Perry have just started Sunday morning British time. I would love to see Fu give Trump a good match.

  • You weren’t joking about the Hawkins-Allen match, high quality stuff! A joy to watch.

  • Yes. What is the time difference for you, Marinus?

  • We’re 11 hours ahead at the moment. The games start at 9pm for me. I get to watch the morning session pretty reliably, but everything after the lunch break is a bridge too far for me.

  • I’m the other way around. At work for everything but the evening session. But I have weekends of course.

    All the top players starting to look strong in their second round matches now - Ding, Trump, O’Sulliva, Murphy, Robertson, all well in control.

  • So, with Selby the only major shock, the quarter finals are looking very tasty indeed. All matches take place over 3 sessions, spread over Tuesday and Wednesday. Marinus, you might see some good stuff Wednesday morning when it should be the climax of Ding V Trump.

    Here’s where we are:

    • Anthony McGill (Sco) v Shaun Murphy (Eng)
    • Ding Junhui (Chn) v Judd Trump (Eng)
    • Barry Hawkins (Eng) v Neil Robertson (Aus)
    • Stuart Bingham (Eng) v Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng)
  • Marinus, you might see some good stuff Wednesday morning when it should be the climax of Ding V Trump.

    Not at the rate it’s going now! I just watched Ding scratch one back against Trump to go from the grimly ominous position of 0-6 behind to the merely normally ominous position of 1-6 behind.

  • I may be speaking too soon—Ding has now won two frames on the trot, having now battled to the now only slightly ominous position of 2-6 behind. Though I’m sure Trump will still be the happier of the two going into the session break.

  • He keeps starting matches slowly and then clawing his way back. But Trump may prove a tougher proposition.

  • Following him nearly snapping his cue in half and then playing shoeless, Ronnie O’Sullivan is now in trouble for putting his chalk on the table to line up a shot. The ref did nothing but rules state it should have been called a foul and 7 away.

    chalk Scandalous!

  • Murphy V McGill looks like being a good battle.

  • Ah well, turns out to have been a bridge too far for Ding… again. I just saw him crash out 13-4 vs Trump.

  • Baz Hawkins, however, is going at a rate of knots. Just made a nice century to start his day, going to a 6-3 lead.

  • These quarters are getting very tense now…Robertson and O’Sullivan far from sure to get through tonight!

  • This evening session between Hawkins and Robertson is a classic. The best snooker of the championship so far!

  • I thought I’d stick my head in here. Well this (Murphy/Hawkins) is turning into a bit of a kicking. Murphy well ahead and playing conservatively whilst racking up some big scores. Not the most exciting session you’ll see.

  • Yes. I think that late night finish against Robertson took it out of Barry. A pity.

    The other semi looks set for a good finish tomorrow though. I’d love it if Bingham beat Trump. As I keep telling my daughters, that boy just does not respect the balls.