2005 Embassy World Championship
Final Stages 16 April - 2 May 2005, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
The Crucible Match Notes Last 32 - Last 16 - Quarters - Semis - Final
Match 1: RONNIE O'SULLIVAN 5-4 STEPHEN MAGUIRE
Frame Scores: 0-72(50), 23-69(59), 80(72)-17, 72-40(40), 14-60(54), 115(115)-0, 74(73)-50, 22-66, 99(99)-17
Good morning and Welcome to our LIVE match notes. O'Sullivan is wearing a very smart new Highland Spring Waistcoat. Maguire pots the first ball, that will calm the nerves a little. Both players book nervous, but a long blue will settle Maguire. He's vowed to attack Ronnie all the way and this could be a rip-roaring match. Maguire's pushed on to 21 and in good position to build on the break. Maguire lost position a little, very awkward cueing over the reds, he's potted the red and forges on, the break is up to 49. Ronnie is sipping his mug of hot water. The break ends at 50, Maguire missed the black, he's split the pack open, but hasn't left a ball on for Ronnie. A tremendous long red from Maguire, dead weight, gives him another chance, which he takes, his clearance only halted by a kick. It's safety first at the start of frame two. Maguire is matching Ronnie shot for shot. Maguire's got a good chance now. Ronnie put only 12 points on the board before a kick let Maguire in, and Maguire is piling on the points again. He's beaten Ronnie twice this season and looks intent on sending the defending champion out of the event on the first day. Maguire's missed on 59 and there's a chance for Ronnie, but he needs the last three reds, with blacks to force a respot. Maguire's missed an easy escape and Ronnie only needs one snooker now.
Ronnie's missed a long red at the start of frame three, but Maguire hasn't, but now he's missed a red to the middle, he hasn't left much. Ronnie can't get going at the moment and all the little nudges seem to be in Maguire's favour. The Scot has another chance. He's fluffed it, now can O'Sullivan get his break building flowing. It's hard work for Ronnie, but now he's gained very good position, the break's reached 26, he should go on to win the frame and has. Game On! Ronnie's opened a 40 point gap in frame four but he's let Maguire back in and the Scot has already wiped off the lead and now laid a snooker. Ronnie's got the better of the safety and levelled the match. The players are back after the interval and it's a cagey start to the fifth frame. Maguire's forced the first opening, but the balls are now a bit awkward. A great long blue has kept his break going and the lead goes to 33. The break has passed 50 and O'Sullivan needs snookers. He's not giving up though. He's 46 behind on the last red. Ronnie's got first chance in frame six and it's a good chance. He's raced to 50, but he'll need to split the pack. and he has and leads by 66, frame over. And there's the first century of the event. O'Sullivan went for an extravagant brown at the start of the seventh and Maguire's rattled up a 43 point lead. He's played safe with a 49 point lead. Maguire's missed a long red and he could have thrown the frame away. O'Sullivan fluked a red but missed the blue in the eighth and the opening goes to the Scot. He's made 35 and missed an easy ball. He could fall further behind in this match if he doesn't watch out. Ronnie's made 22 and snookered Maguire, this is developing into a crucial frame. Ronnie's missed a red and now Maguire has the chance to level the match. Ronnie's carved an opening in the final frame of the session and he's secured the one frame lead ahead of tonight's session. the match resumes at 19.00
Frame Scores: 96(96)-37(36), 0-92(92), 53-60, 1-102(102), 31-52, 89(89)-1, 1-71(70), 69-54(54), 74(74)-23, 68(68)-0
The players have been given a great welcome into the arena and there's a tremendous atmosphere for what could be a thrilling evening's snooker. A miss from both players but no damage done. A very cagey start with some excellent safety. Maguire's forced the error from O'Sullivan, he'd like to get this frame on the board to level the match. He's made 36 but the pack didn't open, so it's back to the baulk cushion. Maguire forced another error, but he's missed a red and Ronnie can counter-attack. He's raced to 48 and there are two reds left. O'Sullivan's flawlessly cleared up to stretch his lead. Maguire's not going to led Ronnie run away with this match. He's bounced straight back again, he's on a run of 58 but there are still 6 reds left. He's over the winning line now and it's been a superb break, can he complete a century? No! A break of 26 from Ronnie in the next, but he's lost position and had to play safe. And Maguire's got an opening and the balls are well spread. He's missed on 28 and he's furious with himself and no wonder, it's probably cost him the frame. A reprieve for Maguire, Ronnie's lost position with the last three reds in a line along the top cushion, he leads 47-28. Ronnie's got this frame in a grip-like vice. He leads by 25 with the last red on, but his safety has been quite brilliant. But he's left Maguire a long red which he's got, but the yellow in on the cushion. Maguire's got the green and a tricky brown, he should take the frame now. and it's level again, what a thriller we have here now. Maguire's in amongst the balls, it looks a good chance, but you can feel the tension building every minute. Maguire's made a great frame winning break here and he regains the lead and for the first time in the match a player has taken three frames in a row. Plenty for both players to think about during the interval. Ronnie's still looking thoughtful, Maguire has a small lead, but there are four reds stuck on the cushion and the colours are off their spots, someone will have to find a route map to this frame. Maguire leads by 9 points, but this is going to be a low scoring frame, there are four reds left and this is a huge frame in the context of the match. Ronnie's missed a pot attempt, he's looking a bit edgy all of a sudden. It's Maguire's turn to miss one, but Ronnie hasn't punished him. Two reds left, one tight on the side rail and the yellow and green are in bad positions as well. Maguire has played a great shot to pot the last red along the rail, but he's still got to do something about yellow and green. Maguire's got the yellow, he leads now by 14 points and they're playing safe on the green. Maguire's got green and brown, he's 8-6 up barring snookers from O'Sullivan. That's four frames on the spin for Maguire, can he keep his momentum going? Maguire's launched himself at a red and scattered them everywhere, but he didn't pot it so the chance goes to O'Sullivan. The World Champion is looking like his fluent self again, he's rattled up 53 points and is still going. Ronnie's finished with an imperious 89, but missed the last red with a century beckoning. It's a chapter of accident at the start of the sixteenth frame. Maguire missed a sitter and then Ronnie played an awful positional shot so they'll have a safety exchange now. a fabulous long red has given Maguire a good chance. The balls are well set, it's all about how well Maguire keeps his composure now. He has and he's taken these very well, the break reaches 62, he leads by 69 and there's only 59 left. Ronnie needs to win every frame now and he's in the balls in frame 17. He's made 35 but lost position and he's missed, he's left half a chance for Maguire. The Scot's got the opening red, he's perfect on the black, it's all about pressure now. Maguire's edged ahead, there are four reds left, and he still needs them. He's up to 54 but he has to split the last two reds open. He's missed the black and hasn't opened the reds. Maguire is 19 ahead with two reds left, but the black has gone into the jaws and one red near it, so whoever gets the first red will have a good chance of a clearance. O'Sullivan now has Maguire in trouble on the safety. Ronnie's got the chance and should clear up to stay in the match. Maguire's not going to compromise, he's got a great opening red and a good brown, but there's not much on at the moment. He's made 19 and played safe. O'Sullivan's gone in-off but hasn't done any damage. Ronnie's powered in a red and now there are open reds, he could level here and send the match into a dramatic final frame shoot-out. He's won the frame and looks to be favourite again now. A crucial piece of luck for Ronnie, his safety shot left Maguire hampered and it's given an opening to the defending Champion. the big colours are awkward and Ronnie's having to take baulk colours at the moment, but the break's moved along to 29 and he's still got plenty of reds, it's looking ominous for Maguire. This has been a superb break, the break is now 57 and now Ronnie has the blue and pink in play, it's a real match-winner, a fantastic 68 break. And what did O'Sullivan think of the match? "I expected him (Maguire) to clear up for 10-7 and then he gave me another chance, I'm relieved to be through." O'Sullivan claimed to have been struggling with his game all season. Other players could dream of struggling like that! "I would have been happy to have gone out and gone home", continued O'Sullivan before revealing "But I am pleased to be through, although my heart's not in it to be honest. I'll just play and see what happens." "Winning isn't everything, but it's nice. It was a testament to my mental state that I got myself through."
Match 2 MARCO FU 2-7 ALI CARTER
Frame Scores: 40-71(29), 68(58)-0, 49(49)-78(42) 37-69(65), 1-92(76), 18-58(32), 25-73(59), 90(70)-9, 47-80(62)
There's a lot riding on this match for both players, as they try to gain a Top 16 ranking place. There's been a chance for players to get their hand on the table in the opener and settle down. Fu lead 40-19 but that's insignificant with 5 reds left. Carter's right back in the frame, he lead by 11 going onto the yellow. He's not right on the green and has a hard shot to get to the brown, which he needs. He's opted for a snooker, and that was a useful 29 break. Fu left the green after his escape and Carter's added the brown so he's got the opener. A long safety exchange to start the second frame and all the reds have got pushed across towards the cushion and corner pocket and the colours are not good now, so this will take a bit of sorting out. Fu's found a way, a break of 58 brings the match level. Chance for both players in frame three but it's Carter who's made the telling contribution, a 42 clearance to the pink to regain the lead.
Carter looks more comfortable than Fu at this early stage. Fu has missed his chance in frame four and Carter has made a frame winning effort to leave Marco needing snookers, but he's trying for them. He's 31 behind on the yellow so he could tie with one snooker. Now he can't as Carter's whacked the yellow in. Fu's missed a red in frame five and here's another chance for Carter. He's going along nicely, on a break of 46 so far. He's made a nice 76 break and he's looking very good now. It's all going wrong for Marco today. He's made breaks of 49 and 58 but he's missed a lot of balls and Carter is making more of his chances so far. Carter's done enough to lead 5-1. and it's looking like 6-1. Again Fu had a chance but made nothing from it and Carter has added another fifty plus break. Carter's missed and the frame isn't secure, Fu has to make something of this chance or he'll be 6-1 down. And he is 6-1 down. A useful little 20 for Marco at the start of frame eight and he's snookered Carter, but an excellent glancing escape has put more pressure on Fu. Another chance for Fu off the back of a good long red. The reds aren't ideal, most of them have found their way towards the side cushion, but he's opened a 37 point lead. He's made 40 and is 51 up but he's got a kick off the blue, but a good recovery red, he's done really well here. Well now he's potting everything, he's won the frame and will feel a lot better, although the best he can do is trail 6-3 at the end of the session. Fu opened a 40 point lead but he's given a chance to Carter, who can clear up here for a 7-2 lead. He has and that's a remarkably scoreline, most people thought this would be a very close match, but not so far.
Match 2 MARCO FU 4-10 ALI CARTER
Frame Scores: 58(58)-47, 29(29)-87(87), 0-78(38), 80(78)-0, 1-53(38)
A safety dominated opening to the evening, but Carter has a chance now, but he's got plenty to do yet. The is very scrappy. Carter missed but Fu missed a very easy ball, he's having a nightmare this year. Carter's back to the table, with a 40 point lead, but all four remaining reds are close the cushions. Carter has let fu off the hook. Fu trails by 37 but the last two reds are open now and he's go a good chance of clearing up, and a very good evening to all our visitors from Hong Kong, who'll be cheering for Marco and a particular hello to Ken. I can't read what you're writing on that forum Ken, but I hope it's flattering! And Hong Kong fans will be encouraged by an excellent 58 clearance from Fu there. He's still in the match. First chance falls to Fu in the next, but he's unlucky, he's made 19 and got an awful kick which left the white on the side rail. He'd done well to pot a really tough black from there. Marco's made 29 and put Carter in a snooker. He's out of that okay and he's won the safety exchange and is back in the balls. He's edged ahead and there's only two reds left, a good chance for Carter to stretch his lead. he has with an excellent 87 clearance. Carter's got a 54 lead in frame twelve and he's snookered Fu. the escape has left a red on, it should be 9-3 now. Fu is not going doing without a fight, he's made an excellent frame winning effort here and Carter will have to sit out the interval now, still needing one frame to win. A break of 38 on the resumption is enough to see Carter over the line and the fourth seed bows out in the first round.
Match 3 STEPHEN LEE 6-3 TONY DRAGO
Frame Scores: 101(41)-16, 48-68(49), 109(103)-9, 126(126)-7, 87(38,49)-0, 23-52, 61-37, 61-49, 57-69
We're under way at the start of this match, and some clever safety from Drago has Lee thinking. Not so clever, it's a re-rack. This time Lee pots his first long red. Lee's safety has forced two fouls from Drago and left a red on. A nice 25 from Lee but then a careless miss. An equally careless miss from Drago who hasn't settled into the match yet. Lee's found a good red out of the bunch to try and extend his 39 point lead. Drago's come to the table 66 behind, he needs all the reds, with blacks and he can win by a point. He's started with a good red with the rest. Only 16 though and Lee's got the frame winning red. Drago's bounced back immediately despite all the excitement on the adjoining table, a useful run of 49. A fabulous run of 103 gives Lee a 2-1 lead, which all came about when Drago was unlucky to go in off. Stephen Lee looks in very good form today. He's off and potting in frame four, looking very confident. he's flying now, another frame winning break and cueing like a dream, as you'd expect. Here comes another century, it's some afternoon of snooker here, great stuff. a 133 total clearance. Well's he's gone in off the black, so that only 126. Marvellous. We can all get our breath back during the interval. The break hasn't put Lee off his stroke, he's straight back on a break in frame five. Ooops, a miscue ends Lee's visit to the table on 38. No damage done, either to his tip or his chances. Lee's go back in again. He's scored 272 points now with Drago responding. Lee's past the winning post again. A great opening red from Drago from Lee's break but no position, but at last he's had a chance to pot a ball. A little safety exchange is brought to an end by a great red by Drago. He's laid a tight snooker. Brilliant escape by Lee and dead safe. Drago's found a red and he's made 25 but left Lee right amongst the reds again. Lee has made a brilliant plant to give himself a good chance. Lee has missed a ball, only 22 and a reprieve for Drago. He's missed but got away with it, this frame is a bit scrappy. There's one red left, Drago leads by 15 and he's got the red now. He needs yellow and green, which is not on its spot. He's got it and the frame, he'll feel a bit better. He's still laughing in the next frame as his logo drops off his waistcoat and sticks to his cue! But he's in the balls and has a 15 point lead, well he was until he missed a skinny red, but he's got everything safe. Lee left a long red sticking out and Drago has another chance. If Drago could take this frame, he'll be delighted. The way Lee has played the Malta man could have been on the end of a drubbing. And it's hello to everyone in Malta. Tony's huge army of fans are watching avidly and I'd like to thank everyone in Malta once again for the fantastic hospitality and organisation shown to us at the recent EBSA European Team Cup, which MALTA won again. And get well soon Victor. It's back to safety and some good exchange here, but Drago's caught that all wrong and left a red on. there are six reds left, and Lee trails by 20 points, but he should make up the gap here. He's gone off the boil a bit and missed a dolly pink. Drago has done exactly the same. It's catching! Lee leads by 3 on the last red and he's laid a fiendish snooker. The red is squeezed in between pink and black, it's nearly impossible to hit and totally impossible not to leave a free ball. Two misses from Drago so far, 11 points away and a free ball, but there's nothing on for Lee so he'll have it put back. Now he's 14 up. He's caught the black again, 21 point up. This is horrible, could be a good case for hit and hope - AT PACE! But he's playing it dead weight again, he's hit the black but no miss called. Drago's 28 point behind now. Now we've got a dat safety situation, they could play tip tap for the rest of the tournament on this. some very delicate shots, but it's a total stalemate unless one of them leaves it touching ball. This looks like billiards nursery cannons, with the balls moving a millimetre along the cushion with each shot. Everyone's having a good laugh, but we could be here all night! Lee's moved the black away a bit so Drago's been able to play a conventional safety shot now. Lee wants to keep this red tight, he only needs this ball for the frame. Well Lee's played a crazy shot, he's smashed the red off the cushion and left it for Drago, but he couldn't put the finishing touches, it's 5-2 to Lee. This match is getting more bizarre by the minute. We've started the next frame with two flukes in three shots but the telling one went to Drago who got a red and landed on the colour. But he's missed a long red on 14. Lee hasn't. And now another snooker is yielding points for Lee. Drago's missed it twice. The reds aren't hard to hit, but getting safe is a bit trickier. third time lucky and perfectly safe. An opening for Drago, he needs to get a good break and could really do with winning this frame to stay in touch. It doesn't look like it though a careless missed pink with only 16 points made. Lee's gone off the boil at bit. The scores are level, there are three reds left, all in a line along the top cushion and somehow Drago has got on one of them so he's edging ahead. He couldn't get on the last red. Lee's swerved to pot the last red, he's 15 behind on the yellow. Lee is going to need the black and it's half way up the side cushion level with the pink spot, not a good place. Well he's behind it, it's a really hard cut back if he tries it. This one shot could determine the whole match. He's tried to cut it across to the other black pocket, didn't get it but he's got a good safety and so has Drago. Lee's gone for the double and it's done everything but go in the pocket. Poor shot from Drago though, he's left this, although it's a thin cut. He's got it and that's a four frame lead. Drago's got away with one miss in this frame, Lee didn't punish him and Drago is back at the table, just six points ahead on a break of 24, five reds left. He's lost position and missed a long pink, and worse still opened the reds and left them for Lee. Barring accidents it looks like 7-2 for Lee. The accident happened, Lee's missed the yellow. He leads by fifteen on the yellow. which Drago has potted. A good colours clearance from Drago and that makes a big difference to this match, the difference between 7-2 and 6-3. Drago will be a lot happier.
Match 3 STEPHEN LEE 10-5 TONY DRAGO
Frame Scores: 81(59)-9, 81(40)-34, 51-65, 36-79(59), 108(108)-13, 77(51)-39
Chances spurned by both players at the start of their final session. Pink and Black are tied up so there's a bit of safety going on. The chance falls to Lee as Drago leaves plenty of reds on following his escape from a snooker. Lee's made 45 so far and should win the frame at this visit and that's disastrous for Drago who need to win the first couple of frames to keep in contention, a four frame gap could prove hard to close. Lee's broken down on 59, Drago can win the frame, but not yet. Lee's put the frame beyond doubt. Drago's let an early lead slip in the eleventh frame. He was 34 ahead but Lee is now ahead and should win the frame. He promptly broke down on a 40 break, but Drago was forced to swerve to hit the red and he miscued, he's 30 behind now on the last red. And a great long pot from Lee secures the frame. Again Drago has opened a lead and again he's given Lee a chance to counter. This could be an easy run to the line for Lee. Drago's had a miserable season and defeat here today will cost him a place in the Top 32, having started the season at number 22. Drago isn't going down without a fight though and he's 22 up on the yellow, but that's just rocketed into the pocket off Lee's cue. But he's left a thin cut pink which Drago has potted, 8-4 isn't so bad. Drago's smiling now, he's played up the table off top cushion to come back and kiss a red into the centre pocket, usually only down in exhibition, but Drago is an exhibition every time he plays. He's got 28 points on the board now, and if he gets in the mood he could rattle off three of four frames in no time at all. There's an entertaining 59 break and safe. Drago's left a red for Lee and he can still win the frame. He's right back in the frame, only 29 behind now and still 2 reds left. Relief for Drago, Lee's slipped up and Drago's dished up. 8-5 at the interval and Drago will enjoy the break a lot more than Lee. Drago has forced an error from Lee on the resumption and he's got a reasonable opening. Oh dear, just 8 points and he lost position and missed a long blue and Lee's found a mid range red and he's made 33 so far and is prime position still. He's taken these really well and has weathered the storm now, at 8-6 it could have gone close. There's Lee third century of the match, beautiful break of 108. Last chance saloon now for Drago and he's entertaining the crowd on a break of 29, but drawing the groans again as a simple black stays in the jaws. Danger signs for Drago as Lee sets out clearing the balls to win the match. He's made 23 and still has good position on the reds. Lee's broken down, leading 51-29 with 43 on, one last chance for Drago. A good snooker laid by Drago but Lee escapes and get the last red safe. Lee's gone in off but hasn't left the red for Drago. It's Lee's turn to lay the snooker on the last red, Drago's hit it but it's not totally safe. Lee's missed it but he's safe again, frustrating for Drago, who's tried to double it and left it on. That's the end of Drago's challenge this year.
Match 4 PETER EBDON 8-1 QUINTEN HANN
Frame Scores: 74(56)-7, 69(56)-47(38), 85(54,31)-25, 69(69)-10, 62(62)-19, 86-40, 63-31, 63-39, 1-56
This eagerly awaited match gets under way in a few minutes and we'll have an Australian in action on both tables this morning. Quinten Hann has potted the first red of the match, a fluke, but he's missed a very hard pink to the centre. Peter Ebdon's potted his first red in this year's campaign, he hasn't missed his colour and could get a few points here. A nice opening 56 from Ebdon but he's left a red in the jaws. Only 6 points for Hann, he's missed an awkward red, but so has Ebdon, the balls have gone scrappy now. Ebdon's tickled one into the centre and a great green, he's got a 53 point lead with 59 on the table, but no position now. He's got the red he needed and won the frame. Hann doesn't look at all settled yet. Maybe it's the jetlag. A good chance for Hann in the second, after Ebdon missed. The reds are spread far and wide. He's only made 25 from that opening. Ebdon's missed another easy ball. Hann's made 38 but gone in-off. Ebdon's right back in the frame and with the reds awkward he's played some excellent positional shots. That's a brilliant 56 break, Hann needs a snooker on the yellow. He's taken yellow to brown and played a good snooker behind the blue. Ebdon's hit it and Hann has conceded. Hann's break off brought a red up the table and Ebdon's potted that to the centre to get started in the third frame. He's made 31 before missing a black. Hann's made 25 but missed the pink, he hasn't settled down at all. Ebdon's done enough to clinch the frame. Ebdon's going to lead 4-0, he's already on a run of 62 and Hann needs snookers. Only 9 points for Hann as they get underway again but he's got a good safety shot. Quinten still can't get going in the balls, but he is playing with a borrowed cue, after the butt of his own cue was stolen, so that won't help his cause at all, particularly on these superfine cloths where the throw and side can be dramatic. Here's a chance for Ebdon, but the reds aren't nice, they're all between the black spot and top cushion. He's won another frame, already on 59, which keeps his record of a fifty plus in every frame, a solid performance from Ebdon so far. Here goes Ebdon again in frame six, it's one way traffic so far. A break of 35 comes to an end as Ebdon misses the black, can Hann punish him this time? 27 for Hann but he's really struggling this morning. Ebdon is 15 ahead on the yellow and he's got Hann snookered. He's missed it by a whisker, but hit the pink so Ebdon's 21 ahead now. No miss called, good decision by Alan Chamberlain. Referees are supposed to just keep calling a miss, but he was so close. But he's missed it this time and that was a miss and he's stuck up the yellow, another frame for Ebdon. Hann is remaining very calm despite all the misfortunes befalling him and worst of those is not having his own cue. Who knows how he would have played and what path this match might have taken. Hann can't blame the cue for a miss in frame seven. He launched himself at a long red and missed it by miles. Ebdon needed no second invitation to put another frame on the board. Hann's scored just one point from a golden chance in the next, Ebdon could make it 8-0. He hasn't yet. Hann's battling hard and he's still in the frame. Hann's missed a long blue and Ebdon leads by 12 points and they're on the green. Ebdon's got the green and a very good brown, it's 8-0. Hann's crafted a 39 break, but he's left a red for Ebdon. Hann is getting support from the crowd, who are sympathetic to his cue problems. Ebdon's missed the black so Quinten has a real chance to get a frame on the board. One record he wouldn't want to share with his fellow Australian Eddie Charlton is to lose 10-0 at the Crucible. That ignominity befell the Australian at the hands of John Parrott and still remains the only Crucible whitewash.
Match 4 PETER EBDON 10-2 QUINTEN HANN
Frame Scores: 49-69, 79(33)-44(44), 64-35
Peter Ebdon won't want to waste any time tonight in putting Quinten out of his misery, but he's missed an opening in the first frame, so Quinten will get a bit more practice with the alien cue. Ebdon has a narrow 8 point lead and we're on the last red, so there's chance for Hann to take the frame still. Hann's got the red but the yellow is safe on the cushion, but he's dropped behind it and got it and he's cleared to the pink to take the frame. Ebdon's at the table in frame eleven, he's not firing on all cylinders but it's hard to keep fully focussed when your opponent is struggling. Perhaps he should adopt the Mark Williams approach and look for a maximum! Ebdon holds a rare record of making back to back maximums in an exhibition match. He's made 27 but he'll have to split the pack soon, there's not much on. The break ends at 33 and Hann's got a chance now. He's going a lot better tonight, 39 so far and he's ahead in the frame. The break ends on 44, he overstretched for a red. There are 4 of those left and Hann leads by 11 points. There's a fabulous long red by Ebdon to get in again. No position on the last red for Ebdon, just an eight point lead for him now. He's potted a great long red, no position so it's a snooker, a 9 point lead on the yellow. Quinten's missed it but hasn't left it. Ebdon's having it replaced. after all that Ebdon is now 30 points ahead on the yellow and he's snicked it in, but he's snookered himself on the green. He's missed it so a glimmer of hope here for Hann. He's 28 behind with 25 on. Ebdon's turn now to snooker Hann, but he's escaped but the green is near the pocket. That's 9-2. A nice fluke for Hann to start frame twelve. He's not throwing this away, he's played a good safety shot after losing position on 21. and he's got another chance. Unlucky for Quinten, a thumping kick and he's left an easy red. Pink and blue are tied up but Ebdon has the black in the open and several open reds, it's a match winning chance here. He's not won it at that visit but leads by eleven with the last two reds safe. Neither of them can pot a red at the moment, they've had several chances each. Hann's failed to escape from an Ebdon snooker and he's gone in off and left the red. Ebdon's making really heavy weather of this but he's struggled the yellow in and Hann can pack up and go home to Australia - and sort out a new cue.
Match 5 JOHN HIGGINS 5-4 MARK SELBY
Frame Scores: 136(136)-0, 0-135(135), 105(37,47)-7, 117(51,66)-8, 22-76(37,31), 17-69(43), 57(53)-64, 82(60)-21, 106(106)-0
John Higgins gets the match underway. This will be a stern examination for Crucible debutant Mark Selby. Will he freeze or fly? A solid opening safety from Selby but an attacking response from Higgins, who's put the white tight on the top cushion and opened the reds out. And that's immediately given Higgins a chance. This is a great opening opportunity for Higgins, he can settle down, accumulate points and leave Selby sitting cold in his chair. The break has already reached 63, compared to 0-0 on the other table! 78 and counting, a great start for Higgins. And there's the century. Higgins won't want to leave any balls for Selby to get his arm moving. If Selby was nervous before, he really knows now what he's up against. A truly superb 136 total clearance and that's the highest break so far. It didn't take the Scot long to settle! Selby' missed a pot by a long way but Higgins has missed a sitter, now here's a chance for Selby to pot a few. Selby's opened the reds up, he looks quite composed, but he's probably still shaking inside. This is a great response by Selby, he's up to 53 and the reds are wide open for him. What a great start to this match. Selby's on 81 and has a possible 139 on. He's got the century, now can he get the last red off the cushion - yes! It's a fabulous 135 total clearance by Selby. What an amazing start to the match. Higgins is first amongst the balls in frame three and I'm not making any predictions as to what break he might make! Just as well he's missed on 21! A careless miss by Selby, he's missed the black and has to go and sit down again. A break of 37 gives Higgins a 51 point lead with 67 still on the table. Higgins has got back in with 47 to clinch the frame. The Scot has already rattled up 50 in the fourth frame, they're not hanging about tonight. But he's missed the black on 51, a chance for Selby to counter. But he's missed his attempt and Higgins has picked up where he left off. It looks like 3-1 and it is. John Higgins really looks in imperious form and he may well have been a bit peeved to see all the pre-tournament pundits mentioning only O'Sullivan and Hendry as likely winners. You would overlook Higgins at your peril. A bright and breezy 37 from Selby after a rare safety error by Higgins, but a missed red leaves Higgins an easy opener. He's missed an attempted plant, another chance for Selby to close the gap. He's 46 up with 43 on and Higgins is striving to get a snooker. The sixth has been a bit more scrappy but Selby's nipped in late in the frame to clinch it and he's level, a good fight back. Selby's got the better of the early safety, despite a couple of misses from a snooker, and he's on a break of 16 now. He's got a 36 point lead but he went for a risky red and he's left Higgins an easy starter. He's made 52 but still needs the last two reds. Higgins has missed the black. He just needs the last red and any colour to clinch the frame and Selby has missed it. Selby's got the last red and he needs all the colours to take the frame. He's got them and that's quite a turn around, from 3-1 down to 4-3 up. Higgins looks a bit bemused at what's going on, but he's got a good long red to start frame eight. Higgins has opened a 68-21 lead helped by a run of 60, with only two reds left. It looks like 4-4. and it is. Higgins if off and running in the last frame of the night, 25 already and looking good in and around the black spot. Higgins is finishing how he started, a frame-winning century break for a 5-4 overnight lead. They resume on Tuesday afternoon.
Match 5 JOHN HIGGINS 10-5 MARK SELBY
Frame Scores: 76(55)-50, 138(138)-0, 1-100(73), 82(35)-37, 105(71)-0, 88-69(49)
Selby is first into the balls as they start their final session. He'll need a good start this afternoon. He's put 20 points on the board and played a tough safety shot. Selby's missed a red and now here's a chance for John Higgins to push ahead. No position for Higgins but he's got a nasty snooker which Selby has missed twice already. He's left a free ball this time. He's keeping the pressure on though, he's had it put back and Selby has missed again. He's got it safe this time and left nothing. A belter of a red from Selby gets him in again. But he's not taken advantage and Higgins is right back in this frame. Oh that's a bit careless from Higgins, he went in off the blue, but he'd done enough to win the frame. A great long red got him started on a 55 break. And Higgins is motoring again in the next, already on 36. he's on 74 now, that's another frame in the bag. Quite superb a 138 total clearance, his third century of the match and twenty-first of the season. Selby's going to pull a frame back here. An early 27 and now 43 with more to come has secured the frame. a break 28 has put Higgins with a ball of stretching the lead to 8-5 but he's missed the last red with the rest, so just a glimmer of a chance for Selby to take this very important frame. No reprieve for Selby, Higgins has mopped up the colours and will enjoy the interval a lot more than Selby. Higgins has picked up where he left off, he's already past the fifty mark in frame fourteen. That's the frame secure, Higgins continues, in search of another century. He didn't get that but he did pot a remarkable red. It was tight on the cushion behind the green spot and with the cue ball up near the blue he cut the red right along the cushion into the yellow pocket. It's a simple game when the frame is won. Higgins has played a superb safety shot in frame fifteen and got Selby in a very nasty snooker behind the brown, close to the baulk cushion and with the reds open, Selby will be lucky not to leave anything. Well he left a difficult red to the middle, but Higgins has missed that, but he's got safe. Selby's made a good 49 break, he's not quite won the frame yet though. This frame is proving very hard for Selby to win. Higgins needs one snooker on the yellow. He's got the snooker and it's not an easy escape. He's got the penalty points, he can win the frame now. And he's turning the screw. He needed two snookers at one point, now he is only 7 points behind on the green and Selby is still trying to escape from another snooker. Higgins can win this sitting in his chair. Selby has played 7 misses on the green. He's hit it, but John Higgins is showing no mercy, he's snookered him again and he's missed this one as well. He's hit it this time and we'll have some normal safety again. Higgins now leads by 13 - oh and now's he's fluked the green and only needs brown for the match. He's got that and Selby is 25 behind on the pink.
Match 6 CHRIS SMALL 4-5 SHAUN MURPHY
Frame Scores: 0-75(75), 22-60, 70(41)-23, 63-33, 12-69(62), 69(56)-9, 124(124)-0, 9-78, 12-92(92)
A fascinating match in prospect here. Chris Small has had a miserable season so far, but the battling Scot will be looking to end on a high note at the Crucible, but he's up against one of snooker's bright young prospect, Shaun Murphy, who's already proved that he enjoys the pressure cooker atmosphere in the Crucible. It's a very cagey start, not a ball potted yet, as both players jockey for position. The first chance goes to Murphy and he looks in good form, he's rattled up 59 points already. An early error from Murphy has given Chris Small a great opening in the second frame. He's made only 17, and missed the black, and handed the chance back to Murphy. But he's run out of position having made on 16. So that's a let off for Small. A thumping long red from Murphy, but no position. Small's spurned another chance and Murphy's now 41 up with two reds left. Murphy was looking good in frame three until he carelessly missed a green and it's a chance for Small. The Scot needs to get established in this match before Murphy runs away from him. He's potted two reds with his first shot and is in good position to make a decent break. Well he was, but he's broken down on 17. The signs don't look good for the Scot. This frame has gone scrappy, they've both had chances and made little from them. This frame should go to Small, he just needs the yellow. Small gained a 33 point lead in frame four, but he doesn't seem able to move on to a frame winning break at the moment. Another chance for Murphy. There are four reds left and Small has a 34 point lead but the frame is there for either player. Small leads by 26 on the last red, which is tight on the side rail. Murphy's got the last red, the brown will be the problem now, that's on the side cushion. The brown may be academic as Murphy's missed the yellow and left it on for Small. It should be 2-2 now and the Scot will be the better pleased of the two players at the first interval. Murphy's missed a long red on the resumption and he's left a nice easy start for Small. His positional shot has gone wrong so no advantage for the Scot. A prolonged safety exchange has ensued. Small's slow deliberate style seems to have knocked Murphy right out of his usual fluency, but he'll need to be patient - very patient - in this match. He's found a long red and could carve out an opening now, but the colours don't look very friendly. Murphy's done well to work his way through the balls and his run of 55 and counting is enough to take the frame. Small has chosen a good time to put his first fifty plus break on the board, he's level again. And Murphy only has himself to blame, a miss early on gave Small his chance. The tenacious Scot has grabbed the lead for the first time in the match with a superb break of 124, and is making a nonsense of some pre-match predictions that made Murphy an odds on favourite. Things are beginning to go a bit awry for Murphy, he was looking good on a run of 29 in frame 8, but he's misjudged his shot and gone in-off, and now he'll have to match Small in the safety exchanges again. He's done that and he's level, who'll win the last frame of the session for an overnight lead? Murphy looks good for a one frame lead, a break of 53 has him well in front and he's finished in style with a run of 92.
Match 6 CHRIS SMALL 5-10 SHAUN MURPHY
Frame Scores: 28-59, 74-67 (respot), 0-84(84), 0-105(100), 14-59, 32-80(57)
Chris Small looks very keen this morning. He's stepped up to the table to break off, but was sent back to his chair as it's Murphy's break! Now he has got to the table Small has dropped Murphy is a nasty snooker. And Small has a chance. Only a 27-12 lead for Small, he's missed a black but didn't get on a red so only safety for Murphy. Murphy has produced a brilliant escape from a snooker, not only did he hit the reds but got safe as well. There are five reds left, they're in the open so the first mistake could give a frame winning chance.
Murphy's trapped Small in a snooker and it's going to reap rewards, Small's missed it twice and left the reds on. and now Murphy's fluked the ball to make Small feel even worse. Murphy looks a bit edgy at the moment, this is a big frame, the difference between a two frame lead and Small getting level. Small leads by 4 points and he's nailed the cue ball to the baulk cushion again. Murphy has returned the favour and got Small in another snooker. We've had half an hour of play, Small leads 28-25 and there are two reds left, a cagey start. Murphy's cleared up with 34 to stretch his lead. Small has got Murphy in trouble in a snooker, he's missed it three times already. The reds are open, and Small is looking for an opening. Miss number four. Small's got a 28 point lead already in this frame. Number five. He's hit it at last and got it safe. He trails by 30 but he's got a chance now. He's got a kick and the red went off line, so the chance goes to Small now. He's messed that up so can Murphy do something this time? No he can't, both players are missing, neither seems able to settle this morning. Murphy has a real chance now to take the frame, he's looking better now at close range. That's a lot better, the break goes to 45 and he's played a great shot to clip the last red out, he's 31 up on the yellow. Small needs three snookers on the green, but he's playing on, he doesn't want to drop three frames behind. Small's extracted one snooker and he's potted the green so he's 26 behind on the brown now. Murphy has potted the brown out of the snooker but followed the white in so Small can tie now. This frame is assuming epic proportions in the overall context of the match. We have a respotted black. Murphy has attempted to double the black to the green pocket, and he's left it for Small, who's missed it but he's got it very safe. Murphy's faced with a tough safety shot, there's 12 foot between the balls. He's played a fabulous shot, a very thin snick off the black. Now Small has tried the double to the yellow pocket, close but not in, a chance for Murphy to snick the black in, no he's overcut it, but it's safe. No it isn't, Small has doubled it to nick the frame. and he's only one behind. Well Murphy's put that disappointment behind him, a fluent break of 62 so far and he's over the line in this frame. Murphy's powering ahead in the next and looking confident now, the break has reached 86. he's flying now. and there's the century, superb. They've finished their final interval and Murphy's taken an early 32 point lead in frame fourteen. Murphy is 41 ahead with 43 left, it's looking like 9-5 and it is. Small won't give up without a fight. Murphy's nearly there. He lead 46-32 and needs yellow and green to clinch victory. No problem a great 70 clearance and that ends a miserable season for Small, who failed to win a single match.
Match 7: STEVE DAVIS 4-5 GERARD GREENE
Frame Scores: 63-32, 41-78(64), 9-69(49), 78(71)-23, 0-117(42,74), 72-30, 1-77(45), 3-76(54), 72(49)-49(45)
Steve Davis has received a great ovation as he enters the Crucible arena for the 25th time and he's broken off to get us underway. A poor safety from Greene but Davis misses his first pot attempt. A few nerves still jangling from both players. A chance for Greene to settle down and get a few points on the board. He's only made 12 and now it's Steve's turn to try and impose himself on the match. He's been unlucky, a split off the blue, but he's stuck on the reds. Just a six point lead for Davis with 4 reds left. A long red gets Greene back in but he hasn't taken advantage and he's gifted an opener to Davis. A nice run of 26 for Davis in frame two, and a perfect length safety puts more pressure on Greene. He's responded in style, a great long red has given him a scoring chance. A very good 64 break from Greene leaves Davis needing snookers on the last red. He needs two snookers on the yellow, but he'll play on. He did, but to no avail in the end. Davis played a careless escape to the pack and left a red on for Greene in frame three. Greene's opened a 49 point lead and put Davis in an evil snooker. This is horrible. Davis, a past master at tactical snooker has already failed to escape twice. He's looking at a four cushion escape from behind the yellow. Now Davis has feathered the ball and given away more points. One more failed attempt, now Greene leads by 65 points and he has an easy red on. Greene's enjoying this, he's had it put back again, but Davis has now produced a remarkable escape, left touching ball and they're all safe. Green might yet regret not taking the pot on. A few mistakes from both players in the fourth, and it's a important frame, the difference between 2-2 or 3-1. Davis is edging ahead, he's on a run of 41. Greene's looking revived after the interval, he's raced through the fifth. Davis has got the upper hand in the next, he leads by 30 with 2 reds lefts, now it's one red left and that should be 3-3. Greene's already 55 ahead in the next frame, but he'll still next to open the pack before clinching the frame. Greene's worked really hard for a 54 break in the 8th frame, but near impossible bridging forced a safety shot. He's 60 ahead with 5 reds left. And he's mopped up the bits and pieces and is guaranteed an overnight lead. Davis has set out with a nice 49 and Greene's responded with 45, now there's a safety battle on the final red. Will it be 6-3 or 5-4 overnight, a big difference. A great blue helps Davis clear up to trail by only one frame. The resume on Sunday evening and a great finale is in prospect.
Match 7: STEVE DAVIS 10-9 GERARD GREENE
Frame Scores: 75-30, 74-67(respot), 48-66, 66(62)-40, 81(39)-49, 9-85(52), 5-89(60), 67(35)-5, 28-66(62), 61-34
First blood to Steve Davis in the frame he wants to level the match. The Nugget looks sharp tonight and he's on a run of 19. A nice 30 break but Davis lost position, but he's nailed the safety shot. Greene's made 22 but let Davis back in and he's just about done enough to level. He leads by 40 with one red left. Greene has laid a tricky snooker. Davis has hit the black trying to swerve round it, now Greene can win the frame. And he's left a free ball. Well it's all happening! Greene has missed the black and gone in off it, he's chucked the frame away. Steve Davis is buzzing tonight, he's pounced on a Greene miss, and made 64 so far, still 6 reds left. The break ends at 67, Davis missed a red, and there's still 67 points available. Green's mopped up the reds, with blacks, he can tie the frame, but will probably look for a snooker. He's laid a snooker on the yellow, Davis needs to be very careful, it would be a dreadful frame to lose. Davis has hit the yellow but left it, Greene is clearing up the colours and it'll be a dramatic re-spot black. Ooh, the black's a bit thin, but he's got it. Greene's won the toss and put Davis in to play. Greene nearly fluked the black but he's left it right in the jaws for Davis, who will be very relieved. Greene is at the table in frame twelve, he's made 21 so far, without being in position, but he's got around the black now and has a good chance. He's missed on 36 and scattered reds all over the table. Davis will want to turn the screw a bit tighter here. Davis has made 25 but lost position, but he's found a good safety shot to keep the pressure on. and he's now stuck Green in a horrible snooker and he's missed the reds by miles. Green is really under the cosh now. It's all going wrong for Greene at the moment, he's double kissed his safety shot, but it's not an easy red for Davis. He's smacked it in though and is looking in very good form now. Well he was, he's missed the last red and given Greene a chance to fight back. Greene's unlucky, a kick on the yellow means he's snookered on the green. but he's escaped and left it safe. Davis leads by 5 points on the green. They're both trying to lose the frame! Davis has gone in off, now Greene has missed the green and stuck it up. It look unmissable but Davis has missed it. Greene has cleared up. He'll feel a lot better now and Davis is furious with himself. It's the turn of Davis to be on the back foot as Greene has controlled the early safety exchange, forcing three fouls from Davis and now he has a chance right amongst the reds. He's faltered with only 36 on the board, and the advantage swings back to Davis. He now leads by 17 with one red left, but the green is on the side cushion so it's not an easy clearance. Davis has powered in the black off the last red and he's got the yellow, he leads by 27 points with only 25 left. But he's got to move the green now and find a good safety shot. It was a good 62 break but a poor safety, but Davis has got away with it, Greene didn't get the snooker. Plenty for both players to think about in the interval. They're back in action and Davis has potted a storming red to start the frame. He's started all guns blazing in the frame, but he's missed a blue and got away with it as he failed to open the pack. Davis has forced an error from Greene on the safety and he's got another chance to accumulate points and the reds are nicely spread. He's missed an easy pink on 39, but he leads 55-17. Greene's missed a red now and given Davis a chance to close out the frame. Disaster. Davis has potted the black which meant Greene needed a snooker, but he's gone in off and given Greene 7 points and chance to claw back again. Greene's lost position on the last red, he trails by 26 and it's a safety shot now. Davis has Greene snookered and he's missed it twice and he needs snookers now, we're still on the last red and Davis has a 38 point lead. The lead is 30 on the yellow and Greene has laid a good snooker. Davis has hit the pink so Greene can win the frame now. Davis has fluked the yellow so Greene needs snookers again. He's laid three snookers and Davis has hit them all so far. Two more snookers, two more escapes. Greene is very god at finding snookers, but he's up against a past master in tactics and so far Davis has hit everything with ease. It's a fascinating little vignette in the match. Greene's potted green and brown and will try and get the snooker off the blue. A bit surprising that, usually players want to keep as many balls on the table as possible. Davis has got a long blue and he's 8-6 ahead. Greene looks a bit dispirited now. He's missed a red and left Davis right in amongst the red, which are nicely open. But he's chucked the chance away. Greene's found a good red from the safety exchange and now he's dumped Davis in a tight snooker and it's a hard escape, it'll be even harder to not leave a red on. He's missed the escape. Greene's got a chance from the leave and he must make a good break here. He's going well, the break is 48 and he needs one more red. He's got the red, Davis needs a snooker, it should be 8-7 now. The break's ended at 52, Davis needs two snookers with three reds left, he'll play on here. He won't now, Greene has potted another red and smacked in a long brown. A revived Greene has rattled up 39 points already in frame sixteen, he'll need to split the pack soon. He's whistled in a 60 break but a loss of position caused him to take on and miss a long red. There are still seven reds left, plenty of points for Davis if he gets a chance. A good long red from Davis, now can he makes some inroads into Gerard's lead. No he can't. He's missed the black and Greene can close out the frame. It's all square and just a best of three now. We have a real late night Crucible Cruncher on our hands. Don't go away! the crowd is getting behind Davis. Greene has jawed a long red and left it for Davis. He's smacked the black, split the pack but the white's gone tight on the cushion and he's not on a red. Greene has potted an amazing red, from tight under the baulk cushion, digging into the white, and he's very unlucky not to land on a colour. Davis has carved himself an opening and he's not hanging around. Maybe he thinks the shot clock will start! The break has reached 19 and he's got a 35 point lead but a lot of work to do yet. He's made 39 and played safe. the lead is 54 and there are five reds left. Davis has nudged pink and yellow safe which is to his advantage. Davis is back at the table and he's clinched the frame now, one up, two to play and the crowd is roaring for him. It's funny in the early 80s everyone wanted to see Davis get beaten, now we all want to see him win! Greene has broken off in frame 18 and Davis has potted a pile driver of a red, but no position, so just a good safety shot. Davis has potted some exceptionally good long balls in the second half of this match. It's Greene's turn to whack in a long red, but he's not got position either, but he's taken on a hard yellow to the centre and missed it and he's clattered into the pack and left an easy opener for Davis. The black is tied up at the moment and the pink is now up on the green spot, so he's got to manoeuvre off the blue for the moment. He's made 27 and missed an easy black. Greene's back at the table, while Davis sits in his chair and rages at himself. Greene has split the reds open nicely, the black awaits, this is a frame winning chance, barring the pressure of course. He got the wrong site of the blue, but he's potted a good red to recover. Greene leads 40-27 with two reds left, one of them on the top cushion. He's played onto the tough red, this could win or lose him the frame. He's got it, just needs the black and the last red. We're going into a decider. the break ends at 62, Davis is having a forlorn attempt to get the three snookers he needs. Here we go then, Davis breaks off. A packed Crucible audience is loving every minute of this. A good safety shot from Davis to the top rail. This could now send reds into the open up the table. Greene's played a good shot to get the white down to the baulk cushion. That's given Davis plenty to think about. There's already five reds out in the open. Wow! Davis was forced into a pot and he's slotted in a stunning long red, but he's landed tight under the cushion, he's got a really tough black if he wants to take it. He's missed it and left Greene a tricky red to the middle, which he's missed. It's very twitchy now. Davis has whacked in another long red. again without decent position, he's got a long blue this time to try and get a break going. It's in and now he's at closer range. Davis has smacked in a plant which has scattered the reds open, he's having to take the blue each time, but it's a decent chance. he got himself stuck too close to the red and he's left it in the jaws. Can Gerard hold his nerve? If Davis loses this match, he'll drop out of the top 16, which means he would have to win a qualifying round to get to the Crucible next year. Greene's missed the green but he didn't get good position on a red. The tension is nearly unbearable now, and that's just for the audience. Imagine how the players are feeling! Davis has got a good red with the rest, but missed the green, which was hanging in the jaws, albeit at distance. Another chance for Greene. But he's made an awful mess of his position. This is torture for both players. There are only five reds left and the frame score reads 22-20 in Greene's favour. He's opted for safety. Davis has caught his safety thick. Another chance for Greene. He just can't get his arm to do what his brain is saying. He's lost position, missed a tough red but got safe. A good safety from Davis this time. Greene's hurled himself at a long one and missed it, but he's got away with it. Davis has dug out a really good red and now it's all in his own hands. He's split the red off the black, the crowd is cheering every shot he plays, he's regained the lead at 34-28 with one red left. The last red is up the side cushion. Davis has got right behind it, but this is really hard, particularly under the circumstances. He's missed it and he's left it. Davis leads by 13 with the one red left. The green is the only ball that can save Davis, it's over by the yellow cushion. Green has played a terrible shot from blue to yellow and can only play safe. Davis leads 41-34 on the yellow now. Davis has got a snooker on the yellow, good escape from Greene it's reasonably safe. Davis has fluked the yellow but he's not on the safe green. Davis is 9 ahead on the green so he needs green, brown and blue, Green needs up to and including the pink. Green has had an almighty lash at the green, missed it by a mile and left it for Davis, and he's added the brown, just the blue needed but it'll need a good long pot. He's got it. Greene needs 2 snookers on the pink. Davis is through. What drama!
Match 8 PAUL HUNTER 5-4 MICHAEL HOLT
Frame Scores: 22(22)-93(93), 85(62)-0, 35(35)-70(45), 68(43)-0, 70(51)-17, 98(74)-12, 14-78, 63-59, 53(36)-70(61)
Just a few minutes before Yorkshire's favourite son, Paul Hunter makes his entrance into the arena. And he's assured a wave of support from the crowd, partly because of his highly publicised health problems. But he'll be wanting to put that out of his mind as he sets about playing Crucible debutant Michael Holt. The pair grew up together in English Junior snooker, and are good friends off the table, but they'll be no love lost today as battle commences. A tremendous welcome for Hunter, who's sporting a new short hair style, with a bit of a Daffy duck quiff about it (GSC makes no claim to be a fashion guru!) and he's started with a thumping long red from Holt's break off and is straight in amongst the balls. Just 22 and a safety shot, but a nice bright start for Hunter. Now how will Holt cope with the Crucible nerves? Holt's belted in a long red and is bustling around the table, but he hasn't got ideal position yet, but he's still potting them. He looks to be relishing his first visit to the Crucible. Holt's got the balls in good position now, he could win the frame at this visit. He's nearly as quick as Robert Milkins around the table, if those two played each other you wouldn't have time to blink. Holt's rattled in 73 so far, a frame winning break. the break's finished on 93, nearly a century in his debut frame. Only Fergal O'Brien has ever made a century in his first ever frame at the Crucible and his record is still intact, but only just.
Holt's missed one early in the next and now Hunter has a chance to get a few on the board. He's missed the black trying to split the pack but Holt's missed as well, so Hunter can continue where he was before. And he's clinched the frame. It's a bright and breezy start to the match. A poor safety shot from Hunter has let Holt in and he's on 38 already in frame three. He's lost position on 45 but he's got good length on his safety. Holt's had a bit of a lash at a long red and given Hunter a good chance. Hunter's unlucky, he was looking good on 35 but got an awful kick on the pink, a reprieve for Holt, who leads by 12 points with one red left. Hunter needs a snooker now on the yellow but he's snookered himself. Hunter's opened the fourth with 43, but he's keeping it tight and he's forced a safety error from Holt and is straight back to the table. They're back from their tea-break and Holt's missed again and given Hunter a nice opening. He's won the frame from it. Holt will need to tighten up a bit, he'll get severely punished for careless errors. There will be a brief break while the powers that be attempt to fix the computer scoreboards in the arena. This will do nothing to help the players' concentration, they've returned the dressing room. Plan B could come into operation here (no not that one!). Eirian Williams is clutching an old fashioned club scoreboard in the arena, which will be a last resort. There's hilarity in the audience as the scoreboards spring back to life, but Drew Henry won't be pleased, it says Alan McManus has won 10-0!! Ah we're back in action, manual scoreboards hang behind the markers' tables. An awful break off by Hunter, but Holt's made a mistake as well, as they try to get their concentration back after the disruption to play. Hunter's settled down again with a frame winning effort, he's looking very good now and moves further ahead. Holt's had two good chance in the seventh, but made only 43 from them. He's struggling a bit with his positional play. Holt's made another error but Hunter's missed a fairly simple red, he should have punished Holt there, but now Holt has a chance to close out the frame. He's missed a red with the rest. This frame is becoming a litany of errors. a great long red from holt and this time he's done enough to win the frame. Hunter's in with a nice chance in frame eight. the black is open, but he'll need to open the reds. They didn't split nicely and he's only made 32. Frame eight has gone a bit scrappy but Holt leads by 21 on the green. Oh, Holt's missed it and Hunter has cleared up to win on the black. Holt is still seething at his miss and he knows he'll trail overnight now, but he needs to try and take the last frame so the gap doesn't get any wider. Hunter's had the first run at the balls in the ninth, but the white stuck in the pack when he tried to split them. So it's a lead of 42 and he's snookered Holt behind the green. A good escape by Holt and another good safety from Hunter. Holt's giving the pack a microscopic examination in case there's a plant there. There wasn't! Hunter is keeping this very tight now. But there's a chance for Holt now. Hunter failed twice to escape from a snooker and now he's left the reds on for a Holt revival. And what a good break from Holt, he's cleared up to take the frame and trails by only one frame overnight.
Match 8 PAUL HUNTER 8-10 MICHAEL HOLT
Frame Scores: 36-67(51), 36(31)-64, 56-64, 119(115)-7, 56(56)-68, 120(120)-2, 62(39)-30, 42-68(38)
Join us again at 14.30 for the resumption of Paul Hunter's match. A nice gesture from his fellow players, Holt, White and O'Brien stand to applaud Hunter into the arena. Holt's out of the blocks like a greyhound, he's raced to 21 points and he's nicely amongst the reds with the black open. I can't type quick enough to keep up with Holt, but he's missed a tricky red on 51, but it's a good start for the Nottingham man. Hunter's attempted a long red but with a strong element of safety. He got the safety part of the shot anyway. Hunter's carved an opening, he's got 3 open reds, but he'll have to split a little cluster of three reds open if he's to win the frame. Hunter's made 23 and he's covered a red near the pocket, so Holt is trying a swerve, and he's only just knuckled it, another chance for Hunter now. It's Hunter's turn to rattle one, but he hasn't left anything. Holt leads by 15 with one red left. Holt's got the red, he's nicely on the yellow and also needs the green. He's got that and Hunter wants two snookers, and he's going to have a go at getting them. Now he won't as Holt has smashed in the brown. It's level again. Hunter's opened frame eleven with 31 points and now he's got Holt in a tight snooker. He's escaped and not left anything. But Hunter's found a shot to nothing, he's got the pot but no position. Hunter is keeping this as tight as possible, he knows how dangerous Holt is. Despite his best efforts Hunter's left Holt a pot and he's off and running again. He's brought the scores level, they're on the last red, which is on the cushion. Hunter has contrived to angle Holt on the last red. Holt's hit it okay, now he's snookered Hunter on the red. Holts dished up, he's won the first two frames and Hunter has a real match on his hands here. Hunter's made 34 in frame 12, but he's struggling with lack of practice and he's let Holt in. Holt's unlucky, a bad kick when he was right in the balls on 27. A reprieve for Hunter. But it's not happening for him so far today, Holt stills trails by 9 point with 3 reds left. Holt's got Hunter behind the brown, but he's lucky, it's not what he played. What a great escape, off three cushions, dead weight to the red - is there a Shot of the Championship this year? Holt's played a poor safety and Hunter's slotted a long red, but no position. Hunter leads by 10 points, 2 reds left. This is the longest safety exchange of the match, still two reds left. Holt's clipped a very thin red in but no position, so he's laid the snooker. That's forced an error from Hunter and he's left a pot on the red. Holt's left the yellow hanging in the pocket, hunter needs up to and including the blue. No position on the blue so he's played safe, Hunter's 10 points ahead. A great long pot on the blue from Holt, he needs pink and black, the pink's in and he's on the black, he's won all three frames today. But Hunter's won the fourth and in great style with a fabulous 115. Holt's opened an early lead in frame 14, now he's got Hunter snookered and there's a lot of open reds. Well he's hit them, screwed back to baulk but scattered the reds everywhere. But he's got a right result as Holt has missed a sitter. It's all to no avail, Holt's cleared up and now leads 8-6, the alarm bells are ringing a bit for Hunter now. Holt's first amongst the balls in the fifteenth frame, 20 points so far, will the nerves kick in and he gets closer to the winning line? No sign of nerves so far, Holt's moved on to 58, but he's run out of position. Hunter's snookered him and got a chance himself now. But he's let Holt off the hook and he's got a red to leave Hunter needing snookers. Holt needs just one frame. He's whacked in a long red and looks inspired. No position, but Hunter's missed one and looks like he's had enough of this match now. But maybe not, he's smashed in a long red and he'll stick at it. Hunter is rattling through the balls, a break of 48 already. He's up to 63 and that's the frame safe. It's his second century, 120 clearance. He's still in the match. All of a sudden Hunter can't miss. He's playing this almost in exhibition style now, he's going for everything. He's missed the black but put 39 on the board. There's a great chance here for Holt to win the match, if he can control his excitement. Holt's taken a good green with the rest to keep the break going, he's made 25 so far, still trails by 14 points and there's five reds left. He's missed a hard pink and Hunter's back in the balls. The cheers from the other table put him off his shot so Holt has another chance, only two reds now and they're both safe at the moment. Hunter still has a 14 point lead. We're down to the last red, Hunter leads by 13. He's got a chance after snookering Holt. Just yellow and green needed for Hunter to stay in the match. He's got them. He's 26 up on the brown. It's 9-8 and Hunter is favourite to win this match now, although he's still a frame behind. Holt is beginning to look very anxious. And he's twitched and given Hunter a very nice opening. Hunter looks imperious when he's amongst the balls. the break has moved into the thirties. He's made 34 and run for cover. But here's a chance for Holt, every shot will look a lot harder for him now. He's made 24 but missed a mid range black. Hunter has a ten point lead, the reds are open and there are four of them left. Hunter's missed a red with the rest, a let off for Holt, can he hold himself together now. It's all going to be about the yellow. It's tight on the side cushion. Holt is 6 in front and he's behind the yellow, down the rail, what a shot at the stage. It flies in. He's 20 up on the pink. He's done it.
Match 9 STEPHEN HENDRY 7-2 NEIL ROBERTSON
Frame Score: 113(103)-16, 1-74(61), 75(50)-36, 84(84)-8, 94(94)-20, 43-58, 78(45)-46(46), 86(86)-0
Neil Robertson has played his first shot in the Crucible, a good safety and Hendry's missed a long red by a margin and given the Aussie a nice easy starter. Only 8 point and a decent safety, but that will help him settle down. It's Hendry who looks the more nervous of the two players. Another chance for Neil. And welcome to all our Aussie visitors, who're having a sleepless night to sit up and watch Neil's progress. Another 8 points but he's missed a red, still a few nerves jangling. Hendry's found a red to the middle, he'll have to go into the pack pretty soon, but he usually does anyway. The split didn't work so safety for Hendry. Robertson's safety was poor and now Hendry has a nice opening with the reds spread. The Scot looks settled now he's in amongst the balls. One of the keys to this match could be how good Robertson's safety is. The break is past 50 and Hendry needs one red to win the frame and he's got that easily enough. A fabulous shot to get the last red out, Hendry is eyeing up a century in the first frame. That was century number 666 for Hendry.
The Scot has rattled a red in the jaws and Robertson has a chance at the start of frame two. But he still looks very nervous, he's missed a red he'd normally pot blindfold, but only one red for Hendry and he's messed up his safety so a let off for the Aussie. He's taken the aggressive option of powering through the pack but he's a bit unlucky, no easy colour for him and the reds are now perfect. He's smacked in a great long yellow to keep going. He looks much more settled now. The break is up to 40 and he's still in good position. The break ends at 61 but he's got his first frame on the board. Hendry's keeping Robertson in his chair in the third frame. He's on 38 and looking to split open the reds and the pink and black which have been tied up. He opened them but left a thin red which he's over cut, so a break of 50, but plenty for Robertson still. Oh, he's unlucky, he's knocked the black in off his safety shot, he trails by 56 with 67 left on. Hendry's left a red in the jaws. He's smacked in a superb green and he's nicely on the reds, a good chance to claw back into the frame. the last red along the top rail will be tricky, but apart from that this is a great chance. He's got the red. Just the colours now, this would be a great frame to win. He's missed the yellow, but he's fluked a snooker. Robertson's left the green on for Hendry and that's a bit of a let off for the Scot. Hendry's put his foot down in the next, a miss by Robertson and frame winning break for Hendry, but he's a bit annoyed that the break ended on 84, no century! They've completed their interval and Robertson has missed the first chance and let Hendry in. He can't afford to do that, it could cost him a frame every time, as Hendry has settled in and looks to be in extremely good form. Another error from Robertson in frame six, he's missed the blue off the spot and Hendry's back where he likes to be, right amongst the reds. But what a let off, Hendry's missed the pink off the black spot, he'd lost position a bit after a kick and may have lost concentration. Robertson is struggling in the Crucible pressure cooker. He's only managed 20 that time. Hendry leads 43-35 but he's missed the red, trying to force an angle and there's another chance for the Aussie. He's cleared to the pink and what a difference that could make, it's 4-2 instead of 5-1. Robertson's left a nice easy opening red for Hendry right at the start of frame seven and the Scot has a mean look in his eye now. He'll be very annoyed to have let the last frame slip away. He may let this one slip too, he's made 45 and missed a straightforward red with the rest. Robertson's made 38 so far and a good shot from a long blue has developed all the reds. But he's missed, the scores are level but the chance now goes to Hendry. He's made no mistake this time and he'll be quite relieved to have got this frame on the board, he's opened a three frame gap and it could quite easily have been only one. Neil's attempted a long red but it rattled, but he's been lucky this time, he hasn't left anything for Hendry. The Scot has picked out a plant to get himself an opening in frame eight, and there's not a safe ball on the table. He's clinched the frame, now how big will the break be? He's missed another century chance, that's three now this afternoon, he's annoyed! He's even more annoyed now. He's cruised to a 42 break, had all the balls at his mercy and missed a simple red. Robertson doesn't hang around, he's already on a run of 47. He's made 62 but got out of position and he's missed the black. One red left and the frame should go to Hendry if he doesn't slip up and he doesn't, he's got a big 7-2 lead.
Match 9 STEPHEN HENDRY 10-7 NEIL ROBERTSON
Frame Scores: 69(68)-27,21-67(49), 81(42)-13, 26-70(55), 26-72(54), 10-59(51), 0-110(110), 76-24
The first red goes to Hendry, but he's missed the green, so hasn't settled down yet this morning. Hendry hasn't woken up yet, that's another miss and a chance now for Robertson. He's made 20 only. Now has Hendry woken up yet? Yes he has, a nice 68 break and Robertson needs snookers. Hendry's missed in the next, only made 20 from a good opening, so a chance for Robertson to get a good break here. He's going along well here, and a great plant has kept the break going, which is now 49 points. I spoke too soon, He's missed a red. Robertson's gained points from a snooker and he's got the red he needs, so Hendry needs snookers. Hendry's looking good in frame twelve, a break of 35 and plenty more to come. Plenty more for Robertson now, Hendry's break ended at 42. The Aussie has missed another one, so Hendry should close out this frame now. And he has. a good break off from Hendry has immediately give him a good chance, but shock, he's missed a black off the spot, he was cueing over the pack so it wasn't easy. A nice 55 from Robertson, but it's not a frame winner, he's got a 40 point lead with 4 reds on. Hendry's missed a very risky red down the rail and Robertson has won the frame. They'll continue after the interval. And it's Robertson who's got the opening chance. But he's not made anything of that and there's an opening for Hendry and he'll want to close this match out without any further delay. Hendry isn't zoned in this morning at all. He's missed on 26 and back comes Robertson. A nice break of 54 has given the Aussie another frame. Hendry's safety shot nudged a red out and Robertson is off and running again. He may not come back to win this match, but he'll feel a lot better now, he's showed the Crucible audience just what a fantastic player he is. A good 51 but a missed black gives Hendry a chance to clear up. Only a safety by Hendry. Robertson's whacked in a thumping red and now he should win the frame. Not yet. Robertson leads by 44 with 59 left on the table. Another red for the Aussie and a safety shot. He's edging closer, 45 up now with only 51 left. Hendry's missed the red completely and conceded. Robertson's blitzed through the next with a one visit break and now at 9-7, Hendry has plenty to think about. He needs to wake up as he's been very subdued all morning. Robertson now looks like he can't miss, that's a fabulous century. And there's one stalwart Aussie fan sitting in the front row, who's sitting up taller in his chair now. Dave Jackson travels every year to the Crucible where he watches every ball potted on his annual trip. Hi Dave, have a great trip. But Robertson's missed the opening red, now can Hendry keep his concentration this time. No he can't. He's overcut the black and he's under a lot of pressure now. This match is becoming very interesting now, Robertson will believe he can win now. And a great long pot emphasises that belief. He's smacked straight into the pack, he's buzzing now. He's pushed the boat out too far there, taking on a long pink, he's missed it. It's another chance for the Scot. Now Hendry's looks fully focussed but the reds are not in good positions, mostly on cushions. His break is up to 38 but this is very hard work, Hendry's got a 46-24 lead but he's missed a very tough red. There are 4 reds left but none pottable for Robertson at the moment. Hendry's picked out a long red but no position, but he's taken on a hard brown to centre and got it, it looks ominous now for the Aussie. Hendry's got a great red along the top cushion and that's the match winner. That was the best 20 break he's ever made. Robertson needs snookers. He's 42 behind on the last red. He's got his snooker but no problem for Hendry to hit that. Here's snooker number two. Hendry's that as well. Robertson plays quite a lot of billiards in Australia so he certainly knows his angles. But he's left the red on, it's all over.
Match 10: DAVID GRAY 4-2 ANTHONY HAMILTON
Frame Scores: 67-50, 75-67(45), 92(46)-7, 86-41, 30-76, 37-80(71)
An intriguing match in prospect here between the two stable mates. The pair have settled into what could become the pattern for the match. A cagey opening. The reds are well spread but safety is dominating their thinking at this early stage. Hamilton leads by 26 points, but Gray has dropped a good red to the middle and now has a very good chance to make an impact. Gray's break comes to an end at 32, maybe a kick as he tried to run the red along the rail. Hamilton's back to the table with a narrow 3 point lead, but the balls are a bit scrappy, there's plenty of mileage in this frame yet. Gray is off and running in the second, his break's reached 33, but he's missed an awkward red with the long rest. Hamilton's come right back at him with a break of 45, but he didn't get on the last red, but he leads by 26. Disaster for Hamilton, he's failed to escape from a tough snooker and Gray has a few ball, and all the balls are open for him to pinch the frame, but he's thrown the chance away, failing to get good position and missing green to the middle. So Hamilton gets the last red and the frame should be his. but how lucky has Gray been. He attempted to lay a snooker, but ended up angling Hamilton, who's now faced with a very hard shot. He's missed the escape and left a free ball. Gray holds all the Aces at the moment. And he's looking good for a 3-0 lead, which wouldn't reflect the balance of play. Gray is in the balls again in the fourth frame, but a lot of work to do yet. Hamilton would dearly love to win this frame to get a toe-hold in the match. A reprieve for Hamilton, Gray's forced to play safe having made only 26. But the Londoner has another chance and Hamilton's early lead has disappeared. He's got plenty to think about in the interval. Gray is first amongst the balls in the fifth. Hamilton has fought his way back. He's 32 up on the last red, the frame is not secured yet. After a few mishaps Hamilton has a chance to reduce his deficit further. This will probably be the last frame of the session as the afternoon play commences at 14.30, and what a treat in prospect as well. Sic time Embassy World Champion Steve Davis starts his campaign against Gerard Greene and a mouth-watering match in prospect between Matthew Stevens and Andy Hicks. and the sessions ends with three frames not played.
Match 10 DAVID GRAY 8-9 ANTHONY HAMILTON
Frame Scores: 119(81)-0, 8-92, 23-74, 69(43)-1, 47-61(43), 1-86(86), 14-72(71), 22-68, 5-88(53), 90(71)-44(44), 64-37
This pair will need to get a move on this morning, otherwise they could face a late night return to complete the match. They managed only six frames in their first session and still have a possible thirteen frames to complete. David Gray is first out of the blocks this morning, he's already on a break of 37 and he's turned that into a frame winner. Frame eight was a lot better for Hamilton, he's dominated it, but he's still two frames behind. Hamilton looks to have closed the gap to one frame. He's 51 ahead, there's only one red left, but Gray is trying for snookers. Gray has the balls at his mercy in frame ten, he should open his two frame buffer again here. Things are not going Hamilton's way. A good chance in frame eleven is ruined by a kick and the red stayed out, the balls are now there for Gray. Only 31 for Gray and it's back to a little safety battle now. Despite having a two frame lead Gray looks far from happy and If Hamilton sticks with him, this match could still go either way. Hamilton's right back in this, a break of 34 and he's only one point behind on the brown. That's a great frame for Hamilton to win, he looked like going three behind and now he's only one behind, it could prove to be a turning point in this match. Hamilton looks on course to complete his recovery here, he leads by 55 points and looks much more fluent now. The tide could be turning, Gray has missed a red in the next, having opened all the reds and now Hamilton has a great chance to take advantage. And he has, an excellent 71, he leads for the first time and Gray looks very disgruntled in his chair. Hamilton's got the upper hand in the next and if he wins this, it'll be a run of four frames, a dramatic turnaround. Hamilton is well on the way to a 9-6 lead, he's weathered the storm and Gray will have to find something special to stave off defeat. More disaster for Gray, he potted a yellow but snookered himself behind it, he's left a great chance for Hamilton to close out the match. Hamilton's missed a red trying to bridge over the pack so this could be Gray's last chance now. He trails by 24 points but there's plenty left on the table. This is a great effort by Gray, he's cleared the reds, leads by 20, but he needs a good colour now to get up for the yellow. Oh dear! He's 26 up but he's snookered himself on the yellow, there's more drama to come in this frame yet. Well, he's fluked it out of the snooker and he's still in the match. Both players have had chances and fluffed them, but Hamilton's popped in a long red, can he carve out a match winning chance this time? No! He leads 36-25 but there are 5 reds left still. Gray's safety left a plant on for Hamilton, now can he apply the final touches this time, the balls are very awkward and he's missed his first colour. Gray is back at the table, but it would be a miracle to clear up from here. Well Gray's done remarkably well so far. He leads by 18 going into the colours, but he's not ideal on the yellow and the brown is on the side cushion, but he only needs yellow and green. He attempted a double on the yellow, but made sure of a good white, so it's all to play for on the colours. If Gray wins this frame the pair face a late night return to complete the match. The afternoon session is due to start at 14.30 and time is running out. Hamilton has laid a snooker. Gray's got the yellow and the green, Hamilton needs a snooker. Gray's got the brown, he's back to 9-8 and now they'll have to return for a late night nerve-tingling conclusion.
Match 10 DAVID GRAY 8-10 ANTHONY HAMILTON. Frame Scores: 1-72(72)
This match will resume at 21.35. Not only does progress in the tournament hang on the result, but it's winner take all as far as a place in the top sixteen is concerned. If Hamilton wins he stays in the top sixteen, for now, but if Gray wins he'll overtake Hamilton and push him out. Gray took a risky red on and missed it and Hamilton has already pieced together a break of 49, he's looking good to clinch the match here. He's done enough now, he's 72 ahead there's only 59 left.
Match 11 JIMMY WHITE 8-1 FERGAL O'BRIEN
Frame Scores: 110(80)-15, 68-31, 87(59)-25, 65-81, 69(50)-51, 72(56)-34, 83(59)-0, 67(67)-60, 70-28
The Crucible roof nearly lifts off as they welcome Jimmy. It's good to see Fergal back at the Crucible. The Irishman has been a bit in the doldrums the past couple of seasons and he's the lowest ranked player left in this year's event. And Fergal has nailed his first couple of safety shots to give Jimmy plenty to think about. Jimmy's fluked one, big cheer! He can't make anything of that though, so it's safety only. There's a missed long red from Fergal so a chance for Jimmy. It's not a bad opening, a few loose reds but pink and black are tied up. Only 20 for Jimmy, he's missed a long blue with the rest, so the chance goes to Fergal. Oh dear that's careless by Fergal, he's knocked the blue with his hand. He's taken a good red to the middle so another chance for the Irishman. He's missed is colour, now then a good chance for Jimmy to settle down and put a few points together. And he has, the first frames goes to the Londoner, with a super 80 clearance. Jimmy's made a bad safety error to start frame two and Fergal's got an easy opener. He's only made 17. Jimmy's missed a black and Fergal has glued him under the baulk cushion. A safety mistake from Jimmy left an easy red for Fergal, but he's missed it. Jimmy will gain confidence if he's not punished for his mistakes. Jimmy's found a cross-double to earn an opening. He's gained a narrow 20-17 lead and put Fergal in a bit of trouble on the safety. A great plant by Jimmy, but the colours aren't very friendly. This will be a frame for just chipping away at the balls. Jimmy now leads 38-21 on the last red which is on the top cushion. White's got the last red, he's favourite for the frame. Jimmy looks pretty good so far in this match and O'Brien hasn't really put him under pressure yet and the Irishman is short of match practice as well. Jimmy's pushed the boat out too far, attempting an improbably pot. He's made 28 and handed the initiative to Fergal. The Irishman is short of confidence, he's let White back in and he's clearing up to lead 3-0. Jimmy's opened a 26 point lead in the fourth but he's thrown Fergal a lifeline and he desperately needs to win this frame. He's trying to get out of a self-imposed snooker and not succeeding. He stuck on the back of the reds and is trying to hit the yellow. He's missed it 7 times and given away 28 points so far. Well it's 9 misses now, he's bearing down on Mark King's record of 12 misses. Fergal's given 36 points away now . Well would you believe it. He's opted to hit the green, got it first time and snookered Jimmy! After all the drama Fergal has hung on to win the frame on the pink. He'll feel a bit better at the interval. Fergal's opened up with 31 but White's knocked off the lead and is still in the balls. Fergal's fought right back into the frame, the scores are level and they're on the pink, they both need pink and black. and Jimmy's got them. Fergal's made a good start in frame six, only 23 points so far, but he's nicely in amongst the reds. He was. Jimmy's back in and he's taken the lead and is going along nicely. He leads 56-30 and he's snookered Fergal. There are 3 reds left and they're playing safe now looking for a chance. Jimmy's got Fergal in trouble here, two reds left and Jimmy leads 63-34. He's 30 up now with one red left and he's snookered Fergal, Jimmy's in control at the moment. Fergal's stuck the red up, that should be 5-1 to Jimmy. Everything's going right for Jimmy and it's not for Fergal. He's missed a red and let Jimmy in for another fifty plus break and still counting. Jimmy is playing fluently now. That's a 59 point lead for Jimmy, six reds left and Jimmy's put Fergal tight on the baulk cushion. Jimmy's whacked another long red in and that's another frame on the board for him. Fergal has potted two great long reds but then missed an easy black off the spot. Perhaps he should play every shot at distance. This frame is going better now for Fergal. He's 66 points ahead but still 6 reds left. Fergal's still favourite for the frame but he's let jimmy back to the table with reds to go at. And Jimmy's cleared them and needs all the colours to pinch the frame. Fabulous, a vintage 67 clearance from White, he's buzzing now. A 43 break from Jimmy in the last frame of the session and he's snookered Fergal on the reds. Jimmy just can't miss today and he's going to enjoy an 8-1 overnight lead and his fans are certainly enjoying it.
Match 11 JIMMY WHITE 10-5 FERGAL O'BRIEN
Frame Scores: 8-77, 0-76(76), 80-18, 0-106(58,47), 6-73(32), 108(52)-0
Fergal's taken the first frame of the day but no need for any alarm for Jimmy White fans yet. Although there was one very famous match between Nigel Bond and Cliff Thorburn one year. Cliff led 9-2 at one stage and lost 10-9. Fergal's looking very confident this morning, of course there's no pressure of him, apart from pride of performance and he's on a run of 53 and still going in frame eleven. He's got this frame in the bag. Jimmy's wiped the sleep out of his eyes and ha got amongst the balls in frame twelve. He'll want to wrap this match up as quickly as possible. I spoke too soon. He's broken down on 23 and let Fergal to the table. Nothing much for Fergal. This frame's gone scrappy now and they're both missing balls. The frame score is 35-7 in Jimmy's favour and there are five reds still, but Jimmy's got one of them and a long pink, a good chance now to clinch the frame. Not quite, he's missed a red but Fergal needs two snooker on the last two reds. He's got one of them, he's 37 behind on the last red. Jimmy's got the red and cleared up, he's just one frame from victory now. It's last chance for Fergal now but he's only a nice break of 33 in the next frame and he's just given us a nice demonstration of the Hook Rest, the newest bit of kit available. It makes you wonder why nobody thought of it before when these news pieces of equipment come on the market. Every table should have one as part of the standard equipment and if you haven't got one yet in your club then click the box on the front page of GSC to learn more. Meanwhile Fergal's moved to 59 ahead but there's 67 still on. Fergal's done enough, it's 9-4 and he's taken the match into a last session after their interval. There's an early chance for Fergal after the interval, the balls are nicely set and he'll fight all the way. He's missed a red and only made 32 from that chance. what a let off for Fergal, Jimmy's missed the black and Fergal can try again. He's done enough to leave Jimmy needing two snookers, but has obligingly snookered himself! He failed to escape but has potted the extra red he needed now. A good red to the middle for Jimmy and he's got the first chance in the fifteenth frame. This is a good chance to close out the match, he's nicely on the black and has open reds. He's messed up his position, so only 28. He'll have to wait for another chance. And here's his chance now, but he'll need to get the pack open soon. He's lost position but leads by 55 points. He's in again and this time he's done enough to clinch victory. Jimmy plays Matthew Stevens in the next round and what a great match that could be.
Match 12: MATTHEW STEVENS 6-3 ANDY HICKS
Frame Scores: 80(51)-53, 1-67, 68(68)-9, 8-104, 0-105(105), 80(56)-33, 66-49(49), 68(67)-3
Play recommences at 14.30. Join GSC for this mouth-watering match and of course six times Embassy World Champion Steve Davis sets out on his Crucible campaign against Gerard Greene. And here we go with an exciting afternoon's snooker in prospect. The players are now being introduced into the arena. Andy Hicks is straight in amongst the balls in the first frame, but a miscalculation brings the break to an end at 21 so he's forced to play safe. A 51 break puts Stevens ahead. They're on the yellow and Stevens needs one more ball. Hicks has got the snooker he needs, can Stevens escape? It's tight behind the black. Stevens fails to escape and leaves a free ball. Hicks has him snookered again, although he trails, Hicks looks favourite to win the frame. Well he did until Stevens fluked the green out of the snooker. Stevens is looking good in frame three, on a break of 68 and there's only 67 left so he'll take the lead again here. Well , maybe not yet, he missed the blue that would have put it beyond doubt. Hicks only needs one snooker. Hicks has stormed through the fourth so it's all square at the interval. Despite the fact that the scores are level, Hicks looks the most settled of the two players and he's off to a good start in the fifth frame, on a run of 39 so far, and he's finished with a superb 105. That's fired Stevens into action, he's in excellent position around the black spot, on a run of 56, but he's missed an easy red, and he's left it. He's got away with it and they're level again. This match has all the makings of a 10-9 either way. Hicks has run in 49 in the seventh, but overcut a red and that's end of break and a good chance for Stevens to counter. Stevens has cut the deficit in half and there's a safety exchange in progress. Stevens completes the comeback and nicks the frame on the pink, he's back in front. Stevens is looking good to stretch his lead, a run of 53 so far and only 3 reds left. He'll gain the lead at the end of their first session. The final frame of the session is a bit cagey. Stevens leads 48-15, but there are six reds left, three of them stuck on cushions. But a mistake from Stevens has opened some reds, can Hicks respond? He desperately needs this frame. Hicks' fight back was halted by an error and now he needs snooker. Stevens will lead 6-3 and he'll be well pleased. Hicks will wonder how he's let a couple of frames slips from his grasp. They'll be back on Sunday night for their final session.
Match 12: MATTHEW STEVENS 10-5 ANDY HICKS
Frame Scores: 66-15, 105(105)-0, 0-95(54), 56(56)-62(62), 88(88)-9, 70(62)-53(43)
Andy Hicks is first amongst the balls. He needs a good start tonight to stay in touch. He's missed a sitter to the middle. Stevens is punishing Hicks here. He leads 60-15 with two reds left. Stevens is threatening to run away with this match now. He's already opened a lead of 40 in the next frame. The break's moved along to 73, he could make 140 here. There's the century, but a bit unlucky, a kick cost good position, only 105! A great opening red by Hicks and he's rattled up 38 so far. And a late run of 54 has reduced Hicks' arrears to 8-4 but he's still got a mountain to climb. Hicks has let Stevens to the table in frame thirteen and Stevens is on 26, but hasn't got into the pack yet. Stevens has struggled for position all the way through this breaks, but he's accumulated 56 points so far. Stevens has let Hicks off the hook a bit here. He went for a difficult pot when safety might have been a better option. Hicks has a good chance to close the gap and it would be a huge difference between 8-5 and 9-4. Hicks has produced a superb 62 clearance and it is 8-5 at the interval. They're back at the table and Hicks has whacked in a long red to gain a chance. Oh dear, he's missed a simple black. Stevens has pounced with a break of 88 and he's one frame from victory. A fabulous long red from Matthew to start frame fifteen, he's got the black and opened a few reds, but he's missed another long red and given Hicks an easy opener. Hicks has missed a red trying to cue over the pack, but he hasn't left an easy red. a good safety shot from Hicks has earned him another chance. He's made 43 but left a red hanging in the jaws. A good shot on the black by Matthew has opened the reds, there's on stuck on the side cushion which he'll need. He's got the red out, he's 9 points behind with one red left, he should clear up now and he has.
Match 13 KEN DOHERTY 3-5 BARRY PINCHES
Frame Scores: 25-59(50), 68(37)-34(34), 0-77(68), 11-63(46), 0-102(102), 69(68)-9, 0-73(52), 73(32)-34
Doherty's the first to get his hand on the table and a couple of pots, but no position, so a chance for both players to settle with a bout of safety. Pinches has a nice new Norwich themed waistcoat. It's got yellow and green stripes up the back and looks a bit like a deckchair! Pinches was worked himself an opening and it's a good chance to settle down and get a few early points on the board. But it's only 8 points for Barry. The reds are very widespread but all seem to be awkward, pink and black are also out of the game at the moment, the brown is on a cushion, only the blue is open, so it could be a long fragmented frame now. They could play safe off these all day long, it would be a good candidate for a re-rack here. Doherty's dug out a red but three colours are on the cushion, but he's got the pink and black in the open. Seven points there, but he can't get at any more reds, so it's back to the safety. A 20 break could win this frame. Doherty's thumped in a double but he's not on a colour. He leads 25-8 now but there are still 8 reds left, but now there in open positions and pink and black are in play. Doherty's had a go at a long one and missed it and he's scattered reds for Pinches. Doherty will be annoyed with himself, he doesn't normally take on an impetuous shot. This is a good chance now for Pinches, he's on 22 and has taken a 6 point lead with 4 reds left. He's taken these very well and has secured the frame barring snookers. A fifty break from Pinches and he's 32 up on the yellow. the frame lasted 43 minutes. Doherty's got in first in frame two and has a decent chance. He's only made 18 and doesn't look comfortably yet, but he hasn't left anything. Pinches has won the safety exchange and the reds look quite inviting for him. Pinches has broken down on 34 and now Doherty has a chance to settle down, he still doesn't look very confident and he's missed but got away with it. a 37 clearance to the pink has given Doherty the frame. Doherty's made an error on his safety in the third and Pinches has already accumulated a break of 26 and there's plenty more open reds to attack. A good 68 by Pinches but he's missed a red, but there's only 67 left. He's whacked in a long red to put the frame beyond doubt. Pinches is looking good again in frame four. Doherty's made only 11 points and Pinches has countered with 46 so far. Pinches lost position so he leads 48-11 with four reds left. Pinches has stretched his lead and Doherty needs two snookers on the last two reds. Pinches obviously enjoyed his interval break, he's whizzed through frame five, already 67 points ahead, but he needs one more red yet. He's got the red and the break is up to 71, a chance of a ton here. Doherty was a bit unlucky to let Pinches in, his safety shot knocked a red over the pocket. Doherty is digging deep into his reserves in frame six, he's battled his way to a fifty break and there's more to come. Doherty will feel a lot better now, that 68 break gets him into the match. Pinches needs snookers now, but he's missed a black so that's the end of that frame. Another bout of safety to start frame seven and it's a very important frame. With only six frames on the board this pair look unlikely to complete their scheduled nine frame before the afternoon session - and what an afternoon it promises to be with the entrance of the Crucible's favourite player - Jimmy White. Doherty's missed a red and Pinches is methodically picking off balls and leads by 48 points. He's lost position but he leads by 60 and needs one more red. He's finding the red hard to come by. A long safety exchange now as Doherty looks for a chance to counter-attack. Pinches has got the red at last, Doherty needs a snooker now. a rare safety error from Pinches in frame eight and a good chance for Ken. He badly needs this frame, which will be the last of the session now. No he can't get going, he's made 32 and missed a tricky red. He'll be glad to get out of the arena and regroup for tonight's final session. Just to make Doherty feel worse Pinches strokes in a long red, but a reprieve, Pinches has missed the cut back black. He's moved on to 48, but Pinches has missed another one and Doherty has his third chance in this frame. Doherty is just not with it at all today. A straightforward red has gone astray. He leads by 53 but there's 67 left on and Pinches is back at the table. There's only one consolation for Doherty, he can never play as badly as this again. Another disaster for Doherty, he's potted a very hard long red from right under the pocket but couldn't prevent the white following in. Now Pinches has him snookered and he's missed it twice. Can anything else go wrong for the Irishman on his 13th Crucible appearance? Well he's got the last red and a 21 point lead, he'll need the yellow to be sure of the frame. He's not perfect on it, but it's in. Pinches now needs three snookers on the green but he's playing on. Now he's conceded. They return tonight to complete the match and Doherty will be very relieved to only trail 3-5.
Match 13 KEN DOHERTY 10-5 BARRY PINCHES
Frame Scores: 125(55,70)-0, , 95(91)-0, 109(109)-1, 76(36)-2, 101(68,33)-22, 82(82)-14, 59-26
They've started where they left off this morning. A safety exchange to stat with. If Doherty is going to get back into this match, he needs to break the shackles and get his scoring arm going. At last, someone's potted a ball and it's Doherty. Ken's strung together a break of 37 so far, he needs this frame to keep in touch. The break ends at 55, useful but not conclusive. Doherty's slammed in a long red, he missed most of those this morning. The frame is safe now and he's right back in the match. Ken's back in the ball in frame ten, this is a good positive start by the Dubliner. His whole demeanour is different tonight. He's playing a lot quicker and now looks to be full of confidence. The break is up to 48 and he's potted two long reds to the yellow pocket to keep it going. He's won this frame and Pinches hasn't potted a ball yet tonight. What a turnaround. A bit unlucky, he got a kick on the last red and the break ended at 91. A great long pot by Pinches to start frame eleven. But it's only one and now Doherty is back in action. And a ton beckons now for Doherty, a great performance. At last a chance for Pinches in frame twelve, Doherty double kissed his safety shot. Oh dear, Pinches has missed the black and he's spread the reds all over the table. Doherty's made 36, but he's missed a tough red with the rest, he hasn't missed much tonight. Nothing for Pinches to go at though. Ken is 58 ahead with 59 on, four reds, all on the top cushion. Ken's created the chance to clear up and he's taken all four frames tonight. Amazing performance.
Doherty looks odds-on for the next frame. He's made a 68 break and there's only 59 left. Pinches has taken 22 points and laid a snooker on the last red. Doherty's escaped and he's cleared up with 33. It's all going wrong for Pinches, he's gained a chance in the fourteenth and was going quite nicely but he's missed a yellow and made only 14. He must be in shock at what Doherty has thrown at him tonight.
The Dubliner has got the balls at his mercy again. He's opened the pack up and everything is just waiting to be potted. Doherty has spent a lot of time up at the Snooker Academy in Wellingborough sharpening up his game against a host of brilliant young (and not so young) players, the likes of Mark Allen, Ding Junhui, Patrick Einsle, as well as Peter Ebdon of course. Matthew Stevens also put some pre-tournament practice time in the fabulous tournament tables in the Academy, which has rapidly turned into the pre-eminent world recognised centre for snooker excellence. And if you want to play like these stars you can book yourself a trip to the Academy Summer School, see front page of GSC for information. Of course the turnaround in Doherty's form tonight isn't all about the Academy, a lot is to do with his fantastic resilience and belief. I don't think I've seen him play this well since he won the Welsh Open a couple of seasons ago.
Doherty's excellent safety has forced Pinches into a tough pot, which he's missed. Another chance here for Doherty to make a sizeable break, if not a match-winning break. Well, Doherty's actually missed a pot, a major shock tonight! Pinches didn't have a shot on but he's got a good snooker. Pinches is battling hard in this frame. He's one point behind, with three reds left, but the balls are scrappy now, so this could take a while. Crafty Ken has laid a very nasty straight line snooker on the last red, he leads by eleven points. Good hit by Pinches and it's safe. Pinches has knocked the red into the open, it's a chance for Ken to close out the match. Pinches needs a snooker and Doherty has won eight frames on the spin from 5-3 down, a tremendous performance and it was all about what he did right, because Pinches didn't do much wrong and must wonder what on earth hit him tonight. Doherty now plays McManus in the second round, an intriguing match that will be between two master tacticians.
Match 14: ALAN McMANUS 5-4 DREW HENRY
Frame Scores: 11-76(44), 9-63, 62-39, 76(60)-44, 25-66, 57-17, 7-74(49), 66(66)-57(52), 61-0
A nice start by Drew Henry. He's already past the winning line in the opener with a useful 44. Henry's good start continues, he's won the second as well, comfortably. the third frame is a bit scrappy. McManus trails by 14 points with two reds left. But he's dished up the last balls to get his name on the board. He's going to win the fourth as well. Henry was well ahead but he left McManus back in and the doughty Scot has carved out a frame winning 60 break. Henry's taken the first after the interval. McManus has a golden chance in the sixth, the reds are scattered like a practice table, but this is the Crucible but he really should make a substantial break here. He's made only 22 before losing position. And now safety is hard for both players with reds all over the table. Henry had a chance, he didn't take it and McManus is stretching his lead in frame six. He's made another 34 break and leads by 39 with only 35 left. Henry's started well in the seventh, a solid break of 45 before running for cover. Henry's looking good again, he's opened up a 50 point lead in the eighth frame. But never-say-die McManus is fighting back, his break has reached 42. McManus seems to have weathered everything Hendry could throw at him, he's 50 ahead in the final frame of the night and just needs a red and colour for an overnight lead.
Match 14 ALAN McMANUS 10-9 DREW HENRY
Frame Scores: 1-128(128), 52(48)-70, 75(54)-20, 20-65, 54-17, 109(63)-0, 18-63, 23-66(53), 100(63)-4, 73-11
This Tartan tussle couldn't be closer, it's hard to predict a winner, but it's bound to be close. A great start from Drew Henry with a superb break of 128, not quite as many as his historic 148 earlier in the season, but he's levelled the match. The next is very close, McManus leads by two points and they're on the green. A good colours clearance with an excellent green, by Henry who leads again. Frame twelve is all over bar the shouting, and McManus has drawn level again. It's turn and turn about as Henry grabs the lead as they go for their final interval. This match is getting very tense now, not helped by the scoreboard interruption. Both players are missing balls. McManus seems to be adopting the "one frame league match" approach, of hit and hide. Henry looks more positive at the moment. McManus took a 40 point lead in frame fourteen, but a great safety shot from Henry forced an error and he's setting about reducing the deficit. Henry took his eye off a black, trying to split the reds, he's given McManus the chance to level once again. And McManus has made it two in a row with a solid break of 63. A very scrappy frame has gone to Drew Henry and the match is all-square once again. It is very tense now and there's a lot riding on this match for both players in terms of their ranking positions. McManus sits precariously at number fifteen and could drop out of the top sixteen depending on this and other results. Drew Henry is trying to regain his position in the top 32 and must win this match to have any chance of doing so. Drew's started well in the next, he's made 39 so far, the black is out of the game, and he still needs to split the pack open. A lead of 57 for Henry and now an awful bit of bad luck for McManus. He potted a red but flicked the pink and the white's gone in off in the middle. That's set him muttering and he's taken it out on the balls, banging in a good long red, but he's unlucky again, now he's stuck on the red. He's got to try and find a good safety shot or he could go 9-8 behind. McManus has got that nice and safe, Hendry needs a red and a colour to secure the frame. a great shot from McManus, he's got Henry in a tight snooker behind the yellow. The four remaining reds are open if Henry makes a mistake. Henry has potted another red but he's got no position on a colour. He leads by 50 with only 51 left. How unlucky has McManus been in this frame? He's potted a good red and landed right on top of the black. Sheer anger has spurred him to pot a fantastic pink to the yellow pocket, a lot of adrenaline went into that one! But he's 35 behind with 35 on, but he's still in the frame, just. Henry's got the ball he needed and he's that vital one frame ahead with two to play. McManus has picked off balls steadily through the frame he needs to stay in the match. He's forty points ahead and has the chance to clinch the frame. If it goes 9-9 the match will continue to its conclusion and the evening session, due to start at 19.00 will be delayed. how tense is this! McManus moves 57-4 ahead, but there are still 7 reds left, but he's in good position still, but every shot is a nerve-tingler now. He's 61 ahead with 67 left, he's nicely on the black, and it's in, it looks like a deciding frame now. He's played this frame very well. He opened with a useful 29 and now has made a telling 51, and counting, break. the break ended at 63 and we're into the final frame now. A super long red from Henry, but he got a bit of a kick and has no position. Henry took a risk there, a very thin black back into a blind pocket, he's missed it and left McManus right amongst the reds. Henry could live to regret that shot. McManus is setting about his task very calmly, only 24 points so far, but you know he won't make a careless error, but he hasn't got ideal position now and at some point he's going to have to split the pack. He's picking of a few loose reds first. He's got two open reds but he's got to use the rest to keep the break going. He's rattled it. He leads 32-1 and he hasn't left anything for Henry. He's played his safety to the top cushion and nudged another red out. An easy safety for McManus, but he's let the cue ball bounce off the baulk cushion. That's a poor shot from Henry, he's left McManus a long red, if he wants to take a chance at this critical stage. He's turned down the offer, but Henry now has the same opportunity. Henry's whacked in the long red, got a nice kiss and landed on the yellow, now he's got a chance. the reds are all open, the black and pink are open, he's unlucky, he's screwed up the table off the yellow and landed in the one spot where he's not on any of the reds, so he's forced to play safe. It's a good safety, tight on the baulk cushion. McManus has dug out a long red and he's laid a snooker tight behind the yellow. It's going to be very hard for Henry to get this safe. and he hasn't, McManus has a match-winning chance now. He already leads 45-4. McManus went for a very risky plant, which needed making, he's missed it but the white's run safe to the top cushion. the lead is 40 points, safety is the order of the day, there are six reds left, there is a long way to go in this frame yet, unless someone gets in and dishes up. You would certainly get your money's worth if you had an all day ticket at the Crucible today. Play started at 10.00 and there's been barely a break between sessions. Tonight's session is going to start at least half an hour late now and after that we still have the dramatic conclusion of the David Gray/Anthony Hamilton match. Meanwhile a red has drifted towards a pocket and McManus has - missed it! Henry's found a great red and he's right on the blue. It's still anybodies' match. Welcome to everybody who was watching other live scoring systems, which all seem to have broken down. GSC doesn't have all the techy gizmos but we can type quick!! Henry has fluffed the chance and McManus really should close it out here. Should! He needs one more red. he's done enough now. McManus is through and a distraught Drew Henry can only look back at that red he's just missed.
Match 15 GRAEME DOTT 3-6 Ian McCulloch
Frame Scores: 29-80(61), 51-70, 61-67, 46-61, 74(74)-28, 84-38(38), 106(60)-31, 33(33)-77(69), 31-59
A very cagey start to the match as both players try and settle their early nerves. The first frame is very scrappy. Dott has a small lead but this frame is anybodies. There are still 5 reds left and the frame score is only 29-19 in Dott's favour. Dott's laid a nifty little snooker, but not too hard to get them safe, no problem there for McCulloch, but he's left a hint of a chance for Dott but it's hard, the balls are very close together and the pocket is a long way away. He took it on and missed it. He's left one for McCulloch and the balls are reasonably placed now. He's 17 ahead and needs a good shot from black to yellow and the frame will be his. and it is with a 61 clearance. A tremendous opening red from McCulloch in frame two. No gain though as he didn't get on the next red, but he's put Dott in trouble with a good safety shot. McCulloch's picked out a good red to the middle, but he's not ideal on the blue. Only 18 points and safe but not so safe because Dott has rifled in a red and now he's got a really good chance to settle in and get some points. Dott's broken down on 38, he stretched too far and missed. He's left a red for McCulloch. McCulloch leads 52-38 and he's got Dott in all sorts of trouble in a snooker. Dott has hit it this time and McCulloch has played a terrible shot and left the red on. Dott is only 9 points behind and he's on the last red. He's missed the yellow. McCulloch took a long time thinking about the yellow and then missed it. Both players look very nervous. Dott's got the yellow but missed a long green by a wide margin and he's left it along the rail for McCulloch. He's got that and he's on the brown, should win the frame now. It's 2-0 to McCulloch and Dott may live to regret missing the yellow. Dott still looks very nervous and he's given McCulloch a nice opening. He's not settled either, he took 5 reds and blacks but never looked in control, he's let Dott in, can the Scot settle his nerves? Not he can't. He's let McCulloch off the hook, and the Preston man has cleared the colours to steal the frame and he's 3-0 up. Dott has another good chance in frame four, he really needs to win this frame and get established in the match. He's looking a bit more like his usual self now, maybe the butterflies have settled. A good 46 from Dott but he's misjudged his position and covered the red, so only safety for now. Dott's thrown that one away as well. Again McCulloch clears up, he'll feel great but Dott must be wondering what on earth has gone wrong. He's still wondering because McCulloch is off and running in frame five. Ian seems to be playing a lot slower than he usually does, but it's certainly working well for him tonight. Well it was until he broke down on 28. Dott's countered with 22 so far and he's got a very good chance here. This is better, a frame winning contribution. The Scot is definitely feeling better now, he's punched in a great opening red in frame six. It's taken several visits but Dott has carved out a 43 point lead and they're exchanging safety shot looking for an opening to seal the frame. McCulloch's come right back at Dott, but he's missed a red on 38 and Dott is 26 up on the yellow. He's got it and has cleared up. It looks like a re-rack in frame seven, it's a total stalemate. And it is. Pete Williamson rack them up and we'll start again. The minor skirmishes on the restarted frame are sending the balls into bad positions. Black and Pink are stuck in the pack, blue is behind the baulk line, only the green is still on its spot and the reds are steadily getting pushed towards the top cushion, well Wednesday night is Local League night and this frame looks like a one frame league match right now. Of course many of the top players still enjoy playing in their local leagues. But John Higgins became a surprise addition to a Lancashire league match earlier in the season. He visited his cue man and was drafted into to the team. His opponent got a bit of a shock, and John duly won his one frame with a couple of fifty breaks. It's great for the league that the players keep in touch with grass roots snooker and it helps raise the profile of the leagues and bring in much needed sponsorship. Some leagues do try and totally handicap professional players out of the league while others won't let them play. But if you talk to 90% of local players, they'd give their right arm just for the chance to have a game against one of the leading players. It's something to tell the grandchildren, especially if you beat them! Meanwhile Dott and McCulloch still haven't resolved this frame into any sort of decent opening. Well that's changed things a bit, McCulloch's missed a long red and it's crashed into other reds, that's opened things up a bit. Fortunately play doesn't start until 14.30 tomorrow, because we could be in for a late night here! Dott is looking more assured now, but these balls are not ideal, although he's got the pink back on its spot and that's the only colour he can play for. While Graeme sets about these balls, GSC would be glad to hear from any of you with any questions about any aspect of the game. We'll do our best to answer them. Later in the summer we'll be introducing a Q&A section on the site. And we already have a Coaching Q&A where you can send your questions to Terry Griffiths and also any refereeing queries will be answered by our EBSRA experts. See the GSC main page for all the sub menus. After today's fabulous 147 by Mark Williams, the GSC 147 file is update and you can find that in the HISTORY section. Dott's now 42 points ahead but out of position. That's the end of his 35 break and McCulloch can only see one red, which he's missed by a long way, he's lost his edge at the moment. Dott has left a red hanging in the centre pocket, I'm not sure how it didn't drop. Ian's got it but he's only got a hard brown to go at. Good pot and he's on a red. Could we have another frame where McCulloch wins it from a long way behind? No he can't. Dott is clearing up to close the gap to 4-3. Dott is firing on all cylinders now, he's slotted a long red to get straight in again in frame eight. He's missed on 33 and McCulloch is coming right back at him, just a point behind now. He's on 61, 29 up with one red left, this is a very good break. He's snookered Dott on the last red, but the Scot's hit it, he trails by 36 with only 35 on. McCulloch's got the red and secured an overnight lead, whatever happens in frame nine. The last frame of the night has seen both players miss a good chance. Dott made only 5 and McCulloch has missed on 25. Plenty to play for still, this is such an important frame. It could be 5-4 or 6-3, a big difference. It's one ball at a time at the moment, with the balls awkward. McCulloch holds a narrow 12 point lead but he's got no position on the last red, in fact he's lying right on top of it. Dott's got the last red after a McCulloch error but he's not got a clear cut chance to clear up, it's very tense out there at the moment. Just a safety on the yellow and McCulloch leads by 8 points. He forced a safety error from Dott, but he's missed a sitter of a yellow, but got it safe. now McCulloch's potted a great yellow and he's on the green. he's got that, just the brown and blue needed for 6-3.
Match 15 GRAEME DOTT 9-10 IAN McCULLOCH
Frame Scores: 16-111(111), 77(73)-4, 120(120)-0, 50-67, 122(56,55)-0, 72-52, 79(79)-14, 80(74)-55(55), 1-66(32), 38-63(63)
Dott needs a good start tonight and he's got the first chance to put a few points together. He's broken down and a chance for McCulloch. He's accumulated 58 so far and only needs one more red to open a four frame lead. That's a dream start for McCulloch a superb 111 clearance. Dott is in the balls in frame eleven, a run of 35 so far. Dott's made a break of 73 and McCulloch needs snookers, only 59 left on and he's 70 behind. Dott's got another red just to make sure of the frame. Dott is first among the balls in frame twelve. And he's still amongst them, the break is 100 now. A fabulous 120 break from Dott. Frame thirteen is going to be unlucky for someone and it's a crucial frame as it could be 8-5 to McCulloch or Dott could close to 7-6. Dott leads 46-21, there are four reds left and a prolonged safety battle on them. McCulloch's found an opening, made 26, and he leads by a single point on the yellow. McCulloch's got the yellow and green, and attempted to play safe on the brown, but he's gone in off, a bad mistake. Now he leads by 2 points on the brown, which is safe. There's a lot of tension now. McCulloch's held on to clinch the frame and leads 8-5 at the interval.
Dott's worked his way to a 67-0 lead on the resumption. There's only 59 left so he should pull a frame back. He has. The Scot is battling hard in the next, he's carved out a lead of 54-45 with two reds left. This is so tense and twitchy now. One red left and a 2 point lead for Dott. I wouldn't like to say which pocket Dott tried to pot the red in, as it hit the cushion mid way between centre and corner, that's how nervous they are now. He's got another chance and now he's rifled in a fabulous long red. Strange game is this snooker! He just needs the blue to pull another frame back and he's got it. McCulloch got the first chance in frame sixteen but he's broken down and Dott has levelled the match with a brilliant break of 79. McCulloch's come back well in this frame, he's been on the back foot in the last three, he's made a solid break of 55 but broken down at the crucial moment and Dott is fighting back again. What a great response by Dott, he's on a break of 60 and on the yellow. Superb, a break of 74 from Dott, McCulloch needs one snooker on the pink to tie. and it's 9-8 to Dott. A battling effort by McCulloch, a 32 break has helped open a 49 point lead as he seeks to level the match. But he's missed a red and Dott's one, but he didn't get the snooker and McCulloch's rattled another good long red in. There's still a way to go in this frame but McCulloch needs just one more chance. He's got it and we're going into a dramatic deciding frame. Here we go then, one frame for a place in the last 16 and match against maximum man Mark Williams. Well, McCulloch has launched himself at a long red, missed it and left a red for Graeme Dott and it's safely in. Dott looks composed and very determined. The break has reached 29, and he's not hanging about either. He's let the white drift a bit, a good pink but a bit of distance from the red now - and he's missed it. he's 36 ahead and he hasn't left anything. That's not McCulloch's best safety shot, the white is above the baulk line, but the red still isn't easy, especially at this stage. It's in, but no position for Dott, so just one more point and another red gone. Although there are still eight reds left, Dott's lead looks very useful, as one red is on the side rail, the yellow is as well, with the blue close to it and the black is off its spot as well. Dott's found another red and no position again. He's 38 ahead now and we're down to 7 reds and he's snookered McCulloch now. He's hit it and safe and he's walloped in two reds in one shot and landed perfect on the pink. Fortune favours the brave. This is a match winning chance. The reds are nice but he's only got the pink to play off, but his real problem will come trying to get on the yellow. He's let the white run away now, he's a distance from the pink and needs to get on the last red. He's on 30 now, just 8 points behind. Good pink, he's on the red. McCulloch's problem is that the yellow is on the wrong cushion for him. He's left handed and it's on the right hander's cushion by its own spot. Here comes the crunch shot, pink to yellow. He's got the pink but kissed the blue instead of the yellow. There's no pot on here and he's put the blue safe as well, and the green is also slightly off its spot. A five point lead for the Preston man and Dott is doing deep breathing exercises in the chair. Well, McCulloch's doubled the yellow, but the green is even harder now, a tough shot to the middle, he could whack it to the top bag and screw back for the brown. And that's what he's done, a great green, he's tight off the cushion for the brown, it's in, he's 14 up and behind the blue, what a break. the blue's in, and a great pink. McCulloch does a war dance of delight and punches the air. He's in the last 16 and his dream of a top 16 ranking is still alive.
Match 16 MARK WILLIAMS 8-1 ROBERT MILKINS
Frame Scores: 92(91)-8, 0-72(50), 66-18, 79(45,34)-18, 102(74)-0, 69-56(55), 60-52, 85(64)-4, 63-22
I'm not sure I can type quick enough to keep up with Rob Milkins. He's potted a ball into the centre, played safe and forced an error from Williams on his safety. They'll have a little safety exchange, or maybe they won't as Williams tried to cut a red in the middle, missed it, scattered the pack and fluked a red, but no position off that. Milkins has rattled a long one and now an opening for Williams. This is a good start for Williams, who's seeking to build his confidence after a pretty poor season so far. He's shown signs of a revival recently and a good stat tonight will help him a lot. The break has gone past 50 and he's never looked in trouble. He's won the frame, this is a dream start for the Welshman. Williams' attempted long red rattled and here's a nice chance for Milkins in frame two. Only 22 at that visit for Milkins, but he's straight back in again from Williams' safety. Milkins is struggling to get the pace of the table at the moment, so on this break he's had the white everywhere but where he wants it. He's still carved out a 44 point lead. It's going to be 1-1, Milkins has clinched the frame with that run of 50. A nice friendly chat between the players as they sit in their chair, but there won't be any love lost on the table. Some good safety from both players here and the reds are getting nudged toward the side cushion. That doesn't stop Milkins who's smacked in a long red. Some players might have rolled up to the brown, but he's slotted it into the centre pocket, but he's missed the next red. No damage done though he got a good safe white. He's forced an error from Williams, another chance for the Gloucester man. Milkins is playing a bit slower than usual, although he'll speed up when in the balls, but he's played some extremely good safety so far tonight. A chance for Williams, Milkins' pot stayed in the jaws. Williams is forced to play safe. Amazingly all the reds are in a little cluster behind the black spot. Williams leads 32-14, but we could have a re-rack here. Williams has got the white away to baulk, so the re-rack danger recedes and Milkins has hit them too thick and nudged them open. Only 8 points for Williams, and a good safety. Even better from Milkins, he's unintentionally angled Williams. No problem. Williams is controlling the safety and he's picking off a few balls and his 28 point lead looks very good value. The tide could turn here a bit, an excellent snooker by Milkins has earned a few points, but he's still 36 behind with 43 left. He'll do well to out think the wily Welshman is a fragmented frame. There's another good snooker by Milkins, not problem for Williams to escape and here's yet another snooker from Milkins. He left that too easy for Williams. and there's a Williams special, a blistering long red and with that he'll win the frame. Milkins stuck a red out off his break and Williams has thundered in a long red to give himself an opening chance. He looks a totally different player to the one who struggled in the early part of the season. He's looking comfortable out there tonight, the long potting is on song and he hasn't missed anything easy. The Crucible is horses for courses and Williams is twice a course and distance winner. There's another great long red to keep the break going and it's 45. But there's that miss when you least expect it. An easy red, a lapse in concentration there. But he's straight back in again and has coolly cleared up the frame. Williams obviously enjoyed his interval, he's on cruise control in frame five, He's opened a 58 point lead and needs one more red to secure the frame. Williams has Milkins under a lot of pressure now, he's missed an easy mid range red and gifted the Welshman a nice easy starter in frame six. Oh Williams is furious with himself, he left a red thinner than intended and missed it. He's banged his cue down in annoyance, that's a chance gone begging. But Milkins hasn't punished him so it should be business as usual for Williams again. But it isn't, he's lost position and missed a long red. Another chance for Milkins. He's missed the penultimate red and Williams can still win. Once last gasp hope for Milkins, Williams got a terrible kick on the pink. The scores are level, the both need pink and black. Williams has got the pink, so it's all on the black. Milkins has rattled it and left it. A little lapse in concentration from Williams in frame seven, he's missed a mid range red and Milkins is already rattling through the balls. He's missed a dolly red on 47. They both seem determined to chuck this frame away. Williams has missed, but been so lucky in getting the white to the baulk cushion that he checked the bottom of his shoes! Williams has got his focus back, a long red disappears and he's concentrating hard on getting back into the frame. He's two points behind on the yellow. He's missed a tough yellow to the middle and now Milkins just has to clear the colours. He doesn't, he missed the brown, left it in the jaws, fluked a snooker, but Williams has potted that easily out of the snooker. He needs a hard pink for the frame. No problem. Milkins has had a bit of a moan about Williams going out of the arena between frames. If Williams' absences are intended to put pressure on his opponent they would appear to be having the desired effect. Of course the Welshman may merely have a weak bladder! It would appear that Milkins has upset his own concentration as he's let Williams straight into the ball in frame eight. Players have been asked this season to restrict their absences to "calls of nature", and that's been reinforced quite strongly, but it's become a pattern of the game now and short of escorting a player to the toilet, who's to say exactly why he's left the arena. Ooops. Williams tried to force an angle at pace and has missed a blue. Only 21, but no damage done. Milkins has lost the plot here a bit. He's tried an unlikely plant, missed it and scattered reds. I think that's affecting Williams' concentration, now he's missed one. There's a little bit of niggle creeping in here. In this instance we could say that Williams has the height and reach advantage while Milkins is definitely carrying some extra weight! Milkins said in a recent interview that he was going on a diet in preparation for the Crucible, but I'm not sure which diet it was, because it doesn't appear to have worked! Williams has gone in off, the reds are wide spread. Milkins took a long time to decide on his shot and then played it very badly. Williams however has slotted a long red. There's an example of Williams rest shot, where he holds the rest up in the air, it works for him, but it's not in the coaching manuals! Meanwhile he's moved in a 50 point lead in this frame. Exhibition stuff from Williams now, he's going through his full repertoire of strange bridges, cueing under his body, rest in the air, and none of this will improve Milkins temper, he's sitting quietly seething in his chair. But they're having a friendly chat between the frames. A bad safety shot from Milkins, but for once Williams has missed a long red. Now Milkins had smacked a long red to the yellow pocket, scattered all the reds, we could see some quick fire potting now. Too quick fire he's missed a sitter. Williams has a 40 point lead with two reds left and there's a good safety shot from Milkins. Good escape from Williams, who gets everything safe and Milkins heaves a huge sigh. It's not his night. There's the red Williams needed and he'll sleep well on an 8-1 lead.
Match 16 MARK WILLIAMS 10-1 ROB MILKINS
Frame Scores: 94(93)-4, 147(147)-0
A good safety shot from Williams has created an opening for him. He won't want to waste any time getting this match over, certainly not risk a fight back from Milkins. Williams is taking these calmly and efficiently, 55 so far. That's a superb 91 from the Welshman, he couldn't get the last red down the rail for a century, but he's 9-1 up. A miss from Milkins and Williams has already taken 5 reds and blacks. He'll be looking to close out the match here, but he'll have an eye on a big break, if not a maximum chance. These reds do look very nice, 56 now, there's one red in baulk but the rest are perfect. He's got a hard black this time, but it's in, 72 and counting and he's going for this. The match is won. He's got rid of the red in baulk but this is a tough black now, he's very close to it. It's in. 80. Ooh he's let the white run a bit a hard red now with the rest, that's in as well. 96. There's the century and he's looking good, come on the TAFFS!! Last red coming up. Now it's all about black to yellow. It's perfect - Come on MARK. yellow in, kick on the green, but he's on the brown, that's in, perfect on the blue. he's on the pink - just the black YES. he's got a hug from Drago on the next door table. Funny how Drago is always close by when there's a maximum about. Terry Griffiths is going to congratulate his prodigy, the first Welshman to make a maximum at the Crucible. It's Mark's first maximum and obviously his highest career break. FABULOUS!! And that's a handy �147,000 for Mark Williams and the �14,000 high break prize, unless someone else achieves a 147 during the tournament, which is certainly a possibility, with O'Sullivan, Hendry and Higgins still in the event. Williams is not only the first Welshman to make a 147 at the Crucible, he's the first Welshman to make an official tournament 147. His Coach Terry Griffiths had a career high of 139, while Matthew Stevens has a 146 under his belt. Six times former World Champion Ray Reardon made 147s in exhibition but not in official tournament play. Mark made his first 147 in an unofficial match in the Buckleys Challenge at the Terry Griffiths Matchroom in Llanelli, making 140 and 147 in consecutive frames. his previous best was 142 made way back in the 1994 Strachan Challenge Series. It's the 51st official tournament max and the sixth at the Crucible.