World Championship 2018 – Day 3 – Shaun Murphy departs, Barry Hawkins and Mark Allen into last 16.


These were yesterday’s results.

Mark Allen played well to beat Liam Highfield, who was impressive in patches, his long game in particular was deadly. However Mark’s experience and maturity were too much for his debutant opponent. After the match, Liam was interviewed, as all players are, and this is what he had to say (BBC)

World Snooker Championship 2018: Liam Highfield grateful for Crucible debut after almost quitting

Snooker player Liam Highfield
Liam Highfield made his Crucible debut, bowing out to world number 16 Mark Allen

Liam Highfield said rounding off his season by making his World Championship debut capped a remarkable 12 months which saw him nearly quit snooker because of Crohn’s disease.

The 27-year-old went out in the first round to world number 16 Mark Allen, who said the match was closer than the 10-5 scoreline suggested.

Highfield described his Crucible bow as a “great feeling” despite the loss.

“This time last year I was in hospital,” the world number 64 added.

“To be honest I didn’t think I would ever be competing again.”

The Stoke-on-Trent potter has the same auto-immune disorder as world number 15 Ali Carter.

Chron’s disease affects the digestive system with symptoms including abdominal pain, weight loss and fatigue.

Highfield’s most serious flare-up came last year when he had to have three blood transfusions and spent a month in hospital.

“I went from 12 and-a-half stone to 9st 12lbs in three weeks,” he said.

“They thought they would have to take my bowel out and have a bag. It’s nice to just play snooker.

“I didn’t play for nine weeks and went four months without a competition. I thought maybe it was time to chuck it in because so much was against me.”

But he has returned to the top of the sport and has managed to have a “pretty good season”, reaching the fourth round at the Welsh and Northern Ireland Opens and also making the quarter-finals of the Indian Open.

He lost to eventual winner John Higgins in Visakhapatnam, but it was Highfield’s best ranking performance to date.

And making his Crucible debut has left him eager to return again soon.

“I really enjoyed it out there and felt comfortable,” Highfield added.

“I was maybe a bit surprised how comfortable I felt. In the first session I expected not to be able to pot a ball.

“I have watched loads of other players come out here and hoped I could be there. Now that it is ticked off the list and hopefully I can really go far in it one day.”

It sure puts things into perspective. The match was indeed closer than the score suggests and Liam can be proud of his achievements this season. I hope that his health improves and that he can achieve his dreams in the sport he loves.

Jamie Jones v Shaun Murphy was an entertaining match to watch and brought back memories of 2012. Jones is a bit of a mystery: he’s more than capable but disappears for long periods then suddenly produces some brilliant stuff. He did yesterday.

I didn’t see a ball from the Ding v Xiao match but the score as it stands is about what I was expecting. Playing a national hero is never easy for the Chinese players, who, BTW, always seems to draw each others…

Ricky Walden 6-3 advantage over Luca Brecel had as much to do with Luca playing badly (as he has done for most of the season since the China Championship) than Ricky returning gradually to form. I’m pleased for Ricky because he loves his snooker and because I never enjoy seeing a player’s career marred or ended by health issues.

Barry Hawkins v Stuart Carrington was … painful. Both players were struggling, and, full credits to them, both battled to the bitter end. But it wasn’t pretty. As himself said afterwards, it was a case of doing a job for Barry and he did it.

Here are the reports on Worldsnooker

World number 51 Jamie Jones recorded a thrilling 10-9 victory against 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy at the Betfred World Championship.

The Welshman couldn’t have qualified for the event in a more emphatic fashion. He destroyed 2016 English Open Champion Liang Wenbo 10-0 in the final round of qualifying to ensure his place here. However, he was forced to call upon all of his fighting abilities in this clash – coming from 4-1 and 8-5 down.

It was a case of déjà vu for world number eight Murphy. He lost out to Jones 10-8 in the first round in 2012 when the Welshman made his Crucible debut. The Magician has now dropped out at the first-round stage in two of the last three years following his run to the final in 2015.

Jones took the opening frame of the session, but it was Murphy who made the most significant charge towards the finish early on. He fired in consecutive breaks of 59, 102 and 101 to establish an 8-5 advantage.

Former Crucible quarter-finalist Jones re-grouped at the interval and came out firing with three frames on the bounce to level at 8-8. Murphy took the next to move one from victory, but his opponent showed his steel with a sublime run of 124 to make it 9-9. Jones made 41 early in the decider before running out of position. He then got the better of a safety exchange and added 30 to seal victory.

“I think this is my best victory,” said Neath’s 30-year-old Jones. “I’ve never faced pressure like I felt today. I’ve played plenty of deciders, but there’s pressure at the Crucible in frame one, never mind the decider. So to come through having held myself together is very pleasing. It’s all about momentum. If the interval hadn’t come today at 8-5, I think Shaun might have pulled away. It’s difficult to deal with those stops and starts with the intervals, but you’ve just got to play every frame as it comes and just try your best.

“Maybe it was meant to be. I always enjoy playing Shaun, he plays the game in the right way. He’s very entertaining and goes for his shots. It’s nice as a player to see him going for shots all the time because he won’t pot them all the time. He looks devastating when they’re going in, but if they don’t you tend to get a couple of chances, and I capitalised on them today.”

Murphy said: “I must give Jamie full credit, because when he sets foot into the Yorkshire borders there seems to be this weird change in him. That’s not me being critical, but if I was in his team I’d be trying to work out what happens to make him play far better here than he generally does elsewhere. If he can play like here then he should be higher up the rankings than he is.

“I’m just pleased I won this tournament in 2005 when I didn’t know what I was doing and had no battle scars and didn’t understand fear. I’m a bit older now and a bit more frightened.”

Asia’s top star Ding Junhui established a 6-3 advantage against compatriot Xiao Guodong.

The 2016 Crucible finalist holds an impressive record against Xiao, having won four of their five professional meetings.

Ding trailed 2-0 early on but hit back to win six of the next seven frames as he fired in contributions of 68, 124, 57 and 72. They resume on Tuesday at 10am.

Barry Hawkins came through a marathon seven-hour battle against Stuart Carrington, winning 10-7 to reach the second round of the Betfred World Championship.

Hawkins turned 39 today though he had just 18 minutes to celebrate his birthday after finishing a late night clash at 11.42pm. But the world number six was relieved to reach the last 16, where he will face Lyu Haotian.

Londoner Hawkins has been one of the Crucible’s most consistent performers in recent years, reaching the final in 2013 and three other semi-finals. He has also shown impressive form in the past two months having got to the final of the Welsh Open and China Open, and while he wasn’t at his best against world number 56 Carrington, the result will add to his momentum.

Hawkins led 5-3 after the first session and soon extended his advantage to 7-3 tonight with breaks of 66 and 82. Carrington hit back with three frames in a row, compiling runs of 79 and 74, before Hawkins won an epic 56-minute 14th frame on the colours to lead 8-6.

Carrington took frame 15 and had first chance in the 16th, but could only make 27 and his opponent countered with 79 to go 9-7 up. Hawkins made 35 early in the next, and when Carrington missed a black off its spot, he added 38 to seal the victory.

“I’m knackered, but at least I’ve got a few days off now,” said three-time ranking event winner Hawkins. “To be honest, I don’t care how I play as long as I win. Plenty of people in the past have played really badly in the first couple of rounds and gone on to do really well and won it. For me it was just about getting through that first game.

“It’s a decent birthday present, and I’m still in the tournament. It was a battle, Stuart’s a tough player, he makes it hard for you. I was struggling with my game but I was pleased with my attitude. I stayed calm and having a bit more experience than him here definitely made a difference.

“I could see he wasn’t going to give up. I know he can score heavy when he gets going, he’s done it to a few players in the past. Luckily for me he kept missing a few and I managed to hold myself together at the end.”

Carrington said: “I was just trying to grind it out in the end because I was struggling that much. I made a bit of a match of it but I think that was down to Barry under-performing.  At 7-6 it was anybody’s game, but I made mistakes in the end.”

Meanwhile, Ricky Walden took a 6-3 lead over 13th seed Luca Brecel in a match which plays to a finish on Tuesday afternoon.

Walden, a Crucible semi-finalist in 2013, went 2-0 up with a top break of 68. Frame three came down to a respotted black and Brecel fluked it to a centre pocket to halve his deficit.

Three-time ranking event winner Walden then knocked in runs of 105, 90, 74 and 76 to take four of the next five frames and go 6-2 ahead. Belgium’s Brecel took the last of the session with an 89 to trail by three overnight.