World Championship 2018 – Day 6 – Drama! Judd Trump survives, Ryan Day collapses.

We had only two sessions yesterday at the Crucible, but there was drama aplenty as the last 32 round concluded. Anthony McGill fought like a lion to edge Ryan Day by 10-8. Anthony didn’t play well and was bluntly honest about his performance. Ryan Day was just equally honest about how he managed to lose from 7-3 and 8-5 up: “I collapsed” was his assessment when interviewed right after the match. I didn’t expect that to happen this time, after winning three events this season, and neither did Stephen Hendry who was commentating. But he did and that’s the Crucible for you.

There was none of those two honesty in Judd Trump’s press conference as you will read below. Anyone who watched that match will know that he was gone under pressure towards the end of his dramatic match against a wonderful Chris Wakelin. Chris looked dead and buried at 8-4 down but decided to go for the all out attack in an attempt to put his opponent under pressure, and, boy, he did! For Judd to claim that the misses weren’t caused by pressure is either completely dishonest or worryingly delusional. Neal Foulds on Eurosport seriously questioned Judd’s temperament and his chances to be a World Champion one day.  But Judd is through after Chris took a couple of risky shots too many in the decider.

The last 16 round started yesterday as well. I didn’t watch much of it, but from what I saw, 4-4 would have been a fairer reflection of the first session between Allen and Perry.

Here are the reports on Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session

honAnthony McGill stormed back from four frames behind to stun Ryan Day 10-8 at the Betfred World Championship.

It’s another fine Crucible win for the former World Championship quarter-finalist McGill. The Glaswegian reserves some of his best performances for snooker’s Theatre of Dreams and inflicted the Crucible curse on Mark Selby in 2015. Although, he did suffer a crushing 10-2 defeat against compatriot Stephen Maguire last year.

Scotland’s McGill was pinned firmly against the ropes after a superb first session display from his opponent. Day became only the second player to compose two breaks over 140 in a single session at the Crucible, as he established a 6-3 advantage.

That cushion was soon added to this afternoon, as Day moved 7-3 up thanks to a break of 51. McGill then mounted a charge to eat into the Welshman’s lead and as he did so, a shroud of tension moved over the Crucible Theatre.

Both players started to miss straightforward shots, but it was the 27-year-old McGill who dug out consecutive frames to cut his arrears in half at 7-5.

Day moved further clear at 8-5, but McGill continued to reel him in. Three frames on the bounce saw him draw level at 8-8. The former Indian Open Champion McGill then fired in a break of 60 to move one from victory, before an extraordinary 18th frame.

It came down to the pink and black, with both players making glaring errors under extreme pressure.  Day spurned an opportunity to force a decider when he missed the pink off the spot. The Welshman eventually fluked the second last ball, but with the black glued to the top cushion a safety battle ensued.  Ultimately a misjudged shot from Day left the black over the corner and allowed McGill to get over the line and set up a last 16 clash with Ding Junhui.

McGill said: “It’s the World Championship, it’s a tournament worth trying in. You lose most of the matches from the position I was in, 99 percent probably. But you’d lose them all if you gave up and that kind of happened last year. I was playing Stephen Maguire and I was 7-2 down and never settled. I had a bit more fight in me this year and anything can happen.

“I was thinking during the match that my weakness is my potting. I’m good at the safety, but you don’t get any points for safety. My potting is just not good enough and the chances are I’ll get found out in the next game but it’s just good to be still involved.

“Ding is one of the best break builders there has ever been. He’s good at cannons around the black spot, just nudging balls out the way, it’s phenomenal. I’m in for a tough fight but at least I’m in one. I’ll need to pick it up because you can dig in and all that but eventually you have to play some good snooker.”

Day remarked: “It was scrappy. I think Anthony won a couple of frames where his highest break was 25 or something, it wasn’t great really.

“Next season is a long way away. It’s going to be a good month or so before I pick up the cue again, but I’m not really thinking about it now. I’m just going to have a bit of a break, and go again at the start of next season.”

On the other table, the second round got underway as Mark Allen took a 5-3 lead over Joe Perry.

World number 22 Perry knocked out defending champion Mark Selby in the first round and he started well today, taking the opening frame with a top break of 50.

Masters champion Allen hit back to win three in a row with runs of 94, 99 and 67. Perry’s break of 73 made it 3-2, then Allen also made a 73 to take frame six, before Perry nicked the seventh by clearing from yellow to black to halve his deficit.

The last frame of the session came down to the final pink. World number 16 Allen attempted a cross double and missed one centre pocket, but the pink rolled across the table and dropped into the opposite centre to give him a two-frame lead. They return for eight more frames on Friday at 10am, then play to a finish on Friday from 7pm, with first to 13 frames to go through to the quarter-finals.

Evening session

Judd Trump narrowly avoided a shock defeat in a thrilling clash with Crucible debutant Chris Wakelin, taking a final frame decider to win 10-9 at the Betfred World Championship.

For the second year in a row the Trump was involved in a tense and emotion fuelled battle with an underdog. 12 months ago the Ace in the Pack suffered one of the biggest ever first round upsets at the Crucible, when he was stunned by a 10-8 defeat against Rory McLeod.

On this occasion the 2011 runner-up was pitted against world number 55 Wakelin, who emphatically secured his place at the Crucible thanks to a 10-1 defeat of Tian Pengfei in the final round of qualifying.

Former delivery driver Wakelin assumed the role of the chaser from the off and trailed for the majority of the tie. Despite coming out of the first session 6-3 behind, he did enjoy a special moment when he compiled a run of 141 – the highest break of his career.

Breaks of 51 and 57 helped 28-year-old Trump to move 8-4 in front this evening and at that stage he had looked set for an early finish. However, Wakelin stepped up to the plate and ramped up the pressure on Trump and he dramatically buckled.

A run of 68 helped Wakelin to reduce the gap to 8-5. Trump then had the opportunity to quell any hopes of a fightback, but missed the final pink to allow Wakelin to close the gap to two.

The eight-time ranking event winner continued to misfire as Wakelin took the next two frames to draw level for the first time since the beginning of the match at 8-8.

Trump then moved 9-8 ahead and was in position to snatch victory in the following frame. After trailing 65-0, he strung together a run of 61 as he looked to come from behind to take the frame, but missed a tricky black to the middle and allowed Wakelin to deposit it and force a decider.

The emotional turmoil for both players was there for all to see amid sizzling tension in the Crucible arena.

Trump missed two straightforward blues and a simple red which afforded Wakelin opportunities to steal the match. He failed to capitalise, dramatically going in-off when potting the pink on the third chance. Eventually Trump got over the line on the final green and Wakelin failed in his attempts to get the required snookers.

“I had a big lead and almost threw it away, I knew the balls would punish me. I was surprised in the end to get another chance,” said Trump. “I’m relieved to get through, but I know I’m going to have to up my game. I don’t want to play like that in the next round and lose, or there would be no point winning today.

“Sometimes you miss under pressure, but a few of those misses weren’t down to pressure, they were just bad misses. On the last red there were two balls together, and it was an easy clearance but I completely took my eye off it. I think in the last frame the balls were so perfect that we got carried away a little bit and rushed at the table. Chris will be devastated to have lost that one, he dug in and played really well for his first time here.”

Wakelin said: “It’s been one of those days. I’ve tried my hardest, and have not left anything out there. The balls that I missed I put one hundred percent into, and the frames that I lost I tried my best. I did have chances in the decider which is probably the most important thing about it. All you ask for is one opportunity and I had plenty, so that’s very disappointing. You practise all those hours, days, weeks and years for that moment but sadly today I fell short.

“There are lot of positives to draw. I never gave in, I was trying right to the end. I made my Crucible debut, and it’s an amazing arena. You dream of playing here, even more you dream of winning here. It’s been a really good season for me, I’ve enjoyed practising and testing myself. We’re very privileged to play snooker. I try not to take that for granted at all.”

Meanwhile, Barry Hawkins took a 5-3 lead over Lyu Haotian as their second round match got underway.

Hawkins, runner-up in 2013 and a semi-finalist on three other occasions, was off to a tremendous start as breaks of 91, 71, 64 and 129 put him 4-0 ahead.

China’s Lyu, who knocked out Marco Fu in the first round on his Crucible debut, took the fifth frame with a 73 then Hawkins went 5-1 ahead with a 103. In a high quality session, Lyu responded with 95 to take the seventh frame and a 42 clearance to win the eighth.

They resume on Friday at 2.30pm.