Hector Nunns shared this on twitter earlier today.
Ray on Ron and Ron on Ray …
Thank you Hector!
Hector Nunns shared this on twitter earlier today.
Thank you Hector!
As you would expect, about everyone has been reflecting on the 2020 quite unusual but very interesting World Championship.
WST tells the story of the Championship:
The 2020 Betfred World Championship will go down in history as one of the most gripping editions of snooker’s showpiece event, producing moments of magic, despair and ecstasy to a backdrop of both socially distant fans and an empty Crucible Theatre.
Millions of viewers around the world were transfixed by events over the last 17 days, as the Theatre of Dreams opened its doors for the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Defending champion Judd Trump was welcomed by a limited Crucible crowd to kick proceedings off on day one. There was a stern early test for the Ace in the Pack, who edged through against Tom Ford 10-8.
The big story of the day came away from the baize. The tournament had been selected as a trial for the safe return of spectators at UK sporting events. However, after a successful first morning of the pilot, a midday announcement from UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, paused all trials and forced the event behind closed doors from day two onwards.
Qualifier Jamie Clarke recorded a stunning 10-8 upset win over 2018 Masters champion Mark Allen. The Llanelli cueman was staring down the barrel of tour relegation heading into the qualifying stages, but saved his place on the circuit by reaching the Crucible.
“Never in a million years could I have dreamed of this,” said the 25-year-old. “I went into the qualifiers without a lot of confidence, just hoping to win one match. After that I got on a roll. I am in shock at the moment. I went out there today to enjoy every minute and I was loving the experience.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan surged to the fastest win in Crucible history. He took just 108 minutes to demolish Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-1 with an average shot time of 14 seconds.
Scotland’s four-time World Champion John Higgins fired in the first 147 break to be made at the Crucible, since his compatriot Stephen Hendry crafted a perfect run against Stuart Bingham in 2012.
It was the tenth 147 break of Higgins’ career and landed him a £55,000 payout. However, having reached the last three World Championship finals, Higgins was dumped out of the event after a 13-11 defeat to Norwegian qualifier Kurt Maflin.
Maflin said: “It feels brilliant. My wife and kids will be proud of the fact that I’m in the quarter-finals. It makes it worth all the sacrifices.”
Anthony McGill battled from 8-2 down to beat Jamie Clarke 13-12 in a thrilling, yet ill-tempered encounter. A flash point came in the tenth frame, when McGill confronted Clarke, claiming he was standing in his eyeline.
In the mid-session interval, Clarke took to social media, tweeting: “You want to dance, let’s dance”. That Tweet came in the middle of a run of six consecutive frames from McGill, as he levelled at 8-8 en route to the dramatic victory.
Kyren Wilson inflicted the Crucible Curse on defending champion Judd Trump, sealing a momentous 13-9 victory over the world number one.
Trump became the 18th victim to fall foul of the curse, after failing to successfully defend the crown he won for the first time last year. Wilson enhanced his already strong record over rival Trump, extending his head-to-head lead to 8-5.
Wilson said: “I take a lot of motivation from the greats like Hendry, Davis, O’Sullivan, Higgins and Williams. I can imagine they’d be thinking, ‘I want to beat this guy, I want to be better than this guy’. There is no point trying to dodge them. We’d never played each other at the Crucible, it was the one place I wanted to play Judd.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan conquered Mark Williams 13-10 in an enthralling match between two of snooker’s Class of 92. The Rocket fired in five centuries on his way to victory, but he had doubted that he had it in him to turn around a four-frame deficit.
“I felt as if I was fighting, it was tough,” said 44-year-old O’Sullivan. “At 8-4 Mark was cueing well, he was ripping through the ball. I didn’t think I had it in me to turn it around.”
The last four produced gripping and scintillating drama, after both semi-finals came down to deciding frames for the first time ever.
With the scores locked at 16-16, Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill contested a nerve shredding decider. In commentary, seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry said: “This has been the most incredible frame ever seen at the Crucible.”
The players engaged in 61 minutes of gruelling snooker while amassing a combined total of 186 points, the highest ever for a single frame at the Crucible.
With McGill leading 52-47, Wilson laid a tricky snooker on the last red. Scotland’s McGill missed it ten times, leaving himself requiring snookers. Astonishingly, Wilson then went in-off twice to leave the frame back in the balance. Eventually Wilson fluked the green to once again leave McGill requiring snookers. Holding back the tears, the Warrior got himself over the line by the margin of 103-83.
In an emotional post-match interview, Wilson said: “I have dreamed of this moment for years but this isn’t the way I wanted it to happen with the green. It is mad what can happen on a snooker table.”
A disconsolate, but respectful McGill said: “I felt like it was stolen from me – not by Kyren, but by the snooker gods. I didn’t do much wrong there, but there has to be a loser.”
Meanwhile Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby locked horns at the Crucible for the first time since the 2014 world final, which Selby won 18-14.
Selby found himself on the verge of victory when he led 16-14. However, O’Sullivan, who adopted an all-out-attack approach, blitzed back into contention with a run of 276 unanswered points. That left him 64 ahead in the deciding frame. Selby had an opportunity to clear, but he broke down and O’Sullivan booked his spot in the final.
Awaiting both players was the return of a socially distanced Crucible audience, after a UK Government announcement restarted the pilot scheme for the safe return of audiences at sporting events.
Ronnie O’Sullivan, competing in his seventh World Championship final, went toe to toe with Kyren Wilson, who was competing in snooker’s biggest match for the first time.
After a tense opening day the outcome remained in the balance, with O’Sullivan emerging 10-7 ahead. However, the Rocket blitzed to victory on day two, claiming eight of the next nine frames to seal a historic sixth Crucible crown. That puts him level with his hero Steve Davis and former coach Ray Reardon.
The victory makes him the most prolific winner of ranking titles in history, moving him to 37 in total, one ahead of Stephen Hendry. At 44 years old, O’Sullivan becomes the oldest World Champion since Reardon lifted the famous trophy at the age of 45 in 1978. He now needs just one more world title to equal Hendry’s record of seven.
“If there was a box of achievements, there could be five or six in there, this has definitely got to be up there,” said the triumphant O’Sullivan.”To be alongside Ray Reardon and Steve Davis is amazing. There is still one fella sitting above us in Hendry. There is always someone to chase.”
Tournament Centuries: 79
Most Centuries: 12 – Ronnie O’Sullivan
Highest break: 147 – John Higgins
140+ Breaks: 3
Most Centuries by one player in a match: 5 – Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Allen
Longest Frame: 61 minutes 39 seconds – Kyren Wilson vs Anthony McGill
Deciding frames: 6 – Anthony McGill 10-9 Jack Lisowski, Ding Junhui 10-9 Mark King, Anthony McGill 13-12 Jamie Clarke, Mark Selby 13-12 Noppon Saengkham, Kyren Wilson 17-16 Anthony McGill, Ronnie O’Sullivan 17-16 Mark Selby
Crucible Debutants: 5 – Elliot Slessor, Jamie Clarke, Ashley Carty, Jordan Brown, Alexander Ursenbacher
Rachel Casey, Neal Foulds and David Hendon reflect on the Championship right after the Final
This is the David Hendon and Michael McMullan podcast
davehendon · Snooker Scene Podcast episode 120 – King Ronnie
And my two cents
David Hendon’s take on the alleged Ronnie disrespect for Selby is exactly in line with what I expressed a few days ago. Selby had completely shut Neil Robertson out of their quarter-finals match, particularly in the second session, employing the same tactics he had used to beat Ronnie in the 2014 final: killing every sort of rhythm and fluency by messing up the table and slowing down the game. He had done this to Graeme Dott as well in their 2013 Maters semi-finals and you can still read about Graeme’s reaction here. Those tactics are legit, and it’s simply a case of a player playing to their own strengths, as they should. Selby is mightily efficient at it. Neil finished the match with a AST over 30 seconds. Ronnie was determined not to be dragged into this scenario again, and he found a way to counter Mark Selby’s tactics. He got under Mark’s skin as well. David clearly stated that there was no disrespect there. Mark was praised in 2014 for finding a way to beat Ronnie, Ronnie should be praised this time for finding a way to beat Selby, and, as David said, other players should take note. Psychologically, it’s a very important result for Ronnie. The 2014 finals’s scars may finally heal.
They also discuss Ronnie’s comments about the lower-ranked players, and state that, although it might be exagerated, there IS truth in it. There is nobody in their teens or early twenties coming through other than from Asia. They are not good enough. For me, the main factor is the shrinking of the amateur scene. Clubs have been closing, the number of amateurs’ tournaments has been plummeting, and, with the plethora of sports channels availabe on televion and the Internet, snooker’s appeal to the young has diminished. The gap between the young amateurs earning tour cards and the top guns is getting wider. In short, they aren’t ready and the brutal flat draw/money based system isn’t helping. WPBSA is putting up trememdous efforts into countering the trend via various initiatives, and they should be praised for it, but maybe something more radical is needed. Maybe this would be a good time to set up a proper 64 persons professional secondary tour, with decent earning opportunities and television/streaming exposure, whilst reducing the main tour to 96 players? (*) This would provide a smoother development path. The problem, as always, is … finding the money. Would there be enough interest in this to attract broadcasters, sponsors, the audience? Not sure.
Here are the announcements by WST
Betfred extend their commitment to WST
The World Snooker Championship will continue to be sponsored by Betfred until at least 2022 thanks to an extended agreement.
Betfred and WST have announced the extension on the final day of the 2020 tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, as Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson battle for the trophy.
The Betfred World Championship is snooker’s biggest tournament and one of the greatest sporting events on the planet, with an international audience of 500 million.
It brings together the world’s top 16 players, plus 16 more who battle through the qualifying rounds. The final stages run for 17 days at the famous Crucible.
Betfred first sponsored the tournament in 2009.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said “We have worked with Betfred on the World Championship for many years and we are delighted to extend the agreement. Over that time it has developed into a truly global event with a vast audience, and its reach continues to grow. More and more fans in an increasing number of countries tune in each year to watch history in the making. This year’s Championship has been one of the best. We look forward to working with the fantastic Betfred team for many years to come.”
Fred Done, Boss of Betfred, added: “I’m delighted to extend my association with the World Snooker Championship and I would like to take this opportunity to thank WST, the Crucible, BBC, Eurosport and especially the players for putting this event on in such challenging times.”
And donate £25000 to Jessie May
World Snooker Championship sponsor Betfred has made an incredible donation of £25,000 to WST’s official charity Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home.
Before the tournament started, Betfred pledged £200 for every century break to Jessie May, with the total to be rounded up to £25,000 if 80 centuries were made.
In fact the ton count finished at 79, though champion Ronnie O’Sullivan narrowly missed out on another century in the last frame, running out of position on the last black on 96. Betfred has generously decided to count that as a century and trigger the massive £25,000 donation.
WST Chairman Barry Hearn said: “This is an amazing gesture from Betfred and I know just how much this will mean to the Jessie May team at a time when they have been forced to reduce their fund-raising activity. They need the kindness of people like Fred Done in order to keep up the remarkable work they do for children and their families. Our gratitude goes to Betfred.”
Fred Done, Boss of Betfred, added: “I am thrilled that we are able to round up the donation to £25,000 because Jessie May is such a wonderful charity. Congratulations to the players for making so many centuries and providing a great tournament.”
Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home, based in Bristol, is WST’s official charity partner. They provides a hospice at home service for terminally ill children, offering care to families in the South West area. For more information about Jessie May visit www.jessiemay.org.uk
These are the numbers
And the reports by WST on yesterday’s action
Ronnie O’Sullivan is just one frame away from a sixth Crucible triumph as he leads Kyren Wilson 17-8 in the final of the Betfred World Championship.
From 10-8, O’Sullivan reeled off seven frames in a row to leave his opponent down and virtually out. They resume at 7.30pm and if O’Sullivan makes it to 18 frames first he will add to the titles he won in 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2013.
Six Crucible crowns would bring him level with Steve Davis and just one behind Stephen Hendry, and at the age of 44 he would become the oldest World Champion since Ray Reardon in 1978. O’Sullivan would also move to 37 career ranking titles, putting him one ahead of Hendry.
Wilson took the first frame of the third session with a break of 73 to trail 10-8 overall. He then had a chance to clear from 64-0 down in the next but crucially missed a tricky pink to a centre pocket on 15 when the remaining balls were in the open. That proved a turning point as O’Sullivan took the frame for 11-8, giving him the momentum to pull away.
In frame 20, Wilson trailed 33-48 when he missed a mid-range red to a top corner, letting his opponent in for a break of 61. O’Sullivan added the next with a top run of 57 to make it 13-8 at the interval.
Another error from Wilson early in frame 22, a missed red to a centre pocket, allowed O’Sullivan to make 60 and extend his lead, and the Rocket compiled a run of 71 in the next for 15-8.
A missed yellow with the rest, when he led 15-0, proved costly for Wilson in frame 24 as O’Sullivan made 72. In the last frame of the session, O’Sullivan led 61-0 when he missed the black off its spot. But Wilson’s chance to counter-attack ended on just 7 when he failed to roll the black along the cushion into a top corner. And with that, his hopes of a fight-back may have disappeared.
Ronnie O’Sullivan conquered the Crucible for the first time in seven years by beating Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the final of the Betfred World Championship, landing the title for the sixth time.
In a one-sided conclusion to the final in Sheffield, O’Sullivan pulled away from 10-8 to take the last eight frames as Wilson ran out of steam. Having struggled to find consistency in his technique throughout the tournament, something clicked for O’Sullivan on the last day as he reeled off a series of frame-winning breaks. A crowd of 300 watched him lift the trophy at the end of a tournament played under unique circumstances,
Six Crucible triumphs brings Chigwell’s O’Sullivan within one of the record of seven held by Stephen Hendry. He also moves to a record 37 ranking titles, one ahead of the legendary Scot. Only the most loyal Hendry fan could now dispute the opinion that O’Sullivan is snooker’s greatest ever player.
At the age of 44 he becomes the oldest World Champion since Ray Reardon in 1978, while six titles draws him level with Reardon and Steve Davis. O’Sullivan has now won 20 Triple Crown events with an extraordinary 27 years between the first and last.
The £500,000 top prize doubles his previous biggest winner’s cheque and boosts him from sixth to second in the world rankings, behind only runaway leader Judd Trump.
O’Sullivan’s World Finals
2001 beat John Higgins 18-14
2004 beat Graeme Dott 18-8
2008 beat Ali Carter 18-8
2012 beat Ali Carter 18-11
2013 beat Barry Hawkins 18-12
2014 lost to Mark Selby 18-14
2020 beat Kyren Wilson 18-8
There were times during the event when O’Sullivan looked a frustrated, fading force, notably at 7-2 down against Mark Williams and 13-9 down against Mark Selby. He enjoyed slices of fortune, particularly in the deciding frame of a 17-16 win over Selby. Above all, this was a triumph for O’Sullivan’s fighting spirit over the temptation to throw in the towel which often bubbles below the surface. He has finally proved to himself that, well into his 40s, he can still complete this marathon of the mind.
Wilson may reflect on a missed chance when he trailed 10-8, after which he never threatened. The 28-year-old from Kettering gave everything to beat Judd Trump in the quarter-finals and Anthony McGill 17-16 in an epic semi-final. He faltered on the home stretch and and he has now lost six of his nine ranking finals, though he can learn from the experience of his best Crucible run. The £200,000 pay-day is by far his biggest and he is up to a career-high of sixth in the world.
Leading 17-8 after the third session, O’Sullivan needed just ten minutes to wrap up the match in the concluding session with a rapid run of 96. Over the last eight frames he made seven breaks over 50.
“I was happy to get one world title at one stage,” said O’Sullivan. “Once I got to four I knew I could call myself one of the greats, because that’s how many times John Higgins had won it. Anything above that and you are in fantastic company.
“One thing I have got is longevity. I go in and out of form and my mind can wander sometimes. Then I get a bit of a taste for it again and want to see if I’ve still got it, so I try to have a go at it as I have done in this tournament. When you practise for five or six hours a day it’s because you want to know whether you are hitting it straight enough to stand up under pressure.
“Kyren is a top player and is improving all the time. He has got desire, the hunger and the belief in his ability. His fire is burning bright enough and he will get there in the end. He will win this tournament one day – not to put too much pressure on him. He is a country mile above everyone else his age and he always wants to raise his own bar.”
Wilson said: “I’m not going to beat myself up to much. It was a dream come true to play Ronnie in the final. I really struggled in the first session yesterday. We both had a bit of a hangover from the semi-finals. I’m a fighter. I tried to just relax, let the shackles off and go for it.
“The night belongs to Ronnie, he was amazing in the final. He has shown his class when he wasn’t quite at his best. He was awesome in the third session.
“I’m very lucky to have what I have, to be 28 and playing the sport that I love. It has given me an amazing life. To perform in an arena like this is an honour and I’m glad that a crowd was allowed in for the final.”
And you can enjoy the end of the final frame and the trophy ceremony here
Kyren Wilson is a credit to himself and to snooker. His time will come.
After two weeks, only two players remain and they started the battle for the trophy yesterday.
Ronnie finished the day 10-7 ahead, but I’m not quite sure how. He was terrible, especially in the evening. Kyren had a bad start by improved, Ronnie got worse.
Here are the numbers:
The conditions were even worse than in previous rounds, which must be very frustrating for both players. They are playing a very important match, for Kyren surely the most important of his life so far, and the table is unrealiable.
This are not the opinions of some random fans. Neil Robertson is a top player and former World Champion, Neal Foulds is a former top player and an experienced commentator and pundit. This is a disgrace.
Here are the reports by WST
Ronnie O’Sullivan took a step towards a sixth Crucible crown as he went 6-2 up on Kyren Wilson in the first session of the Betfred World Championship final.
Neither player was at his best in a tense opening session, but it was O’Sullivan who made fewer mistakes as he opened up a substantial early lead in the best-of-35 contest. They return at 7.30pm on Saturday night for nine more frames.
O’Sullivan is playing his 90th match at the Crucible, equalling Stephen Hendry’s record. He is aiming for a sixth world title, which would bring him level with Steve Davis and one behind Hendry’s record of seven. Victory would give him his first ranking title since the 2019 Tour Championship and his 37th in all, which would put him one ahead of Hendry.
This is his seventh Crucible final and at the age of 44 he is aiming to become the oldest champion since Ray Reardon lifted the trophy in 1978 at the age of 45. If O’Sullivan takes the £500,000 winner’s cheque that would double his previous highest prize and that would move him from sixth to second in the world rankings.
Wilson is playing in his first world final and, at the age of 28, he could become the youngest champion since Neil Robertson in 2010. He is playing in his third ranking final of the season and ninth in all. Victory would give him a fourth ranking title and first on UK soil. The Kettering cueman is hoping to become the 27th player to have his name engraved on the famous trophy. That would move him from eighth to third in the world rankings.
O’Sullivan has won four of their previous six meetings, notably in the finals of the 2017 English Open and the 2018 Champion of Champions. Wilson, though, did win their most recent match 6-5 in the semi-finals of this year’s Welsh Open.
O’Sullivan took the opening frame with a break of 56 and might have added the second had he not missed a tricky final brown to a baulk corner, allowing his opponent to clear for 1-1.
A run of 80 saw O’Sullivan regain the lead and he capitalised on a missed red with the rest from Wilson in frame four, making 75 for 3-1. Wilson’s 63 gave him frame five, then O’Sullivan took the sixth with a top run of 48. The first century of the match and 78th of the tournament, a 106 from O’Sullivan, stretched his lead to 5-2.
The final frame of the session lasted 40 minutes and came down to a safety battle on the pink. Wilson, leading 49-47, attempted a long pot to a baulk corner but missed his target, and O’Sullivan took pink and black to finish the afternoon well on top.
Ronnie O’Sullivan took a crucial last frame of the first day of the Betfred World Championship final to lead Kyren Wilson 10-7.
Wilson came from 8-2 behind to narrow the gap and looked set to draw within one frame until he missed the last red in frame 17. O’Sullivan struggled with his technique for much of the day but is still in front and edging closer to a sixth Crucible crown. First to 18 frames on Sunday will take the trophy and £500,000 top prize.
Wilson trailed 6-2 going into the second session and had first chance in the opening frame tonight, making 53 before running out of position. After a safety exchange, O’Sullivan made an excellent 49 clearance to extend his lead. A run of 51 in the next put him 8-2 ahead.
Kettering’s Wilson, playing in his first Crucible final, got his cue arm going in frame 11 with a break of 92. A run of 50 from Wilson in the 12th left O’Sullivan needing a snooker. He laid a tough one on the green, and Wilson played one of the best shots of the match so far to swerve between brown and blue and make contact with the object ball. He later potted the green to close to 8-4 at the interval.
Wilson’s run of 40 put him in charge of frame 13 and he sealed it with an excellent long pot on the penultimate red. Breaks of 28 and 58 in the next saw him draw within two frames at 8-6. In the 15th, Wilson was among the balls, trailing 29-17, when he was unlucky to knock a red in when splitting the pack off the blue. O’Sullivan capitalised on the chance with a run of 48 to end a sequence of losing four frames in a row.
A failed attempt at a long red from O’Sullivan let Wilson in for a break of 100, his first century of the match, to go 9-7. In the last frame of the session, Wilson had a chance to clear from 29-40 behind, and got to the last red before missing a tricky pot along the top cushion. O’Sullivan gratefully accepted the chance to take a three-frame overnight lead.
They resume on Sunday at 1.30pm for eight more frames.
During the first session, Kyren had not settled, and Ronnie took advantage despite playing badly. His technique let him down and his long potting must have gone lost somewhere backstage. Hopefully someone finds it and brings it back before they resume playing today …
During the second session Kyren improved, and Ronnie got even worse if that was even possible.
Joe Johnson in commentary reflected that Ronnie looked “spent”. I agree. Friday’s win over Mark Selby was massive psychologically and Ronnie has surely spent a huge amount of mental and emotional energy in that match. Yesterday, he looked like someone with very little left in the tank. Two things he did though, from start to finish, is stay patient and fight with all he had.
Kyren of course also spent a lot of energy in his semi-final, but he seemed to get better as the match went on yesterday. Two things probably helped him: he’s 28, not 44, and he fisnished his SF match in early evening, not late at night.
Hopefully, Ronnie will have a good night sleep and will come out rested today. If not Kyren could well run away with the match this afternoon.
Wilson beat Anthony McGill by 17-16 yesterday afternoon to book his place in the World Championship final for the first time.
Kyren Wilson reached the final of the Betfred World Championship for the first time by beating Anthony McGill 17-16, winning one of the most dramatic deciding frames seen at the Crucible.
Perhaps not since the 1985 final has a deciding frame included so many jaw-dropping moments, as the two players tried frantically to reach the finish line. It lasted 61 minutes, had a combined total of 186 points, and was only settled when Wilson, holding back tears, rolled the pink into a baulk corner.
The 28-year-old from Kettering becomes the 30th player to reach the final at the Crucible and will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Selby over 35 frames on Saturday and Sunday.
Having knocked out defending champion Judd Trump in the quarter-finals, he was heavy favourite to beat McGill, but had to come from 6-2 behind and then survive a furious battle in the home stretch.
The world number eight has won three ranking events but to contest snooker’s biggest title will be the biggest match of his life by far.
Glasgow’s 29-year-old McGill set a new record for the most frames played before the final, as he won deciders against Jack Lisowski and Jamie Clarke before beating Kurt Maflin 13-10. After coming through the qualifying rounds then playing 100 frames at the Crucible his bid for glory finishes in despair, though a career-high pay-day of £100,000 will ease the pain.
Wilson took the first frame of the concluding session with a break of 94 to lead 14-11, then McGill pulled one back with a run of 84. In frame 27, Wilson was on 25 when he missed a tricky black to a top corner, and his opponent replied with 87. A superb 122 from world number 39 McGill in the next, his second century of the tournament, made it 14-14 at the interval.
McGill had first chance in frame 29 but was unfortunate to knock a red in when smashing the pack off the blue, and his opponent made 82 to regain the lead. In the 30th, McGill made 43 before running out of position, then he laid a tough snooker and from the chance that followed added 42 for 15-15. A brilliant run of 98 put McGill within a frame of the winning line at 16-15.
In frame 32, Wilson led 48-7 when he missed the pink to a top corner. McGill made 22 before running out of position. The Scot was later trapped in a tough snooker on the last red, and though he escaped he left it over a corner pocket, allowing Wilson to make it 16-16.
McGill had first chance in the decider and made 39 then was unlucky not to land on a red when he split the pack. Wilson replied with 47, and later trapped his opponent in a tough snooker on the last red. McGill missed it ten times, which left him needing a snooker, but Wilson then twice accidentally went in-off.
McGill had a clear winning chance when he potted the last red, but after taking black and yellow he snookered himself on the green. That led to another tactical exchange which finished when Wilson enjoyed an outrageous fluke as he attempted safety on the green, sending it off three cushions, across the table and dead-weight into a top corner. McGill fought on for the snooker he needed but to no avail. The frame score of 103-83 set a new record for the most combined points in a single frame at the Crucible, beating the previous mark of 173.
“It was just the maddest match,” said Wilson after reaching his third ranking final of the season and ninth in all. “It was a great standard right up until the last frame, and then the decider got very nervy. I felt at one point I had thrown it away, then I fluked the green out of nowhere. I didn’t want it to end that way, I have dreamed of this situation and I didn’t want to win the match on a fluke. You have to accept those things can happen in snooker.
“I have known Anthony since we were kids, and in the last frame we were just two young lads out there feeling the pressure. We fought so hard for three days, toe to toe, we both gave it everything.
“It’s amazing to be in the final. I have played in a Masters final, but this is a cut above. I’ll try to use my experience of big occasions. Both Mark and Ronnie are phenomenal players and multiple world champions. To win would mean everything, it’s what I have dreamed of achieving.”
McGill said: “I have to congratulate Kyren because he played a great match. I thought I played great today. I was really unlucky in the last frame because I was in first, and if I had landed on a red when I went into the them, the game was done. I hit the black like an absolute dream to get the split. I don’t feel I did that much wrong,
“I feel as if the match was stolen from me – not by Kyren but by the snooker Gods. Even at the end when I got the chance, I didn’t think I could snooker myself on the green. I really enjoyed the fight, it was played in the right spirit.”
It was the craziest end to an excellent match. For me it outclasses the 1985 Final easily. A lot is made of the final black ball and it was dramatic, but the match itself was poor quality, and the decider was as well. Kyren and Anthony produced a high quality match, and the decider was completely mad.
Judge by yourself:
Stephen Hendry on BBC commentary could barely bear to watch and I’m not sure he remembered his own name towards the end … he was totally engrossed.
Today the table is being “re-cushioned”
And this awaits us …
Ronnie had never been in front since Mark Selby peggeg him back at 5-5, early in the second session but he produced some magic to bring the match to a decider – from 9-13 and 14-16 down – and then win the said decider.
Here are the match numbers:
They played two sessions yesterday and those are the reports by WST:
Despite losing the last two frames of the third session, Mark Selby holds a 13-11 lead over Ronnie O’Sullivan going into the last chapter of their Betfred World Championship semi-final battle.
O’Sullivan looked a fading force at 13-9 behind, but crucially took the next two frames to reduce his deficit. They resume at 7pm on Friday with first to 17 frames to go through to the final to face Anthony McGill or Kyren Wilson.
Selby remains on course to beat O’Sullivan for a third time in three Crucible meetings, including the 2014 final when Selby came from 10-5 down to win 18-14. The Leicester cueman has reached the final four times and won three of those. O’Sullivan is playing in his 12th semi-final – equalling Stephen Hendry’s record – and hopes to lift the trophy for the sixth time on Sunday night.
A break of 97 gave Selby the opening frame this morning and put him 10-7 ahead. He had a chance in the next but missed a red to a top corner when leading 32-23, letting O’Sullivan in for a run of 45 which proved enough to take the frame.
Selby’s 68 gave him frame 19 and he was among the balls first in the 20th but missed the brown on 26, and O’Sullivan’s 68 made it 11-9 at the interval.
Two breaks of 72 saw Selby pull away to lead 13-9, and at that stage he had won 11 of the last 15 frames. He might have stretched his lead had he not missed a red on a run of 50 in the 23rd. The frame came down to the last red and O’Sullivan was fortunate to trap his opponent in a tough snooker, and from the chance that followed he cleared with 33 to pulled one back.
In the last frame of the session, Selby had one early chance but only made 8, and O’Sullivan made breaks of 46 and 41 to draw within two frames.
Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 16-14 down to beat Mark Selby 17-16 in a thrilling contest at the Betfred World Championship to set up a final clash with Kyren Wilson.
O’Sullivan took an instinctive, all-out-attack approach for much of the contest, often attempting outlandish pots rather than playing safe. On several occasions, including in the deciding frame, he escaped from snookers with cavalier power shots. In his post-match interviews, Selby accused his opponent of being “disrespectful” due to his shot selection.
But ultimately O’Sullivan’s method paid dividends as he reached the Crucible final for the seventh time and first since 2014. Victory would give him £500,000 and a sixth title, bringing him level with Steve Davis.
Over a possible 35 frames on Saturday and Sunday, O’Sullivan will face Wilson, who beat Anthony McGill 17-16 on an extraordinary day in Sheffield. It’s the first time in Crucible history that both semi-finals have gone to a deciding frame.
If he lifts the trophy, Chigwell’s 44-year-old O’Sullivan would become the oldest champion since Ray Reardon in 1978. He is on target for a 37th ranking title, which would move him one ahead of Stephen Hendry.
Three-time champion Selby played some of his best snooker of recent years in beating Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals and in spells against O’Sullivan. He may regret missing the chance to charge for the line when he led 13-9. But in the concluding session the standard was high and there was little Selby could do to stop O’Sullivan’s marvellous finish.
World number six O’Sullivan made a fast start to the session with a break of 114 to leave him 13-12 behind, then breaks of 47 and 57 in the next drew him level. O’Sullivan led 51-11 in the next when he tried to split a cluster of reds in potting the brown, but missed the pack and went in-off. That was a momentum shift as Selby cleared superbly with 56 to regain the lead.
Selby’s run of 63 put him 15-13 ahead and he looked set to extend his advantage in frame 29 until he missed a tricky pot on the penultimate red when leading 50-34. O’Sullivan cleared to narrow the gap.
Both players missed chances in frame 30 and it came down to a safety battle on the pink. Partially snookered, O’Sullivan trailed by six points then twice missed the pink, handing the frame to his opponent. The next two frames lasted just 16 minutes as O’Sullivan rattled in breaks of 138 and 71 to draw level at 16-16.
A thumping long red in the decider set O’Sullivan up for a break of 64, though he missed a red to a baulk corner when two pots from victory. Selby made 34 then failed to gain position on the last red and played safe. In a tactical exchange, O’Sullivan was twice trapped in difficult snookers but managed to escape. And when he had a chance at a tricky pot to a top corner he took it and added 17 points to clinch the result.
“Playing at the Crucible in big matches, you just want to find some solid shots,” said O’Sullivan. “There were spells where I was mis-hitting and not timing the shots well. You can get frustrated but I just tried to keep it together and compete. Mark was keeping me at bay and I didn’t think I could compete with him. I don’t know where the last three frames came from. I found some sort of magic towards the end, maybe from inspiration or desperation.
“When I was a kid I dreamed of playing at these tournaments, but as you get older you realise that it’s the game that fascinates you. I’d much rather be hitting good shots and striking the ball with authority – that’s where the enjoyment comes from. The by-product of that is that a bit of silverware comes your way. But every professional will tell you that if you are striking the ball well then you will have a chance to win tournaments.
“I am here to compete and even if I’m not striking it great and hitting some loose shots, I’ve got to stick in there and try to find bits of magic.”
Selby said: “I didn’t get much of a chance in the last three frames, apart from right at the end. I felt great – I felt like I was going to clear up. I just played a poor positional shot on the green. After that I played some good safety shots. Ronnie just kept getting out of snookers.
“During the match, I felt it was a little bit disrespectful, the way he played. Every time I put him in a snooker, he just got down and hit the balls at 100 miles an hour and they could have gone anywhere. I don’t know whether he was just in that frame of mind, but I felt it was a bit disrespectful to me at the table. In the last three frames he played great, I’ve got no complaints.
“Sometimes if you have no shot, you just hit them as hard as you can and hope to fluke one. Each time I had him in a snooker, he seemed to do it. Even if he had a chance to roll up to a ball, he would just come off the cushion. I just think it is disrespectful to the game and disrespectful to me in that particular match.”
In response to Selby’s comments, O’Sullivan said: “You want to hit it as hard as you can and hopefully get a fluke otherwise I could give 40 points away. If I was as good as Mark Selby at getting out of snookers, I could maybe get the balls safe.”
The final starts at 1.30pm on Saturday.
You can listen to Ronnie’s interviews here:
With the sponsor –
And about the “disrespect” bit as well as the return of a crowd:
As you can hear, Ronnie is not happy about having a crowd back … yeah another negative twat 😉
Regarding the “disrespect” bit, here is my take for what it’s worth.
Prior to the World Championship, Ronnie had been asked by Eurosport: “If you could have one match back and replay it, which would it be?”. Ronnie’s answer was “The 2014 Final”. In a way he got it yesterday. In that 2014 final, Ronnie lost to Mark Selby, from 10-4 up, because he got sucked in Marks’s game, allowed him to dictate the style and the pace and got mightily frustrated. It left him with huge scars.
Ahead of this match, I expected Ronnie to go all out attack because of what he had said to Eurosport. It was clear that he wanted another chance to find an answer to Mark’s game, and the key to that was always going to be able to stay in control of the pace and style of the match. Therefore, it’s no surprise that he refused to be dragged into lengthy safety exchanges and tried to keep the game open and not allow his opponent to make it awkward. I short, he played to his own strengths, not his opponent’s. He did to Mark, what Mark had done to him in 2014, he took him out of his comfort zone and it worked.
Asked his opinion, this was Stephen Hendry’s reaction:
At the time Mark Selby was praised for “finding a way” … Ronnie should be praised as well.