Reduced crowd allowed into the Crucible for the Final

This was posted by WST yesterday evening

We are delighted to announce that a reduced crowd will be welcomed to all sessions of the final of the Betfred World Championship on Saturday and Sunday (August 15-16).

The UK Government has confirmed that the last two days of the tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield can go ahead with an audience.

Your ticket is the e-ticket that you have received via email from the Crucible Theatre. You will need this e-ticket to gain entry to the Crucible.

If you are concerned that you have not received your e-ticket, please check your junk mail in your email account.

Please read the information below in advance of attending the tournament. We look forward to welcoming you to the Crucible Theatre.

A small number of tickets will be available to buy for all four sessions. These will be on sale from 10.30am on Friday morning until 6pm the evening before the session start date.
To book please visit 

We strongly urge all fans coming to the Crucible to read the below Code of Conduct before travelling.

Spectator Code of Conduct
Please be aware that this code is intended to keep us all as safe as we can be, and to reduce the risks wherever possible associated with Covid-19.

Compliance to this code is a way of showing respect for fellow spectators whilst on site at this event, any non-compliance could result in the jeopardising of public health which is a risk we cannot take, and therefore all mandatory items listed below must be adhered to for entry to this event:

1. First and foremost spectators should carry out their own personal risk assessment prior to attending the event. Spectators should take into consideration your age, health status and clinical vulnerability, and that of any others attending within their party.

2. Please note that the current government guidance allows for up to six persons to meet from two households, therefore if you are booking for persons outside of two households you will need to place separate orders for those additional tickets.

3. Travel to and from the Crucible Theatre must also be considered within your decision to attend this event, please visit the Crucible website for all travel options. Owing to social distancing, local public transport service providers might only be able to offer limited services with reduced capacities and reduced timetables so we ask that where you are looking to use public transport to attend the venue, you plan your use of public transport carefully and refer to the latest guidance from the public transport providers. We encourage spectators to walk or cycle to the Crucible where possible, please visit for details of local cycling routes.

4. Tickets must be purchased in advance and the box office will not be open to sell tickets on the day. All tickets will be available from, please note that all tickets will go off sale at 18:00 on the day before the session.

5. Spectator hygiene

a. At all times and in all areas of Tudor Square and the Crucible Theatre, please observe social distancing and avoid close contact with any others not in your social bubble, including hugs and high-fives.

b. We ask that all spectators maintain good hand hygiene, please use the sanitiser stations provided around the venue and avoid touching your face or any unnecessary surfaces.

c. Please observe respiratory etiquette and always cover your mouth if needing to cough or sneeze.

6. Food and Drink

Please be advised that you are permitted to bring your own food and drink, within the following parameters:

• Plastic containers are permitted, please do not bring glass or cans

• Snacks are permitted, please be considerate to the usual rules of play when opening items

• No alcohol or hot food

• Food and drink may only be consumed while in your allocated seat

7. Upon arrival to the Crucible

a) Spectators will be permitted access the Crucible Theatre 30 minutes prior to the published session start time, any queuing will take place on Tudor Square outside of the venue. Earlier arrival to the building will not be possible.

b) There will be toilets on Tudor Square that spectators have access to, prior to entering the building.

c) At the point of entering the Crucible Theatre we will supply all audience members with a face mask. Spectators will be instructed to wear this mask whilst moving around inside the venue. This is for the combined protection of yourself and all audience members.

d) As you enter the building wearing your face mask, your contactless ticket will be scanned on your mobile device, your bag will be checked and you will then be asked to go directly to your allocated seat.

e) Please note that the foyer areas within the Crucible Theatre will not be serving any food or beverages and we ask that you do not loiter in these spaces whilst inside the building.

f) When you arrive at your designated seat you are welcome to remove your mask, we ask that you remain in your seat and that before you leave your seat you replace your facemasks.

g) If a spectator needs to utilise the toilet facilities during a match, they should try to wait until the end of a frame and wear their facemask.

h) To minimise face-to-face contact we insist that all spectators turn their backs if they need to pass other spectators.

i) Whilst in the venue, please follow signs and obey instructions from stewards and public address announcements.

8. At the end of the session, we will allow audience members to exit one row at a time and this will be done via the designated exit aisles. We ask that all audience members remain seated until we indicate to them that their aisle is ready to leave.

9. Any spectators with accessible tickets, including wheelchair spaces, are encouraged to notify the stewarding team and will be escorted to the front of any queues to give more time for entry, and to be assisted with lift access if required. Please note that only these spectators will be able to utilise the lifts.

10. Spectators must not attend the venue if they are displaying Covid-19 symptoms and agree that if any member of their party was to develop Covid-19 symptoms in the interim, that they will not attend the event. WST will refund any tickets for this reason. A list of Covid-19 symptoms is shown below:

Cough in the last 7 days

Unusual Shortness of Breath on activity for two or more consecutive days

New Shortness of Breath at rest

Fever/Feeling Hot/Sweating

Loss of Smell

Loss of Taste

Red Eyes or Sticky Eyes


New Runny Nose

New Blocked Nose

Sore Throat

And, no, I haven’t changed my mind about this. Relying on people behaving responsibly, and allowing them to remove their masks, in a very intimate arena that is ventilated via air conditioning, is a huge risk and one that should NEVER be taken. But hey! If anyone is infected, it will only be discovered days after the event and easy to put under the carpet. Yes, I’m cynical about human kind in general and business(wo)men in particular.

On day 14 at the 2020 Crucible – Mark Selby and Kyren Wilson ahead at the end of the day

Ronnie and Mark Selby played just one session yesterday, in the afternoon, and  it was a good one for Mark Selby and a rather disastrous one for Ronnie. Mark won that session by 6-2 and now leads by 9-7 in the match.

Here are the numbers:


and the report by WST

Mark Selby won six of the eight frames in the second session of his Betfred World Championship semi-final against Ronnie O’Sullivan to go 9-7 ahead.


Selby has made only four breaks over 50 in the match so far, but his tactical game has given him the edge over his opponent. O’Sullivan has shown signs of frustration, notably in the last frame of the day when he rapped his knuckles on the table after letting a chance slip away.

Friday could see a monumental battle for a place in the final, with a possible 17 frames still to be played. They resume at 10am for eight more.

The first frame today lasted 32 minutes and went the way of Selby, reducing his arrears to 5-4. A break of 97 from three-time champion Selby squared the match. O’Sullivan led 33-0 in frame 11 when he missed a black off its spot, letting Selby in for a run of 36. A safety exchange on the last red ended when Selby cracked a long pot into a top corner and he took advantage to go ahead for the first time.

A missed red with the rest early in the next from O’Sullivan gave Selby the chance to make 58 and he saw out the frame to lead 7-5. At that stage O’Sullivan had lost five in a row, but he bounced back after the interval with a run of 87. Selby’s 62 made it 8-6 then five-time champion O’Sullivan made an 82 to halve the gap.

In frame 16, O’Sullivan had first chance but made just 9 before rattling a tough long pink in the jaws of a baulk corner, banging the table as he walked back to his chair. Selby was ruthless, compiling a break of 76, and clenching his fist as they left the arena, having secure a two-frame overnight cushion.

In a way, the first frame set the tone for the session. Ronnie managed to get first in with the balls in promising positions, but a terrible kick caused him to miss the black of its spot. What followed was a long, drawn out, torturous, saftey-dominated frame that Mark Selby eventually took. It affected Ronnie’s fluency and confidence.

One of Mark Selby’s biggest assets is that he doesn’t mind too much playing that way, he’s not a “Mr Perfectionist” who will get annoyed with himself in those circumstances. Of course he takes pride of his performances and he would like play fluent snooker all the time if possible, but he accepts that this isn’t always possible. I know that a few readers of this blog will doubt the previous sentence, but I remember the 2011 German Masters Final, I remember how Mark Williams and Mark Selby both struggled to build any sort of telling break , missing all sorts because it was kicks galore, and I remember them complaining to the TD, saying that they were there to show their skills and entertain the crowd, and that the conditions were preventing them to do that and made them look silly. Here we have two former World Champions – they have won this event eight times between them – and there hasn’t been a single century in the match so far…

The conditions at the Crucible yesterday afternoon were shocking. From what transpired in commentary, it was very cold inside, very hot outside. It was obvious that the table played very “heavy” and there were a lot of kicks. Here we have two former World Champions – they have won this eight time between them – and there hasn’t been a single century in the match so far… The simple truth about yesterday’s outcome however is that Mark Selby coped much better than Ronnie with those difficult conditions and with the frustration they caused.

That said, it was not 2014 all over again. Ronnie kept trying and that’s how, despite losing all four frames before the MSI, and five in a row, he managed to share the second mini-session. And he does care. His reaction when he missed that pink in the last frame is proof of that. That pot on the pink was a very difficult one, and he had found himself in this position because splits and cannons weren’t working as expected because of the conditions. When he missed, he was both frustrated and annoyed with himself.

Mark leads by 9-7. It’s first to 17. Nothing is done, there is all to play for, and all we can hope for is that Ronnie will come at the table in the right frame of mind and that the conditions will be a bit better today.

Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill played two sessions yesterday and Kyren Wison turned a four frames deficit in a two frames advantage. Here are the reports by WST.

Morning session

Kyren Wilson produced a superb display to fight back and draw level with Anthony McGill at 8-8 in their Betfred World Championship semi-final.

World number eight Wilson had trailed 6-2 after an impressive first session showing from Scotland’s McGill. However, three-time ranking event winner Wilson turned the tables on his counterpart this morning.

Wilson is playing in his second Crucible semi-final. He made the last four in 2018, but succumbed to a 17-13 loss against John Higgins. McGill is competing in the one-table setup in Sheffield for the first time in his career.

The Warrior got off to a fast start this morning, immediately closing the gap to 6-4 with breaks of 100 and 77. McGill then claimed a 31-minute 11th frame, before Wilson fired in a run of 73 to make it 7-5 at the mid-session.

McGill edged three ahead again, but three frames in a row from Wilson, including a sublime break of 116, saw him end level at 8-8.

They will return at 7pm for the third session of this best of 33 encounter.

Evening session

Kyren Wilson is just four frames away from his first Betfred World Championship final as he surged into a 13-11 lead over Anthony McGill.

Wilson was 6-2 behind at the start of the day but has stormed back today to win 11 out of 16 frames and take the lead. They play to a finish from 2.30pm on Friday with the winner to face either Mark Selby or Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final.

Three-time ranking event winner Wilson is playing in his second Crucible semi-final and, after a slow start, is rising to the occasion. Glasgow’s McGill, competing in the semis for the first time, continues to battle hard and took the last frame of tonight’s session with his first century of the tournament to keep in touch.

World number 39 McGill took the opening frame tonight to lead 9-8 then Kettering’s Wilson won the next with a break of 99. The next two frames, lasting a total of 57 minutes, were shared to leave the score at 10-10.

After the interval, Wilson made a 116 to take the lead for the first time in the match. A fragmented 22nd frame came down to a safety battle on the pink, and eighth seed Wilson converted an excellent pot to double his lead. A 105 in the next, his seventh century of the tournament, made it 13-10. McGill then finished the session strongly by knocking in a long red and building a 136 total clearance.

Although I watched the second session, and marked the scores, I can’t comment because it’s all a blurr … and, no, I din’t drink 😉. The best of the day was spent moving furniture around and repainting the walls of the condo in scorching heat. I suppose that this took its toll on this not-so-young lady. And, no, it wasn’t a case of me preferring to watch paint dry either although I was in perfect circumstances to do so, had I wished to.


On Day 13 at the 2020 Crucible – SF -Ronnie and McGill in the lead after their first sessions.

We are at the ever magnificent one table setup …


There were two sessions played yesterday.

In the afternoon Anthony McGill took a 6-2 lead over Kyren Wilson (WST report)

Qualifier Anthony McGill set himself on course for a surprise semi-final win over Kyren Wilson at the Betfred World Championship as he took a 6-2 lead in the first session.

Scotland’s McGill, who played 67 out of a possible 69 frames in three tight matches at the Crucible up to the quarter-finals, has looked the stronger player so far against Wilson.

World number 39 McGill is looking to become the ninth player in Crucible history to reach the final having come through the qualifying rounds. He would be the lowest ranked finalist other than Shaun Murphy who was 48th in 2005, and Terry Griffiths who was unranked in 1979.

Eighth seed Wilson played superb snooker to beat Judd Trump in the quarter-finals, but the Kettering cueman has not got going so far in his second Crucible semi-final.

Breaks of 83 and 78 gave McGill the first two frames and he got the better of a safety battle on the green in the third to go 3-0 up. Wilson made a run of 50 as he pulled one back but McGill took frame five in two scoring visits for 4-1. Wilson had first chance in frame six but only made 32 and his opponent replied with 69 to extend his lead.

McGill had a golden chance to win the seventh from 45-0 behind but missed the blue to a centre pocket off the last red on 41, allowing Wilson to reduce his deficit. But McGill shrugged off that setback and took the last of the session with a 92, equalling his highest break of the tournament so far.

They resume at 10am on Friday for eight more frames. First to 17 goes through to the final to face Mark Selby or Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Kyren Wilson didn’t play well at all during the first minisession. I can’t speak for the second as I didn’t see it. Anthony McGill on the other hand looked unspectacular but extremely efficient and reliable. How come that Kyren who looked so strong the day before seemed to struggle badly yesterday? First of all, of course, it’s another day and form isn’t a tap that players can turn on and off at will. The conditions vere different, the table has been moved and recovered and the setup is different. Watching on TV, I barely felt the Crucible emptiness until yesterday. But yesterday I definitely did: it’s now a vast open space … devoid of spectators. Maybe that change of atmosphere also had an impact on the players. And, finally, there is the fact that, against Judd Trump, he was the underdog, now he’s the one who’s expected to win. It’s a completely different mindset and pressure. But it’s a long match … plenty of time to regroup and recover.

In the evening, Ronnie took a 5-3 lead over Mark Selby (WST report)

Ronnie O’Sullivan holds a 5-3 lead over Mark Selby after the first session of their Betfred World Championship semi-final.

The much anticipated clash between two of snooker’s all-time greats has not lived up to expectations so far, with both players making mistakes, but it is sure to be an intriguing battle over the next two days.


Three-time champion Selby has won both previous meetings with O’Sullivan at the Crucible, in the 2010 quarter-finals and the 2014 final. The latter was the last time that O’Sullivan appeared in the one-table situation in Sheffield.

Selby had first chance in the opening frame and missed a red on 31, letting his opponent in for 59 which helped him go 1-0 up. The key moment in the second came when Selby missed an attempted plant on a red on 39, and O’Sullivan took advantage to double his lead. Leicester’s Selby took a scrappy third thanks to an excellent pot on the last red to a top corner.

In frame four, Selby was on 34 when he missed a red to a centre pocket, and five-time champion O’Sullivan made an 84 to lead 3-1 at the interval. Breaks of 51 and 79 saw the Rocket go further ahead. Frame six came down to the last red and a failed attempt at a long pot from O’Sullivan allowed Selby to claw one back.

A run of 58 helped O’Sullivan go 5-2 ahead and he looked huge favourite to win the eighth when he led 51-0 with the remaining balls in unpromising positions. But gritty Selby edged back into the frame and eventually converted a superb pot on the last red and cleared to narrow the gap to just two overnight.

They play eight more frames on Thursday from 2.30pm, with the third and fourth sessions on Friday. First to 17 frames goes through to the final to play Kyren Wilson or Anthony McGill.

Ronnie looked very focused and determined yesterday evening, taking his time over his shots and certainly not going for anything outlandish. He’s still not going defensive though … here are the numbers:


Mark Selby’s highest break was a mere 39, but he’s still only trailing only by two frames. Just a testimonny of how hard a match player he is.

Both players had a lot of kicks in this first session and you could clearly see Ronnie’s frustration at times, although he didn’t act on it, except for an unconsequential cue bang. Ronnie has reverted to the traditional chalk after several miscues cost him in his QF match. Dennis Taylor suggested that this might be the cause of the kicks, but frankly I doubt it, because all these years Ronnie has been playing with that type of chalk and he never was one to get plenty of kicks. More likely, the general conditions in the room played a part, as Ken Doherty suggested: very hot outside, air conditioning working quite “hard” inside. He compared it to the conditions they have at some Chinese events.

There was report on those incidents in the press today

After both players suffered a series of bad cue ball contacts in the third frame, O’Sullivan told referee Paul Collier: “I’ve never had kicks like that before in my life.”

Tournament officials took the unusual step of changing the balls during the mid-session interval and the kicks appeared to subside, with O’Sullivan fashioning an overnight advantage which ought to have been much more comprehensive.

Players and pundits including six-time runner-up Jimmy White have suggested the warm weather may be a factor in the increased incidences of contact issues this year.


Ahead of this match Ronnie made the headlines … in some tennis magazine.

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan has hailed Novak Djokovic as the perfect example to follow if you want to win the biggest tournaments.

O’Sullivan is widely regarded as the most talented player to ever pick up a cue, although he has failed to deliver as many world titles as most would expect.

That has often been put down to him lacking the mentality to go with his talent, but as he chases what would be a sixth world title this week, he has found inspiration in tennis’ current number one.

“I probably need to be like a Novak Djokovic,” Ronnie O’Sullivan told Eurosport.

“He’s double solid, he does everything very well and he’s not going to give you anything.

“He’s not the most flamboyant, he’s not going to give you the Roger Federer brilliance or the Rafael Nadal forehand but he’s there from start to finish and his form doesn’t dip much.

I’ve always said to win in Sheffield you have to have that steady state type of game.”

… well that’s the right mindset.


On Day 12 at the 2020 Crucible

Yesterday was the last day of the quarter finals, and it was also the last of the two table setup. The fitters have been at work and today there will be just one table. That’s when the Crucible arena really delivers its unique atmosphere, although, this time, there will be no crowd to enjoy it… at least for the semi-finals.

This is the semi-finals line-up:

Kyren Wilson v Anthony McGill

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Mark Selby

Just like last year, we still have a qualifier in the draw, this time it’s Anthony McGill.

How did we get here? Here are the reports by WST.

Mark Selby beat Neil Robertson by 13-7 (morning session)

Mark Selby wrapped up a 13-7 quarter-final win over Neil Robertson at the Betfred World Championship to move within two matches of a fourth Crucible crown.

The meeting of two former champions didn’t feature a single century break, but Selby produced a safety masterclass as he battled his way into the semi-finals for the first time since 2017. World number seven Selby will now face Mark Williams or Ronnie O’Sullivan on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. If he goes all the way to the trophy, the 37-year-old will join John Higgins on four Crucible titles.

Selby has recently started working with psychologist Chris Henry and is playing with renewed self-belief. Australia’s Robertson, by contrast, looked short of inspiration and his sequence of not reaching the final since his 2010 triumph goes on. He made just four breaks over 50 in the 20 frames.

Leicester’s Selby led 11-5 overnight and took the first frame today with a break of 91. Robertson came from 56-1 down to pinch the next, helped by a fluke on the penultimate red. Frame 19 came down to the colours and Robertson potted blue and pink to raise his hopes of a fight back at 12-7.

World number two Robertson was on a break of 53 in frame 20 when he missed the black off its spot. Selby made 14 then trapped his opponent in a tough snooker on the last red, and from the chance that followed he cleared with 33 to become the first man into the semi-finals.

“In the first two sessions I was near faultless in terms of my safety and my all round game,” said Selby after reaching the last four at the Crucible for the sixth time. “I was close to my best in that part of the game. I didn’t give Neil many chances. I can’t wait for the semis now, it seems a long time ago that I was last there.”

Asked about his decision to work with Henry,  Selby added: “I went through a spell of doubting myself because I was not winning tournaments. Before that I had got used to winning, and when I stopped I realised how hard the game can be. I knew my mindset was negative so I felt I needed to work with someone to deal with that. I have only been working with Chris for a month but it seems to be working.”

Robertson said: “Mark’s defensive safety was absolutely unbelievable. He didn’t let up and didn’t open up any of the frames. He got his gameplan absolutely spot on and kept it super tight. I just couldn’t get any free flowing scoring going at all. The balls were very scrappy.

That was one of the best safety performances I’ve ever put in, but playing Mark I probably should have spotted the danger signs a little bit earlier and maybe opened things up more.

“You have to try and work out how not to be broken down. In football, when a team puts ten men behind the ball and camps in their box, you need to find answers for that. I probably played 35 frame winning safety shots against Mark and Barry (Hawkins) and both of them kept finding escapes and playing unbelievable safety shots in return.”

The part I put in bold is key. At times yesterday Neil was on nearly 30 seconds AST.  He got dragged into playing a game that’s not his and that rarely works no matter how good the player.

Kyren Wilson beat Judd Trump by 13-9 (afternoon session)

Judd Trump became the latest victim of the Curse of the Crucible as he lost 13-9 to Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.

Trump had hoped to become the only first-time winner to successfully defend the title the following year, but he was beaten by an outstanding opponent in Wilson. It has been a record breaking season for Trump, becoming the first player to win six ranking titles in a single campaign, but since the tour returned from lockdown he has not hit the same heights.

Defeat for Trump also means he finishes the season on 102 centuries, just short of Neil Robertson’s record of 103.

World number eight Wilson goes through to the semi-finals at the Crucible for the second time – his first came in 2018 when he lost to John Higgins. This time he will start strong favourite against either Kurt Maflin or Anthony McGill over 33 frames.

The 28-year-old from Kettering, known for his fierce determination, has been something of a bogey player for Trump in recent years. Wilson has now won eight of their 13 meetings, including victories in the final of the 2015 Shanghai Masters and the semi-finals of the 2018 Masters. This performance is up there with his career best.

Trailing 10-6 overnight, Trump won the opening frame today with a break of 72, before Wilson hit back with a 94 to lead 11-7. Bristol’s Trump kept fighting and made 100 and 62 to take the next two frames and make it 11-9.

But world number one Trump potted just one ball after the interval, as Wilson dominated frame 21 then sealed victory in the next with a superb 104.

“It is definitely up there with my best wins,” said Wilson. “Judd has been on a phenomenal run. He really held himself well as World Champion. I knew I’d have my hands full and that he’d come all guns blazing from 10-6 down. I’m delighted to have held him off at the end.

“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. I’m really pleased we managed to put on a good performance.

“I won’t take anybody for granted. Whether it is Kurt Maflin or Anthony McGill, they are both fantastic players and fantastic lads. It will be a dream to be in the semi-finals of the World Championship and everything will feel like a bonus for them. That makes them very dangerous.

“For me it is the best venue on Earth. I love coming here and I am so glad they’ve managed to get it on this year.”

Trump said: “Even in the last frame, the bits of luck you need to win the tournament just weren’t going my way. I’m not disappointed with how I played. I battled until the end. I felt good out there but Kyren played some very good stuff. He scored pretty heavily and got the run at the right times, that is a pretty dangerous combination.

“In the last frame I went into the pack and finished on nothing again. It’s just minor things which can affect snooker in such small ways. The difference between 9-7 and 10-6 is huge. A millimetre either way changes the whole game. I’m not going to be too hard on myself. If Kyren plays like that and gets good run of the ball he will be very hard to stop. His long potting was brilliant over the three sessions, he looks like he has improved. He will definitely be my favourite to win the title from here.

“In the past we didn’t get on that well, but we did a few exhibitions together and we get on nowadays. His style is slightly different to mine, I think it is brilliant for the game that I can have someone from my own age group to compete with for the next ten or 15 years. To me, he looks like he has really improved. He’s taken a step up from when we played before. It is all about me trying to put my foot back on the gas and get ready for next season, to keep up where he is at.”

Curse of the Crucible – where the first-time champions have fallen

1980 Terry Griffiths – lost in second round to Steve Davis
1981 Cliff Thorburn – lost in semi-finals to Steve Davis
1982 Steve Davis – lost in first round to Tony Knowles
1986 Dennis Taylor – lost in first round to Mike Hallett
1987 Joe Johnson – lost in final to Steve Davis
1991 Stephen Hendry – lost in quarter-finals to Steve James
1992 John Parrott – lost in quarter-finals to Alan McManus
1998 Ken Doherty – lost in final to John Higgins
1999 John Higgins- lost in semi-finals to Mark Williams
2001 Mark Williams – lost in second round to Joe Swail
2002 Ronnie O’Sullivan – lost in semi-finals to Stephen Hendry
2003 Peter Ebdon – lost in quarter-finals to Paul Hunter
2006 Shaun Murphy – lost in quarter-finals to Peter Ebdon
2007 Graeme Dott – lost in first round to Ian McCulloch
2011 Neil Robertson – lost first round to Judd Trump
2015 Mark Selby- lost in second round to Anthony McGill
2016 Stuart Bingham – lost first round to Ali Carter
2020 Judd Trump – lost in quarter-finals to Kyren Wilson

Again I did put some bits in bold. Indeed Judd Trump didn’t play anywhere near his best after the lockdown, be it in the CLS, in the Tour Championship or indeed here. He did win six tournaments this season and will surely be voted “player of the season” but it’s worth noting that he didn’t perform well in any of the three “majors”: in the 2019 UK Championship, he went out in the last 32, beaten 6-3 by the 54 years old Nigel Bond and at the 2020 Masters he went out in the first round, beaten 6-3 by Shaun Murphy. Each time he had been boasting his chances when speaking to the press ahead of the event. It’s good to be confident, and nothing wrong with showing it, but, at times, it backfires because it also puts unecessary pressure on yourself. Again also, he couldn’t refrain to mention bad luck. Sorry but over three sessions, you’re bound to get some bad luck, and so does your opponent. 

Ronnie beat Mark Williams by 13-10 from 7-2 down. They played two sessions yesterday and you can read all about it here.

Anthony McGill beat Kurt Maflin by 13-10. They played two sessions yesterday. It was a great effort by Maflin who was trailing by 7-1 at the start of the day.

Morning session:

Anthony McGill moved within three frames of a first semi-final appearance at the Betfred World Championship as he took a 10-6 lead over Kurt Maflin going into their concluding session.

They resume at 7pm tonight with first to 13 frames to go through to the last four to face Judd Trump or Kyren Wilson.

Maflin started the second session 7-1 behind, and though he took five of the eight frames this morning, the Norwegian may regret missing chances to narrow the gap further.

A break of 87 gave Maflin the opening frame today and he won the next on the colours to make it 7-3. He made 62 in the next but couldn’t finish the frame off and his opponent eventually cleared from brown to black to steal it. That gave McGill a boost and he made an 86 to lead 9-3 at the interval.

World number 43 Maflin won frame 13 with an 87 and he took a scrappy 14th to close to 9-5. In the next he had a chance to clear from the penultimate red and got to the final pink before missing it to a baulk corner, only to enjoy a huge slice of fortune as the pink rolled across the table into a centre pocket to give him the frame.

Both players had chances in the last of the session, but it was world number 39 McGill who got the better of a safety tussle on the third-last red and secured his four-frame cushion

Evening session:

Anthony McGill reached the semi-finals of the Betfred World Championship for the first time by beating fellow qualifier Kurt Maflin 13-10.

McGill saw a 9-3 lead reduced to 12-10, but eventually got over the line to set up a best-of-33 clash with Kyren Wilson over the next three days.

The Glaswegian has played 67 frames over the past eight days, having beaten Jack Lisowski 10-9 and Jamie Clarke 13-12 in the previous two rounds. But the 29-year-old seems to have the mental and physical sharpness to keep going as he aims to continue his superb run. The former Indian Open and Shoot Out champion is already guaranteed his career biggest pay day of £100,000.

This will be his fifth ranking event semi-final and first since 2017. McGill’s only previous ranking quarter-final appearance this season had come at the Shoot Out, but the Crucible has brought the best out of him.

Norway’s Maflin can reflect on excellent wins over David Gilbert and John Higgins, but played poorly in the first session against McGill, going 7-1 down, and it was too big a deficit to make up.

A break of 92 gave world number 39 McGill the first frame tonight to put him 11-6 ahead. Maflin pulled one back then made a 73 to close to 11-8, only for McGill to respond with 75 to lead 12-8 at the interval.

World number 43 Maflin kept battling, making a 69 to win frame 21 then a superb 81 clearance to take the next from 54-0 behind. He had one chance in frame 23 but only made 11, and McGill took it with runs of 47 and 12 to secure the result.

“This morning I was so nervous,” admitted McGill. “I was pleased to only lose the session 5-3 because my game wasn’t there at all. To go 10-6 instead of 9-7 was massive. Kurt had the better of it today and it was only the 7-1 lead that got me over the line.

“I was feeling tired yesterday but played well, I was running on adrenaline. I just always try to play the right shot, regardless of how the match is going. My temperament probably suits the longer matches.

“I’ll make sure I enjoy the match against Kyren because this is a special place to play on one table and I might never get back there. I have never even been to watch a semi-final here so I haven’t seen the arena like that with my own eyes. It’s still six pockets and the same number of reds!”

Maflin said: “I’m disappointed, I played terrible the whole match. Anthony dug in and won the frames but I had chances in all of them. I have no idea why I started so slowly in the first session, and from 7-1 down it’s very hard to get back into it. By tomorrow I will feel more positive because it has been a good experience.

“Producing the stuff that I know I can on the big stage and beating John Higgins are the highlights for me. I’m looking forward to next season starting in a month’s time. I have been in every newspaper and TV channel in Norway, more and more people are watching snooker there and supporting me which I am thankful for. Hopefully I’ll be flying that flag again next year and getting a bit further.”




2020 World Championship – Ronnie beats Mark Williams by 13-10 in the QFs

Ronnie came back from 7-2 down to beat Mark Williams by 13-10 and book his place in the semi-finals, where he will play Mark Selby. It’s the first time since 2014 that Ronnie reaches the one table settup.

This was a match to savour. Even when Ronnie looked dead and buried, I still enjoyed it.

Those two are greats of our sport. They are in their mid-forties and still top 8 material, still producing breathtaking snooker, still challenging for titles, still winning. How long can they continue doing this? Nobody knows. They however aren’t going to be around forever. We should enjoy what they offer us at the table while we can.

Here are the numbers for session 2:


and WST report:

Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 8-4 down to level at 8-8 against Mark Williams going into their final session, which starts at 7pm.

O’Sullivan’s fight-back sets up a blockbuster conclusion to a quarter-final between two players with eight Crucible crowns between them.

Victory for O’Sullivan would put him into the last four for the first time since 2014, while Williams is aiming to keep his hopes alive of a repeat of his run to the title in 2018.

Trailing 6-2 after the first session, O’Sullivan made a break of 54 in the first frame today, but his opponent got the snooker he needed and eventually took it on respotted black. Breaks of 105 and 74 saw O’Sullivan reduce his arrears to 7-4, then Williams made a 57 in the next to restore his four frame cushion at the interval.

Mistakes crept into Welshman Williams’ game in the second half of the session and O’Sullivan punished him. A top break of 112 helped the Rocket take four frames in a row to square the match. First to 13 frames goes through to meet Mark Selby.

And here are the numbers for the match:


This is WST report on Ronnie’s QF win:

Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 8-4 down to beat Mark Williams 13-10 at the Betfred World Championship, reaching the semi-finals for a record-equalling 12th time.


Only Stephen Hendry has made a dozen appearances in the single table situation at the Crucible, and now O’Sullivan will match that record when he faces Mark Selby over 33 frames over the next three days. It’s his first run to the semi-finals since he lost to Selby in the 2014 final.

O’Sullivan was in deep trouble at 7-2 and 8-4 behind, but found an extra gear when he needed it. His long potting was patchy, but among the balls the 44-year-old was as ruthless as ever, making five centuries and seven more breaks over 50 across the contest. Two more wins will give him a sixth world title, bringing him within one of Hendry’s record of seven.

He has now won all five meetings with Williams at the Crucible, and has lost just once to his old adversary in their past 12 ranking event matches.

The first two frames tonight were shared to leave the score at 9-9. World number six O’Sullivan was on a break of 52 in the next when he missed a red to a centre pocket. Williams replied with 49 then was lucky to trap his opponent in a snooker on the last red after failing to convert a double. From the chance that followed, Williams cleared to take the lead.

Back came O’Sullivan with a 104 to make it 10-10 at the interval. Breaks of 61 and 65 gave him frame 21 to put him ahead for the first time since 2-1, and he soon extended his lead to 12-10 with a quickfire 133, his fifth century of the match and ninth of the tournament.

RonnieWilloQF-Win-2Both players missed chances in frame 23, O’Sullivan notably under-cutting match-ball blue to a centre pocket when he led by 18 points. Williams cleared to force a respotted black but then made a safety error, and O’Sullivan slotted in a mid-range black to seal the result.

“I’m sure it was fun to watch for the fans,” said O’Sullivan, winner of 36 ranking titles. “For me there were a lot of nervy moments, I was struggling with certain parts of my game so I had to maximise my opportunities when they came up. I felt as if I was fighting, it was tough. 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.

“This afternoon and this evening I scored well and made a few breaks. The blue in the last frame, I got stuck inside, jabbed it and hit it thick. I was sitting in my chair thinking ‘this game it just beats you every time, even when you think you are on top of it.’ Even with the simple black at the end I wouldn’t have been surprised if I missed it. I just tried to get over it and hit the middle of the white. It was pure relief when it went in.

“I refuse to play any match and not find a way of enjoying it. I try to play every game on my terms, and if that means I don’t win as many matches it doesn’t matter. The minute you stop enjoying the game is when you should stop playing, especially at my age. Longevity comes when you can find enjoyment in what you are doing.

“Mark Selby and I have had a lot of finals and big matches. We have both done well in the biggest tournaments. If I can find some control in my long game, manage to manipulate the ball and keep it on line, that will give me more confidence to give him a game.”

World number three Williams, who saw his hopes of a fourth Crucible crown come to an end, said: “I enjoyed it all of the way through. I thought there was some good stuff. Some good breaks and good potting. There were a few misses, but what do you expect over 25 frames? It boiled down to a couple of bad flicks towards the end. It would have been nice to make it 12-11 and see what would have happened.

“There is a reason I haven’t beaten him here and it is because he is the best ever player. He’s probably cost me at least one and maybe two world titles over my career. What can I say? I just came up a little bit short again.”

Listen here is Ronnie’s interview with WST after the match:

A lot of fans on social media predict that Ronnie will not be able to cope with Mark Selby’s style. I don’t think he will even try to. It’s not the way he plays, it doesn’t suit him and he doesn’t enjoy that type of game. I believe that Ronnie will go all out attack in the next three days. It may work, or not, but listening to the interview above, I’m convinced that this is what he will do. He knows that he can’t out-grind Mark Selby over three day without losing his (own brand of) sanity, but, on form, he can out-pot him. He downplays his chances, but he made five centuries in this QF match, and the way he fought back shows that the competitive beast within is still well and truly alive and kicking.

Good luck Ronnie!

About Mark Selby, Ronnie said this to the press


He added: “I love Mark Selby, he’s my favourite guy on the circuit. He’s proper lovely guy, funny as hell, but as a snooker player he’s a beast and the ultimate test, and I’m going to have to draw on every bit of skill and experience that I’ve got.”

On Day 11 at the 2020 Crucible

The first day of the quarter finals wasn’t a great day for me, as a Ronnie fan and as an European … Ronnie trails by 6-2 to Mark Williams after their first session and it wasn’t a case that Ronnie was playing badly or taking reckless shots or rushing things … No, it was a case of Mark Williams playing very much the way he did when he lifted the trophy in 2018. Kurt Maflin is in an even worse situation as he trails Anthony McGill by 7-5.

Anyway … here are WST reports

Kyren Wilson leads Judd Trump by 10-6

First session of that match (morning):

Kyren Wilson established a 5-3 lead over defending champion Judd Trump after the opening session of their quarter-final clash at the Betfred World Championship.

The pair have fought out a keenly contested rivalry over the last few years. Trump triumphed 4-3 in their most recent meeting in the Gibraltar Open final. That earned the world number one a record breaking sixth ranking title of the campaign. However, Wilson holds the overall upper hand, leading 7-5 in the head-to-head.

World number eight Wilson, who reached the Crucible semi-finals in 2018, got off to a quick start this morning by taking the opening frame with a break of 74. Trump responded immediately, crafting runs of 85 and 76 to lead 2-1.

Wilson claimed the last frame before the mid-session to restore parity. The Warrior then stole the fifth on the black and fired in a break of 72 in the sixth to lead 4-2. Trump pulled one back, but a break of 79 in the last frame of the session saw Wilson seal his 5-3 lead.

Second session of that match + Selby v Robertson (evening):

Judd Trump needs a dramatic turnaround from 10-6 behind in the concluding session of his Betfred World Championship quarter-final with Kyren Wilson.

Trump won the title for the first time last year but will become the latest victim of the Curse of the Crucible if he can’t successfully defend the crown. He needs to win seven of the last nine frames against Wilson when they resume at 2.30pm on Tuesday. The world number one has looked well below his brilliant best so far and will surely need to raise his game to survive.

Wilson is aiming to reach the semi-finals in Sheffield for the second time, having lost to John Higgins in the last four in 2018.

Trailing 5-3 after the first session, Trump took the first frame tonight with a break of 73. Wilson took the next with a 65 then Trump’s 70 made it 6-5. Frame 12 came down to the colours and Wilson missed the pink of its spot, but was then relieved to see Trump fail to pot the black to a baulk corner. World number eight Wilson won a safety tussle and slotted the black into a centre pocket to make it 7-5 at the interval.

Trump, winner of six ranking titles this season, made a 64 to win frame 13, but then saw the contest slip away from him in the later stages of the session. Wilson’s breaks of 94 and 80 stretched his lead to 9-6. In frame 16, Trump led 47-22 when he missed a mid-range red to a top corner, and his opponent punished him with an excellent 63 clearance.

On the other table, three-time Crucible king Mark Selby opened up an 11-5 lead over Neil Robertson. They are back on the baize at 10am with Selby needing just two frames to reach his sixth world semi-final.

Leicester’s Selby took a scrappy opening frame tonight to lead 6-3 then made a 92 to extend his advantage. Australia’s Robertson cleared from the last red to steal frame 11, but Selby took the next in three scoring visits to make it 8-4 at the interval.

In frame 13, Selby cleared from the penultimate red to force a respotted black, but then made a safety error to gift it to his opponent. World number six Selby bounced back by taking the next with runs of 35 and 32.

Second seed Robertson led 30-23 in frame 15 when he missed a red with the rest to a top corner, and Selby punished him with a run of 46 to go 10-5 up. The Englishman finished the session strongly with a break of 76, leaving Robertson in need of a monumental fight-back.

Mark Williams leads Ronnie by 6-2

(first session of the two matches – afternoon):

Mark Williams is on course for a surprise win over Ronnie O’Sullivan as he leads 6-2 after the first session of their Betfred World Championship quarter-final.

Five-time champion O’Sullivan will need to win 11 out of 17 frames over the last two sessions on Tuesday to go through to the semi-finals. Welshman Williams has looked the stronger player so far, producing perhaps his best form since he won this title two years ago.

O’Sullivan impressed in wins over Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Ding Junhui in the first two rounds but has made errors against Williams, an opponent he has been playing for some 34 years.

Three-time Crucible king Williams took the opening frame with a break of 70 then O’Sullivan hit back with 101 and 70 to lead 2-1. Two scrappy frames went the way of Williams and he made a 72 to lead 4-2.

O’Sullivan was on a break of 41 in frame seven when he missed a straight-forward pink to a top corner. Williams replied with 56 then got the better of a safety exchange on the colours to go 5-2 up. And the Cwm cueman finished the session in style with a 130 to lead by four overnight. They resume at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

On the other table, Anthony McGill opened up a 7-1 lead over Kurt Maflin in the battle of two qualifiers.

Before this match McGill had already played 44 frames this week having beaten Jack Lisowski 10-9 in round one and Jamie Clarke 13-12in a marathon contest which finished after midnight last night. But the Glaswegian is showing no signs of fatigue and will hope for a more comfortable victory this time.

The 29-year-old, a two-time ranking event winner, is playing in his second Crucible quarter-final and hoping to reach the semis for the first time.

Breaks of 53, 63 and 78 gave McGill a 3-0 lead before Maflin got the better of a scrappy fourth frame. Norway’s Maflin was outstanding in a 13-11 defeat of John Higgins in the second round but could not replicate that standard today. McGill took two fragmented frames to lead 5-1 then made a 92 in the seventh.

In the last frame of the session, Maflin made 54 before missing  a short range red to a centre pocket. There were three reds on side cushions but McGill crafted a brilliant 81 clearance to extend his advantage ahead of the second session on Tuesday morning.

The two scrappy frames really kept Ronnie cold, especially as they came right after the MSI. He completely lost his rhythm. That missed pink was a costly mistake, although Ronnie appeared to get a kick as the pink ball jumped a bit. You can read more about that Ronnie v Willo session here

Mark Selby leads Neil Robertson by 11-5 

First session of that match (morning):

Mark Selby won the first five frames of his quarter-final against Neil Robertson at the Betfred World Championship on Monday morning, though it was Robertson who finished the session strongly as he clawed his way back to 5-3.

Two of snooker’s all-time greats, with 35 ranking titles and four world crown between them, are playing at the Crucible for the second time, and first since the classic 2014 semi-final when Selby won 17-15. This time the winner will go through to a semi-final with Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Williams.

The opening frame lasted 58 minutes and was settled when Leicester’s Selby potted blue, pink and black. Breaks of 73, 63, 72 and 66 helped the Englishman go 5-0 up.

Robertson finally got going in frame six with a break of 81 and he made an excellent 66 clearance in the next to reduce his arrears to 5-2. Selby led 55-0 in the last frame of the session but his opponent fluked a red and made 65 to take it to the colours. Australia’s Robertson then got the better of a safety battle on the brown and cleared for 5-3.

They return at 7pm tonight for  eight more frames, with the concluding session on Tuesday morning at 10am.

I’m not sure if the title of this article is sarcastic… the first frame lasted nearly an hour!

The account on the second session is included in the evening session report above.

WST also published a long and interesting article about Kurt Maflin:

Norway’s number one Kurt Maflin has enjoyed a rollercoaster journey from his London roots to becoming snooker’s top Scandinavian. Now he’s flourishing on the sport’s grandest stage, preparing for the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.

Having represented England as an amateur, Maflin switched London for Oslo in 2004. He moved there to live with wife Anita, who was representing Norway when they met at the 2001 European Amateur Championship in Riga.

Since then Maflin has become fluent in the language, had a son in Oslo named Neon and now proudly plays as a Norwegian on the professional circuit. He admits that, although the move was initially both a daunting and exciting prospect, he was ready for a change.

“It was quite nerve-racking,” said three-time ranking semi-finalist Maflin. “I was fed up of London by that point. Oslo is quite a big city, but it has a relatively small population. It is a great place to live and I settled in pretty quickly.

“Norway isn’t that different to England in terms of the culture. I learned the language in about six months. I did it by reading the subtitles on television. They don’t dub over films in English like they do in other countries. They just put subtitles on the bottom. So I would try to read them and match things up. I wasn’t afraid to embarrass myself and I picked it up pretty quickly.

“I would never have dreamed that I would move to Norway, have a child in Norway and represent the country. Never in a million years. I take a lot of pride from it. I now also do some commentary for Norwegian Eurosport and I really enjoy that. My Norwegian fans and viewers all class me as Norwegian and they can’t hear any difference when I am talking. They see me as one of their own.”

In the years following Maflin’s leap to professional snooker, he endured an up and down time on the table. Between the 2001/02 season and the 2011/12 campaign he suffered five relegations from the circuit, but the world number 43 has since been a firm fixture on the tour.

He spent a few years away from the professional scene after his move to Norway in 2004 and had decided to hang up his cue, until a chance meeting with a potential sponsor at a national amateur event.

Maflin explained: “I moved to Norway and had basically stopped playing. Anita wanted to play in one of the Norwegian tournaments, so I thought I would go along. I got to the final and before I played I met a businessman called Knut Pedersen. He had been watching me play and said that if I made a century break in the final then he would sponsor me to start playing again. I made a 137 break in the first frame, won the final and that was that.”

Maflin went on to win the 2006 World Amateur Championship in Jordan, a feat which he describes as ‘one of the highlights’ of his career. However, after returning to the professional tour and suffering another relegation, he was hit by a bitter blow in 2010 when he broke his collar bone in a car accident.

“I was driving in Norway and found myself on pure ice. I was approaching a roundabout and lightly pressed down on the breaks, but I still started skidding. The car spun round and round and collided head on with another car coming in the other direction. There was a five or ten second period where I blacked out. The first thing I heard when I came round and got out of the car, was children screaming. I thought it was going to be very bad. Thankfully a man got out of the car and he didn’t have a scratch on him and neither did the children, they were just shaken up. I didn’t know I had broken my collar bone until I complained about how sore it was and showed another driver who had pulled over. He told me it was snapped in two and I went into hospital.

“I had a Challenge Tour event in London just a few days after that. The doctor told me that I needed an operation as it was quite a complicated break. I told him I couldn’t as I was in quite a good position in the rankings on the Challenge Tour and needed to play. I flew over and it was so painful that I couldn’t play any stun shots, all I could do was roll balls in. I somehow managed to win my first game and lost in the next round. It was a bit stupid really. When I got back I had the surgery and they did a really good job. I have a six to eight-inch plate in my shoulder with eight screws, but it hasn’t affected me really. I haven’t had to change my cue action. It just took quite a while to get fit again.”

Maflin enjoyed a special moment in 2015 when he competed for Norway in the World Cup, in a two-person team alongside his wife Anita. They bowed out in the group stages, but did register wins against Austria and Singapore.

“I know what it is all about in terms of the nerves and the TV, but for her it was an amazing experience and she did enjoy it. Originally we were told we were only going to have one game on TV against China. In the end we actually played four of the five. She handled it really well, even though I played terribly. It was a really good experience and is something that has never happened before, with husband and wife playing in the same team for their country. It was quite unique.”

Over the years Maflin has been very open about the fact he feels he’s underachieved in not winning a professional title to date. In the run-up to this year’s World Championship he dramatically upped his work ethic and has reaped the rewards at the Theatre of Dreams. Whether it be here in Sheffield, or in the future, the Norwegian is determined to capitalise and land silverware.

“I feel that I have underachieved in my career if I am honest and that is frustrating. There is nobody to blame but myself. My dad has coached me all of my life and he gives 150%, while for most of my career I was giving around 60%. I’ve started practising a lot harder since around April last year, so hopefully I can benefit. I now spend about half of the year in the UK. A lot of the top players talk highly of me and think I should be higher ranked. Even Ronnie said that in the studio, after my quarter-final loss to Neil Robertson at last year’s Welsh Open.

“I have always said that you can never truly believe that you have it in you to win that first tournament until you have done it. There is always that slight doubt in your mind. I know people say that once you get that first one you can go on and do more and I would love to try and do just that.”

World Championship 2020 – Mark Williams leads Ronnie by 6-2 after the first session of their QF match

Mark Williams played very much the way he played to win the 2018 World Championship this afternoon and he did build a good lead over Ronnie in their first session.

Here are the numbers


The first mini-session was shared, both players playing well, and it seemed at that point that this would be a close match. But it all changed after the MSI. Mark won the first frame of the second mini session. It was a scrappy, disjointed affair. Mark is one of the best at winning this sort of frames. He doesn’t mind picking balls one by one. He played better and better after that, keeping Ronnie cold in his chair for most of the time, and when Ronnie came at the table, more often than not, things were awkward. Mark took full advantage … as he should.

It will be hard for Ronnie to recover from this deficit unless Mark Williams’ level drops a bit. It’s just as well that this session came to an end. They will resume tomorrow afternoon.

And before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, Ronnie didn’t play recklessly, nor did he rush things as the AST above shows. As much as I want Ronnie to win this match, as a snooker fan, I could only admire and enjoy Mark’s skills on display.

This is the account by Phil Haigh and a good accurate one

Ronnie O’Sullivan struggling against brilliant Mark Williams at World Snooker Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan is in a spot of bother in his World Snooker Championship quarter-final, trailing Mark Williams 6-2 after the first session at the Crucible.

The Rocket hardly played badly over the opening eight frames, but Williams was in excellent form as he took the imposing lead in a race to 13.

The Welshman took the first frame with a break of 70 but O’Sullivan appeared to be near his brilliant best as he took the next two with breaks of 101 and 70, without Williams scoring a single point.

However, few would have bet on it, but that was the last from the five-time world champion would win in the session as Williams reeled off the next five.

The next two were relatively scrappy affairs compared to the first three frames, but then the Welsh Potting Machine really hit his stride, making 72, 56 and 130 to storm into a four-frame lead.

The three-time world champion was looking as good as he has done since he last won the World Championship in 2018, and if he continues that form then it will be a very difficult road back for the Rocket.

This is the fifth time Williams and O’Sullivan have met in the World Championship and the Englishman has won the previous four.

The Welsh Potting Machine has not beaten the Rocket in a ranking event since the 2014 International Championship, so history remains on the side of O’Sullivan as he looks to fight back into the match over the next two sessions.