2021 Crucible – Last 16 – Ronnie and Anthony McGill are locked at 4-4 after the first session

Ronnie had the strongest start yesterday against Anthony McGill, and lead 4-1, but was pegged back to 4-4. It was a very high quality session.

This is the report by Phil Haigh:

Ronnie O’Sullivan level with Anthony McGill after engrossing opening session at World Snooker Championship

Crucible2021L32ROSMcGill-1Ronnie O’Sullivan and Anthony McGill played out an excellent opening session on Thursday (Picture: Getty Images)

Anthony McGill battled back from 4-1 behind to finish the opening session 4-4 in his second round clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan at the World Snooker Championship on Thursday afternoon.

The defending champion was the red hot favourite coming into the contest, and remains heavily fancied to win the best of 25 match, but the Scot has proved he is capable of hanging with the Rocket.

O’Sullivan was showing off his world famous break-building qualities, knocking in two centuries and a half-century, while McGill managed three half-centuries of his own.

The six-time world champion O’Sullivan will be frustrated he is not further ahead after opening up a clear lead and looking great, before missing a couple of chances after the interval.

But for McGill he settled into the match and showed that the favourite will not have it all his own way after an impressive recovery.

‘Massive, I think he’d have been biting anyone’s hand off for 5-3 but 4-4 is a bonus, Anthony has come back strongly,’ six-time world champion Steve Davis said on the BBC.

The first four frames of the contest were of the absolute highest quality and, despite McGill doing little wrong, things looked ominous for the Scot.

The Rocket made a break of 81 in the first frame, with McGill responding with efforts of 52 and 79 to level up at the first opportunity.

Then came some vintage O’Sullivan, with back-to-back centuries of 1-5 and 138 to take a two-frame lead into the interval.

The defending champion claimed the first frame back from the break in play and was looking dangerous, but that’s when the gritty Glaswegian showed his mettle.

Last year’s semi-finalist took the sixth and then made a superb break of 97 to go within one at 4-3 behind.

McGill had a great chance early in the eighth frame but gradually ran out of position and was forced to play safe with a lead of 40-9, in what felt like a very big frame at the end of the session.

There are two more sessions in this match, played on Friday morning and evening, starting at 10am and 7pm as they race to 13 frames.

And this is the reort by WST:

McGill Misses 147 Chance

Anthony McGill came from 4-1 down to square his second round match with Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 at the Betfred World Championship.

However, McGill may remember the session for his failure to convert a golden chance to become only the eighth player to make a maximum break at the Crucible.

Crucible2021L32ROSMcGill-3A 147 could have been worth £55,000 for McGill

In frame seven, the Scot was on 97 having taken the first 12 reds with blacks, and had the remaining balls at his mercy, but narrowly over-cut the 13th black to a top corner.

The seven members of the Crucible 147 club are Cliff Thorburn (1983), Jimmy White (1992), Stephen Hendry (1995, 2009 and 2012), Ronnie O’Sullivan (1997, 2003 and 2008), Mark Williams (2005), Ali Carter (2008) and John Higgins (2020).

Earlier, defending champion O’Sullivan established a 4-1 lead with top breaks of 81, 105 and 138. McGill took frame six then his 147 attempt got him within one at 4-3.

In the last of the session, O’Sullivan trailed 40-9 then had two chances to counter, but missed a red and a then a black to top corner pockets. McGill secured the frame to leave them level ahead of the second session on Friday from 10am.

Ronnie was impressive at the start of the match and lead 4-1. He looked set to steal the sixth frame as well, but went in-off screwing back from the last red. It cost him the frame and that visibly upset him. In the next, Anthony embarqued on a 147, only to unexpectedly miss the 13th black. In the last frame, Ronnie made two mistakes and they proved costly. He seemed to have lost a bit of his focus and intensity, which can happen when a player has been sat in their chair for some time. He looked a bit cold and/or tired as well. Both played very well though.


Ronnie had gone for a run in the morning. I don’t expect him to stop doing that and he might pay the price. To his own admission, he doesn’t have the stamina he had a few years ago. On the other hand, running has helped him immensely to stay positive mentally, which is important as well. Ahead of the match he had been talking to Rachel from Eurosport, about the feelings of anxiety and insecurity that the match situation can trigger.


They will resume this morning at 10 am UK time, then they will play to a finish this evening. Whatever happens in the second session, they can’t finish the match this morning.



14 thoughts on “2021 Crucible – Last 16 – Ronnie and Anthony McGill are locked at 4-4 after the first session

  1. McGill is playing unbelievable! No misses today or if misses nothing left. Every mistake by ronnie was frame lost! Obviously this is the worst scenario ronnie could face it but… U know… One shot can change everything. I think ronnie is under the strings but believe me that tonight he will make a fight. Enough to win? i am not sure because 4 frame déficit at this stage is harsh but all guns blazing tonight i am sure!!! Anyway nothing to critizise this time!!! C mon ronnie just need to make mcgill feel te true atmosphere of the crucible…

    • I knew it was going to be a drama but this time was so sad… At least congrats for your big effort ronnie!!! :-‘(

  2. And what’s up with the break-off? In solidarity with Willo? Good for him and I’m the last one who will complain about sth that looks like giving the finger to Trump, but the gesture is less effective when he loses.

  3. Yeah, but I guess that includes his excellent start yesterday. Is there any stats for today separately? No question about McGill playing very wel, but still disappointing and those misses from yesterday which Is hoped would not come back to haunt him, are doing just that. ☹️

    • This morning I didn’t watch a lot, but when I lookes after the midsission, I saw a pot succes off 63 %!!!!

      • Yes Roland. Ronnie had potted about 10 balls when McGill had potted 100. Your pot success is low when all you do is trying to get in and you have no breaks.

    • He finished with 91% yesterday, and it was the same today. There were not so many bad misses yesterday. Just two really in the last frame. That was all. It started very badly today, no question, and then he was frozen out for most of the first mini session. When he got a good chance, he had a bad kick. I guess that’s what happens often: when a player is playing well they get the run too, when they struggle, nothing works.

      • Yeah, I guess table time is a better indicative about today. Tue, two misses yesterday, but they cost him the frame which would be golden to get back now… 🤔

  4. Well, here is the price to pay. Maybe he can’t function without his running, although it sounded after the UK-beating that he realized he shouldn’t do it before important matches. I know, McGill played fantastic this morning etc, and there will be no end to the praises, but it is still disappointing if Ronnie did not give himself the best of chances, but exhausted himself instead in advance. Well, now he can dedicate himself to a lot of running I suppose.

    • The match isn’t over Csilla and he ran yesterda but I know nothing about today. He might just have slept badly, or barely slept at all. Insomnia has been an issue for years. We just don’t know.

      • Somebody commented on WST-fb he went to run before the match at 7.30. They might be wrong of course, but it sounded too believable.

      • Well, yes, it’s very possible. He went for a run on the morning of the 2008 final, very early. He was preparing for a race in Epping then, one he won the next week-end but of course he was much younger then. Whatever, I’m not sure tiredness was the issue today. It was a sloppy start compounded by McGill excellence and a bit of bad luck. McGill would have outplayed anyone I’ve watched in the championship so far the way he played this morning. Mind you, Ronnie is 10-6 down with a 91% pot success in the match at this stage.

      • Yeah, but I guess that includes his excellent start yesterday. Is there any stats for today separately? No question about McGill playing very wel, but still disappointing and those misses from yesterday which Is hoped would not come back to haunt him, are doing just that. ☹️

Comments are closed.