2022 World Championship – Day 14

Yesterday delivered thrilling snooker of the highest quality.

In the afternoon session, Ronnie pulled ahead of John Higgins by winning the last five frames of the session. He looks extremely determined. He overcame moments of frustration and managed to regain his focus rapidly when things were not going his way. His long potting was excellent. It’s worth remembering that Ronnie was 0-3 down at the start of the match; he has won 10 of the last 13 over the two sessions they have played so far. Of course, John on his day can do the same … and Ronnie will know that.

This is the report by WST:

O’Sullivan Moves Four Clear

Crucible2022ROSF-2Ronnie O’Sullivan won a dramatic last frame of the session on a re-spotted black to open up a 10-6 lead over John Higgins in their Betfred World Championship semi-final.

The Rocket is aiming to make history this year, by securing a record equalling seventh Crucible crown to match Stephen Hendry’s tally. O’Sullivan, who has 38-ranking titles to his name, has captured almost every other meaningful record in the sport. A seventh victory at the Theatre of Dreams would undoubtedly be one of the highlights of his glittering career.

Higgins is hunting for a fifth World Championship title. The Scot last claimed the sport’s biggest prize 11 years ago at the 2011 World Championship. He has been runner-up on three occasions since then, in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

O’Sullivan hit the front for the first time in the match, after a 73 break in the opening frame of the afternoon put him 5-4 up. However, 31-time ranking event winner Higgins replied by taking two on the bounce to lead 6-5. The Rocket then crafted a contribution of 99 to restore parity at 6-6 heading in for the interval.

To that point Higgins had been utilising his excellent matchplay ability to stay with the more fluent O’Sullivan. The Wishaw cueman is yet to register a break over 58 in the match, while O’Sullivan has made two centuries and has a pot success rate of 94%. When play resumed O’Sullivan began to capitalise on his heavier scoring and a break of 91 gave him the 13th frame.

Higgins had the first chance in the next, but broke down on 38. O’Sullivan got himself back in the frame with a break of 55 and it came down to the colours. Higgins spurned a chance on a long range green and O’Sullivan pounced to make it 8-6. He then extended his lead to three thanks to a run of 70.

The session ended with classic piece of Crucible drama. Higgins again failed to capitalise on the first chance after missing a black with three reds left on a break of 53. That left O’Sullivan 51 behind with 51 on. After an initial run of eight, he produced a sensational clearance of 43 to force a re-spot. It went his way and he struck a crucial blow to end 10-6 up.

Those are the scores and stats for this session:

Here are the two critical breaks of the session, shared by Eurosport on their YouTube channel:

The 99 to make it 6-6 at the MSI

The last frame of the session and the steal on a re-spotted black

Judd Trump and Mark Williams played two session yesterday. Willo started the day 7-1 behind, he finished it only 13-11 behind and was by far the better player in the third session, a session he won by 6-1.

Here are the reports by WST:

Morning session:

Trump Maintains Lead Over Williams

Judd Trump and Mark Williams shared the eight frames of the second session of their Betfred World Championship semi-final on Friday morning, leaving the Englishman 11-5 ahead.

Trump remains on target to reach the Crucible final for the third time, having won the title in 2019 and finished runner-up to John Higgins in 2011. He is aiming to become only the seventh player to lift the trophy more than once in Sheffield.

World number four Trump built a 7-1 advantage over Williams in the first session on Thursday, and taking four of the eight frames so far on Friday keeps him on track. They return at 7pm tonight for eight more frames, and if the Bristol cueman can take six of those then he’ll get to 17 and wrap up the match without needing to return on Saturday.

Welshman Williams, a three-time Crucible champion, looked jaded on Thursday, but the 47-year-old was sharper today and will believe he can turn the match around. He may draw on memories of his 2000 semi-final against John Higgins when he came from 14-10 down to win 17-15.

Williams took the opening frame this morning to reduce his deficit to 7-2, but spent the next two in his chair as Trump compiled breaks of 114 and 100 to extend his lead to 9-2. The high scoring continued as Williams made a 119, his 13th century of the tournament.

The first two frames after the interval were shared to leave the score at 10-4. In frame 15, world number eight Williams was on 52 when he over-cut a tricky red to a top corner. Trump capitalised with a fabulous 79 clearance which included an excellent pot on the last red to a baulk corner.

In the last of the session, Trump was on 18 when he ran out of position, going into the pack of reds. A run of 70 from Williams saw him finish on a high note.

Evening session:

Inspired Williams Sets Up Grandstand Finish

Mark Williams took six of this evening’s eight available frames, to fire himself back into contention at 13-11 down in his Betfred World Championship semi-final with Judd Trump.

Williams found himself 7-1 behind after a disastrous opening session yesterday and trailed 9-2 during this morning’s play, as well as 12-5 this evening. He has summoned his very best snooker to keep the tie alive. The seven-frame deficit would make it the biggest ever comeback in a Crucible semi-final if he were to go on and win.

The Welshman has already surpassed his personal best for centuries at the World Championship, having made 14. He requires just two more to equal the record for a single year at the Crucible, set by Stephen Hendry when he made 16 in 2002.

Williams is aiming for a fourth world title, he has lifted the famous trophy in 2000, 2003 and 2018. The 24-time ranking event winner defeated China’s Yan Bingtao 13-11 in an enthralling quarter-final to earn his place in this year’s last four.

Trump’s only Crucible crown to date came three years ago, when he thrashed John Higgins 18-9 in the 2019 title match. The Ace in the Pack beat Stuart Bingham 13-8 in the previous round. He came into this evening’s session with an 11-5 advantage over Williams.

The pair produced a scintillating standard for the packed Crucible audience when play got underway. Trump opened up proceedings with a break of 120, to stretch his lead to 12-5. However, an inspired Williams refused to back down and replied with breaks of 137, 58 and 53 to take the next two frames and close within five.

A dramatic last frame before the mid-session came down to the colours. Williams eventually deposited a stunning long range yellow and cleared to the pink to send a raucous Crucible crowd wild, moving just four behind at 12-8.

When play got back underway an inspired Williams continued to push his way back into proceedings. Breaks of 57 and 77 saw the 47-year-old make it five on the spin and claw his way back to 12-10 down.

A century run of 113 gave 23-time ranking event winner Trump his second frame of the evening, but it was Williams who took the last to end 13-11 down. The players left the arena to a standing ovation.

The end of the session came at the right time for Judd as Willo clearly had the upper hand and Judd looked rattled. Judd is still ahead but not by much and if Mark can play today like he did yesterday, there is only one winner … the cheeky Welsh veteran.

What clearly transpired on social media yesterday is that there is nothing like long multi-session matches to produce drama, twists, turns and thrills. “Shorter matches” is NOT what the fans of the sport want. They create more “shocks” and probably suit the bookies but they never deliver the drama and excitement we have seen yesterday. To get rid of the long formats in the hope to capture more audience – with a short attention span – is a big mistake IMO. There is absolutely no guarantee that such audience will be gained, and, if gained, will stay interested over time, but there is a real risk to lose the current faithful fans. Recently, I have read/heard many complaints about the prospect of going through endless qualifying events and a fragmented start of the season once this fantastic World Championship is over. Of course, we have lost the Chinese events for now, and it’s unclear when they will be back. That’s part of the issue and it can’t be helped. The way the sport goes forward though is in the hands of the governing body.



2022 World Championship – Day 13

Yesterday marked the start of the “one table setup” rounds and two semi-finals sessions were played.

The afternoon session was calamitous for Mark Williams who fell 7-1 behind to Judd Trump.

Here is the report by WST:

Trump Blitzes To Big Lead

Judd Trump made a superb start to his Betfred World Championship semi-final with Mark Williams, emerging from the opening session with an imposing 7-1 advantage.

The Ace in the Pack is playing in his fifth Crucible semi-final and appears to have been inspired by competing on the sport’s biggest stage, following a season of ups and downs. For much of the campaign Trump had gone without ranking silverware, but he rectified that last month by winning the inaugural Turkish Masters.

Trump is aiming for a second World Championship title, having claimed his maiden Crucible crown back in 2019. The 23-time ranking event winner faced John Higgins in the title match on that occasion and stormed to a comprehensive 18-9 victory.

Welshman Williams is competing in his seventh Crucible semi-final. The three-time World Champion won his first two titles at the Theatre of Dreams in 2000 and 2003 and then faced a 15-year wait for a third victory. He eventually recaptured Crucible glory in 2018, beating Higgins 18-16 in an epic final.

Trump clinched his place in this year’s last four with a fightback victory against Stuart Bingham in the quarters, where he took eight frames on the bounce to win 13-8 from 8-5 down. Williams came through a thrilling clash with China’s Yan Bingtao, composing breaks of 66 and 78 in the last two frames to win 13-11.

The first frame this afternoon was an edgy one as both players found their feet, but after 31-minutes of play, it was Trump who eventually took it. The 32-year-old then added the second and third frames to lead 3-0. Williams claimed an important last frame before the interval to stay in touch at 3-1.

The pair played out a fragmented frame when play resumed. Trump took it, despite failing to register a break above 22, to extend his lead to 4-1. The Bristolian then crafted breaks of 54, 62 and 53 to make it four on the bounce and ensure he ended the session six in front at 7-1.

In terms of frame score it was indeed a superb start for Judd who played ok but still not at his best. He was however massively helped by a completely out-of-sorts opponent. Mark Williams came on twitter later and apologised for his performance, whilst, at the same time, suggesting that the conditions were awful.

In the evening, Ronnie was off to a bad start as well, losing all first three frames, and making countless mistakes. Contrary to Willo earlier, he was able to find some form as the session went on and finished all square with John Higgins, having added two centuries to his tally.

Here is the report by WST:

O’Sullivan And Higgins Locked Level

Crucible2022ROSfF-1World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins ended the opening session of their Betfred World Championship semi-final tied at 4-4.

The blockbuster showdown sees two thirds of the Class of 92 face off on the sport’s biggest stage for the sixth time. The last time they met in the World Championship was back in 2011, when 31-time ranking event winner Higgins defeated O’Sullivan 13-10 en route to winning the most recent of his four world titles

Scotland’s Higgins has won five out of the six most recent meetings with 38-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan. However, it is O’Sullivan who leads the overall head-to-head standings 36-33.

O’Sullivan is aiming to make history this week, by landing a record equalling seventh world title to draw level with Stephen Hendry.

The pair emerged this evening to a standing ovation and a rapturous reception from the capacity Crucible crowd. Both players seemed nervous in the opening exchanges and spurned early chances, but it was Higgins who eventually took to the front. The 31-time ranking event winner then crafted runs of 50 and 58 on his way to establishing a 3-0 lead.

O’Sullivan made an important break of 70 to head into the mid-session just two behind at 3-1 and when play resumed he continued to force his way back into the tie. A break of 54 in the fifth frame and a stunning century contribution of 116 in the sixth restored parity at 3-3.

The Rocket had taken control of the seventh frame, but fell out of position when developing the final red and broke down on 55. Higgins eventually won the ensuing safety battle on the final red and cleared to regain the lead at 4-3. O’Sullivan turned on the style in the last frame of the evening, composing a century break of 107 to ensure they ended all-square.

These are the scores for the first session:


This is Ronnie’s 116 break to make it 3-3:



2022 World Championship – Days 11 and 12 – Quarter-finals

The quarter-finals were played over the last two days and yielded our four finalists: Ronnie, John Higgins, Mark Williams and Judd Trump.

It’s a very remarkable that all three members of the class of 92 are still in the mix. All three are in their 30th year as professionals, Willo is 47, Ronnie and John will turn 47 later this year, yet all three are still in the top 8 in the World rankings and competing in the last four in this season’s World Championship,

All four semi-finalists have been World Champion before: they have 14 World titles between them: Ronnie 6, Higgins 4, Williams 3 and Trump 1. All of them are in the top eight in the rankings. After a season that produced more first time winners than any other season in recent years, and some really surprising results, we end up here with a brochette of proven prolific winners. That’s what long formats produce: the best come on top. That’s how it should be. That’s why I still want to hope that the UK will one day be restored to its best of 17 format from round 1 on.

You can read about Ronnie’s 13-5 win over Stephen Maguire here

You’ll find the WST reports and some thougths about the other QF matches below

John Higgins beat Jack Lisowski by 13-12

First session

Higgins Edges To Lead Over Lisowski

John Higgins took a 5-3 lead over Jack Lisowski following the first session of their Betfred World Championship quarter-final.

Scotland’s Higgins booked his place in the last eight with a comprehensive 13-7 defeat of Noppon Saengkham. He’s aiming to capture a fifth world title this week, having last lifted the trophy at the Theatre of Dreams back in 2011.

Lisowski is fresh off one of the biggest wins of his career yesterday evening. The Gloucestershire cueman, who has lost all six ranking finals he has played in, overcame pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson 13-12 in an epic battle. It is the first time he has made the quarter-finals at the Crucible.

World number 14 Lisowski continued his momentum from yesterday by taking the opener with a break of 98. However, 31-time ranking event winner Higgins quickly stopped him in his tracks. Runs of 91 and 67 helped him to three on the bounce and lead 3-1 at the mid-session.

Lisowski pulled back within a frame by taking the first after the interval with a break of 77. The last three frames of the session became scrappy, with both players making unexpected mistakes.

Higgins restored his two-frame lead by winning the sixth on the black to make it 4-2. The following two frames were shared and saw play end with Glaswegian Higgins leading 5-3.

Second session

Lisowski Reduces Deficit Against Higgins

Jack Lisowski won the last two frames of the afternoon to end just one behind at 8-7 heading into the concluding session of his Betfred World Championship quarter-final against John Higgins.

Lisowski is appearing in his first ever Crucible quarter-final, following an epic 13-12 win over pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson in the last 16. He is aiming for his first ever ranking title, having been runner-up on six previous occasions.

Scotland’s four-time World Champion Higgins requires five frames to make the single table semi-finals for the 11th time in his career. A mouth-watering contest with six-time Crucible king Ronnie O’Sullivan awaits the victor.

Higgins hit the ground running this afternoon and a superb break of 123 extended his lead to 6-3. He then had the first chance in the subsequent frame, but broke down on 37 after taking on a risky double. Lisowski worked his way back into the frame and made it 6-4.

Contributions of 35 and 33 helped Higgins to restore his three-frame cushion, before Lisowski left Higgins requiring three snookers in the next. The Glaswegian got them to throw the frame back into the melting pot. However, he eventually left Lisowski a shot on the green, which he deposited to head into the mid-session 7-5 down.

A break of 56 helped to extend Higgins’ lead to 8-5, ahead of a dramatic last two frames. Lisowski fired in a break of 63, which included a daring double to the yellow pocket, to steal the 14th on the black. The next frame came down to a safety battle on the pink, where a loose shot from Higgins allowed Lisowski to pot it and close within one at 8-7. They were then pulled off a frame early ahead of this evening’s concluding session, which gets underway at 7pm.

Third session

Higgins Edges Lisowski In Classic

John Higgins defeated Jack Lisowski 13-12 in a pulsating quarter-final clash, to set up a semi-final showdown with six-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

The pair battled it out in a gruelling contest, which lasted eight hours and 14 minutes, over the three sessions of play. Lisowski was clinging to 31-time ranking event winner Higgins’ coattails throughout the encounter. The Gloucestershire cueman took the very first frame and never led again, until moving 12-11 up.

At that point, with the pressure at its greatest, four-time World Champion Higgins produced his very best snooker. The Scot composed breaks of 105 and 72 to get himself over the line and reach the Crucible semis for the 11th time.

The first session of his last four clash with O’Sullivan will take place tomorrow at 7pm and the tie will be played out over the best of 33 frames. The other semi-final sees three-time World Champion Mark Williams take on the 2019 winner Judd Trump

Higgins and O’Sullivan are responsible for what is arguably modern snooker’s most iconic rivalry. The pair have 69 ranking titles and 10 World Championship wins between them. Although Higgins has won five of their last six meetings, it is O’Sullivan who leads the head-to-head standings 35-33.

The last time they met at the Theatre of Dreams was back in 2011, when Higgins prevailed 13-10 and he went on to lift the title for a fourth time. The Scot is aiming to pick up a fifth Crucible crown this week.

Higgins was O’Sullivan’s opponent in the final when he won his first world title back in 2001, with the Rocket prevailing 18-14. Fast forward 21 years and they now meet again in the hallowed single table set up at the sport’s most famous arena. O’Sullivan is gunning for a record equalling seventh World Championship win.

This evening’s defeat will be tough to take for Lisowski, who showed great character to stay with his opponent throughout the match. The 30-year-old has recently started working 2002 World Champion Peter Ebdon, who himself is famed for his iron will and temperament. The benefits of their partnership have never been more apparent.

Lisowski can reflect on a memorable run, which has seen him make the quarter-finals of the World Championship for the very first time. He scored a superb 13-12 win in the previous round against pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson and leaves Sheffield with the consolation of £50,000.

They came into this evening with Higgins leading 8-7, following an afternoon session which had to be cut short prior to the last frame to allow the players to prepare for this evening. When play got underway, Higgins extended his advantage by taking a scrappy 27-minute opening frame.

Lisowski pulled one back, before a break of 70 saw Higgins restore his two-frame cushion at 10-8.  The dogged Lisowski refused to fade away and again clawed back within a frame, but breaks of 72 and 55 gave Higgins the 20th to lead 11-9.

From there Lisowski burst into life and three on the bounce moved him to the verge of victory at 12-11.  Higgins forced the decider, where Lisowski had the first chance. He spurned a tricky red to the top left corner on 18 and Higgins ruthlessly punished that mistake with a match winning run of 72.

I don’t know how I’ve won that really. I went 12-11 behind and I had chances all day to really get a lead on Jack. I didn’t take them and Jack was getting stronger. When it went 12-11 I was thinking ‘put me out of my misery’. I made a good break to make it 12-12. I was thinking he deserved to clear up in the decider,” said 46-year-old Higgins.

This season has been pretty tough and I’ve had some bad losses. Getting to this one table set up makes all of that worth the while. To play against Ronnie as well is brilliant and I can’t wait. I think I’ll play better. The conditions are always good for the one table setup here. He looks great and he looks tuned in. I will have to raise my game.

It would be amazing to win, when you think about it after all of these years. We all have our own motivation, Judd is trying to win for a second time, Mark wants to get four, I want to get five and Ronnie wants to get seven. Everyone has their own wee aim.”

Stephen Hendry in commentary branded Jack Lisowski “infuriating”.  I do understand where he comes from. Jack has so much ability, so much talent, and hasn’t done it justice so far. He has played much better in this event than he did in the past, he has been more reliable and more consistent but he could and should have won this match. He’s working with Peter Ebdon and it showed, but he isn’t quite where he could and should be just yet.

Judd Trump beat Stuart Bingham by 13-8

First session

On the other table, 2019 World Champion Judd Trump came from 2-1 down to earn a 5-3 lead over 2015 Crucible king Stuart Bingham.

The pair’s only previous meeting in Sheffield came at the 2015 World Championship, when Bingham prevailed 17-16 in an epic semi-final on his way to claiming the title.

Trump booked his slot in the last eight with a hard fought 13-11 win over Anthony McGill, while Bingham beat Kyren Wilson 13-9.

The Ace in the Pack compiled breaks of 105, 50 and 75 on his way to establishing a 4-2 advantage this afternoon. Bingham hit back with a century run of 106 to pull within a frame. However, Trump claimed a 35-minute final frame of the session to end 5-3 ahead.

Second session

Trump Rescues Session With Bingham

Judd Trump came from 8-5 down to level at 8-8 in his Betfred World Championship quarter-final against Stuart Bingham, leaving the match perfectly poised going into the concluding session which starts at 7pm on Wednesday.

Trump was all at sea for much of the morning session at the Crucible as he lost five frames in a row to go 8-5 down. But a late rally got him back on equal terms in a battle between the 2015 and 2019 champions.

Breaks of 89, 54, 53 and 58 helped Bingham to take the first five frames of the morning. He had another scoring chance in frame 14 but missed the black off its spot and Trump finally got going with a run of 41 to pull back to 8-6.

That changed the momentum as breaks of 89 and 55 gave world number four Trump the last two frames for 8-8.

Third session

Bingham Frozen Out By Trump Hot Streak

Judd Trump won eight consecutive frames as he beat Stuart Bingham 13-8 to reach the semi-finals of the Betfred World Championship for the first time since he won the title in 2019.

Trump was floundering in the second session on Wednesday morning when he lost five frames in a row to trail 8-5, but the 32-year-old turned the match around with resounding effect and controlled the remainder of the contest. He goes through to the last four to face three-time Crucible king Mark Williams over 33 frames on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

This has been a mercurial season for world number four Trump – he has won two titles, but also had spells where he has lost his enthusiasm for competition. After defeat to Luca Brecel in the first round of the recent Cazoo Tour Championship, a dejected Trump hinted at taking a long break from the sport.

But the trip to Sheffield has revived his fervour and the left-hander seems to be building momentum as the tournament comes to its fascinating conclusion. The weight of expectation on his shoulders is less this year than it was in 2020 and 2021 when he arrived at the Crucible at the end of dominant seasons. Trump’s performance over the last eight frames today will give him a huge confidence boost as he looks to become only the seventh player to lift the trophy more than once at the Theatre of Dreams.

Bristol’s Trump took the opening frame of the concluding session with a break of 78 to lead 9-8 and got the better of a scrappy 18th frame to double his advantage. In the 19th, Bingham trailed 56-23 when he missed a straight-forward pink with one red left, and that cost him the frame as Trump moved 11-8 in front.

Again in the 20th, 2015 champion Bingham had a scoring opportunity, but made just 13 before missing the black off its spot. Trump’s 73 made it 12-8 at the interval, and he soon sealed victory in frame 21 with a top run of 59.

At one point it looked as if I was going out of the tournament, so to get over the line comfortably in the end was a bonus,” said Trump. “I started to feel like myself again, the long pots were going in. Stuart missed a black at 8-5 and I knew that was a big moment, I had to dig in. I was so happy to get out of the session at 8-8.

I knew I wasn’t one of the favourites coming in because I wasn’t playing well. I have enjoyed the challenge more than I have in the last couple of years. I have got through the rounds quietly, without playing my best. I am playing with freedom and a smile on my face. It’s probably the most excited I have been for a while, to be down to the one table.

I’ve seen how well Mark Williams is playing. I just wanted to be part of the semi-finals, with Ronnie still in, and either John Higgins or Jack Lisowski. It’s a dream line-up and hopefully both matches will live up to the billing. Mark will feel like the favourite because of the way he’s playing. For me it’s a free shot.

Bingham said: “I’m disappointed for it to finish up that way. If someone had said at 8-5 that I’d lose 13-8 I wouldn’t have believed them. It’s my own fault, I missed the black at 8-5 when I had the momentum and could easily have been 11-5 up. That’s snooker, you need to take the good times with the bad. I collapsed like a cheap tent, but I was trying my hardest.

The season hasn’t been great. I’ve got some glasses to try for next season because I’ve been struggling with my eyes for five or six years now.

Stuart Bingham’s honest admission is admirable. Still that match really turned on one shot and Stuart couldn’t string three balls together towards the end of the match. It’s quite baffling, and unsettling, when you consider how much experience Stuart has.

Mark Williams beat Yan Bingtao by 13-11 

First session

On the other table, three-time World Champion Mark Williams continued his superb form to establish a 6-2 cushion against Yan Bingtao.

Welshman Williams has composed 11 century breaks so far during this year’s event and is well placed to beat Hendry’s record of 16, set in 2002, if he can progress further.

Yan is coming off the back of knocking out defending champion Mark Selby 13-10 in the previous round. Williams secured his place in the quarters with a 13-3 win over protege Jackson Page.

Williams took the opening two frames this morning, but Yan responded well with breaks of 105 and 82 to make it 2-2 at the mid-session. When play got back underway Williams assumed command of the tie and contributions of 60, 106, 72 and 77 saw him take four on the bounce and end 6-2 in front.

Second session

On the other table, Yan Bingtao battled back from 6-2 down to level at 8-8 against three-time Crucible king Mark Williams.

China’s 22-year-old Yan is playing in his first Sheffield quarter-final having beaten Mark Selby in the second round, and he looks capable of knocking out another multiple champion having out-played Williams for most of the evening.

They are back on the baize on Wednesday at 2.30pm, with the winner to go through to a semi-final against Judd Trump or Stuart Bingham.

Having lost the first session 6-2, Yan needed a fast start tonight, and he dominated the opening frame, then took the next with a break of 80 to reduce the deficit to 6-4. Frame 11 came down to a safety battle on the green and Yan, trailing by 23 points, attempted a long pot to a baulk corner but the green stayed out and rolled over the opposite pocket, handing Williams the chance to go 7-4 up.

The Welshman looked set to extend his lead until he over-cut a thin red to a top corner on 48 in frame 12, and Yan cleared superbly with 72 to narrow the gap. After the interval, 2021 Masters champion Yan continued his fight back as a 103, his seventh century of the tournament, made it 7-6. Frame 14 lasted 49 minutes and was resolved at the end of a tactical exchange with four reds left, when Yan knocked one in to a baulk corner and added the points he needed to square the match for the first time since 2-2.

Williams was on 15 in the next when he missed the black off its spot, and that proved costly as Yan took it with breaks of 42 and 20 to lead for the first time at 8-7. In the last frame of the session, Yan led 38-29 when he missed a tough pot on the black with two reds left, and his opponent cleared to leave them perfectly poised overnight.

Third session

Superb Williams Into Semis

Mark Williams came from 10-8 down to beat Yan Bingtao 13-11 in the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship, becoming the oldest player to reach the single table situation at the Crucible for 37 years.

At the age of 47, Williams is playing some of the best snooker of his career, having made 12 centuries in his three matches so far in Sheffield. The record of 16 tons in a single Championship, set by Stephen Hendry 20 years ago, is well within his grasp.

The Welshman is into the semi-finals for the seventh time and will now face either Judd Trump or Stuart Bingham. He becomes the oldest player to appear in the last four since Ray Reardon, who lost to Steve Davis in 1985 at the age of 52.

Just like his contemporaries Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins, Williams remains a potent force at snooker’s top level. If Higgins can get the better of Jack Lisowski tonight, it will be the only time other than 1999 that all three have reached the semi-finals.

Williams, who won the British Open earlier this season, is aiming for a fourth world title, having triumphed in 2000, 2003 and 2018. That would bring him level with Higgins and Mark Selby; only Hendry, O’Sullivan and Steve Davis have won more at the Crucible.

China’s Yan, who won the Masters last year, was contesting his first Sheffield quarter-final, and though he was outplayed in the closing stages, his second round victory over Mark Selby and impressive performance against Williams suggest the 22-year-old could be a strong contender for the title in years to come.

Yan took the first two frames of the concluding session with breaks of 62 and 102 to lead 10-8. Williams pulled one back with a 135, then dominated frame 20 to leave the interval score at 10-10.

Frame 21 came down to a tactical battle on the last red and Yan, leading by 27 points, enjoyed a slice of fortune as an attempted safety shot came off two cushions and travelled the diagonal length of the table before dropping into a top corner pocket. That put Yan 11-10 ahead and he had a scoring chance in the 22nd frame but, trailing 41-10, he overcut the green to a baulk corner, handing Williams the chance to make it 11-11.

An excellent long red early in frame 23 set Williams up for a break of 66 to put him one up with two to play. And when Yan missed a long red in the 24th, Williams grasped the opportunity again with a match-winning 78.

“I’m over the moon because I thought it was going to be another close game that went against me,” said Williams. “I’ve had a lot of close games all year and lost them all. I did not feel under pressure at all, I just tried to get some momentum going.

Last night I was dead on my feet. Two sessions in one day absolutely killed me. I was 6-2 in front, then it was 8-8, but I have never been so glad to lose a session 6-2 because it could have been worse.

This is where the tournament becomes the best venue in the world for me. I have always said that the one table set-up is something everyone must try and play once in their career.

I am just so happy to get to the semi-finals. I am here 30 years on after turning pro and still trying my best. Whoever I play next – they are all former World Champions, so it does not matter, it is going to be tough.

At the minute I am playing some of the best stuff I have ever played. I am scoring as well as I have ever scored.”

Yan said: ‘’It was a very close game. I was nervous because I was so close to my first Crucible one table match. At 11-10 I had a chance to make it 12-10, but I was thinking too much and lost the cue ball. Yesterday morning I lost my concentration and went 6-2 behind, then brought it back to 8-8 in the evening session. I believe in myself, I can do anything.’’

Mark Williams admission that two sessions in the same day was too much for him and that he was “dead on his feet” is a bit of a worry. He will have to play four sessions in the next three days, and, should he come out the winner in his semi-final, he then will have to play four more sessions over two days. Mark was hit hard by covid earlier this season and has admitted that it had left him vulnerable to tiredness. He has struggled in evening sessions in the aftermath of the illness. I can’t help wondering if it still affects him to an extend. I hope not.

2022 World Championship – Ronnie books his place in the semi-finals

This morning, Ronnie swiftly won the two frames he needed to book his place in the semi-finals. He won his QF match by 13-5:


Here is the report by WST on the third session:

O’Sullivan Stays On Target For Magnificent Seventh

Crucible2022ROSQF-5Ronnie O’Sullivan moved within two wins of a landmark seventh Crucible crown as he completed a 13-5 hammering of Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship.

The world number one is yet to face a serious challenge in the tournament so far, having beaten David Gilbert 10-5, Mark Allen 13-4 and now Maguire by another one-sided scoreline. He is through to a record 13th semi-final in Sheffield – one ahead of Stephen Hendry’s tally of 12.

But the only record which will motivate O’Sullivan is seven world titles, a mark which Hendry has held since 1999. If 46-year-old O’Sullivan can reach the same total then his status as snooker’s greatest ever player will be beyond question. His next test will be a match with either Jack Lisowski or old adversary John Higgins over a possible 33 frames on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. O’Sullivan has played Higgins three times this season and lost all three.

Chigwell’s O’Sullivan has now won 19 of his 23 meetings with Maguire, including all four at the Crucible. This contest was competitive up until 6-4, then O’Sullivan pulled away to take seven of the last eight frames. The Rocket has made seven centuries and 21 more breaks over 50 in the tournament so far.

Resuming this morning with an 11-5 lead, O’Sullivan needed just 19 minutes to wrap up the match, making breaks of 71 and 126.

I just played the balls, played the table and tried to be as competitive as I could,” said O’Sullivan, whose only title so far this season came at the World Grand Prix in December. “It does not bother me how many frames I play, I just know I have got to keep going.

World number 40 Maguire, who had to win two qualifying matches just to make it to the Crucible, said: “Things will only get tougher in the next few matches for Ronnie, the rest of the boys in the tournament are all great players.

I’ll be keeping an eye on it if John Higgins is still in it as I’ll want him to win it, if he’s out then I probably won’t watch. I’ll hopefully get off to a good start and hit next season running because this season has been a bit stop-start for me.’’

Read about the first and second session here. Those were played yesterday.

Here are more quotes, as reported by the excellent David Caulfield:

Ronnie O’Sullivan: ‘It’s a bit like a Mexican boxer’


Ronnie O’Sullivan has compared the Class of ’92 to Mexican boxers after reaching the last four of the World Snooker Championship.

The Rocket thrashed Stephen Maguire 13-5 in the quarter-finals at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The world number one will next feature at the semi-final stage for a record 13th time of what has been a glittering career, as he continues his bid for a record-equalling seventh world crown.

Fellow esteemed 1992 tour graduates John Higgins, who O’Sullivan could play in the semi-finals, and Mark Williams are also still in the hunt for glory.

Every match is tough, so I’m just pleased to still be in the tournament,” Ronnie O’Sullivan told World Championship sponsors Betfred.

It’s down to the one-table setup so I’m pleased to still be playing. I’ve had a hard good season and enjoyed every moment of it.”

I’ve enjoyed the last ten years of playing and I just want to keep enjoying it – just appreciating every moment I get to go out there and play.

I feel alright, I’m always ready to play. In yourself sometimes you can feel whatever, but actually I’ve got it in a good place now. I’m enjoying everything I do.

30 years here, I can’t believe it. Still here playing, still here competing, still loving it, still enjoying it.

I don’t get too ahead of myself any more, I just play the balls, play the table, and enjoy doing something that you love.

I don’t know (what it is about the Class of ’92). I think there’s a lot of talent out there, there’s some great young Chinese players coming through.

There’s a lot of really fantastic players out there, but I suppose because we’ve been doing it for so long.

We’re 47 now, or coming up to 47, and it’s sort of unheard of really. But I think certain people can do it.

I look at Williams and Higgins – because I can’t speak for myself – and I can see how they’re doing it, there’s just little subtleties that they have in their game.

It’s a bit like a Mexican boxer. We’ve been brought up in the Mexican way of playing snooker.

You get the British fighters and they are comfortable over here, but you throw them over in Mexico or the American market, then they don’t look so good.

I think we came from that kind of background of snooker where we were brought up with hard match play, lots of tournaments.

You were dedicated to your sport, and I think that’s kind of stood us in good stead really. We’re probably the three Mexicanos.

When I won four (world titles) that felt great. I always said that four was a big milestone – five didn’t feel much different to four.

Six was okay. Seven, I don’t know. I’m not really bothered by numbers and records, it’s just experiences for me.

To still be here playing is the thing. But I do have to get my head down, I have to focus and just try and squeeze every bit out of it as I can.

Very unusually, Ronnie had been interviewed by Rachel before the end of the match. This was shared by Eurosport on twitter.

And here is the last frame of the match:




Snooker News – 27.04.2022

Several important news popped up in recent weeks.

This one came out some time ago already.

Hong Kong Sports Institute delivers snooker ‘a huge blow’ as it cuts Tier A status and millions in funding and support

Ng On-yee, seen here at the Eden Women’s Masters in Brighton, has blazed a trail for the sport in Hong Kong. Photo: Handout

Ng On-yee, seen here at the Eden Women’s Masters in Brighton, has blazed a trail for the sport in Hong Kong. Photo: Handout

The high-profile sport of billiards will be demoted to Tier B by the Hong Kong Sports Institute from April 2023, costing them not just millions of dollars in funding but also their occupancy at HKSI.

Sources have told the Post billiards is facing the chop because it did not meet the required funding criteria as an Asian Games sport.

“It is disappointing because we can’t work out why they’re doing this a year after it was announced that billiards will return to Doha Asian Games in 2030,” the source said.

Marco Fu has immediately reacted to the situation 

Texting Carrie Lam: how Marco Fu raised snooker’s multimillion-dollar question with Hong Kong leader

  • Quarantined ace opts for a direct approach to grab the attention of the city’s chief executive, who acknowledges Fu’s message in Facebook post
  • Cue sports could lose 80 per cent of their funding from 2023, with grants to players halved, governing body says
Carrie Lam posted a photo of herself with Marco Fu on Facebook as she discussed sports funding. Photo: Facebook
Carrie Lam posted a photo of herself with Marco Fu on Facebook as she discussed sports funding. Photo: Facebook
Not many people can claim to have a head of government’s digits in their phone contacts, but Marco Fu Ka-chun is one.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said she was alerted to a financial crisis for snooker when she received a text message about it from the city’s most famous player.
Cue sports face losing most of their public funding from next year, slashing support to players including three-time ranking event winner Fu and three-time women’s world champion Ng On-yee – a point made to Hong Kong’s leader when Fu contacted her personally.
“I received a text message from Marco Fu,” Lam said in a Facebook post that discussed funding of Hong Kong sports.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam (centre) meets Hong Kong’s leading snooker players Marcu Fu and Ng On-yee. Photo: Facebook
Chief Executive Carrie Lam (centre) meets Hong Kong’s leading snooker players Marcu Fu and Ng On-yee. Photo: Facebook
Fu was in quarantine at a hotel in Hong Kong after travelling to the UK to take part in the World Championship, in which he has twice been a semi-finalist. He bowed out in the qualifying stages, but has returned home to arguably a sterner test, with cue sports in danger of losing Tier A status under the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI).
It hinges on whether they can gain readmission to the Asian Games in 2026. After last featuring in 2010, they will return in 2030 in Doha, but are not included, as yet, in the 2026 edition in Nagoya, Japan.
The rules state that, to avoid demotion to Tier B next April, a sport must have featured in, or expect to feature in, at least three Asian or Olympic Games between 2010 and 2030.

The Hong Kong Billiard Sports Control Council (HKBSCC) sent a letter on April 8 to the Home Affairs Bureau’s Sports Commission, copied to Lam, urging it to reconsider or extend until 2026 billiard sports’ Tier A status, held since 2009.

Fu, who had knowledge of the letter, followed up with a personal message to Lam to ensure she had received it. He and Lam have met a number of times, and one of Lam’s sons is a fan of Fu who has watched him play on many occasions in the UK.

“We are very grateful to Marco – it’s mainly because of Marco’s message that Carrie Lam found out about billiard sports,” said Vincent Law Wing-chung, the HKBSCC chairman. “We didn’t ask Marco to talk to her.”

Law said Lam had replied saying that she would speak to the bureau.

In the meantime, the HKBSCC is to campaign for inclusion in the Nagoya Games, including a “rescue coalition” on social media to appeal to cue sports aficionados across Asia.

Billiards and snooker were part of the Asian Games four times in a row from 1998 to 2010, with Fu leading Hong Kong’s haul of four gold, three silver and three bronze medals.

I hope we get as much attention as possible,” Law said of the campaign. “If cue sports are downgraded to Tier B, we will lose 80 per cent of our funding, which amounts to millions of dollars, while players will lose 50 to 60 per cent of their training grants, in addition to training and logistical support.”

Marco Fu has returned to the professional tour after a two-year absence because of the pandemic. Photo: World Snooker Tour
Marco Fu has returned to the professional tour after a two-year absence because of the pandemic. Photo: World Snooker Tour
The HKSI’s 20 Tier A sports are entitled to financial support and use of the world-class facilities at its Fo Tan campus.

There are 39 funded players in cue sports, in elite and junior categories. Including Fu and Ng, 13 players receive elite monthly funding of HK$32,700 to HK$38,540 (US$4,000 to US$5,000). Demotion to Tier B would roughly halve this.

Law described Lam’s Facebook post, in which she said she hoped to see cue sports return to the Asian Games, as “a positive response as well as a hint to push us to act as quickly as feasible”.

“It’s an issue of urgency, like a tough fight on the baize,” he said. “We can’t control the outcome, but we’ll do everything we can to win this battle.”

From another Hong Kong source, I understand that snooker is relatively safe for another four years, but solving such issues may take time. It also shows why, although IMO, cue sports are not particularly suitable for the Olympic games ans similar competitions, having them in those events is important, and not just in Hong Kong. In Belgium, snooker is not considered to be a sport, but would be if it was included in the Olympics. This would have huge implications regarding funding, but also regarding the support athletes can get, in particular, the younger ones who are still under “mandatory education” status and often find it difficult to fulfill their school duties AND their sports’ training.

Yesterday Steve Dawson made a number of announcements:

Steve Dawson Announcements

WST Chairman Steve Dawson was at the Crucible today making a range of announcements about the tour. These were:

Cazoo UK Championship

We’re delighted to announce a very significant format change for the Cazoo UK Championship which will have huge benefits for the players, fans and broadcasters.

The event will exactly mirror the format for the Betfred World Championship. So the top 16 players will be seeded through to the final stages in York. All other players will compete in a qualifying event with 16 going through to the venue.

The strength of the top 16 has never been greater and we are seeing this in our biggest events such as the World Championship and the Masters. For television viewers, this format guarantees the biggest names at the final stages.

There will be 128 players in the qualifying rounds – 112 tour players and 16 invited amateurs. This will create its own drama and storylines, just as we see at the World Championship.

We have a mixture of formats on the tour, with some flat draws of 128 players, and others where the top players are seeded through.

We have also increased the prize money from £1,009,000 to £1,205,000, with the first prize up from £200,000 to £250,000.

The event will remain at the York Barbican, its home since 2011, with the televised stages running from November 12 to 20. This will be immediately preceded by the qualifying event.

Matches will remain best of 11 frames up until the final.

The Cazoo UK Championship is a fabulous event, one of our Triple Crown, and this innovation will help it to grow and evolve into a bigger and better tournament.

Invitational Tour Cards

We have decided to offer Ken Doherty and Stephen Hendry invitational tour cards for the next two seasons. They are both great ambassadors for our sport and they have both done a huge amount to grow snooker around the world over many years.

Both Ken and Stephen continue to generate interest from fans, television and media. We wish them all the best for the next two seasons. We will review this invitation at the end of the two-year period.

Star Xing Pai

In a hugely momentous new agreement for our sport, we have signed a ten-year extension to our current deal with Star Xing Pai to be our official table supplier.

There is no question that Star make the best snooker tables in the world, and they are an integral part of our ambition to provide the best possible playing conditions. The quality of play, the number of centuries and 147s and the positive feedback we have from players is testament to the excellence of Star Xing Pai products.

Star has been our official supplier since 2007 so we have worked them for 15 years and we had no hesitation in joining forces for another ten years. This has been one of our sport’s most successful long terms partnerships of recent times. As well as providing official tables, Star has promoted events in China, and worked with the WPBSA in producing ‘Little Star’ small tables to help more school children to play our sport.

We look forward to building this relationship for many years to come.

Jessie May

Steve Dawson

Finally, an important announcement for our fantastic charity partner Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home as we have agreed to continue to support them for another three years. The financial support we provide includes donations for century breaks from our sponsors, including an incredibly generous donation from Betfred year upon year, of £200 for every century which is always rounded up to £25,000. The work done by the Jessie May Nurses for terminally ill children and their families is extraordinary. They rely very much on private donations and we are pleased to help for a further three years.

I have mixed feelings about the UK Championship change of format.

On one hand it gives lower ranked players more winnable first matches, and an better opportunity to earn some good money and ranking points whilst gaining experience. On the other hand, this is another event where they won’t be at the main venue nor mix with the biggest stars and experience the biggest venues’ atmosphere.

It’s not “protecting” the top players, who will come cold in the last 32, and won’t get any ranking points shoud they lose.

The change is obviously driven by a number of commercial factors; the broadcasters – in this case the BBC – and the venues’ managements  and the sponsors want to have the big names at the latter stage. Also, less players at the main venue makes it easier to organise hospitality.

I also have mixed feelings about the invitational tour cards, Hendry’s one in particular. Of course he’s one of the greatest players in our sport, but he has got one already and barely used it.


2022 World Championship – Ronnie takes a 11-5 lead over Stephen Maguire in their quarter-final

Ronnie will need only two frames today to book his place in the semi-finals and break another of Hendry’s records …

Here are the reports by WST:

Morning (first) session

Rocket Soars To Lead Maguire

Crucible2022ROSQF-1Ronnie O’Sullivan opened up a commanding 6-2 lead over Stephen Maguire after the first session of their quarter-final clash at the Betfred World Championship.

O’Sullivan is making a record 20th appearance in the last eight. He now has his sights set on equalling Stephen Hendry’s record tally of Crucible victories by winning a seventh title.

Former UK Champion Maguire faces a daunting task overturning his deficit against an opponent he hasn’t beaten for ten years. The last time the Glaswegian beat 38-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan was in qualifying for the 2012 China Open. Englishman O’Sullivan leads the head-to-head standings by a margin of 18-4.

The Rocket has been in supreme form so far this year in Sheffield and earned his place in the quarters with a 13-4 demolition of Mark Allen. Scotland’s Maguire beat current UK Champion Zhao Xintong 13-9 in the last round.

It was Maguire who took a 22-minute opening frame of the morning. O’Sullivan expressed concerns over his tip in the second frame and was granted permission to leave the arena to attend to it. When he returned, he took the frame and restored parity at 1-1.

From there O’Sullivan surged to take control of the tie. A break of 54 helped him to take the third frame and, despite trailing 55-0 in the fourth, he fired in a break of 70 to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.

When play got back underway O’Sullivan continued to punish any of Maguire’s mistakes. After making it 5-1, he fired in a stunning break of 123 to take a sixth consecutive frame. However, Maguire claimed the last of the session to keep his hopes alive at 6-2. They return for the second session of this best of 25 tie at 7pm.

Evening (second) session:

O’Sullivan Closes In On Semi-Finals


O’Sullivan has lost just 14 frames in the tournament so far, winning 34

Ronnie O’Sullivan is just two frames away from a record 13th Crucible semi-final as he leads Stephen Maguire 11-5 in their Betfred World Championship quarter-final clash.

O’Sullivan pulled away from 6-4 to take five of the last six frames in the second session as Maguire’s challenge faltered. They return at 10am on Wednesday, with first to 13 frames to go through to the last four in Sheffield to face John Higgins or Jack Lisowski.

World number one O’Sullivan has already set a new record for quarter-final appearances – with 20 – and if he advances to the single table situation he will move one ahead of Stephen Hendry’s tally of 12 semis. Maguire has lost his three previous Crucible meetings with O’Sullivan and will need to take eight of the last nine frames to avoid another defeat.

It was a bad night at the office for Maguire

Trailing 6-2 after the first session, Maguire hit back this evening with breaks of 62 and 73 to take the first two frames and close to 6-4. The Scot had first chance in frame 11 but made just 9 before missing a red to a centre pocket. O’Sullivan capitalised with a run of 64 to go 7-4 ahead, and he made a 55 in the next as he restored his four-frame cushion at the interval.

Maguire led 22-18 in frame 13 when his botched safety shot gifted his opponent a scoring opportunity, and six-time champion O’Sullivan made 69 to stretch his lead to 9-4. Soon his advantage was six frames courtesy of a run of 94, just missing out on a seventh century of the tournament when the pink stayed out of a centre pocket.

Early in frame 15, Maguire’s attempted long red missed his target and he went in-off, O’Sullivan punishing him again with a 73 for 11-4. World number 40 Maguire, who had to win two qualifying matches just to make it to the televised stages, made a 66 in the last of the session but still needs a career-best fight-back in the morning.

It was a strange match in many ways.

Right from the start it brought a very unusual situation on the table…

This was what happenend in the first frame, shared by Eurosport on their YouTube Channel:

Overall Ronnie didn’t play well, and was clearly frustrated with the tip issues. Now, it’s very difficult to play well in every match/session in such a long tournament. The tip/cue issues … that’s another story. We shall see.

The match isn’t over but Stephen needs to win this morning session by 8-1 or better to stay in the tournament. It’s not impossible but, obviously, extremely difficult and unlikely.


2022 World Championship – Day 10

There were only two sessions yesterday at the Crucible as the tables were recovered ahead of the quarter-finals


All four matches were scheduled to play to a finish.

Here are the reports by WST:

John Higgins 13-7 Noppon Saengkham

Higgins Eases To Crucible Quarters

John Higgins remains on course for a first Crucible crown in 11 years, after beating Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 13-7 in the last 16 of the Betfred World Championship.

Scotland’s Higgins won the most recent of his four world titles in 2011, when he defeated Judd Trump 18-15 in an enthralling final. He’s reached three world finals since then, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, but lost out to Mark Selby, Mark Williams and Judd Trump respectively.

Today’s victory sees Higgins through to the 16th Crucible quarter-final of his career, which eclipses Steve Davis and Jimmy White, who have both made the last eight 15 times. Now only Ronnie O’Sullivan (20) and Stephen Hendry (19) have reached more quarter-finals in snooker’s showpiece event.

Higgins has produced relentless consistency levels this season, having undergone a fitness regime last summer which saw him shed nearly four stone. He has 31 career ranking titles to his name, but is yet to add to that tally this term. Higgins has fallen short in four ranking finals at the Northern Ireland Open, English Open, Scottish Open and Tour Championship.

Saengkham will now return to Thailand to see his newly born daughter, named Believe, for the first time. She was born on the morning of his opening round tie with Luca Brecel, which he won 10-5.

Higgins came into this afternoon with a hefty 11-5 advantage. The Glaswegian scooped up seven of the eight frames in yesterday evening’s second session to leave himself on the cusp of victory.

It was the Wizard of Wishaw who looked set to take the first frame this afternoon, when he crafted a break of 62. However, Saengkham produced a 35 clearance to force a re-spotted black. Higgins eventually deposited a tricky shot to the right middle to move one from the win at 12-5.

A run of 70 kept Saengkham in the tie by giving him the 18th frame, before he embarked on a maximum attempt in the next. He thrilled the Crucible crowd when he potted the first 14 reds with blacks, but missed a tricky last red down the cushion to end his break on 112.

Higgins then stepped up with a break of 90 to get over the line and confirm his 13-7 win. He now awaits either Jack Lisowski or Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals.

The psychology of this tournament is amazing. When I was losing 5-4 to Thepchaiya in the first round I was delighted, as I could have been further behind. When I was 4-4 after the first session of this match I was gutted, because I felt I could have had a lead. I’ve been through it all so many times, that I just try to forget about it as soon as I can and regroup,” said 46-year-old Higgins.

He went for so many long balls, but it just goes to show you the confidence he has in his own game. He missed a couple in the second session and I got on top. Things can quickly get away from you and I know that too well having been here many times. It is just about putting your foot on the peddle and winning as many frames as you can.

I think myself, Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan are three better players than we ever have been. Mark Williams is playing incredible stuff since he changed to the SightRight method, O’Sullivan is a different animal and is fighting for every frame and I’ve said quite openly that I think I’m playing better than ever. To be in the game for 30 years and to be playing better than ever is some achievement.

Saengkham said: “He’s a very good player and I’ve learned many things from him. I don’t think I played very well and John did. He controlled everything about the game. I want to become a World Champion, so I need to play with World Champions like John. I’ll try my best next year and learn from this.

I have another two days here, then I’ll go back to Thailand. I will hopefully have some time seeing my family before coming back ready for next season. My daughter is still in hospital and everything is okay. I’ve received a photo of her and I can’t wait to spend some time with her.

Noppon made a fight of it and was extremely gracious in defeat, thanking both his opponent and the crowd. I’m sure he gained many fans over the last 10 days. Most Thai players I have met have this genuine kindness about them. They are humble and extremely hard workers. It would be a crying shame for the tour to lose them.  As for John Higgins … he just played like John Higgins can play from start to finish.

Stuart Bingham 13-9 Kyren Wilson

Bingham Happy To Stay Under The Radar

Bingham has reached just one semi-final so far this season, at the Cazoo World Grand Prix in December

Stuart Bingham pulled away from 8-8 to beat Kyren Wilson 13-9 in the second round of the Betfred World Championship, and the 2015 Crucible king admitted he’s content for other players to be talked about as the title favourites.

Bingham has proved beyond doubt his ability to beat the best on the Sheffield stage – in 2015 he got the better of Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy, while last year he enjoyed a fine run to the semi-finals. To knock out Wilson, the 2020 finalist, was another excellent result for 45-year-old Bingham.

The Essex cueman is into the quarter-finals for the fourth time and will face either Judd Trump or Anthony McGill next. As it stands, Bingham remains a 14/1 shot for the title with Betfred.

I’m fine with coming under the radar and just letting it happen,” said world number 12 Bingham. “Ronnie is always one of the men to beat, John Higgins is playing well, Judd’s back into form, Neil is man of the season, Mark Williams is playing unbelievable stuff. Every year is hard, whoever you play. It’s getting tougher and tougher because the class of 92 are still there and not easing up.

Tied at 8-8 going into the concluding session, Wilson scored just 21 points in the first four frames today as Bingham surged 12-8 ahead with top runs of 97, 76 and 52. The first of those breaks had him on target for a 147 until he ran out of position on the third-last red and couldn’t leave himself a shot at the black.

After the interval, Bingham was on the cusp of wrapping up the match until he missed a tricky pot on the penultimate red when he led 66-27. The frame came down to a tactical battle on the last red and an error from Bingham handed Wilson the chance to clear up and reduce the gap.

Wilson finishes the season without a trophy

Wilson had an opportunity to pull another back in frame 22 but, trailing 37-36, failed to convert a difficult pot on the second last red along the side cushion. Bingham cleared to the blue, which was enough for a place in the last eight.

I felt as if I was in control for most match, though neither of us played particularly well yesterday,” added Bingham. “I’m just over the moon because every mistake Kyren made today, I punished him. At 12-8 it was more or less all over, but then things started to go against me a little bit. I showed some emotion at the end because it was good to get over the line. It could have easily been 12-10 and then demons start popping in your head.

Asked about his 147 attempt, Bingham said: “It is on my bucket list to make one here so hopefully I will have another couple of chances next match. Before I retire, I want to get one here.

World number five Wilson, who saw his streak of six consecutive Crucible quarter-final appearances come to an end, said: ‘’The momentum was completely with Stuart today, the first two frames killed my spirit a little bit. He showed what a great champion he is. It’s so hard to win this tournament so anybody that has managed to do that is obviously a great player in their own right, people shouldn’t forget that.

‘’It’s been a strange season for me, I’ve had about five cues on the go. I’m comfortable with what I’m doing now so I’ll only improve and get ready for next season. I don’t think there’s anything different I can do at this event, sometimes you need a little bit of luck on your side, when you have that you can go on and win these tournaments.”

The Stuart I watched yesterday reminded me of the man who won the title in 2015. He may downplay his chances, but I’m not bying it. He knows that he’s playing well and he knows that he can beat anyone on his day. He knows he can win the World Championship because he has done it before. If he can sustain the level he showed yesterday, he certainly can win it again.

Judd Trump 13-11 Anthony McGill

Trump Battles Past Steely McGill

Judd Trump held off a gutsy Anthony McGill fightback to reach the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship, emerging a 13-11 victor.

The Ace in the Pack will now face Stuart Bingham in an intriguing quarter-final clash. The only other time the pair have met at the World Championship was back in 2015. On that occasion Bingham won out in a 17-16 epic, before beating Shaun Murphy in the final. Trump will be aiming to enact revenge this time around.

This evening’s match had looked to be on course for a one-sided finish, when 23-time ranking event winner Trump ended the second session 10-6 ahead. However, the Theatre of Dreams hosted drama of the highest order in front of a captivated crowd.

Scotland’s McGill ensured the tie went down to the wire with a barrage of breaks, while fans on the other table were treated to a nerve-shredding deciding frame in Jack Lisowski’s win over pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson.

It was McGill who immediately turned up the heat this evening, firing in a century run of 106 in the opener. Trump responded in kind with 105 to extend his lead to 11-7, but the steely Scot refused to wilt inside Sheffield’s Crucible cauldron.

Breaks of 78, 77 and 124 pulled the two-time ranking event winner back within a frame at 11-10. Bristol’s Trump took the 22nd to move within one of victory, before Glaswegian McGill reeled him in again with a break of 51 to make it 12-11.

McGill had the first chance in the 24th frame, as he battled to force a decider, but missed a tough red to the top right corner with the rest. Trump eventually earned an opportunity with a long red and crafted a break of 55 to take control of the frame, which came down to a safety battle on the yellow. Trump won that battle and got himself over the line to clinch his place in the last eight.

Trump is aiming for a second World Championship win. He won the sport’s biggest prize in 2019, when he thrashed John Higgins 18-9 in the title match. His only other appearance in a world final was against Higgins in 2011, but he lost out 18-15.

McGill has historically produced some of his best snooker over the years in Sheffield. He made the semi-finals back in 2020, when he fell short in a colossal clash with Kyren Wilson 17-16. McGill beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 13-12 at this stage last year, but lost his quarter-final against Bingham by the same score. On this occasion he will have to settle for making the second round.

It was one of the best sessions I have been involved in and the standard on both tables was good. Anthony was winning frames in one visit the whole time,” said 32-year-old Trump. “I don’t think when I won it, or even the first time I ever got to the final, it was anything like that. It was certainly the best session at the Crucible so far. It was amazing to be a part of that.

I felt good. For me to get smashed up, playing the best I have throughout the tournament, is kind of strange. I can take a lot of positives and if I can start off like that and Stuart misses a few balls, unlike Anthony, then I have a good chance.

It doesn’t get any easier. It is an amazing quarter-final lineup. It has been a great tournament so far and it is going to be even more special now. A lot of the top players have come through. After the season we’ve had, a lot of people expected shocks. It hasn’t been that way and it has made for a brilliant tournament.

McGill said: “I can just appreciate I’m here, I loved every minute of it. I played well tonight, which was pleasing, because I didn’t in the first two sessions. I had felt bad about that because people are paying their money to come here and watch. I’m sure they had a good time tonight.

That particular match had been hard work and utterly painful to watch for the best of the first two sessions but, yesterday, both players found something close to their best form. I wasn’t expecting that. In fact I wasn’t expecting anything in particular but I was surprised by the “transformation” of both players and that it happened to both simultaneously. But then, maybe it’s not that surprising. After all if players can drag each other down by playing poorly, they also can lift each other’s level up by playing well.

Jack Lisowski 13-12 Neil Robertson

Lisowski Knocks Out Robertson In Classic Contest

Robertson has won four titles this season, but falls at the second round stage this time

Jack Lisowski scored the best win of his career as he reached the quarter-finals of the Betfred World Championship for the first time with an enthralling 13-12 victory over pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson.

Australia’s Robertson earned a piece of Crucible history when he became the eighth player to make a 147 at the venue, but the night ended in disappointment for this season’s best player. It’s the eighth consecutive year in which Robertson has failed to reach the semi-finals.

For Lisowski, the result is a huge confidence boost, as he rallied from 12-11 down to win the last two frames of the first match in this year’s Championship to go to a decider. In a dramatic finish, both players missed chances in the last frame before world number 14 Lisowski took his opportunity.

His reward is a match with four-time champion John Higgins which starts on Tuesday at 2.30pm. Their only previous Crucible meeting came in the second round 2018 when Higgins dismantled his opponent by a 13-1 scoreline. But Gloucestershire’s 30-year-old Lisowski is now made of sterner stuff, as he proved tonight by keeping his composure at the crucial moments.

Leading 9-7, Lisowski made a strong start to the concluding session as a break of 49 gave him the first frame to extend his lead. The next came down to a tactical battle on the last red, and a weak safety from Lisowski handed his opponent the chance to pot the red to a centre pocket and clear for 10-8.

Robertson’s magnificent 147 came in frame 19, and he followed up with a run of 79 in the 20th to square the match at 10-10. Lisowski led 15-14 in frame 21 when his attempted red to centre his the far jaw, and again Robertson punished him with a run of 60 to go in front for the first time since he led 2-1.

Having lost four consecutive frames, Lisowski hit back with a break of 88 for 11-11. In frame 23, Robertson led 32-21 when he made a safety error, handing Lisowski a chance to clear. He got as far as the final green, but rattled it in the jaws of a baulk corner, and Robertson took advantage to edge ahead. World number three Robertson, the 2010 champion, might have clinched the result in the 24th, but ran out of position on 55 and had to play safe. Lisowski cleared superbly with 72 for 12-12.

The key moment in the decider came when Lisowski, leading 36-18 with three reds on the table, trapped his opponent in a tough snooker behind the brown. Robertson escaped but left a red over a top corner, and Lisowski added a match-winning 25.

It’s my biggest win because Neil is the best player in the world at the moment,” said Lisowski, who has reached six ranking finals but is yet to win a title. “He threw at lot at me over the match. It’s a massive win for me, I feel great. I was pretty gone when he made his beautiful 147 and got back to 10-10. Everything was spinning.

I felt good on the break to go 12-12. In the last frame we both made mistakes. When the last red went in I got a brilliant reaction from the crowd. It was so loud it shook me, I nearly jumped. It was a great night for the fans, a big advert for snooker and it was amazing to be part of it. Everyone likes the underdog, and I was definitely that. I’m probably the underdog in the tournament now. The crowd have given me a real boost.

The goal at the start of the week was to make the quarters because I had never done that before. Now the goal is to win the thing. Having beaten the best player in the world, there’s no reason why I can’t. Higgins will be just as hard. I will give it everything I have got, play with a good spirit and a lot of heart.

Robertson said: “It was an incredible match played in the right way, we both kept going for our shots and I have nothing but praise for Jack, he handled himself well. People have played far worse than I did and got through the last 16. Jack just played the absolute match of his life.

To make the 147 was unbelievable and tops the season off because that is on everyone’s bucket list, to make a maximum at the Crucible. Once I split the reds I knew I had a chance. The tension was building, so to clear the colours without much stress, then get the cheer from the crowd, it was absolutely fantastic. As a kid you just want to have those kind of moments.

My mum was in the crowd, and she was buzzing about it. She’ll probably be more disappointed than me about the result, but at least she got to see something special. I have won four big titles this season, it has been a dream.

I never expected Jack to beat Neil and win this match, nevermind to do it in a decider, having lost four frames on the trot and gone from 10-7 up to 11-10 down. Jack has been working with Peter Ebdon and it seems to really work for him. Many of Jack’s fans have been wondering if he was ever going to do his talent justice … and almost lost hope about it. I’m one of them. Now I do believe again that he can and will do it.

Here is Neil’s 147 – shared by Eurosport on thei YouTube channel