Stephen Hendry may still beat Mark Allen in the first round of the Maplin UK Championship but - at the time of writing - this seems unlikely.

I well remember when Hendry was beaten 9-0 by Marcus Campbell in the first round of the 1998 event. Various pundits wrote him off and suggested it was the beginning of the end but he recovered to win a seventh world title later that season.

However, that Crucible triumph was the last time the Scot captured one of snooker's 'big three' titles (the UK and the Masters being the others) and there were signs this afternoon that he has real problems.

He wasn't helped by the fact Allen played superbly in claiming his 6-2 lead but, unlike Steve Davis, Hendry has clearly decided not to change his game despite the threat of decline.

The tricky cut-back black he went for leading 60-0 in the seventh frame was proof of this.

Hendry's always been adventurous in his shot selection and, in the glory years, most of them went in but he's starting to miss more and more of these key balls.

The 38 year-old hardly enjoyed a confidence-boosting build up to Telford after he was beaten 6-0 by an inspired Ding Junhui in the Premier League at Glenrothes and 5-1 in the semi-finals at Aberdeen by Ronnie O'Sullivan.

After everything Hendry has done in the sport, it would be foolish to write him off and he wouldn't play if he didn't think he could still win titles but this is surely a crossroads in his career.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hendry should never be written off.