30.4.09

CRUCIBLE SET FOR GRANDSTAND FINISH

What a wonderful World Championship it’s been and what a wonderful match we were treated to last night between John Higgins and Mark Selby.

I felt sorry for Mark. He couldn’t have played any better - indeed was playing well enough to capture the title - and he was still eliminated.

But that’s because Higgins is such a great pressure player. He needed just one chance in the decider (or the third incarnation of it after two re-racks) to clinch victory.

What a win for John. It must rank in his all time top five.

Credit to both players for the quality of the snooker they produced and the spirit in which the match was played.

There were bizarre moments, too. Alan Chamberlain, the referee, refused Selby’s request to clean the last red in frame 24. I assume this was because Alan didn’t want to replace it in a slightly different position on such a key shot but it was a surprising decision.

The crowd certainly got involved but were respectful and only added to the atmosphere.

Higgins needs to forget about that win – brilliant though it was – and concentrate on his semi-final against Mark Allen, who has already proved through his defeat of Ronnie O’Sullivan that he is no respecter of reputations.

Indeed, in only his second match as a professional at the 2005 Northern Ireland Trophy he beat Higgins 4-1.

But this is a best of 33 frame match and John has the experience to end Allen’s giant-killing run.

Neil Robertson became the first Australian in 27 years to reach a Crucible semi-final in overcoming Stephen Maguire.

Eddie Charlton last featured in the last four in 1982. A Robertson victory in the final would be great for snooker. The game has stagnated in Australia but he can provide it with an injection of interest.

But Shaun Murphy is quietly going about his business with ruthless intent.

I’d personally make him favourite right now but the fun will be in finding out.

It’s been an enthralling tournament and we’re set fair for a grandstand finish.

22 comments:

JohnH said...

What a great semi-final line up with two former champions taking on two players in their first semi-finals. I hope the occasions doesnt prove to be too much for the new boys in the one table situation and we have two semi-finals fitting for this vintage year.

Matt said...

I was going to tip Murphy as well, might change my mind now.

Funny you should say that about Alan Chamberlain, he seems to have had a strange tournament really, first he refused to let Williams change his tip and it took Hendry to let him do in. Then there were a few dodgy moments in the Selby/Dott match, one where he put the cue ball back in totally the wrong place and when Selby corrected him he thought he was winding him up, plus the in-off saga.

Now in this match he refuses to clean the red and then initially refuses to give them a re-rack.

Not saying that he was wrong in all of those situations but he has certainly been in the spotlight more than usual.

Anonymous said...

In terms of standard of play, this has been one of the best championships ever, and with Higgins' brinkmanship it's becoming one of the most dramatic as well. I would like to see a new name on the trophy, but my bigger hope is that no one runs out of steam on the last weekend. Nothing worse than playing brilliantly up to a point and then flopping - although it's understandable with the length of the tournament and the tension.

Mal said...

Although technically he may have been correct on the Selby-Dott incident, in my opinion he should either have shown discretion as most would have done, clarified the situation by warning Dott (otherwise we all could do it to minimise the disadvantage) and certainly not had a big grin on his face a few seconds later which I thought showed he knew that the attention was on him.

He has had a few replacing of the balls wrong - Off hand, the most significant one was when Chamberlain was also in the spotlight when he replaced the ball in the wrong place (just an inch or two out, but it made all the difference) in the Wenbo - Swail match in the decider. Didn't use the screens to confirm and Wenbo could hit more of yellow than before.

Further to Matt's post, a good referee decision's will not be controversial - nothing would have been said if he replaces balls in the right place, showed leniency with Williams and the tip and shown discretion (which I think ALL other refs at the WC would have done) after Dott's foul

Anonymous said...

The worst referee is the Welsh one. He must go home at night and watch re-runs of classic British comedies. Dad's Army, Porridge and It Ain't Hot Mum must be staple viewing in his household. I can't quite decide if he models himself on Captain Mainwaring, Mr MacKay or Sgt Major Williams.

Anonymous said...

more like Officer Dibble from Top Cat.

Man of the tournament has to be Alan Chamberlain. Not even his brother Richard gave such good performances.

The way he dominated the Dott v Selby match was a lesson to all other individuals who are rubbish at sport but want to turn their walk-on role into an Oscar winning performance.

And, as if that wasn't enough, what about his terrific follow-up in the Higgins-Selby epic.

I know I went to bed, not thinking about that dramatic last frame, but 'Chambo' performance and authority in not cleaning the red.

Sack Michaela before the final - and give it to Alana!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Michaela will wear an all in one PVC cat suit for the final? She could come into the arena with a whip as well. Can you imagine Mistress Michaela cracking her whip and demanding "silence" from the crowd?

Anonymous said...

The quarters were all utterly engrossing and the semis are mouthwatering. Hard to call a winner. I am loving every minute.

Anonymous said...

Higgins will absolutely hammer Mark Allen in this semi

jamie said...

If the semis and final deliver classics then we may be looking at the best championship ever as the standard is probably the best we have seen. I'm just annoyed my disseration has got in the way of watching it. However now it is done I am living. sleeping and eating snooker for the next four days.

Anonymous said...

Willie Thorne is getting right on my tits with some of his "he should have done this" and "why did he play that shot?" comments.

FFS,Willie. You're a two-bob know body from a bygone era who performed about as well at the World's as Patsy Fagan.

I'd take Stephen Hendry's shot choice as gospel before I have to lissen to your guff!

Anonymous said...

the great wt...ha

Susan All the Way said...

Found this blog folks, relive all the great crucible 147 in one spot http://147heaven.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7.32 pm - Thorne is alright, compared to the 2 fat Chinese blokes on CCTV.

I am overseas now and usually if i cant hit BBC streams, i tune in to CCTV chinese sports channels.

The way those 2 fat commentators were going about it castigating players for missed shots and criticizing their choice of shots, you would think they are Jimmy White, Stephen Hendry, Alex Higgins and Steve Davis rolled into 2 fat lumps - which is precisely how i would describe them.

They probably cant even make a double-digit points break nor tell a pool cue apart from a snooker cue.

(I understand Chinese perfectly - had Chinese blood somewhere)

Anonymous said...

SUSAN ALL THE WAY - love yer site keep it up! Had been trying to find the Ronnie 2003 147 for ages and i got it now!

Anonymous said...

Well give Willie some credit he did win 1 ranking title the mercantile credit classic, surely he know's what he's on about after winning this 1 lol. NOT!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan All the Way said...

My pleasure m8, thanks for support!

Anonymous said...

"Higgins leads 6-2 now" - i would have thought his game plan was to go 10-0 down first before reeling off 5 pressure frames in a row to win it 17-16. Bet 50 on it going to a deciding frame again

Anonymous said...

????????????? Anon 11:37

Mal said...

Higgins has done well, but his comebacks are hardly that amazing, but still impressive nonetheless. The most frames he was adrift was 3-0 and 10-8 vs selby and 12-10 vs cope. Impressive but not 'that' far behind like many other great crucible comebacks. Come on mark!

Alex said...

I can't understand Chamberlain's decision to refuse Selby's request to clean the red. Surely if he hasn't got confidence in his own ability to replace the red, he shouldn't be reffing and should retire?

Some have said that Chamberlain was technically correct in applying the rules in the Dott/Selby in-off fist debacle, but if he had actually applied them strictly he would have awarded the frame to Selby as Dott's pushing away of the cue ball is concession of the frame. Even if you don't accept that, then how about the fact that Dott actually pushed the white away twice - is that not playing out of turn, and another foul when contact was made a second time? So that's 12 points for three seperate fouls!

Maybe Alan has been unlucky that all these controversies have happened under his watch so to speak, but I can't help feel that they wouldn't have become such big issues if Jan Verhaas had been in charge.

Anonymous said...

I THOUGHT it was foul 7, not loss of frame