Well you can’t fault the players for the drama they served up yesterday. It was another thrilling day’s snooker that has set up one of the best quarter-final line-ups we’ve ever had at the Crucible.
The John Higgins-Jamie Cope match was pulsating all the way through and climaxed with the twice former champion showing his class to win from 12-10 down in the first decider of the championship.
I felt sorry for Cope, though, who had his bid for victory derailed through no fault of his own.
In frame 24, he attempted to trickle the cue ball up to the yellow but it quite clearly rolled off. It may have caught the join between the slates but, whatever, it was most unfortunate and obviously got to Jamie as his next shot was slapdash and he barely got a chance in the decider.
It’s very warm in the Crucible arena and the heat may have played a part in two spectators – now thankfully OK – being taken ill and thus holding up play.
Both times Higgins returned from these unscheduled breaks with tough pots; both times he knocked them in.
He now plays Mark Selby, who has had the upper hand over him ever since their Crucible final two years ago.
Selby won another dramatic battle last night, 13-10 against the ever determined Graeme Dott.
This match included a bizarre incident during the morning session where both players were fouled for the same shot.
Dott played a shot and saw the cue ball running towards the green pocket. Quite often in such a situation the player will catch the white but he put his fist in the pocket. This was interpreted by referee Alan Chamberlain as interfering with a ball in play.
So Selby should have played from where it came to rest. However, he was – understandably – unaware and picked it up to place it in the ‘D’ whereupon he was also fouled.
Ultimately, it had no bearing on that frame or the match. Also, under the letter of the law Chamberlain was correct.
But here’s a question: what’s to stop players doing what Dott did so as to gain an advantage by not allowing their opponents to have the white in hand?
Stephen Maguire battled through a generally unattractive match against Mark King and will now take on Aussie Neil Robertson, who he has beaten seven times out of eight.
Robertson was one of a number of players seen fist-pumping and roaring into cameras.
This from a sport we are constantly told has ‘no characters.’
Personally, I’m all for it. There’s nothing wrong with some emotion as long as it doesn’t spill over into gamesmanship.
So, a great day and a great finish to the tournament to come. And then you open The Guardian and are confronted with a stream of drivel from Simon Hattenstone, who I have long suspected has an obsession with Ronnie O’Sullivan that borders on the unhealthy.
His column is a predictable mishmash of clichés and in any case contradictory – he says the championship is no good without O’Sullivan having already stated he regards snooker as the most boring sport.
Fine, Simon. Don’t watch.
But those who do tune in are likely to witness one of the best conclusions to any World Championship you could wish for.