So an eventful Sheffield Wednesday gives way to Thursday and the start of the second round.
Over three sessions, I would expect Mark Williams to have too much for Jamie Cope, although we shouldn’t forget just how well Cope played at that stage against John Higgins two years ago.
Judd Trump v Martin Gould should be great entertainment: two attacking, exciting players who go for their shots.
Gould never wavered against Marco Fu and THAT red will linger long in the Crucible memory this year.
Higgins maintained his mightily impressive season by racking up three centuries against Stephen Lee, he of the exotic coiffure, and leads 6-3 overnight.
Mark Selby wasn’t at all impressive, indeed was edgy and made numerous errors, but still leads Jimmy Robertson 8-1.
I can well imagine people watching this and assuming Robertson is simply no good. Obviously this is nonsense. He beat Tony Drago and Ken Doherty to qualify.
But like so many of the other 178 players to have played at the Crucible he found the Sheffield theatre-in-the-round to be an intimidating arena.
With little TV experience under his belt – in fact only one frame in the Shootout – he froze and Selby, though well below par, picked him off. I suspect when Selby is pressured he will step it up as the tournament goes on.
Well done to Rory McLeod for finally reaching the last 16 of a world ranking event with his 10-6 defeat of Ricky Walden.
This was a slow match and, in Walden’s words, ‘painful’ at times. He is right that snooker would be in poor shape if every match were like this but you still have to credit McLeod’s application.
Nevertheless, it was absurd of him to suggest Walden dragged him down. They were both slow, but McLeod is naturally slow.
Walden’s error was getting dragged into his opponent’s pace of play and not imposing himself on the match: you can’t slow it down when you’re sat in your chair.
High drama last night was provided by Mark Allen, who came from 9-6 down to beat Matthew Stevens 10-9.
He was watched in the decider by his young daughter, Lauren, and kissed her at the end some 29 years after another Northern Irishman, the late, great Alex Higgins, beckoned for his baby daughter, also Lauren, to join him in the immediate aftermath of his world title victory.
Stevens, I’m afraid, felt the pressure. He simply has too much mental scar tissue at the Crucible, too many close matches lost from ahead. It was impossible to shut all that out of his mind.
We’ve only had five days of play but clearly the Crucible remains a heady cauldron of dreams but also an unremitting chamber of nightmares.