If Pottingham actually existed, they would be hanging out the bunting after their Sheriff, Anthony Hamilton, shot down Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Shanghai Masters yesterday.
And he played some terrific snooker to do so, an impressive win not least because he had only previously beaten O’Sullivan once in their nine previous meetings.
Anthony’s a good bloke. Dry and laconic, he doesn’t hesitate to hold forth on his own shortcomings.
I remember sitting in Shanghai listening to him admitting he’d ‘bottled it’ in losing 9-8 from 8-5 up to Mark Williams in the 2002 China Open final. He made it clear it was his fault: not the table, bad luck, an injury, a spectator or anything other than his own tightening up as the winning line approached.
Hamilton has always enjoyed playing snooker, even if there are aspects of the circuit he doesn’t like.
“I’m constantly thinking about life after I drop off the tour,” he told Snooker Scene earlier this year. “I’m worried about it but I’ve no idea what I would do.”
Victories like his yesterday will help stave off any such relegation for a while and are a reminder why he puts in all that effort. He is one of the best players never to win a ranking title. That may change this weekend but there are some real big hitters left in the draw.
The last two world champions – John Higgins and Neil Robertson – play each other while Mark Selby faces comeback king Shaun Murphy, who followed his victory from 4-1 down to Dominic Dale with one from 4-2 down to Mark Allen, aided by a 143 total clearance.
Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens, who contested the world final 11 years ago, will clash cues again for a semi-final place.
Conditions in Shanghai haven’t been the best but this is most likely down to atmospherics, and there’s nothing that can be done about that.