Steve Davis’s 4-3 victory over Ali Carter at Newport yesterday was not just a great win but also a great performance.

Davis finished off with a century in the decider, his second of the match. This was vintage fare from the legend, who is defying time and even logic as his career continues unabated.

From one of snooker’s best known names to a relative unknown, Sam Baird secured his last 32 place with a 4-2 defeat of Dominic Dale.

Baird looked comfortable early on and brought up 3-1 with a 136 total clearance before he inevitably began to feel a little pressure. However, Dale also made mistakes and Baird scrambled over the line in the sixth to set up a clash with Mark Selby.

So to today and another Devonian, Andy Hicks, who has slightly fallen off the radar, certainly in terms of TV appearances, takes on Mark Williams, the only Welshman to win the Welsh Open.

Andy never quite fulfilled the promise he showed by reaching the World Championship semi-finals on his Crucible debut in 1995, although he would go on to reach the same stage of the UK Championship and the Masters.

But the good thing about snooker is that you can enjoy longevity past the stage of most other sports – as Davis is proving.

Stephen Hendry can cling to this as he prepares to face Neil Robertson, one of the players of the season thus far.

Hendry is looking for a good performance on TV against a top player. He has been looking for this for some time.

Perhaps the difference between him and Davis is that Davis isn’t looking for it, but will take it if it comes.

Hendry is in a curious position right now. He is good enough to be in the world’s top 20 but not quite good enough to be in the top 16.

Four places doesn’t seem much but it is a gap that can only be breached by victories over top players.

The top 16 has now been settled in terms of personnel if not placings so the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stuart Bingham, who plays Mark King today, can relax a little.

Mark Allen has injured a finger and received treatment for it. Quite how this will affect his performance tomorrow against Ken Doherty remains to be seen but it’s hardly ideal.

I have thought for a long time that Allen will win a ranking title. He came very close at the UK Championship. Maybe someone said he ‘just needs to pull his finger out’ and there was a misunderstanding.


Colin M said...

Nice article Dave.

Steve's just amazing and looks to be in excellent form. Normally I wouldn't fancy his chances against Shaun but I think Steve could run him close over a best of 7.

Anonymous said...

"Mark Allen has injured a finger and received treatment for it. I have thought for a long time that Allen will win a ranking title. He came very close at the UK Championship. Maybe someone said he ‘just needs to pull his finger out’ and there was a misunderstanding."

LOL! Nice one!


Hi David. As I said Yesterday, Davis made the two great century breaks, in his 4-3 win over carter.

As he showed yesterday, he can still compete with the very best, and occasionally beat them. Well done to Steve Davis.

Anonymous said...

Is it true Barry Hearn snapped it when Allen gave him the finger?

kimball said...

"Normal" is not the norm, as Hendry showed today.

Anonymous said...

It would be fantastic if Davis and Hendry were to come through their second round matches and play each other.


Hi David. A great performance by Stephen Hendry today, in his 4-1 win over Neil Robertson. You, in the Eurosport commentary box, today, that Hendry was looking for "a win over a top player." or a higher ranked player. He's got one. Great performace. Hendry still can perform to an exellent standard, not quite as consistantly, but he did today. Well done to Stephen Hendry.

Mark Williams performed well, from 3-2 down, to beat Andy Hicks 4-3. This was having not been at his best in the erlier stages. Williams is superb at grinding out a winning result, as he proved today.

Stephen Lee played well to beat Michael holt 4-1.

Anonymous said...

saw the first 1/2 of Robertson and Hendry match today, on the red button.

Excellent performance from Hendry. it sounds like he has been in very good form recently, and Willie Thorne's comment about Hendry not bothering to pot the black for a 147 in his practice routines with Williams, 'because he was fed up making them' sounds very encouraging.
this time he seems to have brought his practice form to the match table, and He soundly beat an in form Robertson.
A good win over a top 4 player is exactly what he needs, if he is to get more confidence.
Also, he started strongly, (as is usual) but this time kept the standard up, and finished well, instead of falling flat after the first frame, as has been his recent downfalls.

If he keeps up this form he has the chance of doing well.