Many felt Jack Lisowski would make an impression as a debutant but it was Michael White who proved the star of the show at the Betfair World Championship yesterday.
White, 21, marked his Crucible debut with a 10-6 defeat of Mark Williams. It is tempting to view this as the passing of the baton from one Welsh generation to another. Indeed, Williams’s first win at the Crucible in 1997 came at the expense of Terry Griffiths, who then retired.
There was much discussion afterwards about the plight of Williams but White deserves some praise. He took his chances in an alien environment, making good on his long held potential.
The BBC dug out an interview John Parrott did with young Michael and Judd Trump from a decade ago in which their boyhood love of snooker shone.
Perhaps now White has the taste for the big time he can start to climb the rankings like Trump did.
As for Lisowski, he was beaten 10-3 by Barry Hawkins but can console himself that many great champions have lost their opening match at snooker’s theatre of dreams.
Shaun Murphy won the long old scrap which was the first frame against Martin Gould last night and afterwards looked a lot more confident and cued really well, winning 10-5.
Ricky Walden completed his heavy 10-1 defeat of Michael Holt, whose frustration rang out in an honest press conference in which he pondered his inability to replicate qualifying form at venues.
Off table, the big news was World Snooker’s decision to write to the BBC and complain about its coverage of Saturday’s closing session.
BBC2 broadcast the Ronnie O’Sullivan-Marcus Campbell match from 7-8pm, coming off air with the scored poised at 9-3 for a 35 year-old edition of the sitcom Some Mothers Do Ave Em. There was no coverage on the red button.
Barry Hearn apologised to snooker fans on Twitter and said he was writing to the BBC.
It is certainly true that the BBC have something of a love/hate relationship with snooker. They made the game popular. They still show many hours of it. This year, their coverage on network television has significantly increased.
The coverage is produced independently of the corporation with great professionalism. In Hazel Irvine they have one of the hardest working presenters in sports broadcasting.
But at other times the BBC gives the impression it is a little embarrassed by the sport. I watched the sports news on BBC1 last night and there was no mention at all of the World Championship, but we heard about pretty much everything else that had happened in the world of sport, including gymnastics and diving.
I am not a fan of the BBC website’s Ben Dirs, the tone of whose articles are all the same: that someone needs to come along and save this silly sport because it is in dire trouble, be it Mark Allen (twice), O’Sullivan or White, who is today rewarded for the best moment of his career with a long, patronising ramble about his physical appearance.
Is it too much to ask that the BBC gives its readers a proper analysis of how snooker has changed in recent years – the good and the bad – rather than constantly presenting snooker as somehow being in peril?
It isn't only snooker fans who pay the licence fee but the decision to leave O’Sullivan’s match at 9-3 was bizarre bearing in mind the amount of build-up to his return the BBC had undertaken. Also, to leave for an old repeat was crass and they surely could at least have stayed for a few more minutes to see if O’Sullivan would win 10-3.
However, the BBC schedule has been known for at least two weeks. World Snooker could have seen this coming. The time to write to the BBC was before the championship began.