Ronnie O’Sullivan has had a week off since he played his last match. Then again, he’s had a year off since he played his last major tournament so it’s unlikely to make much difference.

However, the World Championship becomes more of a test when you get up to best of 25 frame matches. There is time for things to happen, time for things to go wrong and, crucially, time for the pressure to come on.

As Shaun Murphy said last night, this is why you play snooker, for experiences like this.

Carter’s long game was excellent in his first round match against Ben Woollaston. He has never beaten O’Sullivan in a big event but this represents one of the best chances he will get.

He has drawn Ronnie twice in a final, when anyone would find it hard to beat him over four sessions. So early in the tournament, though, where there are still nerves and some uncertainty about the strength of his game, and this is unlikely to be an O’Sullivan procession.

In fact, it has the potential to be one of the matches of the tournament.

There is always anticipation when O’Sullivan plays and sometimes awe. I remember standing in the photographer’s booth at the Crucible watching the third session of his semi-final against Stephen Hendry in 1999, possibly the highest quality session there has ever been at snooker’s theatre of dreams.

These two players served up a remarkable spell of break building, O’Sullivan missing the pink on 134 in one frame. It’s sessions like these which keep you coming back for more.

We haven’t seen the same quality this year. Some players clearly aren’t happy with conditions. At the qualifiers there was talk that the balls are too light, a possible reason for kicks.

However, we also saw yesterday that the Crucible carpet produces static electricity. If Graeme Dott was getting shocks, it isn’t too much of a stretch to assume that this is also causing dodgy contacts.

We’re not even halfway through the World Championship yet but the subplots are bubbling along nicely.

Michael White, at 21, is in the quarter-finals on his debut. Again, there was much chatter about his opponent but White’s achievement is notable and he is in such an open section that a semi-final place is very possible.

Murphy won a snooker war of attrition to see off Dott last night. His 13-11 win was gripping in the way these lengthy World Championship matches so often are.

You can’t beat a close finish when everything is at stake.


Anonymous said...

I think ronnie will just edge this one it will be tough but o'sullivan always brings his A game against ali carter, the fact carter has never beaten him in any ranking event must play on his mind a bit especially those 2 world finals defeats. I'm going for a 13-8 win to ronnie.

Anonymous said...

The Murphy/Dott match was fantastic, I really enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I might be a day or so late with this but Ben Dirs (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/snooker/22308478) is at it again - the (not so subtle) subtext to this article is that any Crucible regular is some sort of freak sociopathic loser.

Ignoring this hopeless 'journo''s agenda, snooker must be one of the few sports where people desperately don't want to sit 'ringside' as thought of being seen on TV gawping and staring is too much for them. Is it beyond Bazza to introduce some sort of VIP arrangement for the front two rows (at least that way we might get the visible Audience wearing black tie for the final again)

Anonymous said...

WT commentates exactly in the same manner as he used to play himself. Obsessing about fortunate / unfortunate running of the balls.
The wind was always in Willie's face !

Anonymous said...

Tell me this, the replay using the camera that follows individual balls flying round the table, just exactly who is that for ??

Anonymous said...

Yes !!!!! Selby is out, come on ronnie it's there for the taking.

Anonymous said...

Christ I'm in for hell on Monday. I'm acknowledged as the snooker "expert" at work and everyone asks me for tips. Bet on Robertson and Selby to win their quarters I say, they are dead certs...

I haven't been bogwashed since Year 9, but there is a good chance that is going to change.

Toestubber said...

Come on Mark 'Mahogany Head' King...

From the snookerheed archives! :-)


Hi David. A great days's play, in my view. First, i would like to take time, to say, it's Len Ganley's 70th birthday , today, My thoughts, are with his family. His son,micheal, i, ofcourse, World Snooker's tournament Director.

It's 18 years today, since Hendry made his first Crucible 147, The Crucible's third. Len Ganley, refereed it.

So, to today's pplay. A great morning session, in my view.Trump led Fu, 8-4. Fu, made it 8-7, with great play. Trump, led, 9-7, going into tonight's, final session.

White, and Poomjaeng, finished a session early. White, winning, 13-3, so, no play from them this morning,

A great Afternoon session, in my view. O'Sullivan, did well, to lead Carter, 3-0, and 5-1, with a century break. Carter won the next. 5-2. He also, won the next. 5-3, to O'Sullivan, overnight, going into tomorrow's second session.

Hawkins, did great, to come back, from 9-7 down, to beat Selby, 13-10, to get into the Quarter-Final. A key 17th frame, the first of today's session. Both had chances. Hawkins won on the black, to go 9-8 down, instead of the 10-7, it could easily have been. Another seed bites the dust.

A great evening session, in my view. Trump, won four straight frames, to take his 9-7 lead, on, to a 13-7,wn for him, with a mixture, of good tactical play, and big breaks.

King led Ding, 3-0. Two frames, he won, after being well behind, in them. Ding, won frames four, and five, each with century break. 3-2. King played solid tactical stuff, to help him win the next two frames, and gain a 5-2 lead. King played more great tactics. Ding played an against the odds plant, and missed it. I,was interested to hear Willie Thorne, who was in the B.B.C. commentary box, at the time, say that King has, to use his words, "probably done an Ebdon", on Ding, tonight, by slowing him down. King, did the needful, with a 53 break, to win the frame, and lead, 6-2, over-night, going into tomorrow's second session.

I can not wait for more, tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Hello all, Cuetip here:

I have one selection for the second round of the World snooker championships starting today after a fully comprehensive study. The price in brackets shows our true 100% book price.

Sun 10am - Stuart Bingham highest break (8/13) v Mark Davis (13/8)

4/6 with Ladbrokes - We recommend a 6% stake of your betting bank.


Anonymous said...

I seriously hope Ding doesn't go getting himself knocked out, or the world championship will finish next Saturday.