Dechawat Poomjaeng: comedy genius. That seemed to be the view of the Crucible crowd after the maverick Thai clinched a dramatic 10-9 victory over Stephen Maguire last night.
Poomjaeng’s facial expressions and general behaviour were certainly different to what we’re used to but what the audience appreciated was the fact that he was so obviously enjoying himself and, in turn, they were also enjoying it.
There had been the usual over reaction to one slow match (Dott v Ebdon) earlier in the day. The fact is, Poomjaeng wasn’t much quicker than Ebdon, it’s just that he entertained.
He now plays Michael White in an unlikely last 16 encounter with one of these unheralded potters on course for the quarter-finals.
Ali Carter will provide the second round opposition for the defending champion, Ronnie O’Sullivan, after completing a 10-4 victory over Ben Woollaston.
Carter began the night with a century and won two close frames to effectively put the result beyond doubt. His long potting was particularly strong.
Ding Junhui impressed against Alan McManus, making two centuries in building a 7-2 lead. Judd Trump also got going after the interval, making a 142 total clearance, the highest break so far, to lead Dominic Dale 6-3.
Last night, Mark Selby’s highest break was only 46 but he still fashioned a 6-3 advantage over debutant Matt Selt.
By way of build up, Selt had provided the press with details of his fall-out with Trump, which read like handbags at dawn or, perhaps in the case of Trump, designer handbags at dawn.
Such is the froth that surrounds the event. All that really matters is how you play and Selt struggled badly early on before making a better fist of it after winning his first frame, the sixth.
The last two first round matches start today. Neil Robertson, many people’s pick, faces Robert Milkins, back at the Crucible for the first time in eight years.
Stuart Bingham meets Sam Baird, who like Poomjaeng won four matches to qualify for the Crucible.