After no finishes at all at the Betfair World Championship yesterday there are four today.
This great behemoth of a tournament isn’t the easiest to schedule but yesterday felt a bit like an exercise in treading water with no exciting finishes to savour.
That said, the afternoon session was terrific, with Ronnie O’Sullivan holding off a determined Ali Carter and Ding Junhui romping back against Mark King.
O’Sullivan and Ding lead 9-7. Ricky Walden is 10-6 up on Robert Milkins while Stuart Bingham and Mark Davis are 8-8 so some close finishes are likely today.
The BBC yesterday ran an informative feature presented by Steve Davis on Joe Davis, the original World Championship promoter and its first champion.
Judd Trump tweeted: “To get new interest in snooker bbc put on a documentary from 3million years ago great way to get kids interested.”
Well, not three million years ago (when the leading player was Tyrannosaurus Rex Williams) but less than a century and, more importantly, about a man who founded not just the championship but a professional sport from which Trump is now benefiting handsomely.
Who should the Nugget have done a feature on instead? Kanye West? Or maybe someone off Hollyoaks?
In fairness to Trump he’s not the first player to take little interest in the game’s rich history. Roger Lee once ran the Heritage Room at the Crucible, a popular hangout for those keen to learn more about the sport’s origins.
A well known player was being shown round one year and, on observing a pair of old ivory balls, likened them, for reasons still unknown to this day, to the testicles of a former commentator.
It somewhat detracted from the gravitas of the artefacts. Indeed, many could never look at them in the same way again.
The BBC can’t win really with its features. When they are jokey they are accused of dumbing down. When they are serious they are accused of being boring.
One year Phil Yates and myself were, in a feature cruelly unacknowledged by BAFTA, dressed up in anoraks and given arcane stats to read out, like a pair of snooker trainspotters. In fairness, we did not need to undertake a Daniel Day Lewis style method acting process to achieve this transformation.
We were roundly rubbished in The Times 'Sport on TV' column, in particular for affecting ‘low droning voices.’ Pretty cutting, not least because they were our actual voices.
Another year, Phil was dressed up like Deep Throat from All The President’s Men, taken to a car park and, in the short intervals when a nearby drunk kept quiet, addressed the camera to give out facts about little known Icelander Kristjan Helgason.
He doesn’t get much acting work these days.
By the end of today we will know the quarter-final line-up. It won’t be one many would have predicted before the event began.
A week today it’ll be the climax of the World Championship. I think we need a good last week to make it a vintage tournament.
Barry Hearn will be at the Crucible today to make some announcements including, I understand, a new tournament next season in the UK where the appetite to watch the game remains strong.
Then again, it has been around for three million years.