Ronnie O’Sullivan should be satisfied with his overall level of performance in becoming the first player into the last 16 of the Betfair World Championship last night.

O’Sullivan beat Marcus Campbell 10-4. Campbell had chances before the first interval to exploit the defending champion’s rustiness but O’Sullivan made a couple of good clearances and after that the match felt like a procession.

Ronnie has always talked from the heart and afterwards expressed regret that he had not signed the players' contract at the start of the season, claiming he had been badly advised.

O’Sullivan doesn’t play again until Saturday so it would be nice for the media and everyone else  in the meantime to turn their attention to the 30 remaining players.

Among them is debutant Michael White, who provided evidence last night that he could cause an upset against his more celebrated fellow Welshman, two times world champion Mark Williams.

White leads 5-4. Will this afternoon see a passing of the Welsh flag from one generation to another or will experience tell?

Jack Lisowski, of whom much was expected, potted some really terrific balls but still ended his first session with Barry Hawkins trailing 6-3.

We’ll see plenty more of Lisowski at the Crucible in the future but possibly not this year. Hawkins didn’t seem in the least affected by the stylish potting on view.

Ricky Walden has already set a good target for the highest break prize with his 140 total clearance against Michael Holt. Walden’s handsome 8-1 overnight lead will surely be converted into victory.

But Shaun Murphy may have to cut out the unforced errors if he is to hold off Martin Gould, whom he leads 5-4 after their opening session. The big frame here was the third, which Murphy won after needing a snooker to prevent himself going 3-0 down.

This morning, Graeme Dott and Peter Ebdon lock cues. Their 2006 world final was absorbing and gripping or turgid and boring depending on who you listen to. Personally I like to see a variety of styles and hope there will always be room for the sport’s unremitting hard men.

Ebdon deserves praise for securing a 22nd straight Crucible appearance, bettered only by Stephen Hendry’s 27.

Dott was simply dreadful against Joe Perry last year but has good memories of playing Ebdon here and will surely be up for the challenge.

John Higgins, his form patchy of late, could be vulnerable against Mark Davis, who held his nerve to beat him in the UK Championship last December.

It was an interesting first day but this is a long tournament. It’s hard to judge the field until they have all played.

Two weeks today the final will begin...but there’s a lot of snooker to be played before then.


Anonymous said...

BBC website is as bad as the tv coverage.

"While former World Champion Peter Ebdon claimed O'Sullivan looked in better form in practice than last year, many good judges expected him to be rusty".

Well Peter, I for one think you are a good judge. Unlike the BBC team.

And that piece in between frames where those stats on Ronnie this season were shown. Haha! Nice comment from the presenter and Doherty though.

A shame Willy and Dennis were shait this time. Normally I think Dennis is ok but I feel as though Willie is pulling him down, pardon the pun.

Anonymous said...

I think willie Thorne is a really bad commentator I always remember when ronnie made that fabulous 92 break in last years final and he said he will be lucky to make 20 lol

Anonymous said...

Thorne and Hallett are similar. Similarly terrible.
Thorne is down on anyone who fails to hit the wrong red when attempting to split the pack as if he is the break building guru.
Hallett has a personal competition running to try to guess which shot option the player will opt for. His strike rate yesterday was 1/20. "My apologies !".
Their style is derived from their unfortunate legacies from their playing days.
Willie's from his missed blue from the spot v Romford Slim in the Coral '85.
Hallett's from his collapse in the B&H v Hendry in the early 90's, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.

Anonymous said...

8.30am - To be fair to Willie with that "lucky to make 20" quote - With the position of the balls at that time, no commentators would have foreseen a 92 clearance coming and all would have thought around a 20-30 break max.

I do think Willie needs to try and think more about his facts - heard today "Quite incredible that Peter Ebdon has qualified again" - he only had to win 1 match because of his seeding and he was a slight fav over Kurt Maflin. Not that incredible...

jamie brannon said...

The final session was absorbing, but I'm sorry Dave the first three sessions were somewhat turgid!

Do agree about a variety of styles within the game, but prefer to see the 'hard men' up against an attacking player, rather than each other.

I think Dotty is right when he says that he has become a quicker, fluid cueman.

The Blog said...

According to some crazy rumour, Mr Dott and Mr Ebdon are playing each other today.

I'm off to watch some paint drying or rewatch my "Best of Ronnie O'Sullivan moaning about snooker" DVD. Bound to be more interesting...

Jim said...

Willie, first day and already undermining the talent on show by proclaiming the pockets are easy this year. Based on one rattled black that drops, from a depth-deceptive pocket camera. All stats out the window, the tables are easy folks nothing to see here, talent? what talent, easy pockets mate!

Anything to caress his fragile ego, gotta be quite annoying for all those involved for Willie to pop up every year, easy pockets!. The scary thing is a lot of people listen to him and then you get subjected to the bores down the hall, ah pro's tables are easy, they should try playing here.... whatt!?

Is this unique to snooker/pool where, always a handful of mustache donning experts dwell in the halls refusing to admit others brilliance and clutch at ridiculous straws, embarrassing to listen to.

Anonymous said...

Have Ebdon and Dott been given use of the Crucible facilities on this quiet Sunday to play a league match ?

Anonymous said...

Nice piece on Shaun Murphy in the Independent today.

Anonymous said...

..should the scheduled number of frames not be completed within the time allocated, then the players involved will be eliminated from the tournament without the right of appeal.

Carlsberg don't do rules, but if they did.....

Anonymous said...

Amazing the BBC cut of the live Snooker (Ronnie to a finish),to show Some Mothers do Ave Em,a 30 odd year old comedy show.it beggars believe,I mean,dont get me wrong,I love the antics of Frank Spencer as much as anyone but come on!!
I would hate the Championship to go to Sky,I really would,as the BBC generally do a great coverage job IMO but you can bet your nads that Sky would show every ball,every table,every match,for the whole duration.
For the blue ribbon event,this is how it should be.
You used to see everything on the red button but that's gone now.
Sort it out beeb,very poor!!

jamie brannon said...

What even though Sky's Barney Francis said he didn't think snooker fitted in today's climate.

That said, it was a poor call last night, but there's extra network coverage this year.

Anonymous said...

C'mon Mark Davis.
Please send that guy, your opponent (can't say his name) back up the M6 !

Anonymous said...

Betty: Frank, what have you done to Father's new two-piece snooker cue?

Frank: It's three pieces now.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr Director,

How about letting us see the table after a player misses as opposed to the anguish on his face ?

Anonymous said...

I have to ask why Neal Foulds has not been retained by the BBC. No disrespect to you David, but he is a top commentator and, even though he was playing in the same era as Virgo, Thorne and Taylor, but he is by far the best of them all. He brings constructive and interesting views not like "where's the cue ball going" or "a frame winning opportunity" straight after the break off.

Don't know whether you can say David, but was Neal not asked by the BBC this year or did Sky give him a better deal?

Anonymous said...

Red button is back on Monday -don't you guys have the Internet?

Anonymous said...

2:05pm - 40 year old:


Given that it was the BBC's default programme to show whenever there was an unexpected gap in the schedules (before coast) I can only assume that the person pulling the lever yesterday really doesn't like snooker!

The Blog said...


Rumour has it next week during the semi-finals they plan to show repeats of 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum!'


Anonymous said...

We all know the real reason: snooker is a working class sport. More people watch the snooker world championship than Wimbledon, and they wouldn't break off from the end of an Andy Murray match would they? Come to think of it, a Murray match would most likely be on BBC 1 too. No, contempt from the middle class BBC for its working class viewers and their sport of choice!

Anonymous said...

Ebdon v Dott - how on earth did these two manage to pick up a world title each.
A feat worthy of Dynamo the magician.
Wild pot attempts coupled with fluked snookers.
Now would be a better time for Frank Spencer to make an appearance.

Anonymous said...

The thing about willie Thorne is he always compares ronnie to Stephen hendry and it gets a bit annoying why not just enjoy the genius at work, hendry may have been the ultimate killing machine back in the day but ronnie is just a one off and a pleasure to watch. If Higgins gets knocked out today o'sullivan will have an easy route to the semis.

jamie brannon said...

Absolutely nothing to do with class - Wimbledon gets superior figures than the snooker.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts right Jamie. Wimbledon's BBC 1 figures may out perform snooker, but on BBC 2 across the same timeframes snooker consistently outperform Wimbledon.

And it has everything to do with class. Tennis is a middle class sport and is treated with reverence, while snooker is a working class sport and is treated with contempt. It's mentality of the BBC through and through.

Anonymous said...

Jamie still shilling for the BBC I see.

The viewing figures vary immensely, presumably due to who is playing, on which channel and at what times, but like for like here are the figures (top 3 averages for each slot on BBC 2):

Early afternoon (after 12 but before 5)

Snooker WC (2012): 1.7 million
Wimbledon (2012): 1.2 million

Early evening (after 7 but before 9)

Snooker WC (2012): 2.1 million
Wimbledon (2012): 1.9 million

Obviously other factors come into play: Wimbledon's audience is spread across two channels in the day, so there will be higher number of people watching tennis, but who is to say this wouldn't be the case for snooker? Similarly, Wimbledon last year benefitted from the "Murray" factor, whereas Snooker audiences were down from the previous year which benfitted form the "Trump" factor. In short, on the same channel across the same times the audiences are comparable with snooker slightly ahead, which does beg the question why snooker is treated so badly compared to tennis??

Anonymous said...

John virgo is EASILY the most enjoyable voice to listen to while watching Snooker. I've watched almost every match on tv since 1989 and at times the game is shockingly boring when the top players aren't playing. JV is the only one who keeps it humourous&easy going "FACT"!


Hi David. Walden did well, to beat Holt, 10-1.

Michael White played superb, to beat Williams, 10-6.

Hawkins played well, to beat lisowski, 10-3.

Murphy played well, to beat gould, 10-5.

Mark Davis did well, coming from 2-0 down, to lead John Higgins, 6-3.

Dott fought it out to lead Ebdon.