Stephen Hendry is snooker's greatest ever player and greatest ever champion and demonstrated that the desire for further success burns deep within him at the Crucible last night.

But his match against Mark Williams at the Betfred.com World Championship also proved that, in sport, the unexpected can play a major part.

We all studied the form and made predictions based on it but nobody would have thought that Williams would have problems with his tip.

It played on his mind from the start of the final session and, at the end of the 12th frame, he asked the referee, Alan Chamberlain, if he could take a time-out to replace it.

The rule is that the tip has to have come off or at least be about to come off for this to happen.

Very sportingly, Hendry said he had no problem taking an early interval.

But as it transpired, the new tip - which will always take time to bed in - did for Williams. He fell apart as a succession of misses handed Hendry the chances he needed to win his 65fh match from the 81 he has played in 24 appearances at the Crucible.

This win clearly meant a lot to him.

This was no surprise. Great champions relish only one thing: winning.

And Hendry still believes he is a winner.


Anonymous said...

A kill joy of a referee telling folk to keep quiet in the crowd.

"Sit there and shut up. Applaud when I tell you." Why do people end up as little Hitler's? People aren't shouting out when players play their shots, so what's the harm in allowing them to let off steam between shots?

This is supposed to be a sport where passions get inflamed and the reaction of the audience adds to the excitement.

If they want silence go and play in a library.

Sparky said...

Yes, but it was kinda annoying having that guy shouting 'YES' every time Hendry potted a ball! I thing Alan did the right thing to shut him up.

The guy certainly did not help Hendry.

Anonymous said...

Was he shouting? I couldn't hear it.

The referee should not have adopted a dictatorial line though. He showed absolutely no decorum. Why the heavy handed approach? Was he bullied at school? Why not take the softly, softly approach? Why not: "Please, you're spoiling the enjoyment for everyone, please stop calling out."

Would you like to be dictated to after you've paid your money to enjoy something? The referee should ask himself if he would like to be spoken to like that. It's a shocking way to treat the paying public and will not attract people to come and watch snooker.

Anonymous said...

Chamberlain had asked people not to shout already before without being specific at that guy. The bloke chosed to ignore it. I think the ref was right.

Anonymous said...

what a great match - shame i missed the last 2 frames. Placing a fifty on hendry winning an 8th now

Anon said...

Williams used a talisman laminated tip, I don't know if it's the same one ronnie uses because ronnie uses a hard talisman tip. If Williams wouldn't have changed the tip, maybe it would have been much closer.

Sergey said...

Anon @ post 1 raises a valid point.

We want an atmosphere in the audience, and as long as folks don't shout out while they're down on the shot then I don't see a problem.

The guy in question last night may have had a sizeable wad on a Hendry victory, or a 10-7 scoreline.

Snooker is a great sport for getting value bets on. 10-4 Maguire is where my money is going.

Anonymous said...


I was just mauling over the "tip issue". Some years ago I remember a player (I actually believe it was Hendry) saying that pro players always keep some "old" tips in their cue case so that if the current one comes off they don't have the disadvantaage of having to break in a completely new one. Can you perhaps confirm this is still the case or are players just going to tournaments hoping the current tip holds and not take precautions as mentioned?

On a sidenote. I watched the entire last session and I fully agree with how Alan handled that 1 individual. He'd already asked the audience to please stop calling out when players were on the shot before. As someone mentioned, this bloke chose to ignore it and got the "reward". Nothing unfair imho.


Anonymous said...

When it comes down to the 1 table situation i don't mind all the shouting makes for a great atmosphere. The guy who kept on shouting last night forgot there was another match going off on the other table. Chamberlain may well have spoken to the guy like a headmaster, but in my opinion he was spot on.

Anonymous said...

I had an absolute idiot sat next to me at the Welsh Open - shouting out at inapropriate times etc and nothing was said to him. It really spoils it for those sat around him. Luckily he went off in the interval and didn't come back. I'm all for having a good atmosphere but there has to courtesey too.

Anonymous said...

Lets put this in perspective.OK the tip didn't but what really did for Williams was Stephen's magnificent clearence with his back up against the wall in frame 13.From that moment on williams looked edgy and Hendry sensed blood.It was a brilliant comeback and all of a sudden Hendry is a player in this tournament.
Well done Stephen

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should ban all those horrible football shirts that people seem to be wearing. It's introducing such rowdy behaviour, plus it looks ridiculous when you see others wear dinner jackets and bow ties. Don't the people up north own any proper clothes? What do they spend their giros on?

Anonymous said...

they probably spend they giros on:
horrible alcohol

Sergey said...

Aye, agreed. Football shirts have no place in our sport. You can't play golf at my local club unless you are wearing suitable attire and snooker should follow the same example.

The only problem with folks wearing Pringle and Lacoste clothing, et al, is that this could possibly be the catalyst for the birth of Snooker Casuals.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Lacoste, but I was accosted by a group of young men calling themselves the Hendry Headhunters. Are they part of this Sheffield Thursday team, or are they planning to 'break off' at Stephen's next match?

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:48 it's not just the people up north who attend the crucible people from all over the UK go and plenty of overseas people attend the crucible.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:58PM

Yes, I am aware that people from all over the UK and abroad attend the Crucible. So what? Where did I say they didn't?

Claus Christensen said...

Back to the refs: I heard Verhaas tell them to not call out the players' names today. I think this will continue until we reach the one table set-up.

P.S. My commentator Henrik Kaj Hansen does well. Be sure to check out Danish Eurosport..