Stephen Hendry was overall pretty solid in taking a 6-3 lead over Joe Perry in their first round match at the Betfred.com World Championship yesterday.

There were mistakes but his two centuries - taking his tally at the Crucible to 123 - were proof that his game is still there. His challenge in Sheffield will be sustaining it over long enough periods.

Hendry had a lot of support from the crowd, who respect him for his unparalleled record of achievement.

Indeed, he was very popular when he first came on the scene a quarter of a century ago as a young, attacking, exciting player - a little like Judd Trump now.

This being Britain, he ended up being booed now and again for being too successful but there was a warmth to the audience reaction to his match yesterday and I'd expect that to continue this afternoon.

Humility was not high on Ronnie O'Sullivan's list of priorities in an interview with yesterday's Daily Star on Sunday, in which he claimed: "I've done more for snooker than anybody else has ever done in the game."

The soap opera rolls into town today where, as ever, what happens on the table will be more important than the endless talk off it.

O'Sullivan has had a poor season but has never lost to Dominic Dale, has been practising hard and is quite capable of finding form and blowing the Welshman away.

I expect moments of brilliance from snooker's greatest ever natural talent. The test, for the whole tournament, will come in finding some consistency and knuckling down to compete when his game isn't firing on all cylinders.

Shaun Murphy says he is looking forward to playing O'Sullivan in the second round after a superb display to hammer Marcus Campbell 10-1.

Murphy is one of a number of players who have played so much snooker this season that they are fully sharp for the World Championship.

Mark Williams, a 10-5 winner over Ryan Day, and Ali Carter, who beat Dave Harold 10-3, are two others.

Meanwhile, spare a thought for Andrew Pagett. His match against Jamie Cope was by no means a classic but he fought back well from 9-5 down to trail only 9-7 and had the pink for 9-8 before this happened.

And the lights duly went out on his challenge.


Anonymous said...

Dave I,v read the daily star article and nothing in it seems out of order.Could,nt imagine Tyson or Ali fueling up on humility.Also i think your reference too 'soap opera' is a bit unfair.The story could be a lot worse at least its not match fixing thats grabbing the headlines.

Anonymous said...

Can,t wait for o sullivan , Dale match the crucible was dull yesterday roll on the entertainment

Anonymous said...

It's a bit disrespectful, towards dale, of murphy to say he's looking forward to playing o'sullivan, when ronnie isn't through yet

Anonymous said...

ignorant ronnie strikes again.
the sooner he retires the better

Anonymous said...

I'd usually watch Ronnie play but with Hendry on at the same time there is no competition.

"My name is Claus and I am a Hendry fanboy"

Come on Stephen!!

Anonymous said...

Any truth to the rumour that BBC are planning to save money on the Wimbledon coverage by firing all the commentators and just playing a recording of John Virgo saying "WHERE'S THAT GREEN BALL GOIN'?"

Dave H said...

In fairness to Shaun he actually said 'if he beats Dominic'

Anonymous said...

Well Dave you expected moments of brillance what you think of that display of supreme potting from ros v dale the best or what?

Dave H said...

Yes some brilliant snooker from Ronnie today

It was a good sign that he's been in Shefield since Thursday, obviously preparing hard and fully determined

As Phil Yates said on commentary: 'he's treated the game, his opponent and himself with respect'

Anonymous said...

I dont think that what most of what O'Sullivan comes out with is actually believable, and most of what he says in nothing more than an attempt to cause controversy or hype.

Its a bit unreal that most of the headlines revolve around deluded O'Sullivan before he has even played , who has us all believe that he probably isnt happy unless he has a 10-0 witewash with 10 consecutive 147's.

Conceding frames with enough points to win, and not wanting to pot blacks for 147's because of a 'poor' prize reward, and sitting with towels over his head, complaining and walking out of matches 4-1 down, is also unaccaptable.

He probably had no intention of not playing this year, just a another excuse at causing hype before its even started.

Betty Logan said...

What do you make of Hendry's comments, Dave? Do you think he will retire after this tournament or change his mind and play in the PTC events? Personally I hope he gives the PTCs a chance, if he applies himself properly he could have another 3/4 years in the top 16, and the extra match play could help him turn his game around. To be fair, he can't play much worse than he has been and he's still a top 16 play just about.

Anonymous said...

you mean he slightly made up for the star garbage?


Hi David. Great performances by Hendry and O'Sullivan today.

Hendry's 67 clearance, to go 7-6 up was superb. A small break, to go 9-8 up, and the decider. Thrilling. Great for Hendry.

As for O'Sullivan, with all the controversy, Would He or would He not turn up, He did, and boy, He did play brilliant.The whole sesion, He produced a terrific performance, A near 147 included.

O'Sullivan's attitude, was one of great maturity, in my view, and one that, He, and all his fans, and fans of snooker in general, as I am, can be proud of, and, very impressd with, as I was today

Hendry and O'Sullivan- Snooker Legends. Well done to both of them for their respective performances from today

Dave H said...

He won't play in the PTCs - he doesn't like them at all

The problem with retiring is how does he fill his time when snooker is all he's ever done? Even if he joins the BBC team that's only four weeks a year


Hi David. Whatever happens, Hendry is a legend. I have to ask though, in you,re opinion, (This is in no way meant in a bad way towards Hendry)Is it a case of a lack of montivation,? Not playing in PTC'S and EPTC'S to gain ranking points, We do not want to think of him retiring. Inevitably, everyone retires. It will be a sad day for snooker, if and when, He does. Great man. Incredable player. Legend.

Betty Logan said...

If he doesn't retire, then next season is going to involve regular trips to Sheffield either way. Surely playing in the PTC is preferable to qualifiers? They're basically the same thing, except the PTC offers more money and more points.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, I was am a little surprised that Hendry would even want to commentate really.

If he isnt competing at the crucible, I would have thought that he wouldnt want to be there full stop.

Good win for him though against Perry though esp that excellent 67 clearance to go 7-6 up.

I dont think that he would like qualifying very much, but if a match win before the first rounds in an event might at least give him a bit of momentum when entring the first round proper.

At least if he is considering retiring, he will do it, rather than O'Sullivan warbling on about it for years and not actually doing it.