Tuesday, 23 April 2013

World Championship Day 3 - Snail cue-action

Monday is snails race at the Crucible
The word of the day must definitely be "snail", it just have to be. Either we are talking about Graeme Dott and Peter Ebdon who've needed a third session to end their snooker encounter, of about the two Marks (Allen and King) who took their time in finishing what they started at 10am, or even "The Captain" Ali Carter and Ben Woollaston ... everything seemed to be happening in slow motion.

Davis records an important victory
On a totally different note though, Mark Davis didn't find any difficulty in beating four-time world champion John Higgins 10-6. And although, taking into account Higgins', poor form, the result is not really a surprise, it's still an upset.

Their first session ended on a pretty clear note about who's the boss (6-3 in favour of Davis) and things went from bad to worse during the last one.

Although the Scotsman managed to hit a great 92 break at the start of the session and give his fans a bit of hope, Davis took the next one after Higgins missed a black at 57 and when the 2011 world champion dared to dream (with a break of 69) for a 7-5 scoreline, Davis fought back with runs of 81 and 47 to move just one step away from the finish-line.

Four-times world champ, J.Higgins out from the 1st round
A perfect 87 clearance was going to smooth Mark's way for the next round, after the match the Englishman admitting that this is the biggest win of his career.

Interestingly enough another partial upset, if I may say so (because the match isn't over yet), featured Stephen Maguire and Thailand's Dechawat Poomjaeng, after their first session the last named one leading the way, 5-3.

Two important runs of 72 and 59 were giving Dechawat a 2-0 lead, while Maguire only managed to reply with a 69 in order to win his first frame of the day.

Thailand's Dechawat on his way to causing an upset
Two more frame were carefully added on the Thai's account for a  4-1 lead, Maguire's contribution barely bringing him the 6th frame, the next one lasting a bit over 50 minutes and having Poomjaeng as the winner.

Just as the first session was coming to an end (just eight frames were played), Stephen pulled back a frame to freeze the scoreboard at 5-3.

Amongst our "snail players" we had Mark Allen and Mark King, two great players, but who felt the need to slow things down a bit.
King rules

Starting their last session with King's slightly 5-4 advantage, to which Allen levelled up after a 42-minute frame, the lads threw themselves in a game of  scrappiness and safety shot battles.

Punishing King for his mistakes, Allen succeeded to take control of the match at 7-5, but just as the interval kicked off the Englishman pulled back a frame with a bit of help from runs of 43 and 40.

After the mini-break the lads went hand-in-hand for eight apiece, moment when everything changed and King took control of the match with a top break of 81 for a 9-8 lead, followed by a definitive frame that concluded his 10-8 victory.

With a first session ended on a 6-2 scoreline, Dotty and Ebdon re-started their cue-crossing at full speed. Neaaah, I'm just joking. Of course it took them so much time that the organisers decided to add one extra session just for the sake of it (or was it because another match has to start? hm ... I can't really decide).

Anyway, jokes aside the lads surely took their time in deciding who wins what, even though Ebbo used the first four frames to draw level at 6-6 (top breaks of 36, 39, 36 and 29 were used in the process).

Dotty prevails a real test of endurance
Dott managed to win the 13th frame on the black and the next one by collecting 50 points off the table, so after two sessions the scoreline became 8-6.

Late in the night the players started their third session, which proved to be deadly for Ebdon, as Dott used just a top break of 100 for a 10-6 final result and a place in the second round.

Ali Carter and Ben Woollaston were also amongst those playing at the Crucible on Monday, after one session The Captain leading Ben 5-4. The match will resume today from 7pm (UK time).

Note: most of the mean things I've said in this piece are due to a crappy day at work :-P

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