2014 World Championship - The cue action this week

22:16:00 Ramona Dragomir 0 Comments

The blog has been a bit quiet this week since I had a genuine hectic time at work and I was unable to write more, but don't worry for I've always got one eye for snooker and with the Crucible madness on, clearly I have no escape from this colourful cue sport.

So, with no further ado, let's see what happened on a daily basis this week, shall we?

Tuesday 22nd of April - McManus and Walden book their place in 2nd round

Forth-time world champion John Higgins was sent home by his country-man, Alan McManus and his tartan trousers that have caused quite a spectacle around the world (I'm ashamed to say how badly people from my country have treated this subject), with a final scoreline of 10-7.

Alan was already in the lead at 6-3, when the lads returned into the arena, him being the one to continue cruising towards victory a top break of 88 bringing him the first two frames of the second session.

But when he missed a red with the rest, while being on a 42 break, Higgins made the most of it and cleared the table with a 54 to pull back a frame. Still, he was led 8-4, so a lot more work had to be done.

A strategic 61 break landed when needed for McManus, who was now just one away from victory, while Higgins raised from the dead and actually started playing.

Breaks of 111, 67 and 94 were bringing him no less than three consecutive frames, before Alan won the 17th frame clearing up until the pink for a brilliant 10-7 victory.

Also finished on a 10-7 final scoreline was the match played between Ricky Walden and Kyren Wilson, interestingly enough the scoreline of the first session being, as before, 6-3.

As soon as referee Brendan Moore announced the start of the second session, Walden stormed in to take the 10th frame with a break of 64, his opponent battling with a 61, to restore the three-frame lead.

Ricky Walden moved even further and with a break of 63 went 8-4 up, when Kyren fired up in runs of 59 and 62 to win two consecutive frames and continued with grabbing one more, just for the sake of it! It was 8-7.

Walden managed to create a bigger gap, but winning the 16th frame before the lads got involved into was seemed to be the longest frame ever played at the Crucible. In the end though, it "only" lasted 73 minutes, not 75 as the one played by King and Maguire back in 2009, Ricky winning it for a final 10-7 final result and a place in the second round.

Marco Fu and Martin Gould began their cue-crossings, their first session ending with the Hong Kong man in the lead, at 6-3, lead sustained by breaks of 124, 83, 88 and 64, while Gouldie only managed to score in runs of 63 and 92.

Last year Crucible runner-up, Barry Hawkins met with David Gilbert on their first match and what a match that was!

Gilbert used just a top break of 77 to obtain a perfect 3-1 lead, before Barry could have his saying and started rocking around the snooker table.

Heavy breaks of 72, 72, 115 and 69 were not only helping Barry draw level, but also put him in front, the first session ending on a 5-4 partial result.

Judd Trump and Tom Ford finished their first session with the "Ace in the Pack" in charge at 6-2 (their last frame was cut short).

Judd used runs of 49 and 62 to win the first two frames and although the mid-session interval saw the boys being on a tie (2-2), the Bristol-lad won no less than two consecutive frames on the black, one one the pink and hit a 40 break to assure his leadership at 6-2.

The last match of the day saw the likes of Mark Allen and Michael Holt, with the North Irishman taking a slightest lead of 5-4 at the end of the first session.

A rain of breaks (72, 70, 61, 54, 61, 42, 52 and 65) helped Allen to put his nose in front, while Michael used just a top break of 98 and two frames clinched on the back to catch up with his opponent.

Wednesday 23rd of April - Allen and Hawkins storm into next round

Wednesday concluded four cue-battles, the first of them being the one featuring the names of Barry Hawkins and David Gilbert, with the first named one leading by 5-4 after the first session.

There isn't much to be told, other than the fact that "The Hawk" flew directly towards victory by firing in breaks of 93, 50, 71 and 53, for a well-deserved 10-4 scoreline.

Much the same was the situation in the evening, when Mark Allen (although suffering from a severe food poisoning) ended the affair with Michael Holt on the same scoreline.

The lads finished their first session with Mark in the lead, 5-4, the last meeting beginning with "The Pistol" taking on three scrappy frames on the colours and hitting just a top break of 65 to seal his victory and set up a snooker meeting with Robertson v. R.Williams match winner.

One very "bored" as he himself described to be (at least towards the end of the match) Judd Trump, beat Tom Ford by 10-8, after closing their first session on a 6-2 lead.

Although Ford took the first three frames of the last session (the highlights consisting in a 65 clearance), Trump won the 12th frame and even when his opponent grabbed the next one, the 2011 World Championship runner-up didn't give in a hit with a 71 break of a 8-6 lead.

Still, Ford didn't give in either and found the chance to draw level, before Trump could capitalise on his mistakes and end the match at 10-8.

On a similar note Marco Fu crushed Martin Gould's Crucible dream, the lads setting their final meeting after their first one ended with the Hong Kong-man in the lead, at 6-3.
Even though Gould managed to hit s 63 break to pull back a frame, Fu responded with a set composed from breaks of 88 and 116 to go 8-4 up and even when the Englishman forced his way in back into the match and got two consecutive frames in his pocket, Fu didn't settle for less than a victory.

The 15th frame was won by Marco, Gould taking the chance with the very next one, before a deadly 80 break from the 2013 Australian Open champion, ended the match at 10-7.

Two more matches took place, Neil Robertson meeting Crucible-debutant Robbie Williams in a cue-crossing that saw the player from Down Under flying high at 7-2 (breaks of 52,77,132,55,63 and 103 included in the package), the same happening for Dominica Dale who used breaks of 56, 71, 69 and 87 to lead Mark Davis by the same scoreline.

Thursday 24th of April - Robbo keeps Australian dream alive

A very important and historic day for Dominic Dale, the Welshman managing to win his first Crucible match in 14 years! Dominic ended his first session on a 7-2 lead over Mark Davis, but what happened next was pure delight!

Dale took the first frame of the session in the colours and nicked the one after it as well, before Davis hits in breaks of 69 and 61 to keep the match alive.

A re-spotted black was enough for Davis to trail 9-5, but Dale closed the deal in the 15th frame with a top break of 57. What a victory for the Welshman who is set to meet with the man who ejected Ding Junhui from the tournament and he's also his practicing partner, Michael Wasley.

Crucible-debutant, Robbie Williams saw his dream crushed by an amazing Neil Robertson who led by 7-2 after their first confrontation and ended the snooker affair in just 44 minutes after firing in breaks of 61, 140 (the biggest of the tournament, so far) and 102, for a splendid 10-2 victory.

Today also marked the start of the second round, Mark Selby ending his first session with Ali Carter, on a 5-3 scoreline.

The Jester used runs of 84, 50, 58, while Carter piloted with breaks of 102, 44 and 110, in order to catch up with his opponent.

The reigning champ, Ronnie O'Sullivan met with Joe Perry, who was in a brilliant form and made use of every chance to leave the Essex man behind, first at 3-1 (breaks of 4257 and 82) and then at 5-3 (breaks of 55 and 99).

Friday 25th of April - Jester takes down Carter for QFs place

The first player to step in the QFs is Mark Selby, the Englishman beating Ali Carter by 13-9. The lads ended their first session with the Jester having a pretty comfortable lead of 5-3, the second one evolving on the same note and ending on 9-7, the players taking turns on winning frames.

When the last session started, Selby stormed in to take three consecutive frames, one of the colours, followed by a scrappy affair and concluded with a 68 clearance, for a 12-7 lead.

Carter fought back and managed to win two frames with a top break of 57, before Selby ended the match after frame 22.

O'Sullivan and Perry continued their cue-battle following the same pattern (aka. having Joe in the leading position).

After holding a 5-3 advantage over Ronnie, Perry used runs of 68, 48, 88 and 73 to retain the same 2-frame lead, while breaks of 93 and 66 were setting O'Sullivan to trail 9-7.

Game on for Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden who ended their first session on a draw, 4-4, only to see the Chester player detaching himself at 9-7 at the end of the second session, by using beautifully cued breaks of 109, 81 and 112.

The veterans' match between Alan McManus and Ken Doherty saw its first session ending with the Scotsman in the lead at 4-3 (breaks of 69, 102 and 71), as the match was cut short, due to the fact that the lads took their time potting.

Saturday 26th of April - O'Sullivan turns table with Perry

Barry Hawkins managed to turn table against his opponent, Ricky Walden who had been in the lead after the second session, 9-7.

Although Ricky was the one to take the first frame, Hawkins won an amazing number of five consecutive frames, with just a top break of 104, not just to draw level, but also to put his nose in front, at 11-10.

Walden cleared with a 53 break to level up the match, but Hawkins was determined to win this, in less than 30 minutes winning the following two frames to win by 13-11 and get a place in the QFs.

Also turning tables was Ronnie O'Sullivan, who was although led by 9-7 managed to overcome the deficit and beat Joe Perry 13-11.

At the start of the last session the lads took turn in winning the first four frames, in the end, O'Sullivan still being led by two frames only that this time it was 11-9.

However, the reigning champion had other plans, heavy breaks of 48, 53, 52, 124 and 113 helping him advance into the next round where he'll meet the winner of Murphy v. Fu match.

"The Darling of Dublin" lost the battle against the magnificent Alan McManus, the Scotsman ending their second session in a 10-5 lead (carefully sustained by breaks of 65 and 54), while the third one was capitalised with runs of 67 and 83 for a final 13-8 scoreline.

Judd Trump has a comfortable lead of 6-2 over the Welshman Ryan Day, "The Ace in the Pack" hitting in runs of 70, 33, 76 and 78, on the similar situation being Dominic Dale, whose rain of breaks of 74, 37, 75, 59, 30, 40 and 106 gave him an amazing 7-1 lead over Michael Wasley.