The 2023 World Seniors Snooker Championship – Da y 4 – The Quarter Finals

Only four remain at the start of the last day of the 2022/23 season at the Crucible: Ben Hancorn, Alfie Burden, Jimmy White and Tony Drago.

Here is how we got there, in words and pictures:

Yesterday Afternoon Session

This is the report by WSS/WPBSA

Hancorn and Drago Come Through Crucible Classics

Ben Hancorn and Tony Drago are the first players through to the semi-finals of the 2023 LLP Solicitors World Seniors Championship after they emerged victorious from arguably the best session of world seniors action ever seen. 

Both high-quality and entertaining matches went all the way at the Crucible Theatre on Saturday afternoon, with two century breaks and seven further contributions of 50 or more. 

Former English amateur champion Hancorn ousted Gerard Greene 4-3 to set up a semi-final showdown with either Stephen Hendry or Alfie Burden. 

Greene claimed the opening frame, but Crucible debutant Hancorn drew level with a classy 98 break. An effort of 73 helped the Northern Irishman go back in front, although his opponent squared it again before compiling a brilliant effort of 116 in frame five – the first century of this year’s event – to move one away from progression. 

Deserved for a match of such class, Greene made sure it went the distance as he crafted a 73 to make it 3-3. 

Both players had scoring opportunites early in the deciding frame but rattled reds in corner pockets. The telling shot would come later when Hancorn laid a very difficult snooker with the reds spread open. Greene escaped but left a red on, and Hancorn fully capitalised with a cool and decisive effort of 49 to come through an epic. 

An even closer and more dramatic encounter ensued in the second match of the day as Maltese legend Drago rolled back the years to pip Mark Davis 4-3. 

Aided by breaks of 50, 40 and 59 made in typical quick fashion, former International Open finalist Drago led 3-0 and stood one away from advancing.

However, 2016 champion Davis conjured up a stirring comeback, starting off with a 137 total clearance – the tournament’s highest break this year, so far – to get on the board. 

In a remarkable fifth frame which saw Drago make a break of 63 and go within touching distance of victory, Davis somehow fluked a red along the top cushion when escaping from a snooker and went on to complete a clearance of 33. The Hastings cueist then registered a run of 98 to force the tie into a deciding frame. 

In a memorable seventh and final frame, the contest went down to the colours. After potting a brilliant green, Drago missed a relatively straightforward brown under normal circumstances. However, Davis subsequently missed it himself, and the 57-year-old from Valletta slotted home brown to pink to record an emotional win and set up a date with either Jimmy White or Adrian Ridley in the final four on Sunday. 

The Davis v Drago match was absolutely crazy. It was full of passion, great shots, mistakes, flukes and misfortunes. The whole media room here at the Crucible erupted in “Ohs”, “Aaahs”, “No way!” … everyone stopped typing and was watching, totally engrossed in the unfolding drama.

Mark Davis was in high spirits after the match, despite the defeat, whilst an emotional Tony Drago broke down in tears, dedicating his win to his closest friend who had passed away just the previous evening.

Here are the images I took that afternoon

Ben Hancorn 4-3 Gerard Greene

Tony Drago 4-3 Mark Davis

Yesterday Evening Session

This is the report by WSS/WPBSA

White and Burden complete World Seniors Semi-Finals

Jimmy White and Alfie Burden remain on course for LLP Solicitors World Seniors Snooker Championship glory as they both progressed to the semi-finals during Saturday night’s action at the Crucible Theatre.

White was in sizzling form as he dispatched Australia’s Adrian Ridley 4-0 in the opening tie of the evening. 

The three-time champion – who finished with a very impressive pot success rate of over 97% – got the job done within 52 minutes and recorded breaks of 76, 103, 80 and 84. White has now won 16 of his 18 matches at the Crucible in this event since it moved here in 2019. 

The Whirlwind will meet The Tornado Tony Drago on Sunday afternoon for a place in the final. 

In the second match of the session, Burden ended the hopes of seven-time world professional champion Stephen Hendry with a 4-1 victory. 

Londoner Burden claimed the opening frame with the help of a 64 break, but Hendry replied with a 62 in the second frame as he levelled the match.

Burden secured frame three on the colours after Hendry left himself hampered on the final red, and the 46-year-old extended his advantage with the next after both players had made errors during it.

Hendry scored first in frame five but missed, bringing Burden to the table who – assisted with a fluke near the start of the effort – constructed a frame and match winning break of 85. 

‘The AB of London’ faces Ben Hancorn in the last four.

Stephen Hendry, for some reason, was unable to reproduce the form he had shown in his first match earlier this week.

Here are the images I took in the evening

Jimmy White 4-0 Adrian Ridley

Alfie Burden 4-1 Stephen Hendry