The first round at the WSS ROKiT Phones.com World Snooker Championship concluded yesterday.
Here are the results …
And what we have in store for today …
Those match-ups promise to deliver of an excellent day of snooker!
The last eight line-up at the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is now complete following another action-packed day at the Crucible Theatre that saw seven-times world professional champion Stephen Hendry produce a vintage comeback win.
A quarter of a century on from their world final meeting here, Hendry and Nigel Bond dished up an entertaining first round encounter that went all the way.
It was 1996 British Open champion Bond who started the better as he established a 2-0 lead before the Scot responded with a classy 71 break to cut the deficit in half. Hendry then looked like levelling the match up, but a 37 clearance from Bond – featuring a fluke on the pink – put him one away from victory.
The Englishman was in the ascendancy, but an unexpected missed red with the rest when only a few pots away from progression proved to be the start of a momentum shift.
At a venue he made his own throughout his illustrious career, ‘The King of the Crucible’ crafted a determined clearance of 45 to save the match and begin his recovery. With further glimpses of his heyday attributes, Hendry then constructed a run of 77 to force a decider which he came through to set up a date with the 2018 winner of this title, Aaron Canavan.
In an interview with Rob Walker after the match, Hendry admitted to thinking about quitting the tour following a defeat at the UK Seniors Championship in Hull last year. However, he will be encouraged by his performance against Bond, which was arguably his best on the World Seniors circuit to date.
Later in the evening session, one of the pre-tournament favourites Peter Lines comfortably dispatched former world number two Tony Knowles 4-0 to stay on course for a second world seniors crown.
Lines won this competition in 2017 without dropping a single frame and he continued that remarkable sequence here as an effort of 85 helped him book a eye-catching all-professional clash with defending champion Jimmy White.
Earlier in the day reigning UK Seniors champion Michael Judge top scored with 60 as he overcame 1985 world professional champion Dennis Taylor 4-1.
Despite some courageous potting from Taylor – including a fantastic blue that aided him in taking frame four – former world number 24 Judge was relatively untroubled as he kept alive hopes of a unique world and UK double.
Previously in the afternoon session Wayne Cooper made the most of his late call-up to the event as he eventually toppled this season’s Super Seniors number one ranked player Gary Filtness in a meeting of two Crucible debutants.
Playing in his home county, Yorkshireman Cooper registered a high break of 53 and claimed the final two frames to emerge a 4-2 victor. He will face Judge for a place in the final four.
All four quarter-finals will be played on Friday at the Crucible, with the subsequent semis and final bringing the championship to a close on Saturday.
If anyone doubts how much it means for the players to play in this competition, at the Crucible, they should watch the match between Wayne Cooper and Gary Filtness. Both fought with all they had. Wayne is from Yorkshire and this match meant the world to him, Gary had never played at the Crucible and he is one of those players who wear their heart on their sleeve and take you with them on their “journey” through the highs and lows of the match. In the last frame, Gary had battled and battled and had eventually given himself a chance to force a decider… With just four balls still on the table, he was very unlucky to snooker himself on the brown. Of all places on the table, the cue ball stopped behind the blue (that wasn’t on its spot). A couple of rolls more, or less, he was on the brown with a good chance to clear. It was too much for “the Blade” … who ended the match in tears.
Stephen Hendry played as well as he has played for years. He didn’t start well though, and trailed by 3-1. Then something clicked, he started to play faster, the mannerisms of the past were back, the balls were going in. All of a sudden, the dispirited, disgruntled Stephen Hendry we had seen on the WSS tour over the last years, transformed himself under our very eyes into the Stephen Hendry of the past, the King of the Crucible. It was fascinating to watch. From that moment he always looked the winner of this match and he duly took the three frames he needed. The only thing still missing was a century.