Crucible Diary 2011: Day Seven Blog

Day seven and today we learned the identity of this year’s first quarter-finalist as Mark Williams polished off a below part Jamie Cope to progress. Click below for a short blog of my day…

Arriving late following a late night at the Crucible (well the nearby pub anyway), I saw that the score between Mark Williams and Jamie Cope had progressed to 11-2, the Welshman still on to finish with a session to spare. Eventually however Jamie was able to take another couple of frames to ensure that Mark would have to come back in the evening session to complete a straightforward victory. With a tournament as long as this it could be a real advantage for Mark later in the event to have had a relatively easy ride here…

Not having an easy ride however were Graeme Dott and Ali Carter in the other match as Graeme took four frames in a row, three on the black, to take a 5-3 first session lead. I was only able to catch the final couple of frames but by then Ali looked to just be wobbling a little bit and the interval certainly came at a good time for him.

The afternoon session saw the resumption of the match between Judd Trump and Martin Gould as the pair picked up where they left off with a series of long pots and big breaks in what felt like no time whatsoever. Having shared the first four frames to leave it at 7-5 however, the pivotal moment of the session proved to be the 13th frame as having looked like clearing for 7-6, Martin missed the final black into the yellow pocket, paving the way for Judd to snatch in on a re-spot and extend his lead to 8-5.

From there the session suddenly became relatively one-sided as Judd added the next three frames to lead 11-5 overnight and need just two more tomorrow to move into his first Crucible quarter-final. That said, having lost from that position in 2010, Martin knows more than most that 11-5 is not an insurmountable lead and will be looking to win the first four tomorrow to really apply some pressure.

Beginning their session this afternoon were Mark Allen and Barry Hawkins, the latter eventually finishing with a 5-3 advantage after a surprisingly slow eight frames. I spoke briefly with Mark later on and he seemed reasonably relaxed, clearly not happy with how he played but as he said, tomorrow is another day.

As explained above the evening session did not prove to be too taxing for Mark Williams, indeed he had won before I even got into the arena as I was having a chat with Michaela Tabb outside of the venue as well as Jan Verhaas who was the spare referee for the night.

The second session between Carter and Dott however was to prove more than worthwhile as having levelled at 6-6, Ali then produced back to back centuries as he put the nightmares of the morning session out of his mind and guaranteed that he would not trail overnight.

It goes without saying though that Graeme is a real fighter and he produced a brilliant response of his own, two frame-winning breaks and a little clenched fist at the end seeing him finish level at 8-8 overnight. A tough one to call tomorrow, my feeling is that if it were to become tactical, Graeme would have to be the favourite, particularly so on this morning’s evidence. That said, Ali as he proved is more than capable of scoring heavily and if he is given the chances to do so is likely to punish Graeme. 13-12 anyone?

Apologies for the somewhat shorter blog but time is against me tonight. More tomorrow!