Betfred World Championship 2009: Day Eight Blog

Wow, what a day! As you will already know by now Mark Allen has caused the shock of the tournament so far by ending the reign of defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan this morning. More about that in a later post as here is the story of my day at the Crucible…

Morning Session

Well this morning was a tense one before I even got to Sheffield as I got onto my train at 10am (the same time the morning session got underway), and had to wonder what was happening. As if happens I had Clive Everton’s book with me as I am hoping to get it signed, so I re-read that to pass the time on what is a pretty dull journey.

Things soon livened up however when I received a phone call to tell me that Mark had made it 10-10, game on!  It then of course went 11-11 and I just arrived at the Crucible to see Mark leading 12-11 on the big screen and in the balls with a chance to win it. He duly did it and I was really, really pleased for him. Not only is it a major victory for him, but it is a result that makes an already fascinating tournament even more wide open. I will discuss this more in my next post though as the implications of this win for the tournament are pretty significant.

Having watched him win I expected him to come out of the front of the building (he usually does), so waited around and sure enough he was soon out and just as in 2007 when he defeated Ken Doherty in the first round, I had my photo taken with him and congratulated him on a notable victory.

Speaking of notable victories, well done to Shaun Murphy who completed a crushing 13-3 victory over Marco Fu with a session to spare. I expected Marco to struggle in round one but he’s left it a round later before throwing in a dodgy performance it seems! Take nothing away from Shaun though, that looks a bit ominous for the rest of the field if he can keep that up.

Following that I headed round to Stage Door and hung around to see if anything interesting was happening. Ultimately though it was pretty quiet and the only photo I got was of Ryan Day, though I did see Neil Robertson and Ali Carter head in around an hour before the start of their match. Stephen Hendry also exited Stage Door, presumably after a bit of morning practice before he went to Manchester to watch the United game.

One vaguely amusing moment was when someone there told Ryan that it (the title), was right there for him and his to lose now. I don’t think he knew where to look! I heard that he has been giving away his waistcoats, signed after each match though and he signed a lot of bits today so fair play to him for that. Also I had a chat with Janie Watkins from Global Snooker in between press conferences, sounds like a predictably busy time for her.

Afternoon Session

With the Ryan Day/Nigel Bond match looking like a foregone conclusion, it was all about the Ali Carter/Neil Robertson match this afternoon and that was what I was in to watch from the comfort of Row B. This match promises a lot and I find it hard to separate the two, personally I just favoured Robertson before the start of the match but can quite easily see it going the other way.

As it was it was a tentative start and though there were a few pretty big breaks early on, the match failed to quite spark into life as we moved to the mid-session interval with the players level at 2-2. Irritatingly at this point my World Snooker radio decided to break (they usually break after less than seven days so I’ve done well this year), but I’ve seen enough snooker to be able to say that the standard went even further downhill after the interval, though it remained interesting nonetheless.

Eventually it was Neil who came through to take the last frame and a 5-3 advantage into tomorrow, a fair scoreline in my opinion as the Australian looked better in the balls and made less unforced errors. The only concern for him however will be the tip on his cue following a miscue in frame eight I think it was. At the end of the frame he spoke to referee Jan Verhaas about it for a moment and left the arena to do some quick repairs I think. Hopefully we will not see it spoil the match as was the case with Mark Williams earlier in the week.

Ali meanwhile will be worried that he did not player better, indeed he just never really got going today and will had his chances to be at least level, but with so many frames still to play he is still well in the match at 3-5.


After the match I went round and took another photo of Neil Robertson after he left. Quite funny because when I said that I wanted one of just him he said “that’s weird” 😀 Maybe I should have told him that I wanted it for the blog. In any case, I also caught up with a few non-celebrity friends, as well as MC Rob Walker who signed a photo that I had taken with him last season and said that he had a nice bet on Hendry making the final. Time will tell on that count!

I also briefly caught Brendan Moore who of course refereed that classic match with Hendry and Ding Junhui yesterday. I asked him whether it was the best match he had refereed and unsurprisingly he said that it was. Assuming that he gets a quarter-final, hopefully it will be even better.

Otherwise not too much else was happening. Thankfully I managed to swap my faulty earpiece for a new one so I’ll see if that works tomorrow when I am in for the afternoon session to watch Selby v Dott.

Bit of a quiet day as you can see on the photo front but that tends to happen once you get into the second week and half of the players are gone…