World Championship 2009: Day Nine Blog

Due to a fiasco with the trains I’ve only managed to get in at 10pm and am up early to get to Sheffield for tomorrow’s morning session. Still, it was a great day today despite me only seeing three frames!


With no morning session I got over to Sheffield for about 12pm and had another look round the Winter Gardens to pass some time before heading over to Stage Door at the Crucible to see who was about.

As it turned it out seemed that I had missed all sorts of players in the morning, including Hendry, Selby, Higgins, Maguire, Robertson, Cope to name just a few. As a Hendry fan I really wanted to get a photo with him at some point between now and his quarter-final so was pretty annoyed that I had missed him! Of the top players I have always found that he is pretty good at signing etc, but less so between sessions of his matches when he tends to be absolutely focused and in the zone. As a result I knew that my best chance would be to get him today.

Knowing that he was about therefore and with nearly two hours to go until the afternoon session, I decided to hang around there and see who else I could get. Typically though having seemingly been busy all morning, hardly anyone turned up while I was there!

Those who did were excellent however, firstly Clive Everton who signed my copy of his book that I brought along with me for the day with his ‘special signing pen.’ Also around was Michaela Tabb who was on marking duty during the King/Maguire match, but firstly stopped for photos as I wished her good luck for the final.

Afternoon Session

That was about it though so I headed round for the start of the afternoon session, one that had an unusual start as the BBC’s Rishi Persad first introduced Paul Hunter’s father into the arena in order to award the 2009 Paul Hunter Scholarship to an up and coming young player. As soon as Rishi started to give away some clues I knew immediately that it would be young Jack Lisowski and I am really pleased for him. He seems to be a really talented young player and I think that he will prove to be an excellent choice for the Scholarship, hopefully he will make the most of it. You can read more about him at Snooker Scene Blog here.

After that Rishi was tasked with introducing the players, though he was clearly uncomfortable in such a role bless him. He had been forced into it somewhat though with Rob Walker down in London covering the London marathon, but fair play to him, he did the best he could with it and was quite funny in the arena in his own way 😀

As for the match, it was good stuff early on between Mark and Graeme, though for reasons which will become clear I decided to leave after three frames and did not manage to get in again. Mark took the first frame after both had chances, but the second went on for an absurd 50 minutes as both missed a couple of shots as well as playing some excellent safety.

There was a hilarious exchange in that frame though as Mark was faced with a possible pot, though he was unsure as to whether the ball on would go into the green pocket. With Graeme having a good look at it too, Mark asked him if he thought it went. Graeme came over, jokily had a look and nodded his head at him as Selby could not make his mind up. Mark then turned around to referee Alan Chamberlain and asked ‘what do you think Al, would you go for it?’ Then as everyone in the crowd was laughing, one fan wearing some extra large comedy glasses asked Mark if he wanted to borrow them!

Eventually, after more fun with Graeme as to whether it went, Mark played safe and as Graeme got out of his chair he said ‘coward!’ Later on it transpired that the ball did go and Mark returned the favour by calling Graeme a coward. It was all in good humour though and it is this relaxed, laid back attitude that has made Mark Selby so popular during the last few seasons, really good to see.

As this frame eventually came to a conclusion after fifty minutes I thought that this was a long one but glancing over to the other table to see the clock approaching the hour mark it did not feel so slow! As it turned out, the second frame between Mark King and Stephen Maguire was to last for a record-breaking 75 minutes, outlasting a frame between Ebdon/Dott in the 2006 final (which I was also there for), as the longest-ever frame at the Crucible.

I stayed for another frame but at this point decided to head outside and have a bit of a longer interval before going in for frame five. The 15 minutes that you get just seems to go so quickly, by the time you get out of the arena it is time to go back in so I don’t mind missing a frame either side of the break.

Heading round to Stage Door though I learned that typically Hendry had been out and signed for people, I’d missed him again! He had at least gone back in so knowing this I just decided to wait, even if it meant missing the rest of the matches I had a ticket to watch. As it turned out it would be a quiet spell again, but I did at least manage to catch Jamie Cope who was just leaving for a practice session, as well as see John Higgins running out as he was followed down the road by another keen fan.

The minutes passed but eventually I saw a driver heading towards one of the courtesy cars parked up and the side-door open and I just had a feeling that it would be for Hendry. As I frantically got my camera ready and put the packet of crisps that I was eating away, I saw that it was indeed Hendry and with few people hanging around, he was more than happy to stand for a photo. I may have missed the rest of the afternoon session by this point but I’m happy that it was worth it.

Not only did I get that photo but someone from Betfred came out to Stage Door shortly afterwards and handed out a few t-shirts/tickets to people waiting at Stage Door. Fair play to them, I’ve been very impressed with the way that Betfred have sponsored the tournament so far and I hope that they continute to get better and better over the course of this four-year deal.

Finally I also managed to see the players from the afternoon session come out, in particular Mark King who I got another photo of and for the first time saw his impressive tattoos going all the way down his left arm. I asked him what they were of and he simply replied with ‘loads of stuff’ 😀

At this point I decided to head off home, though due to some shambles with the trains it was actually another couple of hours before I got on one and even longer before I got home. Still, it was a thoroughly enjoyable day despite the lack of snooker I saw and tomorrow promises much. I will be getting a lift over then so will be there for the evening session. Don’t expect my report before about midnight.

Hope you are all enjoying what is turning out to be an intriguing tournament.