Crucible Diary 2010: History in the Making

The official slogan for this year’s tournament is ‘History in the Making’ and that was very much the case today as both Mark Allen and Steve Davis made it a sixth day to remember at the Crucible Theatre. Click below from my report on what was the best day of the tournament so far…

Due to time constraints I’m going to have to bullet point my report for today, that’s what I get for talking stats with the regulars in the bar until 1am I suppose!

  • Having trailed 2-0 early on and by 49 points in the next frame, 11th seed Mark Allen could have been forgiven for being a little worried by the form of Mark Davis but his response was absolutely terrific. Indeed having suffered a kick on 49, Mark could then only watch as Allen made it 2-2 at the interval before eventually coming out of the session with a 5-3 lead. Davis will regret a few misses during the middle part of the match when in strong positions but at least by winning the final frame of the day he was able to keep well in touch and as he showed against Ryan Day, can recover a two frame deficit.
  • But unquestionably the real highlight of the session was a superb break of 146 from Mark Allen in frame five, the first ever 146 break at the Crucible since the tournament has been staged here. I noticed very early on from my view on Row E that there was a decent chance of even a 147 but unfortunately on around 40 points Mark attempted to force through the bunch of reds to land on the black and couldn’t quite do it. Thankfully though he was able to take the pink to the left-centre and by following it with all blacks not only made a little bit of history, but set some target for the £10,000 high break prize! The applause that he received from the crowd was fantastic, Mark waving to the fans as he left the arena to compose himself.
  • Over on Table One meanwhile, Gerard Greene was putting together a superb comeback against Shaun Murphy before he eventually ran out of frames and was beaten 10-7. There was an amusing incident in frame 14 when with just pink and black on the table, Gerard laid an excellent snooker which Shaun failed to hit on several occasions, but every time he did the penalty points were being awarded to him on the scoreboard as Eirian Williams struggled with it! With the scoreboard changing constantly it was impossible to know what was correct in the end but eventually Gerard managed to pot the pink to make it 9-5 and at that stage at least, keep his hopes alive.
  • If the afternoon session was entertaining though, and it was, then the evening session was incredible for all sorts of reasons. Firstly the reception that Steve Davis received when entering the arena was absolutely unbelievable, certainly in my six years at the Crucible I have never seen anything like it, not even for Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jimmy White as almost everyone in the arena rose to their feet and cheered him into the playing area. It really was a memorable moment, regardless of how he would go on to play afterwards. Back to that later though…
  • I began by watching the conclusion of the match between Stephen Maguire and Stephen Lee as the two played out a fabulous first four frames, Lee beginning with 95 before Maguire hit back with a century and a 67 on his way to what was a very solid victory. The scoreline was a little tough on Lee who came out today and played so positively from the start, but Maguire did likewise and I thought was pretty impressive tonight, could be a dark horse.

  • At this point I left the arena and knowing that a friend was waiting outside and was desperate to watch Steve Davis play, gave her my ticket and decided to watch the action unfold on the big screen. Being brutally honest I, like many others there tonight, expected John Higgins to prove much too strong for Steve and come out of the session with a significant lead but how wrong could I have been as Steve produced a simply stunning session of snooker.
  • In the last few years I must confess that I have not found Steve’s matches to be the most watchable as he has typically struggled with his scoring and relied on his superb tactical game and vast experience to get him through the early rounds of tournaments. Some looking at the scoreline tonight might assume that he did the same to John Higgins but nothing could be further from the truth as perhaps inspired by the crowd, Steve actually played some fantastic snooker and thoroughly deserved his 6-2 overnight lead. To play the way he did and make his first century at the Crucible since back in 2007 against John Parrott in an atmosphere like that was absolutely top drawer and it will now be fascinating to see not only whether he can keep this form up tomorrow, but how John Higgins will respond.
  • Following the conclusion of that session the atmosphere around the Crucible and in the bar was really quite special as we were all to a degree speechless and excited at what we had just seen happen, be it from the arena or on the big screen. There was a real buzz and a sense of “wow did that really just happen?” out there which was just so exciting and it was an example of what makes this tournament so utterly compelling.

Tomorrow promises to be some day…