Crucible Diary 2012: Day Eleven

Day eleven from a wet and windy Crucible has today seen the start of the quarter-finals as eight become four at the 2012 World Championship. While no matches are scheduled to finish today, at the time of writing it looks as though we will see the end of Stephen Hendry’s latest Crucible campaign as he trails Stephen Maguire 10-1 with five more frames to go this evening…

  • Click here to view the updated drawsheet
  • Click here to view the updated projected seedings

Having returned home from the Crucible late last night, I opted to watch the opening session of today’s quarter-finals from the comfort of my bed and it was one to forget for Stephen Hendry as he found himself on the wrong end of a 7-1 deficit against Stephen Maguire.

Following a scrappy opening couple of frames which were won by Maguire, perhaps the decisive moment in the match came as early as the third frame, as having found himself in with a chance to steal a frame that he never looked like winning, Hendry then inexplicably missed the final pink by the proverbial country mile. As Neal Foulds described in commentary, it was a real confidence-sapper and as he turned away in disgust before the pink had even struck the cushion, would set the scene for a runaway from his opponent.

Take nothing away from Maguire however as at the time of writing during the evening session, he has extended his lead to 11-1 and has potted 95% of the balls that he has attempted, while also registering a safety success of 92%. Having reached the semi-finals on only one previous occasion back in 2007, surely this is Maguire’s best chance yet to go on and claim a first world title and he will sense the opportunity that is being presented to him. Certainly he is playing like a man capable of going all the way and perhaps this will be the year for the Scot.

Looking at the record books, a 13-1 scoreline has happened on just three previous occasions at the last 16 stage and right now it is hard to see how Stephen will avoid becoming the latest man to find himself on the wrong end of this particular statistic.

Meanwhile over on table two, Matthew Stevens has moved 7-5 ahead of Ryan Day, taking all four frames so far this evening to leave himself well-placed to advance to a first Crucible semi-final since 2005, when he reached the final before losing out to Shaun Murphy. It has been a good match which saw back to back century breaks from Ryan early on, but as Stevens now wins a sixth consecutive frame to lead 8-5, it is hard to see him faltering from here..

In the afternoon session, Ali Carter emerged with a 5-3 lead against Welsh talent Jamie Jones, while Neil Robertson holds the same slender advantage against Ronnie O’Sullivan after stealing an eighth frame which had looked like being O’Sullivan’s all the way. Eventually it was to come down to the blue as Robertson missed it, but as he fluked a snooker behind the pink, he then pounced as O’Sullivan left it on to the right-centre at his second attempted escape and dished to secure the overnight lead. Both missed a few balls and a 4-4 scoreline would probably have been a fairer outcome, but even at 5-3, all is very much still to play for.


In the moments following his 13-2 defeat to Stephen Maguire, Stephen Hendry came into the press area and announced his retirement from the sport during a press conference which you can read the transcript of here.

My full reaction to the news will of course follow in due course, but to say that it was a shock to me and indeed a lot of people in here was an understatement!