May 1, 2013

World Championship Day 12

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 8:15 am
Locked in battle.

Locked in battle.

Day 12 at the Crucible is usually one of the best days of the Championship and has seen some dramatic twists and turns down the years, today we find out who will be the four players that will be competing in the reshuffled one table arena from tomorrow until the winner is crowned on Monday. 

Ronnie is now Evens favourite to land his fifth world crown and move ahead of John Higgins in the champions list and just one behind Ray Reardon and Steve Davis and two behind Hendry.

His display yesterday against Stuart Bingham should now have finally convinced those who thought he was only coming here to make up the numbers that they have made a huge error of judgement. He is here to win it and I think the price now reflects that. I reckon he has got better with every session and if that trend continues you can’t see him needing more than the session this morning to finish poor old Ballrun off.

As he was mincing out of the arena the BBC cameras panned to Hazel who proceeded to ask possibly the dumbest question of the week to Kendo and Stevie; ‘How long is it since we have seen Ronnie play as well as that?’ Ken, clearly uncomfortable then reminded Hazel that he hasn’t played since last season barring a hopeless display against Simon Bedford in a PTC, a match to which I am sure Hazel wasn’t referring, so the logical answer to this pointless poser given that he lifted the trophy last season in what he has since described as the best he has ever played at the Crucible was ‘a year’, which Steve duly delivered in his trademark deadpan style.

But our Hazey wasn’t done with yet, in an attempt to dig herself out of a canyonesque hole she asked ‘What I mean is, is this the best Ronnie has played (pause, shuffle in seat) EVER?’ Even Steve this time was knocked out of his stride completely and failed to deliver on the deadpan front with a cutting and crashingly obvious ‘No’, instead he quickly used diverting tactics to steer the hapless Haze away from this car crash of a conversation as they moved onto the subject of Fred Davis. A rare foray into Mike Smith territory for the BBC’s steely anchorwoman, I’m sure just a temporary blip, let’s just call it her blonde moment and leave it at that.

So who can stop Ronnie? Well the short answer is that on this form nobody will, perhaps as ever the only person that stands in his way is himself. But fans of his will be pleased to hear that he now reckons he’s got all that bonkeroony stuff under control and that ‘meltdown’ or what Ali Carter referred to as ‘his head falling off’ will not happen and it’s very much a case of carry on don’t lose your head for everyone’s favourite snooker fruitcake.

The work he is doing with Dr Steve Peters seems to have finally caged the inner beast and on the meltdown issue he said after the match with Ali “That won’t happen again, none of those meltdowns will happen, no matter how frustrated I may be with myself out there. In the last two years I have changed a lot. I’m able not to let my chimp out.”

Before World Snooker start getting the fines invoice book out, Ronnie’s ‘chimp’ refers to an integral part of his own personal guru’s mind management technique. He teaches his patients to keep the “chimp” which is what he calls the bearer of strong emotions, caged in order to direct focus to more important matters and priorities. It was obviously going to work on Ronnie all this as he’s so hairy and looks a bit like a monkey anyway.

Still in front

Still in front

To say that the championship is a foregone conclusion however would be a little premature, as some will have been in writing off Judd Trump yesterday when he was cut adrift by a rampant Shaun Murphy and found himself 8-3 down and seemingly on the brink of going out. But last night saw him really knuckle down and battle away and he resumes this afternoon at 8-8, Shaun having to do it all over again after already perhaps feeling he had broken the naughtiest potter in snooker. That promises to be a real thriller to decide who will surely be lining up to play O’Sullivan in the semi-finals.

This morning might also produce a Crucible knee-trembler as Barry Hawkins resumes 9-7 ahead of Ding Junhui who kept in the match last night by taking the final frame of the session with a 72 break, perhaps a crucial frame when we look back on the result later. Again it is a match that Hawkins will perhaps feel he should be further ahead in, but he is ahead and he would have taken that yesterday from 3-2 down. That said, Ding is 5/4 at Betfred to win the match and I have seen many worse bets than that, he tends to be the more reliable of the two at the end of matches and has arguably had his poor patch in this one already.

The other quarter final saw Ricky Walden take a four frame lead against Michael White, who should really have won at least two of the frames he lost. He looked nervous for the first time in the tournament but now he has played a session with all those thoughts swirling around his young head hopefully he can relax a bit more and do the same to Ricky this afternoon to set up some drama for an evening session that they may have to themselves and currently looks like being something of a low key end to the Quarter Finals.

So there we go, a conclusion in all three sessions today which means that Ricky and Michael will play two consecutive this afternoon and tonight. The latest match odds with Apollobet can be found here and their outright prices are here.

Order of Play Today


Ronnie O’Sullivan 7-1 Stuart Bingham
Ding Junhui 7-13 Barry Hawkins*


Shaun Murphy 12-13 Judd Trump*
Ricky Walden 6-2 Michael White 


Ronnie O’Sullivan 13-4 Stuart Bingham*
Ricky Walden 13-6 Michael White*

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Thanks as ever to Monique for the use of her images, her Facebook album can be viewed here

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