It’s Day 3 at The Crucible with today seeing 4 matches playing to a conclusion as well as two new ones starting off, including the third ever all-Chinese Crucible clash between Ding Junhui and Dennis’s new fave Ghou Yolonge.
Yesterday passed without incident. Yeah, right….anyway I’ll come on to the show stealer in a minute. In terms of what happened on the table there were wins for Kyren Wilson and Ronnie O’Sullivan, both having to find some form at the end to pull clear of their clingy opponents.
Ronnie was extremely pleased to win judging by his reaction and as well as giving it the fist pump he nearly sparked one of his beloved first row fans clean out with a left hook to the hand. I hope he’s got some ice in this morning for the swelling (in a weird coincidence half way through writing more of this dross below I have just heard said fan from my hotel room, he’s outside the hotel excitedly telling his friend on the phone he’s made the BBC Sport website – he’s alive at least).
Earlier in that match Brendan Moore told security to get someone out of the second row, debate raged both on social media and in the press room as to whether this person had self-induced ermm ‘unwellness’ or he was just feeling a bit iffy. However, unconfirmed eye-witness accounts outside the venue suggested that the security staff had obviously been given their marching orders last week by United Airlines and been signed up by The Crucible, let’s just say he wasn’t treated with kid gloves, a little exclusive there.
Of the matches that started out, Shaun Murphy and Yan ‘Nearly a Man’ Bingtao had a great session with Shaun using all his bags of experience and a rather hypnosis-inducing waistcoat back to keep his young opponent at arms length at 6-3.
Rob Walker’s introduction caused some controversy amongst the more pedantic, or some might say factually inclined viewers, with one taking him to task to say his tag of Yan being snooker’s ‘Millenium Man’ wasn’t accurate as he was born in 2000, this being the 1000th year of the last millenium and not the first year of this one. A fair and scientifically accurate point which Rob will I’m sure completely base his change of introduction on today.
In the other first session matches, Peter Ebdon gave it some welly after he closed to within a frame of Stuart Bingham after needing 4 snookers in the final frame of the session, they resume this morning. Meanwhile the Smiling Assassin Luca Brecel dominated the first session against a hapless Marco Fu and leads 7-2 whilst Mark Allen took the last three frames of his session against Jimmy Robertson to lead 5-4, both matches resuming tonight.
But as ever when he plays, the headlines today are all about Ronnie. Not so much for his play on the table which I thought was very impressive, but more for his talk off it. He’d been in to see Hazel already and seemed happy enough to talk about everything but the match he’d just played, laughing and joking with Steve and Stephen before heading to us in the media room back at The Crucible.
This is what followed in its entirety:
In the media room the atmosphere wasn’t exactly calm and before he came in most of us were expecting the one word answers which he’s been giving for a while, not this.
Having had time to reflect and watch it again in the cold light of day away from the Crucible bubble I’d say a couple of things to Ronnie. Firstly, if that’s how you feel then that’s absolutely fine with me, I just wish you’d have said all this earlier before all the one word nonsense and singing, but that wouldn’t have generated headlines at the biggest event of the lot would it? His point about giving enough to the sport over 25 years is of course 100% correct, whether meaning to or not, nobody has created more column inches for snooker since Alex Higgins and for that snooker and in particular Barry Hearn owe him a debt of gratitude, but not a license to behave however he likes.
I’d also make a further point that I have seen one of the letters he refers to, not his, but one to another player and I have indeed (quite deservedly by the way) in the past been sent one and I would agree that the language is threatening in tone, perhaps in my view excessively so, but wholly legal. However, if someone is very sensitive to such things, which Ronnie professes to be, it could quite easily cause a great deal of stress and anxiety.
However this leads me on to my final point. It’s only snooker. At this event in particular you could be forgiven for thinking that the world has stopped and that we are the new focus of it. I haven’t watched the news for a few days which I have to say has made me feel a lot happier, but in the great scheme of things we are just a group of people watching skilled sportsmen knocking balls around with a stick, this isn’t The People versus OJ Simpson. This is an arguably over-bearing world governing body being perceived to be bullying their best asset. That’s all.
Here’s today’s match schedule:
Full tournament preview is here.