Monday, 21 April 2008

Snooker: World Championships - Two Deciders on Day Two

Today was a great day of snooker at the Crucible. Joe Swail beat Stephen Lee fairly easily 10-4 but made hard work of it struggling to get over the line when it was really an easy win. Stephen Lee doesn't look as fluid over his shots as he did years ago. He's got such a great cue action but nerves always slows his game down and I think that bogs him down. His technique is still fantastic though. After the match he threatened to quit the game, but obviously he's very disappointed at the thrashing from Swail.

The Carter vs Hawkins match was a grinding match all the way to the final frame. Hawkins went 3-0 up, but Carter won the next 7 frames on the trot to lead 7-3. Carter has a habit of really struggling to get over the line and Hawkins slowly pegged Carter back to 9 frames each after Carter was at one point 9-6 in front. The players had to be taken off at this point because it was too close to the next match starting. Hawkins was really unhappy with the decision which I find astonishing, he should have known this was going to happen and accepted it. After the Swail vs Lee match finished they came back on to play the deciding frame. It was a tense affair but Carter finally won the match. I think Carter's game and nerve has to improve for the next round though.

The match of the day has to be Cope vs Ebdon. Both players played really well all the way through the match and some of Jamie Cope's potting was incredible. Ebdon took the lead for the first time at 8-7 but Cope didn't crumble under the pressure in his Crucible début. It was Cope that had to force the decider when 9-8 behind. The decider went all the way down to the colours but it was Ebdon that held his nerve with some great single ball potting to win 10-9. You really have to hand it to Ebdon, in the first session Cope was looking in devastating form to take a 4-1 lead, and Ebdon had to dig really deep to finish the session only 1 frame behind at 5-4.

In the past I've not been a big fan of Ebdon with his loud outbursts in the early days around the table when potting key balls and closing out tight matches, but he really has his emotions under control these days when in the arena. His powers of concentration are second to none and his mental powers win him many matches rather than pure talent. I'm sorry to see Cope out of the tournament though, he's a really exciting player to watch but he'll definitely be back!

Mark Allen looked in great form against Stephen Hendry earlier today. He was quick around the table and knocked in some very nice big breaks to go into the second session tomorrow with a 6-3 lead. I think Allen will have to lose some form and Hendry will have to improve a lot for Hendry to have any chance in the match tomorrrow. I'm looking forward to it though, Allen, like Cope is a really exciting player to watch.

The only other match that was played today was Ryan Day vs Micheal Judge. I didn't see much of this match but Day has taken a 5-4 overnight lead.


Gwynston said...

Have to agree with your comments on Ebdon. Cope looked deadly at times, but Ebdon never gave up and made some key shots under pressure.

I don't think Hendry has a hope against Allen, who's playing with huge confidence, having beaten Hendry at the UK Champs earlier this season. The pundits keep saying Hendry is just one good win away from recovering his form, but I just don't see it. Why do they keep saying that? It takes a lot more to stay at the top these days - every match you're up against a tough opponent. There's just no way you can get results playing below par - even if you're a 7-times world champ!

Are you not doing the Crucible Contest Andy? I actually had Cope down to beat Ebdon on his form this year, so I lost out there. I have Allen down to beat Hendry though, and Fu to beat Ding, since Marco's having such a great season, and he does well at The Crucible.

andy said...

Well Houdini Hendry certainly got the better of both of us, ...what an unbelievable match!! It just goes to show that you can't write these old guys off just yet!!! ;o)