On Monday 29th April, I returned to the Crucible Theatre to watch the conclusion of the second round match between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter.
After a couple of days away, I returned to the Crucible on Monday evening to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan take on Ali Carter in Round 2. It was a repeat of last years final, in which ‘the Rocket’ won 18-11 to claim his fourth World title, and Carter was looking for revenge against a man who has never previously beaten in competitive snooker.
It was a lovely spring evening in Sheffield and the sun was out as we arrived in Tudor Square, about half an hour before the action started. We spent a short time wandering around soaking up the unique World Snooker atmosphere before heading in to the auditorium.
We were watching the final session of this best of 25 frames match and it had been an exciting contest thus far. O’Sullivan looked like he may run away with it in the first session when he led 5-1, but breaks of 82 and 51 meant Carter came out of it at just two frames behind. The second session was hotly contested with little between the two players, Carter making three 50+ breaks to level the game at 7-7. However, breaks of 73 and 86 had put the reigning World champion 9-7 in front coming in to this final evening session.
MC Rob Walker did his usual routine of warming up the crowd and making sure the atmosphere was electric before introducing the referees, commentators and finally the four players – Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ali Carter and also Ricky Walden and Robert Milkins, who were also completing their second round match this evening with the score standing at 10-6 to Walden.
The repeat of the World final was a highly anticipated match and the opening frame was certain to be of major importance. In the end the 17th frame could’ve gone either way, with both players having chances, but it went the way of O’Sullivan on the colours and he opened up a three-frame gap at 10-7. He followed this up with a superb break of 86 before Carter pulled a frame back with an 88 break to make it 11-8. Having yet to witness a century break at this year’s tournament, I finally did so in the fourth frame of the session as ‘The Rocket’ knocked in 112 to leave himself needing just one more frame after the interval. And he wasted no time in doing so as he hit a break of 89 to book his place in the quarter finals.
As the curtain went up, we decided to stop and watch the final few frames of Ricky Walden v Robert Milkins. ‘The Milkman’ had won four of the first five frames of this session to reduce the deficit to just one at 11-10. It was a nervy contest but Walden put himself within just one frame of victory with a break 79 before Milkins took a scrappy 23rd frame to make it 12-11. However, there was no decider as Walden finally got over the line to book a quarter final match with Crucible debutant Michael White.
Yet another hugely entertaining evening at the Crucible and this was in fact my final match for this year’s tournament. I have seen three quality matches, watching two former World champions along the way, and as always I have thoroughly enjoyed my World Snooker Championships.