I returned to the Crucible Theatre on Monday 27th April 2015 to watch Judd Trump and Neil Robertson book their places in the Quarter Finals of the World Championship.
Day ten of this year’s World Snooker Championship saw the second round reach it’s conclusion. The last 16 stage had already seen Ding Junhui, Barry Hawkins and Stuart Bingham record victories, but no doubt the biggest story came from qualifier Anthony McGill’s win against reigning World Champion Mark Selby and the re-occurrence of the ‘Crucible Curse’.
Today saw the final four second round matches completed and unfortunately for the neutrals, they were all very one-sided with the closest scoreline standing at 10-6 heading into the final session’s of these best of 25 frame contests!
There was no morning session and so the action got underway at 1pm with Judd Trump v Marco Fu and Shaun Murphy v Joe Perry taking the floor.
Murphy came into the session with a virtually unassailable 12-4 lead. As expected it didn’t take long for 2005 World Champion to complete his victory, as a 68 break in the second frame of the afternoon was enough to earn him an impressive 13-5 victory over ‘the gentleman’.
This meant that the famous Crucible curtain lifted and all eyes were now focused on the encounter between 2011 finalist Judd Trump and Hong Kong’s greatest ever player Marco Fu.
It was Trump who came into the session holding a 10-6 lead, but Fu won the first of the afternoon with a 94 to pull back yet another frame – having trailed 9-3 at one stage.
But the man tipped by many to lift the title this year showed his class in the next two frames, taking both to race into a 12-7 lead.
Fu did force an interval by winning the 20th frame, but Trump stepped up another gear on their return and hammered home a magnificent 133 break to book his place in the last eight in impressive fashion.
With plenty of time to kill before the 7pm session, it was time to soak up the unique atmosphere that the World Championship brings to Sheffield. There’s never a dull moment in the city during these 17 days – be it chatting to the many fans we’ve got to know over the years (Hairbear, Matt or front row Brian!), getting selfies with the top players or watching the BBC pundits do their work in the Winter Gardens cuezone.
During the break I got selfies with Shaun Murphy and Stuart Bingham, as well as BBC presenter Jason Mohammed and ‘the King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry as he headed to the venue with his cue in preparation for the likelihood of an exhibition this evening!
As the 7pm session fast approached, we headed back into the most famous snooker venue on the planet and took our seats on the third row ready for Neil Robertson v Ali Carter, while Ronnie O’Sullivan and Matthew Stevens battled it out on the other table.
And it proved to be a session of snooker that lasted little over half an hour, as Robertson and O’Sullivan ran out comfortable victors.
The Rocket was the first to the winning line, turning a 12-4 advantage into a 13-5 victory in quick-fire style with a break of 77 to round it off.
Robertson was even more impressive. Coming into the evening with an 11-5 lead of twice-finalist Carter, he romped to a 13-5 win – concluding with a breathtaking 145 clearance, the highest break of the tournament so far.
As the session was over so quickly, it meant an exhibition would take place – MC Rob Walker confirming that this would be a three-frame match between Stephen Hendry and Ken Doherty.
The majority of the crucible audience stayed to watch an entertaining performance. Doherty won all three frames against a clearly rusty Hendry – who showed why he elected not to enter the qualifiers this year, whilst Dennis Taylor provided light-hearted commentary and jokes to entertain the crowd.
It was a fun way to end another wonderful day at the Crucible. Three World Champions and a former finalist had booked their place into an outstanding quarter final line up and there was no doubt that the business end of this year’s championship was going to be enthralling viewing.