Nothing I could write would do justice to the excitement of the Mark Davis-John Higgins match last night. Suffice to say it is one of the matches of the season so far.

After a closely fought start, Davis pulled away to lead 5-2 with back-to-back centuries before Higgins contributed a quite brilliant maximum, the seventh 147 of his career.

This sparked a comeback which appeared set to be completed when Higgins was clearing up in the decider but he missed the final pink and Davis eventually slotted it home from distance.

There are several things which could be said about all this but I’ll pick just three.

Firstly, it provided further proof that snooker does not need to be artificially messed about with in order to provide drama and entertainment.

Second, the reverential hush of the crowd is what makes the atmosphere, not a bunch of boozed-up bores shouting out.

Third, what about Davis? 21 years on the tour but in the last couple of years producing the best snooker of his career. You’d have to be a pretty spiteful sort not to be genuinely pleased for him.

It was a dramatic day all round, particularly in the Mark Selby-Ryan Day match.

Selby was all at sea trailing 3-0 and should have gone 4-2 down but played the two best shots of the tournament for 3-3.

Day had failed to pot the pink which meant Selby could win the frame with the aid of a snooker. The black was just off the middle of the baulk cushion.

Selby nailed the snooker and later potted the pink to the yellow bag, taking the cue ball all round the table to land perfectly on the black. He won 6-4.

Luca Brecel was also 3-0 down but became the youngest ever UK Championship quarter-finalist with a good comeback, beating Mark King 6-4.

King is a tough campaigner but it seems to be very difficult to get under young Luca’s skin. Mark Williams said earlier this year that he would reach a ranking semi-final this season. A few eyebrows were raised but, if Brecel beats Shaun Murphy today, he will have been proven right.

Murphy has played well so far but the 17 year-old is having the time of his life and has plenty of crowd support.

The only way is Essex for Basilton’s Stuart Bingham and Chelmsford’s Ali Carter. They played once in York and Carter was docked a frame for late arrival, which would be even more damaging in a best of 11.

(As an aside, why not play the semi-finals on the same day and free up a day for best of 17 quarter-finals?)

Selby v Neil Robertson is an interesting one because they’ve hardly met before. Robertson was scathing about conditions after his 6-2 win over Barry Hawkins last night, but he will be on the other table this evening, the one on which he compiled four centuries against Tom Ford in the first round.

As for Davis v Matthew Stevens, this is a hard one to call. Stevens hasn’t played his best stuff yet but came good when he had to against Marco Fu.

Davis is of course on a high but needs to come down from this as he attempts to reach his third ranking event semi-final of the season.


jamie brannon said...

I'm taking it from your comment about atmosphere, you're not a big fan of darts audiences!

Personally, I like the contrast, it suits darts but not snooker. I do think in snooker we could do with a little more partisanship. The reverential hush is great, but it is important to have it punctuated by some vociferous, respectful support.

I'd be up for that suggestion of having the semis on the same day, although would the players be happy not getting to the one table setup until the final, and it would be a pity not to be able to watch both semi-finals.

Stevens, Robertson, Bingham and Murphy are my tips. It would be a lovely quartet for the semis.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this best of 11 format adopted so all matches could be televised? Hardly seems much point to the it now.

Anonymous said...

And all this excitement without he who should not be named? Proves that snooker will survive quite nicely thank you!

brian said...

A great match no doubt.Dave it has to be said that your fighting a rear guard action as far as snooker is concerned the young generation of players spearheaded by Trump do think the game is in need of a change.They grew up watching o sullivan and his ilk and it will be them the future generations who will decide snookers path unbridled by the past.As it should be i think

Anonymous said...

138 - no!

can147 said...

Its funny how players with surnames Davis and Higgins always produces dramatic matches when they meet at UK championships.

jamie brannon said...

They are all televised but you can't watch them at the same time!

I'm tired of all these comments saying we don't need O'Sullivan.

We do need the X factor that he brings, anyone who knows snooker should realise that.

However, don't get why the surprise at the excitement we are having, as when he played in events there was a plethora of entertainment in matches he played no part in.

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comments Dave about playing both semi finals on the Sat...

I think the current format with 1 semi final today and with it being the best of 17, runs the risk of the chance of a one sided match ie 7-1 after the first session and nothing else to show in the evening. Also does a spectator who only has a ticket to watch the first session, only want to watch the first 8 frames of today's match.

I'd suggest the following:

Sat-Wed As already scheduled.

Thur (11)(1 table) 1pm QF1 7pm QF2

Fri 1pm QF3 7pm QF4

Sat 12pm SF1 (13) 6PM SF2 (13)

Sun As already scheduled.

This would give spectators the chance to see a start and finish of the semi finals and a best of 13 semi final is still enough frames not to diminish a UK semi final. (The Premier League final is best of 13)

Anonymous said...

And this would also enable us to watch each quarter final properly, instead of home viewers generally having to flick between 2 quarter finals that are on at the same time...