Betfred TV’s Mark Pearson
The Crucible is famed for producing drama that could never be written, but never since World Snooker moved these Betfred sponsored Championships to Sheffield has a pigeon ever graced this most pristine of stages.
During the sixth frame of a second-round clash last night, a feather friend fluttered down tableside and perched on the cushion as reigning champion Mark Selby and his opponent Yan Bingo looked on.
Both players were unflappable as play briefly stopped and the intruder safely returned to the Sheffield streets. I am pleased to report that no players or birds were harmed during this incident.
The same could not be said of Mark Allen as he was left licking his wounds when Ronnie O’Sullivan enhanced a 6-2 lead to 12-4 and a frame away overnight from a place in the last eight. He returned this afternoon and duly obliged, taking just over quarter of an hour of the final session to wrap it up.
After the match, the Rocket said “I could keep going, keep playing, it doesn’t bother me. Get some balls, stick them in the holes, that’s the easy part.
“Don’t get me wrong, I feel the pressure out there, but I find the playing side the easy side. That’s the least of my worries, I just have to focus on getting the other parts right.”
See the Rocket’s post-match interview here:
There was a slight shock this morning as Stephen Maguire reached a seventh quarter Final at the Crucible at the expense of rising Chinese star Zhao Xintong.
He had set tongues wagging after a blistering first round victory on the back of a successful season that included a UK Championship success.
However, Maverick had played two blinding sessions to lead overnight at 11-5 and despite Xintong rallying, the Scot took the 22nd frame to score a 13-9 win.
He is set to line up against Ronnie in the quarters on Tuesday and is looking forward to the occasion, telling me “Playing Ronnie anytime is good. He brings a different atmosphere to any match, especially here as the crowd love him.
“I will go out, see what happens. If I’m not good enough, we shake hands and move on. If I am, I’m in the semis.”
Listen to the full Stephen Maguire interview below.
If the reigning champion Mark Selby is to retain his title, he will need to do it the hard way, trailing 9-7 to Yan Bingtao ahead of the final session tonight. This one has every chance of going all the way and a late night is forecast.
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