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Ssb - last 16

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  • Ssb - last 16

    Firstly some news at long last about Stephen Lee. World Snooker say he has a case to answer in relation to alleged match fixing at tournaments in 2008 and 2009 and it will be heard by Sports Resolutions UK at a date to be decided.

    It has been a painstaking process for World Snooker to gather the evidence it needs to make a case. Lee has been suspended for several months. It is in everyone’s interests that his case is heard as quickly as possible.

    His is a case built on genuine concerns from the bookmaking community. Yesterday, Shaun Murphy suffered from an allegation from a very modern menace: online trolling.

    Some idiot suggested he had thrown his match against Pankaj Advani. Shaun would probably have been better advised not to draw attention to this but was understandably hurt by the accusation and was rightly defended by many in the sport.

    This should have been an end to it but, unbelievably, some news organisations chose to make a story of it. ‘Murphy denies cheat accusations’ was one headline, which gave undue prominence to a complete non-story.

    Shaun wasn’t accused by anyone important, just an anonymous nobody with no evidence or grounds to make such a claim. In ‘Eleanor Rigby’ Paul McCartney posed the question, ‘all the lonely people, where do they all belong?’

    If he’d have waited forty years he’d have got the answer: the internet.

    Trolls are people who didn’t get the lives they wanted and so target successful people they are jealous of rather than doing something about it. They’re easy to spot on Twitter: they usually don’t know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ and list ‘banter’ as one of their hobbies.

    Anyway, there are some good matches to look forward to today, the pick of which could be Ding Junhui v Mark Allen. They each played well in the previous round. Ding has made four centuries in the eight frames he has won at Newport.

    Judd Trump dodged a Dominic Dale-shaped bullet, coming from 3-1 down to beat him 4-3.

    Trump opined afterwards that players were deliberately slowing matches down to try and beat him. Actually, most players are slow compared to Trump.

    Despite having been in something of a slump of late, he is about to replace Mark Selby as world nol.1 after Selby’s woeful display against Joe Perry.

    It was strange, not least because he had played so well to beat Steve Davis in the previous round.

    As I write this, Pankaj Advani has reached the quarter-finals having beaten Graeme Dott 4-1, his third successive victory over a world champion following wins against Peter Ebdon and Murphy.

    Every credit to him. He is doing it the hard way and proving that all round cue sports knowledge and poise under pressure can make all the difference.

    Doubtless the trolls already hate him.

    Today is Valentine's Day, which means commentators get to use obvious phrases such as "there's no love lost between these two!!!" and, in the case of Stephen Maguire, who plays Matthew Stevens, "he'll be looking to break Welsh hearts!!!"

    For Mark Williams, it's a February 14th baby as his wife is giving birth pretty much as we speak, more than ample consolation for his loss to Robert Milkins last night.