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Ssb - old man's game

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  • Ssb - old man's game

    Mark Davis and Mark King were not generally touted as pin-up boys for the Betfair World Championship before it began but they each proved yesterday that hype means nothing: it’s results that counts.

    John Higgins didn’t lose his first round match, Davis beat him. When the chance came in the last frame, Davis made 87 to win 10-6 and was fully deserving of his victory.

    Davis is surely the only snooker player who has started producing his best form at the age of 40. It has been a long time coming but he has every right to enjoy it.

    Higgins seems to be in a similar quandary as Mark Williams: players who have scaled the ultimate heights but who are now struggling for form.

    It happens to all the greats in the end. The question is to what extent they can stem the decline.

    King finished really strongly against Mark Allen, winning 10-8 from 8-6 down. A battler of the old school, King, 39, is a tough match player and ultimately made more of his chances when the pressure came on.

    What can we make of these two results? Ultimately grand analysis is pointless. The player who played better in each match won. End of.

    Speaking of the end, it came surprisingly quickly last night for Graeme Dott in his extra session against Peter Ebdon, who had rallied from -2 down to 6-6 in the morning.

    The big frame was the 13th, which Dott won after needing a snooker. Resuming with an 8-6 lead he felt more confident when they finally came back out to play.

    Dechawat Poomjaeng became something of a darling for the audience yesterday due largely to his positive attitude and general sunny character.

    The Thai entered the arena with a smile on his face rather than a chip on his shoulder and carved out a surprise 5-3 lead over Welsh Open champion Stephen Maguire.

    This may still be overturned today but it was nice to see someone so obviously enjoying themselves and cherishing the chance to tread the Crucible boards.

    Today authentic title contenders Ding Junhui, Judd Trump and Mark Selby all enter the fray although, as we have already seen, nothing is guaranteed.

    Today marks the 30th anniversary of one of the great moments in snooker history. On April 23, 1983 Cliff Thorburn compiled the World Championship’s first 147 break during his second round match against Terry Griffiths.

    The Canadian grinder fluked a red and painstakingly completed the perfect run of 147. It took a long time but this allowed the tension to build.

    Play between Bill Werbeniuk and David Taylor on the other table stopped to allow Thorburn full concentration. Werbeniuk famously peaked around the arena partition to keep an eye on his compatriot.

    As Thorburn stood over the final black, BBC commentator Jack Karnehm summed up the mood of those watching with a simple ‘good luck, mate.’

    Thorburn potted it and sank to his knees in triumph before being bear-hugged by Griffiths and Werbeniuk.

    It was a magical moment in a magical time when snooker on TV was still relatively new and the players grateful for their opportunities.

    If you have a few moments, watch it again here: