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Boiling point…

While the UK basks in a heatwave, the unusual summer drama at the Crucible is also bubbling up as the tournament enters its final stages.

The 2020 BetFred World Snooker Championship has produced some quality drama both on and off the baize, despite the fact that no audiences have been allowed in, but the tension has still been gripping.

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Anthony McGill explains away the fracas he was involved with in his match with Jamie Clarke…

Anthony McGill came through a dramatic second-round clash with Crucible debutant Jamie Clarke on Sunday to reach his second Crucible quarter-final in five years.

Welshman Clarke was at one stage in the match 8 – 2 up on the Scot but let a lead slip after an unusual exchange where McGill complained Clarke was in his eyeline on shots. Subsequently, he confronted him off stage at the venue.

JamieClarke
Jamie Clarke did himself proud as he took McGill all the way. His win in the first round against Mark Allen showed he can match against the best…

Once referee Jan Verhaas had given them a talking to after the second session, all was well again, although McGill looked sheepish on his entry into the final session on Sunday night.

On the baize, it was nip and tuck as both players continued to come back at each other again and again. Clarke towards the end was looking a wee bit tired in phases, at around 10 – 10, but pushed on.

McGill, who played Shaun Murphy in his maiden quarter-final in 2015, told WST: “I can’t believe I won that match,” said the 29-year-old. “Especially considering the position he was in at 12-11 when he missed the pink. My scoring wasn’t there, I felt like I only had about three breaks in the whole match. The only reason I won was that I tried as hard as I could. I’m going to need to pull something out of the bag in my next match.”

 

When McGill was asked about the fracas regarding the incident, he said: “During the first session, there were three or four shots where I was shooting down towards the black end in safety battles and Jamie was standing in my eyeline. I told myself to forget about it because he probably didn’t mean to.”

 

He added: “But I decided that if it continued in the second session I would ask him if he would mind sitting down or standing behind me. A shot like that came up and I asked him politely if he wouldn’t mind sitting down, because it is distracting when someone is standing up and you can see him. He took it the wrong way and it blew into a massive thing, when it should have been resolved in about three seconds.

 

“I didn’t have any intentions at all behind it. I know people are saying I was trying to unnerve him, but that’s not the type of game I play, you can ask any professional player. A lot of people might not rate me as a player, but nobody can say anything about my conduct at the table when it comes to sportsmanship.”

McGill will play Kurt Maflin as there is guaranteed to be a qualifier in the semi-finals of the event.

25-year-old Clarke said on his performance in the tournament.

“Even though I lost 13-12, I am very proud of myself. There’s a lot of tension out there and you have to take the rough with the smooth. It has been an immense experience.”

Watch the slight fracas below…

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World Championship Draw Announced…

The draw for the 2020 BetFred World Snooker Championship has been announced.

Current World Champion Judd Trump will face Leicester’s Tom Ford, who came through the final qualifying round last night along with 7 other lucky qualifiers who get to play at the Theatre of Dreams in Sheffield to make up 16.

Judd Trump
Judd Trump kicks off the World Championships with a tough encounter with Tom Ford.

The draw was announced live on Eurosport’s live stream at just gone 11AM with MC Rob Walker announcing the names and former 1991 World Champion John Parrott picking out the numbered balls.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s the first time a World Championships will have been hosted in the summer and the first time there will be a limited crowd in to watch 32 of the World’s best snooker players battle it out for the top prize of 500K.

On Tuesday, the final eight qualifiers were revealed with the likes of more golden oldies such as Matthew Stevens, who was denied a World title in 2005 by Shaun Murphy, who was the second player to win the title as a qualifier.

Blink and you’ll miss them…

Ronnie O’Sullivan is for the first time in a while NOT the favourite of the field as he will face the tour’s second-fastest player Thailand’s whirlwind Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the first round. This is Un-Nooh’s third Crucible appearance.

Crucible debutant Jordan Brown will play the Jester from Leicester Mark Selby.

Mark Williams, who last won in 2018, incredibly won his third World title, 15 years after his second, will play golden oldie Scotland’s Alan Angles McManus.

It will be a case of youth v experience in many of the first- round encounters as the likes of Jamie Clarke, Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher and Jordan Brown et al all appear on the big stage for the first time in Sheffield.

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Martin Gould comfortably saw off 2006 World Champion Graeme Dott in the final qualifying round at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

Martin Gould, who denied 2006 World Champion Scot Graeme Dott a Crucible place, who had only missed out on one Crucible  in 2014, will play Tour Championship winner Stephen Maguire, who’s big run in Milton Keynes secured him a top 16 spot.

Gould last night was emotional after his win with Dott and said that for him, lockdown had come at the right time when it did as he was struggling with some “demons,” but came through it.

Here’s the full list of who will be playing who in Round One.

Judd Trump v Tom Ford
Yan Bingtao v Elliot Slessor
Stephen Maguire v Martin Gould
Kyren Wilson v Anthony Hamilton
John Higgins v Matthew Stevens
David Gilbert v Kurt Maflin
Jack Lisowski v Anthony McGill
Mark Allen v Jamie Clarke
Mark Williams v Alan McManus
Stuart Bingham v Ashley Carty
Ding Junhui v Mark King
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Mark Selby v Jordan Brown
Shaun Murphy v Noppon Saengkham
Barry Hawkins v Alexander Ursenbacher
Neil Robertson v Liang Wenbo

SnookerZone wishes the 16 qualifiers who came through all the best and good luck.