Day 14, Semi-Finals, Afternoon Session Snooker: World Championship

Day 14, Semi-Finals, Afternoon Session

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John Higgins clears and needs the defending champion, Ding Junhui,


15-12. John Higgins wins the 2017 World Championship. Fantastic. It is


the best I think I have ever played in my life. To do it under that kind


of pressure is unreal. For the third time, as the crowd gives a standing


ovation, Higgins is the world champion. I won in 1998 and it took


so long to win another, and a couple of years after to win another one is


brilliant. He takes the title. That was absolutely fantastic and he


takes his fourth world title. 2011 was the last time and this was one


better, getting to the final. The semifinal stage of the bet fair


World Championship is a three-day drama, we had act one yesterday, act


two will further develop the plotlines. We will see the most


venerable protagonist arguably on the stage this year, John Higgins,


who is bidding for a fifth world title at the tender age of 41. He is


due back on at 2:30pm against Barry Hawkins, who is again once close to


a major breakthrough. With the other semifinal, big day for them with


morning and evening sessions between Mark Selby, the defending champion


Tom and the man who has arguably played the best snooker of anybody


so far, Ding Junhui, the last year's runner-up. Cracking semifinal in


store, a repeat of last year's final. This is when the tournament


comes into its own. He could not have played that any better. Max was


in great form coming into this and looked like he had the aura of a


champion. -- Mark Selby. Wonderful shot. That first frame mark was


walking around the table like he owned the place. It is a very risky


shot to take on but taking it on he is. And getting it. The first frame


I thought was so key to Ding. If he can beat Ronnie O'Sullivan he can


beat anybody. People were saying, will there be a bit of a hangover?


There definitely wasn't. He has done it to absolute perfection. Wonderful


first frame, if the match stays like that we are in for a cracker. I


thought the first four frames were excellent, you didn't fancy either


player missing an easy shot. All square, 2-2. Six points away and he


leaves the red on. Would you believe that? Amazing. It shows a sign of a


very confident player. Selby will be very disappointed, a couple of silly


errors you wouldn't normally see from him, especially from the safety


side, and it cost him a couple of frames. Wonderful, absolutely


wonderful play from Ding. He has a 5-3 lead over the defending


champion. Selby has a bit of catching up to do it Ding in fine


form. The defending champion was back here


at 915 AM this morning and was in the venue at 11 o'clock at night,


changing his cue. Ding made the tenth century this year. What a


dominant and confidence session from him. He lives in Sheffield and he


was here nice and early for the second session this morning. These


are the closing moments in the build-up before they were due to


take to the arena once again this morning.


Steve Davis and John Parrott are following every twist and turn of


the plotlines. We have seen all of this before, Mark Selby changed his


tip before the final last year, he is making a habit of it. It is not


ideal but if you start to lose confidence in the tip, and I think


Mark was telling me a couple of days ago that he thought it was a bit


hard, it is best to change things. We reckon he put in three and a


half, four hours of work breaking this in last night. He was able to


do an interview with me in the highlights programme last night


about that situation. Can you ever imagine in your pond having done


something like that? I certainly wouldn't have done an interview


during the match. And if it was something like a tip change you want


to keep it secret. It shows you how comfortable he is around the venue


and in his skin. We always put tips on and after two or three hours you


have played it in but he did the hours so if he is happy with it,


when he comes out today he can trust his tip when he is putting on


extreme side spin. Possibly of more concern is the form of Ding because


the bookmakers starting to side with him. How impressive was yesterday?


Very. From 3-2 through to 3-3 at could have gone either way but in


the last couple of frames he was brilliant. When you play Mark Selby


you have to compete and he has always been brilliant at that, his


cue ball control is brilliant, but if you don't compete against Mark


Selby you are in trouble and he did that. Let's remind you of the


respective the Crucible records of these men, starting with the


defending champion. He first came in 2005, reached his first final couple


years later, took another seven attempts before he inflicted a first


defeat on Ronnie in the final. The second win 12 months ago means he is


hoping to become the fourth man ever to win back-to-back titles. It is


ten years since Ding Junhui played here for the first time and --


amidst huge hype. He was taught a lesson by Ronnie, licked his wounds,


made it to the semifinals in 2011 and last year became a's first ever


Crucible finalist. He would love to complete the job and hundreds of


millions of people watching his every move here in China today.


These returned at ten o'clock for the second of possible four


sessions. We were like on BBC Two that. Selby started pre-5 down the


defending champion won the first of the day his fifth century of this


year's champion, absolutely no problems with the new tip, it


appears, and now Selby is 16 points behind in frame ten, being watched


by Willie Thorne and John Virgo. COMMENTATOR: He wants to recover at


least some of the red, and he has. He has played that well and normally


you say he has tried to come off the cushion first and kick the red up


the table. He can't do that here. He has just snookered him on the right


side of the brown, so to speak. Coming off two cushions, no


guaranteed to get right in behind this red. And no guaranteed to get


it safe. I don't see the value in this shot


anyway, even if you hit it you are handing the initiative to... Write a


bit, bit more. -- to the right. That is where it was, that is where it is


now. Perfect. Well done, referee. He doesn't want to run across it at


playing it like that is just keeping handing the initiative to Mark


Selby. -- but playing it. You always think whoever has the upper hand in


safety exchanges is going to create possibly that frame-winning


opportunity. Cat and mouse. Mark Selby is the


cat. Left a hot on here. -- left a pot.


It would be unnatural angle, you think, to pot the red and come back


for the pink or black. It needs to bounce or do something.


It is on nothing. A little trickle up the pink I think is the only


option here. Quick glance at the scoreboard, he is 11 points behind.


And played it well. Cut out the single cushion escape of the


left-hand side cushion as we look. Which now makes this yellow a lot


more difficult to hit. We have had some quick frames in


this match and some long ones. We had a 38 minutes and 54 seconds


frame. With the misrule as it is you are


sometimes just happy to hit the ball. One frame was just shy of 39


minutes. This is just shy of its 38 minute.


Close. But the worst possible outcome for Mark is he has missed it


and left it. Bit to do with the cue ball, though, to get back for the


green. Makes the yellow more missable.


There was plenty of room past the blue. That is a bit fortunate. But


the run of the ball goes to and fro. There is plenty of pocket there. He


just hit it too thin. But a chance now for Mark Selby to


get the upper hand once again. He has not got the snooker. He has


got the length of the cue ball and Ding will have to think of a good


safety shot. He can see a few options. Hitting it full on the face


he will miss the kiss of the green. I am not sure that fluke is in his


favour because he didn't want to attempt this green, surely. It is


very hard to get it safe. He is trying to get the yellow down


towards the black. That was, as we said, very tough.


Should Mark Selby pot this green, that fluke yellow has cost him the


frame! I think it is worth the risk to screw this end coming off the


cushion for the brown. It is just that I don't know whether he can...


If it was a three quarters ball he would fancy yet but it is half. What


a shot! That will surely give him the frame. Ding Junhui right behind


the shot, he knew like we did that it was in. And these types of frames


are so important, psychologically more than anything else. That is


when a fluke costs you the frame. Amazing, isn't it?


In it goes. That cracking pot on the green gave Mark Selby just what he


wanted, they are level, 5-5. HAZEL IRVINE: It was a perfect start


for the world number one, he pushed on after they're taking the next


two, so turning a two frame deficit into a two frame advantage, 7-5. A


brilliant response, but would his march continue after the mid-session


interview? Frame 13 now. COMMENTATOR: The way these reds are


situated around the black, if you made a mistake you wouldn't leave a


lot. Does this red go into the middle? It was worth playing. The


only red he could leave was the one he was going for. It has just caught


the top jaw here. Ding has been given a chance of the long red but


is refusing it. Once again he is not finding the top


cushion. You have to compete with Selby in the safety Department. That


cue ball should have been another two feet down the table.


That was difficult, because he was trying to do quite a bit with the


cue ball. I am looking at Ding Junhui's face there and there was


resignation, thinking, he has got away with it again!


That is OK but these three reds near the top cushion I'm not making it


too difficult now to come off the side cushion and nestle into them,


take target. -- big target. And if you hit them you don't leave


anything. No problem. That is what you would see if you


were sat in the auditorium, up at the back. Peter full view. --


beautiful view. Packed to the rafters, the morning session is.


Having watched the opening session, half of this match, I think Ding


will have to start playing attacking safety shots because clearly he is


not winning the battle playing the ordinary safety, he will have to


start playing a few safety shots thicker, opening the balls. If his


safety was finding the top cushion every time I would say continue, but


it is not at the moment. That is the nearest he has been to the cushion


for quite some time. Mark Selby has finished short this time.


The three reds closest to the top cushion, you wouldn't want to play


the left-hand one but if you caught it too thick you might knock the red


over to the right corner. We are now on five hours. For 12 frames. Well,


12 and a bit. I am just working that out, so that means the average frame


time is just over 23.5 minutes. 23 and 30, I was right, 23 and 38. You


worked it out superbly. Where did you get that he'd board from? --


bead board. He is looking at the possibility of playing the plant.


The two reds are two or three inches apart but the path of the cue ball


is going in the right place. He has played it and got it. Taking a tip


from you there, Willie, be a bit more aggressive. This is a pressure


loo. There is a red available to the same pocket as the blue but this


blue needs potting. Played it well and nicely on the


red. You wouldn't think this was a frame-winning opportunity but it is


a chance to build up a useful lead. Potting this red opens up another


just to the right of it. It may had a screw on and off the cushion but


it needed to be straight on this pink. -- it may be had.


Trying to get the white somewhere back near the pink spot. He has


snookered himself, has he? There is your answer coming up now. The


fractions are not favouring him at the moment. I don't think he can


bend it round. With a trace of left-hand side. I know he wants to


get his hand on the table, start scoring heavily, that is what he is


good at. Another good plants, well played.


Great shot. -- plant. He is on slightly the wrong angle onto the


pink to get onto the red that is nearest the cue ball at the moment.


But that is the only one that appears to be possible at the


minute. Yes, the red closest to the cue ball, don't think he can play


for anything else. Just wondering now, in potting that red after the


pink... You've just got to play it with


power and hope you can get position on a colour. No guarantee. OK, he


could possibly try to bring the black into play that he has no


guarantee to be on it. I think you have to play deep screw


here. If he plays a run through and hits the black or a red straight in


the face that cue ball won't come back up the table. I presume you


mean he is go to kiss of the two reds to the left of the black and


maybe come back the pink or blue. There is more chance of being on a


colour playing the screw shot, but don't miss the red. He is playing


the run through so he is hoping to get a good kiss on the black. And it


is OK. The fact that yellow and brown are off the spot makes this a


little bit easier. If they were on their spots it would be tough to get


around the table. Ride over the brown spot. It was a


good effort. He is having a look to see if one of these reds goes. Does


it? It is tight. It is one of those, we say so many times, if you were


right behind it and had the cue ball, ball and pocket or in line you


would fancy potting it. It doesn't go to the middle of the pocket, only


the left edge. Played it well, is he on the pink?


He is and he has brought reds into play. All of a sudden, from looking


to scrap and build up a useful lead, it has become a frame-winning


opportunity. You have to take your hat off to Ding, he has been


struggling in this opening for and a half frames and to develop this into


a frame-winning chance has been quite amazing. He has had to pull


out three or four shots on the trot which are right out of the top


drawer. He deserves to win the frame from


those shots. That is very careless, I have to


say. OK, good recovery, but if he had


left himself straight on the pink on the other side he would have had


those two reds just above the black to play for. Can he get a nice angle


on the pink this time? No. So the cue ball is not under complete


control at the moment. He chalked his cue with a lot of disappointment


there. Using the jaw. Clever shot. Could have done with catching it a


bit more because then the white would have come further down this


end. 58 in front, 67 remaining, but if he pots the red he goes 59 in


front. Very well played. This has been


possibly the best break of the match so far. He has had to try so hard on


every single shot Tom he has never really had at the cue ball under


control but he has developed them slowly, slowly.


That puts him at the point where his opponent needs two snookers. Great


contribution, this. Nothing has been going his way. He


is entitled to get frustrated, but as you suggested he needs to start


thinking of a more attacking game and open this up with a wonderful


plant. Kept it going with another plant. As the break break goes to


77, this is a remarkable break. Mark will know that, he will appreciate


the skill that has been on show here. Wonderful shot on the last


red. He couldn't make a century, could he? If he gets perfect on this


yellow, he can bring the brown into play, it shouldn't be ruled out as a


possibility. It would be unbelievable. No century, but that


was absolutely top drawer and at last he has got something to show


for his efforts. One behind though, Mark Selby leads 7-6. HAZEL IRVINE:


Ding Junhui white has a red-hot scoring style that he was frozen out


this morning until that's battling break of 84 and the man who knocked


out the Rocket, he is fighting hard, again, as we head into frame 14.


Just makes it awkward cueing now in the job is of the pocket. He will do


well to get this back on the board. He's got a beautiful line, if he


misses a brown, this is sensational. What a shot that was. I liked that


one. The best shot of the tournament so far.


A very difficult save shot. He never in his wildest dreams thought he


would be faced with a snooker in his next visit. There is no rhyme or


reason to it sometimes, is there? The safest place is to nestle up to


those to read just below the pink, just get in there.


He has had a good look, I wonder whether he's going to take your


choice, it looks as though he is. He picked it straightaway. Just the way


it slides off at second cushion. It's amazing how much that slaves. I


thought that would be going into the back.


An excellent safety shot which has given him a chance in this 14th


frame. He wanted to bring the pink or black into play, the red arrow


key at the moment. He needs to get these balls open. If you complete


the red to the right of the pink and hit that, it brings it into the


middle pocket. Just look at that now. He is bound to kiss other red


as well. Having another look. It's decision


time, do I play into the right of the pink? I fancy the red to the


right of the pink, that will prove more beneficial. He needs a bit of


luck now. He is still going to need lots of cue powder, he is putting up


his hand now. Wrong side of the blue and just


being slightly the wrong side of the blue, it is going to take some shots


here. I can't see how he can get back. Just the wrong side of the


blue line. How can he avoid the brown or the yellow? It looks


impossible. Where is the cue ball going? Not


another in off, unbelievable! There must've been a magnet on that white!


It levelled itself out. Over the period of the three sessions, Mark


Selby had all the good luck in the world in the opening for frames, but


to go off from there was quite amazing. It has got to be a telling


safety shot with a hand on the table, he has to get behind the


yellow. Fractions away from being OK. I don't think Mark can see the


left-hand side of the reds. He needs to sort that safety shot


out. You can see the red just below the pink, I think.


Much too thick. He left a cut on next year. -- here. He will be


disappointed with that. But it has to be said, Mark Selby has had a


couple of in off in this frame but he has been dictating the safety


side of it. He has just not been able to capitalise on those


mistakes. He came round in a few moments ago to look at the two reds


below the pink there, he'll be trying to get that gap, playing into


the two reds where the pink is. Maybe get the black into the corner.


He is looking to make this a frame with an opportunity with this one


shot. The gap is perfect. He has got the pink into play, he is on the


black. Excellent shot. Aligned to perfection as you pointed out. And


whenever players of this quality have the black available to both


corner pockets and the reds art spread, you expect them to win the


frame. But you still got to do it. Couldn't get the right side of the


blue, if you're going to be at the wrong side of the blue, may well the


wrong side and then you've got more room to manoeuvre. Easy up and down.


Not too sure whether the pink will be covered after this shot. These


reds are all perfect for playing the black. The pink goes back into its


own spot quite comfortably. He just has to win more safety


battles, Ding Junhui, that has let Selby in. As you said, a couple of


frames ago, it would be nice if Ding Junhui could play more attacking


safety shots. But you do that against Mark Selby and he can win a


free Mac in one visit just as easy as Ding can. There is a fine line


between attacking defence at the moment with Ding Junhui. Mark


Selby's game plan is usually very similar. Good, solid safety and


score heavily when you get in. You take a little beating that way. It


is a recipe for success. That caught the near jaw, I think


Mark thought he was going to miss that, he looked at someone in the


audience, I don't know if someone put him off. Anyway, the red went


in. Mark Selby didn't score a point in


the previous round but he has quickly got these balls in a


situation now where you would expect him to win the frame. He's always


got a smile on his face about something. -- obviously. If you can


be smiling, relaxed, it does help you out there, doesn't it? He's


smiling about something. LAUGHTER


Maybe he was waiting for the applause.


59 ahead, 59 remaining, but not for long, this is a sitter. To put him


60 points in front with just 51 remaining.


He wants to putt this red. -- pot. He needs to get as much rest as


possible. He's not got much to show, he is only one the one frame this


morning, and he came out this morning Ding Junhui and it was


obvious that he was, not trying to protect his lead, but a little bit


sensitive in the early frames. If you go back to the first frame where


he made the 30 odd break, he tried to make things happened and it


didn't happen. You are not going to win many friends playing safe


against Mark Selby. You are going -- you've got to force an opening


sometimes. This break of 78 has been very good, once again he is having a


little chuckle about something. I wish I knew what it was.


LAUGHTER I might have heard the referee


saying you put to reds on, pressed a button and did it twice.


Mark Selby knows whatever happens it can't be worse than all square going


into the third session this evening. He will also be looking for a chance


to push on. Thank you, frame at 15. Quiet down


please. Two more frames to be played in this session. Ding Junhui already


will be disappointed to have lost his to frame advantage coming into


this morning's session, but he has got to stay focused. These are two


important frames, I know it is the second session of a for certain


match, but you don't want someone like Mark Selby to start stretching


away. He will make it very tough for you to get back.


It's made of bit more difficult when you are striking down like that,


looking for a path back to the ball. He has not let anything easy for


Ding Junhui. -- left. He has got a red just above the black spot he


could cut in, or he's got red, the one immediately below the blue. Good


pot needed here. Well played. That could have done


with a little bit more pace in the cue ball, I assume the pink goes to


the opposite corner as he has spotted this red. Maybe he is on the


black. -- vaulted. He has played for the black. Played it well, played it


very well. And in the world of Ding Junhui, this is the frame with an


opportunity. He made a break earlier run of 80 for when there was hardly


anything available, so you fancy him to make the most of this. So good in


the black spot area. He decided to go up for the blue. And he has made


a mistake there, it is easily done, we have all done it. He thought the


blue was on his spot, it wasn't, and that is why he is straight on the


blue. A careless mistake to make. That is a terrific shot. He is back


in prime position. He would be extremely worried having lost the


first four frames, worrying what the score line would be going into the


final session. In some ways, he will be delighted with the chance of


coming out with 5-3. He decided to take that opportunity


to split the reds open, it didn't actually hit the ball that he was


intending to, or the way he intended, but it looks as though


he's got this red to the left corner using the rest to drop it in and get


position on the black. I don't think he can hold for the


black, though he is going for the blue. Once again, he is short of


pace. It just accept that little bit harder with that cue ball travelling


up and down the table. At this time he's got, it would have been a lot


more difficult to get the baulk of straight. If he gets on the next red


nicely, he can get back onto the black. He needs that cue ball to


slow up. It needs to be straight. It is not.


It is tricky. He is normally so reliable, isn't he? It is not a good


path for the cue ball. The clear path to the black is of this red,


but it needs due care and attention. Straight in the heart of the pocket.


He is so good at that, as lots of the modern-day players are. In


everyday, when there was a thicker nap, you had to play a little bit


differently, cleared from the jaw, let it drift and, now everything


goes straight. Not much nap at all on these tables.


But this is certainly where he's at his happiest, I range the black spot


area, there is not any better in the world. Yes, that's why suggested he


had to play a little bit more open. He was getting bogged down a little


bit. Just some 20 odd points away from


making this frame is safe and to trail 8-7.


There will only be one person who is delighted with the score line being


a possible 8-8 and that will be Ding. He must be thinking you has to


guide of the session with something. -- go out of the session.


Port this, goes 69 in front with only 67 remaining. He has taken


these well. He recovered the situation with the blues. And when


he gets in, as we said, in and around the black, he is a scoring


machine as he proved in his match against Ronnie O'Sullivan.


He has lost position a couple of times, but the rest of the time he


is absolutely perfect. A possible 143 with blacks. It took a long time


for somebody to make 8136 and then all of a sudden we had the 146 from


O'Sullivan, the 143 from Mark Selby. This looks like being the 65th and


Ding's 11. That is pretty good. Red right in the heart of the pocket


and the black for a wonderful century break. Very well played.


Ding Junhui at his best. He has shown good character after


the mid-session having lost the first four frames and not having the


best run of the ball. It takes a lot of self belief to just stick at it,


as we know there is a long way to go in this match, but you can always


have a bad session. One more frame to play after this


one to end the second session, and Mark Selby would have been thinking,


I want to win this session, after losing the first 15-3. He would love


to win this session 6-2, which he could do. -- after losing the first


5-3. Bert Ding demonstrating here what a heavy scorer he is given the


chance. Marvellous. Once he gets in and around the black you never fancy


him to miss. He is one frame behind the defending champion, 8-7 Mark


Selby. Century 11 at the Crucible for Ding,


one shy of the record set by Stephen Hendry in 2002. A very important


16th frame coming up. Will the champion have a lead tonight? Selby


ahead by 35 points as we join it. That is an excellent safety shot


once again. The red that is nearest the pink spot, does it pass into the


corner? No. That was the one I was thinking of,


but you can see the top one passes, just.


No attempt at the pot. Just played safe.


I didn't think he would get through to that. Where is the cue ball


going? It was heading towards the pocket. It is amazing, he has potted


a great red, thought it would be the green and brown, and he has overrun


it by a few inches. In those situations you can be forgiven for


thinking you are glad to get a kiss on something but that is not the


case. A brave shot would be cushioned first, nestle behind the


yellow. He is usually brave to play any kind of shot. If he can play the


snooker then going behind the yellow.


He couldn't have judged it better. There is a red that is close to the


side cushion, near the black, that Mark can get through to hit, but I


can't see a return to baulk after that. He is blessed with a lot of


cue power. There is every chance he can play deep screw because the red


is go to stay where the lack is and the black is going to go up to


baulk. -- where the black is. He's going to go for the deep screw, he


knows the black is going to come into play. Or is he just going to


rest a bit? That is a foul and amiss but it


might not be taken. Pot the red, bound to be on the


blue. Nice clean pot. I thought for a second he wasn't going to be on


the blue. Nobody could be that unlucky.


Just over six hours now. This is the second session, so they do say, my


former colleague Clive Everton used to say it, the World Championship


here, over 17 days, marathon of the mind. Couldn't be summed up better.


Good pot. And looks as though he is going to have a nice angle on the


brown. The perfect angle would be being able to pot the brown and


release the black and the red but that is not the case, but he can


play for those two reds close to the top cushion, and it is too risky to


bring the black into play off this shot. Unless he decides to play it


off the top cushion, the right-hand side.


Needs a bounce. That is nowhere. He will be horrified to have played


that so poorly. He had so much room. So much margin for error. He is


eyeing up the reds. If it is just off straight it is not bad but it


still takes some potting. That is what happens. Poor


positional shot. It cost him there. And Mark Selby comes back to the


table, as we see the shot again, but it was tough. And Mark will be very


pleased to still have an 18 point advantage in this frame. If he


knocks this in it could be a frame-winner.


But not quite. But he has a very good cue ball.


That is a cracker. That is a beauty. He has got all the shots.


Couldn't play the pot there. If he had, it could have gone off into the


corner, so purposely hitting it slightly thinner.


Big shot to take on. Kiss on the brown... Oh, the kiss on the green!


Mark Selby looking up to his friends and family in the balcony,


suggesting that they're has had it sparked off there. He has. But a


great run in the opening four frames.


The kiss on the blue has not made that a very good safety shot. Ding,


I don't know if this is on, but if he can hit the red full on the face


can he release the black in the red on the left-hand cushion? -- black


and. He got the black into thinking. -- he got the black into play. Good


thinking. Good shout, because being 18 points behind he made those big


colours in play. Especially where the reds are, because it is easy to


pot these three with the black on its spot, which it will be shortly.


Whoever puts the next red would be strong favourite to win the frame.


-- who ever pots. Mistake. Bad mistake. So Ding Junhui


gets a chance to go level at the end of this second session.


The yellow is not too awkward for a right-hander. But that is some way


down the line. The most important thing now is to reduce the arrears,


get right back in the frame. The shot you called previously and the


shot he played to release the black could be the catalyst to win this


frame. Don't like potting a red and trying to bring a red into play. It


is risky because you are never certain to have the position on the


colour. It is there and he will attempt it. There is a natural angle


around the back of the black. He doesn't have to play it. He has


played it. As John said, you don't always get position on the black.


There you go. In a way he has been fortunate the red went in. If it


stayed over the pocket, the question would have been, where is the


safety? They say you are taking a chance trying to bring a red into


play when potting a red. He could have played the half all, get the


yellow into play. He would have been worried about the double-kiss


playing that. Off the left-hand side of the yellow, still the double-kiss


is on. Needs a good safety now. He spurned a good chance. And he has


got the good safety. He has played it inch perfect. And now he is in a


good position. Just eight points behind.


Wonderful safety shot from Ding Junhui. This time I don't think he


can get to the red next to the yellow but he can certainly get to


the one in the corner. I am saying he does in particular


want to play the one on the cushion, because the cut red will be on. He


is just going round to have a look to see whether it is.


He doesn't really want the cue ball to come down this end of the table


because there is a possibility of that red... He has played that well


again. Playing snooker he is as good as anybody in the world.


Got to catch this just right. If you hit it thick it will be back down


the table with the cue ball. He decided to play it in behind the


black and he couldn't have played it any better. Excellent shot.


I know everybody likes to see breaks and frames one quickly, 12, 14


minutes, but some of the safety in this match has been superb. --


Triumph -- won quickly. That is an escape from there. It has


just run on. I don't think Ding can get through to the potting angle for


this red. Not quite. But he can hit it. And he would rather hit it and


play safe off this one the side cushion. -- than the one off the


side cushion. If that red misses the blue... Safe enough. Nobody really


has advantage in this important tactical exchange, just yet.


That is another good safety shot. Another frame lasting over half an


hour. But an intriguing one nevertheless. Two frame advantage


from Mark Selby, when he started the session two behind. Ding deciding to


come off the side cushion, must be just covered by the blue, the two


reds. Judged it nicely. The third session of this match


continues this evening. This safety shot could be a bit


risky, he is playing one red on another, could push the red over to


the corner. Could push through into the corner. The needs the pink to


come to his rescue, and I don't think it has. A little bit loose.


Mark Selby will play this cushion first, you would have thought, that


way he can get the cue ball into the middle of the table, and if he gets


good position of this red, surely he will take the frame, and this


session on the winning it 6-2. So from two frames behind, two frames


in the lead. Cushion first. That brings the cue


ball out nicely onto the brown. Will he get back to the table? It is


doubtful. He will be very disappointed if he loses this 6-2.


The first four frames the run was against Tim Bick he has had a fair


bit of run this time. He has played well enough to win this little


session. -- against him but he has had a fair bit. If he gets the blue


he will be sure to win this session and get that advantage going into


tonight's session. We have had four frames on the trot.


The previous four were the frame was one at a single visit. This has been


a real battle. He looks certain now to win this last frame, Mark Selby.


In goes the green. There will be no return to the table for Ding Junhui.


Mark Selby will have set out his stall for this morning's session, to


win it. And that he has done, and to win it by four frames, he will be


delighted. Mark Selby dictating things. Ding Junhui with a run early


-- a bad run early on, some chances later, but Mark Selby finishes the


session two in front. He has completely turned this


around, it would appear, Mark Selby. Impressions of the this morning.


Match day granite. Ding was going to the table with a headache every


time. He managed to get out of trouble and then he was back into


it. When you look at the facts and figures, Ding 5-3 in front but Mark


Selby has won 6-2. He has asked the questions of Ding that he did last


year. He is the ultimate snooker terminator, it might be the only


person who can beat him is Sarah Connor coming out of the woodwork.


Straight out the blocks, 101st go in the opening frame. We talked -- 100


first go. If you lose confidence in the tip you are playing with and you


get another one on, a few more shots become available to you. You can


play a screw back with less power, you don't have to bite into the ball


so much, then you start to grow with the confidence of the tip. This


could be him taking off in this tournament. Ding did enough to


remind us that he is fantastically dangerous, an 11th century. He is


hitting the ball very well but he isn't getting as many chances. You


can't pot what you can't see. The safety play is really good for him.


We have seen games going 30 or 40 minutes on it is the quality of the


safety play. What you have to do when you play against Mark Selby is


raise your safety game. That is being so ultra critical of Ding, who


is fantastic anyway, but to outplay Mark Selby in that department, I


would argue the only person who can is Mark Egan is in that apartment.


-- department. In percentage terms, because it is not the same style


again he likes to play, what is the degree extra of difficulty in


playing Mark Selby? It is difficult to quantify. It is the ultimate test


you will get in the all-round game. He is defending champion. His game


is at such an incredibly high standard, and so is his B game if he


is not scoring. It is a bit like an armadillo, if it rolls up in a ball,


you look at it and you think, I don't see a way in. With Ronnie you


sometimes get encouragement if he goes off the boil. Mark Selby just


digs in and that is the ultimate machine. We have had a terminator


and an armadillo. Here is what is coming up for the next three hours.


Scotland's John Higgins has an impressive strike rate in


semifinals, he has won five out of seven and hasn't lost one in 16


years. Barry Hawkins is in his fourth, he has pushed on to the


final before. Brianne Tutt Evans attempts to Nick the spoils from the


boys. Behind every good event there is a great event manager and here in


Sheffield she is, Watkins. -- Donna. Send in your videos, we will pick


the best from the day and try to make your game better. #cueffix.


John Higgins has nine major titles in this sport. When you bundle them


all up with everything else, 28 world ranking titles in total. Why


is he such a good cue man? Perhaps this can give us a hint. When you


are talking about consummate match players, he falls into that. He is


in the top of most lists, matchplay, all-round player, you can't have


those concessions without. His technique is a bit different from


most players. His action is a bit longer than would be accepted in the


modern game. On these clots that we play on, trying to control the ball,


but that comes from years of practising with Stephen Hendry in


the old days, where he would have seen what Stephen Hendry was doing.


John's action repeats, it is very deliberate, these long waggles,


doesn't hit it until he is ready and always good screw back. He never


decelerates on the ball. No, his shot selection let -- enables him to


play with complete commitment, he is never 50-50 on a shot, were


sometimes you can decelerate. He has always thought hard and he can give


it 100%. What about his break-building? This is a fine point


but from the start of a frame in a break-building position I would have


him as a vicar. I might look to get the reds opener as soon as possible.


-- I would have him down as a picker. He is more of an older style


player where he will look to pick of the lose reds, and that is just in


case it goes wrong, he leaves you with the puzzle. Many players would


get to the 50, 60 point mark and the reds are everywhere and if it goes


wrong you can lose in two or three minutes. I have played John so many


times where something will go wrong at 50 or 60, you come to the table


and you have a Rubik 's cube I have done some thinking of it and


since we have had the European tour with all the young players, we have


got 128 draws, things like that, John and players like him are at


experience, which you can't buy. It counts for so much. He very rarely


plays the wrong shot or leave themselves exposed to danger, he has


been to the mill so many times. He has got so many battle skies and


knows the right shots to play. I think I was in a school play or in


the playground where I used to live on the estate. I just treated people


how I would like to be treated. I'm not the most romantic person.


I was taught how to make spaghetti. My wife seems to like it. Going to


Vegas, that is another one. It sounded like it was a lot of fun in


the 60s. I like Susanna Reid on good morning Britain. She sticks in my


mind. In the practice room with the players, they have had lots of


matches to get to this stage. It is just to listen your arm up, pot a


fewer balls, get rhythm going, hit a view shots. Feel as if you are still


back playing in the tournament, get nice and loose and smooth, pot a few


balls and get yourself ready 15 or 20 minutes before you go out and


play is horrible, come and have a little brightness. Make no mistake,


every player suffers from pre-match nerves, and while you can get your


arm going on the practice table, it is the nerves of build-up in the


dressing room. Players bring in their coach or their friends, they


don't talk about the game that is ahead, but one thing is for certain,


the ten minutes before you go out is like the dentist waiting room, your


hands are shaking like a leaf. I have had my practice, I've been in


the dressing room, I've read the paper, I have been feeling


physically sick and their and standing in the corridor and just


want to get out there, I want these people to stop talking, get them to


introduce me and just get on with it. This is the man who is going to


do the knocking on the door, the tournament director Martin Clark


summoning John Higgins first of all, he is coming out for the night time


here. At the Chris Bell. -- Christabel. It is a Barry's tense


time awaiting the call. Is he there are? Busy chatting to himself, I


wonder? Wear has he gone? Command, Barry, there is a match on here,


semifinal. Yes, of course he's there. Barry is one of the nicest


guys in the game. Still to make the breakthrough and land one of these


big majors, he has been close in the past. I think we are ready. John


looking relaxed as we go into the second session and Nicol will come


from Rob Walker. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, in just two


days' time at one of the two players prowling around backstage will be


returning for the 2017 World Snooker Championship final. The prize is


absolutely huge, even though both of them have been there before. We are


in for an epic session of snooker today.


Please welcome a player who has become a regular fixture in the won


table set up here in recent years, making four of the last semi-finals.


From 4-0 down yesterday, he showed his class with three breaks over 60


to get right back in this match, runner-up in 13, winner of three


ranking event titles, and absolutely brilliant left-hander, he is the


court, Barry Hawkins. And his opponent, a player's whose


longevity at the top of the sport is quite staggering, 18 years after his


first Crucible semifinal, he is back at the one-table set-up for the


eighth time. This season he has extended his titles to 28, four


times the champion of the world, the Wizard of Wishaw, here is John


Higgins. And the are ready to play, a very


quick turnaround, only 25 minutes between the last session of our


first semifinal and this one. Big up to the Arena team each year, fastest


hoovering service you've ever seen. They have cleaned the place. We are


all ready. COMMENTATOR: Good afternoon, everyone can Barry get


the opening frame in this second session underway. A pretty good


break of shot. He got the pace of the table straightaway. He did very


well to win the last frame. You can see the pot success rate. Barry is


well ahead in the long pot success Department. Nothing to pick between


them in the safety Department. No centuries in this match, John 69 and


Barry 74, but I think both players looked a little bit tired. They


would have been glad of a lying in this morning to get ready for this


afternoon's session, a very important one. You just said about


the breaks, I expected both these players to be knocking the breaks


on, one visit frames. But maybe both players are just weary of each


other's strengths. Barry did remarkably well after


being 4-0 down to comeback in the mid-session interval and win the two


frames. Breaks of 62, 71. But then towards the end of the match, John


just lost his way in little bit, as we see Barry come up short with the


safety, but it's OK. John started missing a few easy balls, something


he has eliminated from his game. I mentioned he'd been doing that a few


seasons ago, but he seems to have eliminated. It was back again. At


crucial stages, he could quite easily have had a format frame


advantage. It makes it very interesting. This particular


session. When you've got these multi-session matches, especially


the semifinal and the final, when it is four sessions, you normally have


one session where you absolutely fly. I wonder if -- which one of


these players it will be today. It's not often you play your absolute


best in all four sessions. There is always one.


There is a half transfer Barry here, he is so good at this type of long


pot, but it is debate the cue ball. He will do well to avoid coming into


the two reds or the black and error. He has got to make sure he pot blue


the red. He's just got to trust the ball. He has overcome that. He


hasn't got away with it. He was playing a delicate little shot


there. It is just a little bit tentative, the way he instructed. --


the way he stroked it. He never managed to pot the red, which is the


most important thing. APPLAUSE


I like that side on view, it makes you realise how big the table is, it


is like 12 feet by six that sometimes. You don't realise just


how big the table is, but that side on view gives you a good indication.


Yet, in some view it looks quite small in this arena because it's


very bare. We had two tables in the first three rounds but now it is


just one single table. They did a thing before the match started


yesterday, John Parrott and I were sat in the seat, and you forget how


long you have to walk from your seat to the table. This is a good


opportunity for a John Higgins in his first frame. He has the black


available. 68 points required. He didn't want to kiss that red. He


just flipped it. It depends how hard he said, this is miserable now. He


didn't try to do anything too fancy with the cue ball there. He's got


himself a tricky black now. The positional side of this is not


straightforward either because it is very easy to snooker himself when


the red is closest to the right corner. He missed the black. And


because he missed the black, he didn't get the position on the red


that was next to the right corner pocket. He would have been on that


had he potted that. He would have no one straightaway. I think that's the


first black, believe it or not, that John has most of the sport in this


match. There is a long red that will go up as the pink and the blue


there. The black is over the pocket. He potted one like this yesterday,


which was a terrific shot. Not this time. It's going to be a bit of an


awkward free night with the black over that pocket. -- awkward. This


could get interesting. That's a clever shot, it blocks of


all the escapes down the right side of the table. At first glance,


that's what Barry is looking at their comedy player's view. He has


just got to nestle into the back of the reds here, off to cushions. That


is a bit narrow, is it? It's just OK. This could go on for some time


now that the black is covering the pocket.


Mark Selby didn't Junhui session finished fairly late. -- Ding


Junhui. They manage to turn around and get everyone back in more or


less on time, but this opening frame could last quite a while. That rule


has gone though, it used to be 40 minutes before the start of play to


take the players off, never to just the tournament director who decides


whether that last frame will be played or not. I think that's much


better because a lot depends on how the matches as well. What's happened


here? How did he potted that red in of the black? Is there a path


through to the black? If there is, what a bit of good luck. Look at


that. That's lovely, isn't it? What a result.


I cannot believe he done that. That is a shocker, Barry, I'm afraid. I


think he was playing it off the left ankle and just potted it right in


the middle. You don't see that very often.


That is unfortunate. He was trying to get an pink or black, the red


covered the pink and the other one went in the path of the black. That


was quite amazing, quite amazing they are what just happened. Just


have a look at this. He has played the cannon, the two beds, thinking


he is bound to be on pink or black. He gets the cannon, not as he


intended, but to knock that red and make the path that the black and the


other one to cover the pink, it's amazing.


I don't know if the red letters to the left of the black is ported to


the left corner, because if it is, I'm a little bit surprised John


wasn't tempted by the blue to the far left corner. The only reason I


can think why he didn't take the blue, he missed a view at the end of


the match and maybe he wanted to just play himself in again. Rather


than just take a risky one. I know you would certainly have been taking


the blue on. John Higgins normally takes that blew on all day. Both


players are having a very cagey opening to this first session.


Barry has thusly just, the red is closest to the left middle. He has


not meant to hit the first two reds. It is a very delicate little shot


that he's trying here. It is to perfection to do that, to just flick


of one of those reds. Great attempt. Great attempt there. You would


rather give four penalty points or eight penalty points as long as he


gets the shot as he wants, he doesn't want to hit this red fool


ball. That's pressure. -- that is for sure. Can we have a look at it


please? It is just a bit forward. Just pointing it was, back a bit,


left a bit, write about. It is like the Golden shot, many years ago. Bob


Monkhouse. Did he get warned? Here we go. In your own time. What shot


did he now? -- does deeply now? He is still shaking his head. Look


where he got the cue ball from that shot.


APPLAUSE I'm sure he got the in the correct


position, I was wondering why John was shaking his head there, because


he did say something to the referee on the way past.


Let's have a look where it was originally, that spirit was


originally, let's see where it is now. Let's have a look. Let's have a


look again. In the correct place. Maybe John was


right. Maybe that Watt wasn't available. That's why John was


shaking his head. I hope that's not going to upset things here. But he


should have raised it at the time, but he just stayed in his seat. I


think first we have to clarify that Barry Hawkins did nothing wrong, he


didn't try to gain an advantage. You would never have dreamt to have


taken that long red on in the beginning. He was forced into


playing it because he had to make contact with the red.


Whatever frustrations John Higgins was feeling, he is now getting rid


of it. He is experienced enough to just forget things and get on with


the match. But if he does believe the cue ball wasn't to be back on


the right place, he is feeling a bit aggrieved at the moment, he just got


to get rid of it. As a player, you do have the chance to come up and


look. The referee gives you the option, are you happy? Do normally


just trust the referee is going to have it put back in the right place.


It just shows you the tough jobs the referees have. That was quite a


crucial one. It was an unbelievable pot that Barry knocked on, but it


turns the whole frame completely around. It was such a tough pot. You


would be almost glad he was taking it on. The pace he played attack.


That's gone wrong, he's going to have to take this red up into the


corner pocket. He didn't get the cannon, as he anticipated. A key


shot coming up here, he is only five points behind now. Right in the


centre of the pocket. APPLAUSE


He is left-handed, if he can disturb those two reds when he pots the


green, he could win the frame. He could develop both read and still be


on the other one. -- reds. He hadn't quite got the angle to


force into those two. He's got to get it right this time. It is a good


angle this time, maybe he doesn't have to get into them. It was a


clever cue ball that he played there. He can with give himself the


option of this red audit the red to middle. He might leave the cue ball


into the same sort of area again. Obviously they do. I don't know if


you can't stretch over the table. Maybe he needs the rest. The angle


that is on this red he is going to pot, it looks like the one closer to


the cushion. I think he might just be, you know.


A bit tricky to pick the angle out when you are so close. You can


clearly pot it, but when you are that close to it, you need to be


very precise. He is not looking anywhere near where he is potting


it. It is all about judgment. No, it's not there. John, have you got


your focus back? It is not straightforward because he


is taking the green but it will have to go back on the black spot, so


somehow he has to get from the yellow back up to the green again.


He should not have been anywhere near the middle pocket. Now he will


probably play a safety shot. Didn't get enough stunned on that. Even


with the extension, to pot this yellow and get back up to the green,


especially with an extra piece on the end of the cue, I think he will


be better off with the safety shot here, because this will be some


shot, to get back up from here. Let's have a look.


I think that was totally the wrong choice of shot, and you don't often


say that about John Higgins. I think he is still frustrated, he has not


got what happened earlier in the frame out of his mind. I honestly


can't believe he took that shot on with the extension of the cue, he


didn't get anywhere near the pot because he had to generate so much


pace. A little frustration still there on his face. Barry is so good


with the rest, I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't part of this


and get onto the green. -- pot this. Already the longest frame of the


match so far. So a very tense opening frame with a bit of


controversy. It was always going to be an


important opening frame, more so now, because I think John Higgins


needs to take this just to settle down, because he looks a bit flushed


in the face. And that is not going to help


things. I think if Barry is going to take


this frame here, I think John will do well to get out of the arena for


a couple of minutes. Calm down a bit.


It is a great frame for Barry to win. He was reminded by the referee


that if he missed a Reid three times he would lose the frame. That is all


history. He takes the longest frame of the match will stop -- if he


missed a red three. Ken Doherty has been granted a tour


wild card and he is missing no time, he is in the practice room. I


potentially controversial moment in that frame. Very controversial. John


Higgins looks livid and he may have a right to be. We talk about


fractions in this game. Putting the ball back is very important for the


referee and also consulting the marker. The cue ball was not back in


its original position. From Barry Hawkins's first position he missed a


red. He may not have even looked at the red initially that he potted


eventually but the referee put the cue ball back here instead of back


here. If he is back here he can't see the red and certainly can't see


the potting angle. He has moved it here a bit, Barry Hawkins is forced


into taking on the red and it proved very controversial because he was


forced into taking it on, he potted it, the cue ball came down and it


put John Higgins in a really tough snooker. Advantage over Barry


Hawkins, John Higgins absolutely miffed. It wasn't Barry Hawkins?


Fold completely, it was down to the referee and the marker. -- it wasn't


Barry Hawkins's fault. John has not left the arena, he is


stewing on this. In his position you would be pretty mad. You saw from


his actions that he knew the pot wasn't on, so to watch somebody


smack it in is not very nice. Between them all it didn't quite


work out for him but he put it behind him and got on with the rest


of the match but it was definitely a mistake.


COMMENTATOR: The white is in. He needs the red to run safe. He needs


the yellow to come to the rescue here. I am just wondering if he can


get the white in the D in such a way that he can cut the red in. He would


have to be very close to the yellow on the way passed to cut it in but I


think he can. He can place the white anywhere in the D area.


Just to let the viewers know, you can move the cue ball with your cue,


so long as it is not the tip. Having spent all that time getting the cue


ball into the right position, very surprising miss. You can see by


John's face how much pressure he is under, how he is feeling, very


frustrated with the way things have started this afternoon.


Can Barry Hawkins take advantage of this situation?


He has a red at the back of the bunch that pots into the right-hand


corner but it looks like he is playing the aggressive shot into the


pink with the cue ball. In fact he played a more controlled shot.


Perhaps because the blue is more of an acute angle. He actually played


this very nicely. He will be delighted to be on this one. He will


need of that of help inside right-hand side. He got a massive


kick. I was waiting for the reverse side


to come onto that to go nicely onto the red but he didn't play it with


that so it is much more difficult now.


Now he has missed it. I think he is still thinking about that opening


frame and the sooner he can forget about it the better. I think he


should have got out there in between frames, John Higgins. Gunn just gone


into his -- just gone into his dressing room just to calm down.


Looking at his face reminds me a bit of me when I got under pressure, I


went a bit of a flushed colour! He is all over the place at the


moment, John. OK, he hasn't left anything but... Mind you, towards


the end of his first session his safety had disappeared, his good


tactical game had disappeared and he had started missing easy ones, so he


really has to regroup. Barry Hawkins will be picking up on that.


Yes, he has to do... This game is so psychological, especially in this


place. He has to red signs about how your opponent is thinking and


reacting. He must be able to get past the


brown. And he has plenty of cue power that he can get this out onto


the black. No, didn't hit it very well, but he may have been


fortunate. Look where the cue ball has finished.


There is a half chance up into the corner but he is normally so good at


this kind of shot. He could get on the blue, wouldn't leave anything if


he missed it. That is a nice pot. That will make


him feel a lot better, but I don't know where the next pot is coming


from after this loo. Maybe the pink pots. He can't get nicely on


anything. If this red goes it is a big test of


the John Higgins. It is fairly tight but... It is a big test for John


Higgins. He played that well. A much better shot than it looked. Under


the circumstances that was brilliant. Should he have missed


that, reds were going everywhere. Those two good reds that John has


potted, they will put to the back of his mind what happened in the


previous frame. That red has gone awkward. He has


the pink and blue to work with but the red he can and, he has knocked


it towards the black spot area, may have put the black out of


commission. -- but the red he can end it.


Especially if those two reds are available, that is a help. He


doesn't have to play for them this time but... Not too sure about that.


He had the other one to the left but those two look a little awkward.


That close-up of John Higgins playing, he does shake a bit on the


shot, he always has. Not quite as bad as Mark Selby. There is movement


when he is feeling the pressure. That is a slip-up. He wanted a


slightly different contact on the cannon there. He has got himself 40


points in front, a very thin snick. He wanted to hit that three quarters


ball rather than full-ball. It wouldn't be a bad idea to play the


red onto the black and play a good safety shot down behind the green or


maybe hit the black into a safe spot to protect that lead. Wouldn't be a


bad choice of shot. He could have done with just


knocking a black further to the cushion.


John having a long hard look to see where the cue ball is before going


back to his chair. He is coming to have a look but he


will have it replaced, and not quite as crucial this time.


Bad misjudgement. That could have caused Barry the second frame of


this session. Surprised he doesn't leave his


extension on the table, it is a long way to go back for your extension,


the chair. He might be feeling a lot better now, looks like he is going


to get the second frame on the board of this session. He can just now get


on with the rest of this session, forget what has gone before.


It is a funny little shot, this one. That is why he is coming round to


look at the other. The other one is the better choice, a thin snick.


Good recovery pot. That should give him the frame because the one next


to the black is available after the blue. Already 60 in front. Just


getting up, quick glance at the scoreboard to make sure.


He has done well in this frame, John Higgins. It has not been plain


sailing, he has done very well to compose himself and win this frame.


Whatever colour he takes here, the frame is over. He can roll the black


in and Gary Wilson AM his seat even if John misses this. -- Barry will


stay in his seat. Doesn't matter. He has a two frame advantage, 6-4.


Perhaps John's blood pressure has gone down a little bit but it


rumbles on, quite a lot of reaction on social media, many people saying


surely John can't moan about the placement, when you have to tell the


referee that you agree where the placement should be. We saw the


first time that was the case but as a player would you get up every time


to check it again. Not when it is something not obvious like that. It


was a last resort from Barry Hawkins. In a more clean situation,


with one ball on the table, you will be making sure, but you trust the


referee. And the player. I am not casting aspersions at Harry, it is a


shot he may not have even looked at. He was put in that situation. -- at


Barry. The situation is not foolproof, a few years ago they had


a marker with a little circle in it, you could put a Dott in there with a


pen, but do you want to carry a pen all the time? There is a marker who


is trying to work out where it goes back to, but he is working from a TV


screen. It is the idea that you superimpose one on another. Any


other method is the poorest be on belief. One person on Twitter says,


a laser system above the table would ensure proper ball replacement.


Should that be looked at? It is more copper Katie Burnett, you don't know


when the missed is going to happen so it has to be foolproof. -- more


complicated than that. Barry Hawkins got that enormous kick some may be


fate played its part. I think we can agree that the replacement system is


a work in progress. COMMENTATOR: Meanwhile, back at the


Crucible... Not the best safety shot there.


This is much better. Better length here. And amazingly that 42 by John


Higgins was his highest break since the first frame. Which is pretty


poor by his standards. The strength of his game is his savage scoring.


People talk about his all-round game but at the end of the day he never


misses when he gets in. If he stops on a baulk colour, which he has


done, chance to get another score. It was a bit awkward screwing back


their because he was fairly close to the green.


As I mentioned before, just the last three or four frames John had lost a


bit of timing with his cue action and was coming up short with the


safety shots, missing easy pots. Just like that. That is something


that he had eliminated out of his game in the last couple of seasons,


it was something he was doing four or five seasons ago, and then all of


a sudden he puts one like this in. He looked a bit tired last evening,


he was rubbing his eyes, but he has had a good night's sleep, the


morning off. He has been here sunny times. But he can't afford to keep


missing the blacks off the spot. How do you fancy this black along


the cushion? I think he will be considering it. He has gone around


to see where the safest place in the baulk area is safest to leave the


cue ball. He can play for the black, he has


enough angle on it. He just cued slightly across that


one. Missed it by quite a way in the end,


didn't he? The second chance the John Higgins


in this frame, not a good chance with the pink tide up and the black


not ideally placed. If he could get a good angle on the


blue, he could cannon into the pink and red is. He's got a few other


options available to him before that. Brown, then red. That's near


the right middle pocket. When friends are scrappy, like these


have been, there hasn't been a break by either player in this match. It


needs one player to make a big break and it can spark both players into


life. Can't leave that angle now on the blue. He had to take the yellow


because he was overstretched for the brown. He's playing straight up for


the black. Anything but straight on the black to be able to get out on


the back of the reds. This bunch of reds. He's got a bit of angle to


work with. A key shot coming up now. This will


bring quite a few into play. That's poor. That was a bad misjudgement


from Jon Nurse. Yeah, these are like elementary mistakes John Higgins is


making at the moment. He knows he has a much thicker contact on red.


For whatever reason, even for the incident, he's not look relaxed and


focused out there this afternoon. -- even before the incident.


APPLAUSE Nice, long pot right in the middle


of the pocket. Nice, long angle on the black. City red above the black,


if he's going to make a cannon, it'll be the one between black and


pink. That's what he did. He's unlucky not to be something easier


than this. If he's on anything. By cannon this one, he would have been


on the right corner. A good shot, though.


Don't know if he can screw back and avoid the pink. Maybe there is a


place in the gap between red and pink. He took his eye off the pot.


This is really scrappy stuff, isn't it? Came round to have an anxious


look at what he'd left. Has he covered everything into the corner


pocket? He hires. -- he has. Very fortunate there. Touching ball would


help the situation here. He's not touching, though. But I think he can


hit the one that is near the left side cushion. He's got to hide the


cue ball in such a way that he can't put the one near the corner pocket.


He's got to be fairly precise with the cue ball here, if he plays down


the table on that single red. Doesn't like it. Little bit of a


stalemate. Lil Jon try and hide that red? -- will John try and hide that


red? The answer is, no. You've got to be careful you don't leave it


touching ball here. If he gets it where the tip of his Kiwis, it would


be pretty safe. -- tip-off is cue is. As to make sure he avoids the


blue. And he has done. And that's end of stalemate.


Well, he did cut it in. Barry thought he wouldn't be able to sneak


it in from that position. It was a terrific cutback.


That's about perfect. As we show you the cutback again. A guide past the


other red, to flick it in. This one red is easy. The other two


had enough, one of them will still be available. We'll find out very


shortly, the way he plays the positional shot. Yeah, the one to


the right obviously pots. Yeah, it's looking like John Higgins is going


to open a three frame gap. It's been anything but convincing. It's really


who makes the last mistake in each frame at the moment. There have been


plenty by both players. Barry knows if this pink disappears and John


gets one more red, the frame is over.


Two snooker is required. An easy buck to follow. It's definitely the


end of frame. -- and easy black. Still no fireworks with regards big


breaks. But a big break only wins one frame. Doesn't matter how you


win them. It's a shame where the green is, it


would do John well to clear the table here. I mean, it'll take some


shot from here. Top right hand side. Played the forcing the shocked. It


would be some cut down the cushion, this, wouldn't it? Good effort. Not


there. He won't be too concerned about that. That gives John Higgins


the frame and he opens up a three frame advantage. It's now 7-4.


Don McClure, not surprised I've seen you here, you are Sheffield born and


bred and love the snooker. Great to be here, enormous sense of pride for


Sheffield native to have the World Snooker championships here.


Delighted it's going to be here another ten years. I bet you are, is


it extra special because we kept the 40th anniversary landmark? Yeah I've


got a lot of great memories of snooker, my first ever memory is


snooker. The 85 final, the famous one, Dennis Taylor, black ball. My


mum, parents are both nurses, my mum worked nights, my dad works days. My


mum were at work, me and my dad watched it when I were a little


chap. I've been in love ever since with snooker, I think it's


wonderful. As a musician what do you make of Steve Davis's DJ skills?


Really well, he's got lots of gigs. I've heard one of his sets,


fantastic. I feel I need to get parley with Steve Davis. I saw him


in a cafe and I was tentative about talking to him. He's a swan, he's


blossomed in later life. Long may it continue. You have street


credibility with and the makers. I'd rather talk about snooker, I don't


know what to say. Are you a fan of theirs? Yeah, it's nice to embrace


all music. For me, it's just quite a nice breath of fresh air. Having my


snooker head-on, getting to the sharp end of this event... When we


moving here we start to feel the vibes. John Higgins has got over the


minicrisis. It was a good break to settle himself down. Looks like the


John Higgins we know. Let's see whether he can continue this. His


won five of the seven previous semifinals he has played in an


generally speaking if he gets through the semifinal he wins.


John gets the final frame before the mid-session interval underway.


Immediately, he's left a bit of a chance for Barry. It's a free shot.


If this red goes in, he's on the black. If not, the only good leave


is the one he's having a go at. Very important opening attempt here.


How did that not go in? That's the kind of shot that can really dent


your self belief. This was a horror. It's another horror. For whatever


reason both these players have come out today and looked under so much


pressure. It's only the second session of four. They are both


playing as if it's the final session.


Seems to be quite a lot of attention. Both players missing


shots they wouldn't usually. There is another. It wasn't an easy shot,


but look where the red has gone. I think with John, because it's been


so long since he's been to the one-table set-up here, six years


since John last lifted the world title here, for some reason he seems


to have lost his consistency. From the last few frames of the first


session. I must admit I listen to his interviews when he won the


quarterfinal, he's almost like a teenager, when he was talking about


looking forward to the one-table situation, I expected him to fly in


this match. I really did. For some reason, he seems to have frozen a


bit on the big stage. He's not played his normal free-flowing, high


break snooker. That has worked out OK. Didn't get the cannon as he


intended. The white slipped away a bit. Fortunately, the red came with


it. He hasn't had the best positional Schalk Burger he's going


to have to leave this thread. That's to the left of the bunch for the


middle pocket. He should have been playing it for right corner. As you


can see, he's dead straight. It means this is a much more difficult


pot. Potted a couple of cracking ones into the middle pocket


yesterday. You have an automatic angle on the black to get into the


reds. If this goes in. Yes, well done.


They'll have to power this one. Stuck in the back of them. If on


this one, it's bonus. Looked as though he was going to stick on the


red and there was nothing available. If that goes, we can push through


the reds. His left himself one of those shots. Year, the red, took all


his attention putting the red, forgot about the positional side,


really. Great shot, great shot. Terrific cueing. Look what he was


leaving if he had missed it. That was excellent from Barry Hawkins.


Every chance now to go to the mid-session and... Still just two


behind. It's not the best shot he's ever


played. Didn't really want to be having to take the cue ball through


these rents. The white's closer to the cushion


than he would have liked. He does cue these very well, as he proved


with the Blackheath potted in comedy White tucked up on the cushion. That


was never going to be a problem for Barry. 62. If he gets the red and


brown, he would need one more red. Every chance now to get the first


century break of this match. Barry's highest so far, 74. Very modest. At


this level, having played so many frames. Ted Ginn yellow because he


needs another red and colour now. That brown if he'd have knocked that


in, John could still have tied, that's why he chose the yellow,


because it was easier to get onto a red.


He can relax now and try to make that century break Stephen


mentioned. If he does go ahead and make it it'll be interesting to see


the reaction from John Higgins in the next frame. It's amazing how


many times when one player plays bad sometimes it can drag the other


down. When one player plays well, it can inspire the other. We always


say, a more John Higgins like performance in the second four


frames. 65 centuries so far. In this year's


World Championship. Barry's had two. It's going to be difficult to beat


the record, which was last year. 86. I don't think that'll be beaten now.


But a nice way to go to the mid-session interval, making the


highest break of the match so far. Barry Hawkins made five centuries in


one match. He is well capable of going into one. For a few frames.


Earlier I thought maybe he would head to the practice room after he


missed a long, straight read by a mile. You might not bother now he's


finishing the session like this. Just relax in the dressing room.


Because you can't do much better than this.


And there we go. There is another century. The 66th century.


Barry Hawkins with that magnificent break of 115 keeps himself just two


friends behind. 7-5 to John Higgins. -- two frames behind. STUDIO: 66th


century of this year's century, it couldn't have come at a better time


for Barry Hawkins, he was staring at an 8-4 deficit. It's now 7-5. We've


had three today, Mark Selby with 100 with a new tip. And 139, closing out


the session. A very, very good hole so far. From John Higgins


perspective he's the man who's been knocking on the centuries, he's made


five in the championship and you would have bet money on that fella


doing so in this match. As Stephen says, it's been a strangely subdued


performance from John so far. Yeah, this tournament takes it out of you,


who is to say John Higgins hasn't run out of steam about. We were


discussing in the studio while the frame was going on, is there a


difference between being over 40? At what age does it start to play on


your mind? It take it out of you? Mark Selby is in his 30s, perhaps


that is why he's coming to the forefront. Interesting point, Don


will turn 42 next month and know you've had a chat with him about the


progress in the last few weeks in this championship. I talked to him


in the practice room. Near the end of the session yesterday he started


to look tired around the eyes. He said, you're playing on vapours. He


said... You don't sleep, it's the sessions, your brain is working


overtime, you are waking up at 34 in the morning, you have to read for an


hour. Your sleep patterns are messed about so you turn up certain parts


of the day, get tired when you wouldn't normally. It's what the


Crucible does. And as you get older. He won the title in his 40s, does it


become more of a physical challenge? Ronnie O'Sullivan still runs,


physically in good condition, but even he hasn't won a World


Championship in his 40s. It's a tough ask for anybody. Barry


Hawkins, that frame, very important for him not to go 8-4 behind. A


black that was so miserable. Tremendous shot. From the whole


perspective Barry Hawkins, he'll go back to his dressing room very


relieved. A lot of life in this match. We've shown you over the last


few days the brilliant table fitters beat Godwin and his team getting


things ready, making bees perfect playing surfaces pristine. Where


does that 72 feet of cloth come from? The truth is, from 12,000


miles away. It starts with some prize of the sheep. -- prize


Australian sheep. OK, this really is the very start of


the process, this is the wool blend which has been put out from the veil


is here. Your blending different types of oil which comes from


Australia for the snooker. Deep blending process takes the


competitive bales of wool, opens it up, get it has light and full of air


as possible, get the fibres as well mixed and distributed as you


possibly can get them. This is where it ends up, from here, it goes to


the next process, carding. Loads of fine hairs, tearing fibres apart,


separates them, put them into a web, fixed the web and turns it to 90


degrees, does it all again. Combs it to such a degree where you have a


lovely, smooth, then separate it into individual friends. Spinning


takes the slope, soft yarn, and puts them in it, a twist. -- takes the


slub. Each of the individual threads is put onto a big beam onto a


suitable package to go into the back of the loom to start the weaving.


The precision is incredible, it has to be really precisely fed or you


end up with stripes in the fabric. In the weaving process you have the


warp mother lengthways ones going up the table, and you put the weft


across it, sideways yarns. We've taken the wool from straight off the


sheep's back and converted it into a woven product ready for the


finishing processes in the second half of the manufacturing.


You start with a mending process, people take off Notts, and they


repair imperfections in the fact, and any imperfection which stays in


the fabric is a flaw. -- knots. They have all got to come off, all of


those imperfections cannot go on a championship table. During washing,


washing out the imperfections, the spinning oil, grease and the dirt,


any impurity that comes in with a fleece, you want to get it as clean


as possible. So that it is good down the line. At the moment, still a


woven structure, you can see the weft, you can see the yarn. We want


to get beyond two burst open, you do this with the milling process, a set


of rollers, you feed the cloth through, it goes round and round for


many hours, creating heat and moisture and friction, to get


shrinkage, much like a willing jump on a hot wash, trying to control the


shrinkage and the length and the wit, to give you the thickness, and


if you go too thick, it is too slow, too thin, too fast and it will tear.


After a sequence of secret processes where we create the mat, we colour


it, using traditional dyeing methods that are gentle to the fabric,


setting it back. Gentle dyeing process. The green colour, that we


are also aware of. This goes towards the very end of the process, where


all the final touches happen. The map is reduced in height over


numerous passes. The number ten we have, multiple passes through the


sheer, and it is cut as many times as is needed, to make it perfect.


Then it is given a final inspection, then it goes through all of the


vigorous testing, strength, elongated, full speed, bed speed,


all of those things that are needed these days. STUDIO: Amazing how much


drama and controversy can be staged on that cloth! In fact, with that in


mind, frame nine, the controversy with Barry and John Higgins out


there, you have had a word with the referee...? Backing the balls back


up, I said, are you absolutely sure that that situation is right, he


said, chalk mark down the bottom end, marked off from the chalk mark,


if anything, I thought Barry was making it more difficult for himself


than anything. When you have re-spotted the ball, where it is,


you are adamant he could pot the ball anyway. He said, absolutely,


the only thing is, John Higgins looked at it from this end of the


table and sometimes when you look at it, it can make the shot looked like


it doesn't pot. You cannot tell unless you are down at the baulk end


area. He was adamant that the ball was pottable. Quickly talking about


Mark Selby, defending champion, 9-7 up one Ding Junhui but he has a


difficult afternoon, knee has to see if his quiz crown will remain in


place. Only one challenger can take it away from him, and she is causing


all kinds of ripples, having beaten Robin Hollyson to win the first ever


qualifying match in an attempt to become the first ever woman to get


here, to play at the Crucible Theatre, will -- only Rhiann Evans


can potentially stop them. We are delighted to welcome the 11 time


former ladies champion, miss Rhian Evans! You know the rules, you get


five questions, every question... Every question that is right you can


take the ball away. OK, so, and of course, you have a little bit of


work to do, because one minute 18 seconds from the world number one.


Very fast. For all the questions right four question. -- Reanne


Evans. As long as you be Barry Hawkins. -- Pete. No pressure. You


won your first ladies world title in 2005, who won it in 1995? Alison


Fisher or Karen... Karen called, correct. Which city hosted the first


ladies championship in 1976...? Somewhere in the north-east. Do I


get multiple choice? Newcastle or Middlesbrough... Middlesbrough.


Correct, well done. You were born in 1985... I didn't realise you were


that old! Can you name one of the two losing semifinalists in 1985 at


this World Championship in the men's World Championship. One was a


good-looking bloke from Bolton, and... One looked like a vampire...


Ray Reardon. Correct. Beat someone... 10-1... Ginger...


Remember? Remember when Steve Davis lost 10-1 in the World Championship.


Tony else. Very good, very good. What was the number one record the


day that you were born, freedom, was it the power of love, Jennifer


Roche, or was it every loser wins? The power of love, it was, by


Jennifer Rush. I knew that one. Yumminess woman to reach the


semifinals of the championship this year, the other English woman to


reach the semifinals of the women's World Championship this year?


Rebecca Granger. Very good! APPLAUSE Five questions right... Take away


five reds. Some of the ones in the middle are quite useful to take


away. This one as well. Only four... That one, yes.


A little hint, start there, and then... And the time will start as


soon as you hit the cue ball. One minute 18... That is the time to


beat. Two minutes 18... OK, she is off to a good start. Nice control.


Lovely style. Yes, very good. Keep the ball in a nice control, that is


the key. That is the electric toaster, well done... (!) LAUGHTER


The cuddly toy... That is the only one I wanted! LAUGHTER


40 seconds, this could be a record time, come on. You are doing very


very well. Come on, come on, go, go. You might have two roll it over the


pocket. Quick, quick, quick, quick. Very good! APPLAUSE


One minutes... You have got ten seconds to beat Mark Selby, and I


can't wait to tell him. Take your time, take your time, please go


in... Yes! CHEERING Yes! Yes! CHEERING


Well done, fantastic! Hold on, hold on, we have to get... The official


time... One minutes... Wait for it, 14 seconds! CHEERING


This is more exciting than the World Championship!


STUDIO: What a performance, fantastic, Reanne Evans is the


champion, what about the cut on the last red, and the black as well,


and-tastic, no prizes yet, just the honour of beating the men, to win,


and we very much hope we will be seeing Reanne playing in the


Crucible on this stage one-day, brilliant. All right. Time to meet


another lady who struts her stuff with great authority and grace,


backstage here in the corridors of power, always in the right place at


the right time, keeps everybody in check. She is a event manager, Don


Watkins. -- she is our event manager, Donna Watkins. I'm Donna


Watkins, this is my sixth World Championships, I think it is just


our holy Grail, you know that when you come, everybody is going to be


there, your whole family turning up, and it captivates everyone. Work


with the tournament director, they control everything on the table and


we control everything outside of that. Lots of jobs with lots of


detail. Sometimes I guess our little event office can be a hothouse of


pressures and different niggles that might happen, so it can be quite


tense in the moments before we are about to start playing, eyes on you,


a lot of people watching a lot of things. The best thing I think about


the job is... A little bit that I like, when you see a debutant come


to the arena, really nice to get that realisation that that is


somebody's dream, you are a very tiny pot in that, a friendly face, a


useful pair of hands. We always come out for the trophy presentation for


the final, we come down to the set and watch it and you can't help but


feel the hairs on the back of your neck dial-up, when they hand over


the trophy and that person, whether they have won it many times before


or it is their first time, all of us cannot help but get emotional, and


think, that is a fabulous thing to see, and knowing the players as we


do in that capacity, you just feel so pleased for them.


If I am on until finish, I find myself at the end of the night, when


everyone else has gone I will go to the arena and did a cursory check


that everything is as it should be, I will let in the players walkway


and think, it is really nice to still be here, the still of the


arena, a few little precious moments that I steal from myself before


anyone comes in the next day. Few other sports, if any, in which


the organisers, the broadcasters, the players all coexist, in a very


cramped space, and all get on well. We have talked about this work,


family, it seems like that, always a real pleasure to come back here and


work among the whole team. And dollar is a very calm and reassuring


presence, I can tell you. -- Donna. Everybody likes a try, if you have


got cue problems, John will fix them!


How important is it to keep your chin on the cue? Very important,


John Higgins, one of the great exponents of keeping your chin on


the cue, very important, helps the cue keep straight, of course, if you


lift up your head, the cue can go left or right, not good, so, here is


a little practice, keep your chin on the cue and play across the bold


line, and if you put it unwanted, it will not come back. -- baulk line. I


don't pot them like a used. Always keep your chin on the cue. Evans


says, how do you put a ball with side without throwing the white of


course? Side is very difficult to use! Why is it so difficult? Sort of


a contradiction in terms, every time you use aside, it will throw the cue


ball off course, particularly on the long distance. The tilt instance


here, right hand side here, it will go left, and then the side will


take, so what you have got to try and do, and this is really practice,


you have got to allow for the side, if you are playing that type of


shot, allow for the side to react from the baulk line. And then top


spin will go straight, one goes one way, one goes the other, the final


one that has come in, it says, how do I buy the right length of cue for


me, from the red Mist Millers. Generally you are looking at


something around the armpit area for the length of the cue, in Kevin


weight case... Ripa will be the shoulder! Just because... That's not


fair! LAUGHTER -- probably the shoulder. STUDIO: A


bit of abuse flying around backstage, meanwhile, serious


business. Barry Hawkins, all buoyed up.


Back to the commentary team. COMMENTATOR: Trying to imagine can


Doherty standing on top of a box... Good break shot from Barry Hawkins.


And will that magnificent century break from Barry Hawkins, to spot


John Higgins -- has brought John Higgins's game to life again.


Stephen Hendrie mentioned in the previous round, when it goes a


little bit ragged, both players tend to start missing, but when one


starts to knock big breaks in, it tends to spur on the other one. --


Stephen Hendry. The boys were talking about keeping


your chin right on the cue, acts as a site, I suppose, I remove somebody


used to say, Steve Davis winning all of those titles, it was cheeky,


because he had a groove in his chin for the cue! -- sight.


CO-COMMENTATOR: This little flick on the brown at the end here. Glued to


the baulk Could do with a touching ball to get


out the situation. John Parrott's game, tipping and tapping, they will


be tipping and tapping no longer, because they have looked at each


other and said, let's start again, we are going nowhere, and that is a


good decision. So important, not all players, but the majority of players


will keep that cue on their chins. If you players in the past, chin


slightly off it, but it is a great sort of way of lining the cue up.


Ireland a player from New Zealand, he had a plaster on his chin, he


played with an ash cue and it used to irritate his chin.


Very good effort, right on the black bear. Great wobble. Wonder if Barry


will take this on and screw back for the black.


Wouldn't leave anything, ran across the table. Amazing, I think there


is. Difficult pot, can get through to this.


Doesn't look like he will be on any thing coming down this way. I think


a more confident John Higgins would have played the attacking shot into


the red stare. Big target to hit. It is a snooker, but it is no


problem, which ever side he chooses to go into the reds, he cannot


really leave anything. Will be close. And still get back


up. Towards the yellow office. -- off this.


Looking to see if he can play it off the one he was close to. Maybe a


possible plant that he would leave, that is what he is choosing this


rather more awkward safety shot. Well played. Maybe not a snooker


behind the green. Good length of the cue ball.


He could knock one over the pocket, depending upon the pace his plays


the safety didn't play that, might be, not


quite back. Possibly a gap between the yellow,


blue and pink, to glance off the reds. See it...


Always looking at the angle of the pot here. Would do well to find the


gap, you will have two stunned this end, to avoid the red and black,


there. -- you will have Funny little shots, those. You put


yourself bang in trouble. Hasn't blocked off the escape down


the right side of the table, but you still have to be careful. Could play


that all could go twice across the table, and land on the red, leave


the question behind the black. -- or. Have two be very precise with


this. Play the first shot. Has done it very nicely.


This is an attempt at the pot, screwing back of the red, this is


not easy, will go near the middle pocket with the cue ball as well.


Quite close to the middle pocket with the cue ball... Barry Hawkins,


four. What a chance for Barry Hawkins. Settle down, please. Did


not anticipate the possibility of that happening, bit unlucky for it


to go in but it was always on. Ab Fab superb century break just


before the mid-session interval, can he continue?


Yet to make a century in the semifinal two frames in front.


Let the cue ball run their way little bit. That was careless, very


careless. Don't know if you can get into the four reds together at this


angle, has got to really nip the cue ball. Absolute perfect timing. Don't


forget to pot the black as well. No, went to go round the table, forgot


to pot the black. Just shows you, you take your focus away for one


second, very careless positional shot, looks to be in with a chance


to win the frame. Will be horrified with that. Arriva Hawkins, sat in


his chair. -- Barry Hawkins. This looks like it will open up all the


rates, it is an important shot. -- reds. Cracking shot that he has just


played there. Lets see how John Higgins is


feeling. Can he respond to that magnificent century break?


Pretty good. It was an ideal to be straight at the black. This is as


good as he would have done. That was a delicate screw shot to


get himself on the pink, get back on the spot, much better. You could


practically give John Higgins the frame from here. But the way he's


playing today I wouldn't be quite so sure. Hard to see where he could go


wrong. -Zilla no one knows John Higgins'


game better than the gentleman sitting next to me, Stephen Hendry.


I used to go to Spencer 's club, we could practice there. John turn


professional 1992 and you and John were always playing together.


Practising with you, Stephen, helped to get John Higgins to world number


one and world champion in six seasons. He's played a careless


shot. He's OK, he's on this thread. Unless he wants to follow through


the cue ball of two cushions, he'll be further away from this black.


Perfectly positioned. Because he was going to be further


away from the black van he wanted, he screwed the cue ball back from


pink. Needs another good shot with the


rest. If he was to get a red and a black, Barry would need a snooker.


It's not a gimme here by any means. Making sure his hands are nice and


bright, he knows the importance of the next shot. In fact, he was


cleaning the little extension there. You could see the focus on John


Higgins face. The concentration. In his eyes. He knew the importance of


that shot. Have a look at that. Well played.


Just made sure of the black, 36 ahead with 35 remaining. Not quite


safe yet, this frame. He didn't want the little


double-kiss. He was hoping to get a snooker behind the black. He'll be


pleased with that effort. But he knows the frame is far from safe


just yet. That really was terrific cueing to


knock that long red in. Doesn't matter about the black. Barry's


thinking about it. He's nodded to the referee. John Higgins will be


delighted. Barry Hawkins almost got back one behind. He opens up the


three frame advantage. 8-5. Not a bad record for a player coming


up to 42 years of age, Stephen. Know, those two tournaments he won


this season, played magnificently. He won in China, the last frames,


the last three century breaks, to beat Stuart Bingham. Then the


champion of champions, beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in that. He just played


out of his skin. If he can reproduce that form, he can take the World


Championship. A lot of new people in the audience


here at the Crucible. I met some earlier, they are from all around


the world. In fact, there is a gentleman in from New Zealand, all


the way from New Zealand. He promoted the tournament in 1989,


when we all went out there and met Mick Hucknall, went to the concert,


he came to the snooker. We'll probably meet him later. There was a


lovely lady from Madrid who'd wanted to come and see the Crucible


Theatre. From all over the world. And that's a beautiful site from


that angle. Make sure phones are an silent, please. The referee, Paul


Callier, just asking them to make sure their phones are an silent.


They don't have that problem with the Masters in Augusta, mobile


phones are taken off you before you go in.


Nice target with a blue being knocked up there to play behind.


Anywhere past those three colours, you've always got a chance of a


snooker. Didn't want to knock a red over the pocket, that's why he swung


the white around the angle to the yellow. John Higgins is in a good


position in this match. He knows at the very worst he's going to be


level after this afternoon's session. He's got three frames to


play to extend this lead he's got at the moment. I keep saying, you play


along, Little mini sessions, was that the way you looked at it also?


Very much so, you win every session you play, the result takes care of


itself. John Higgins will definitely be going for I think 10-6 at worst.


After this afternoon. He'll want to win two of the remaining three


frames. That in off means John can take this red one. 90% long putts


this session, that's good. Is this another one? No. He didn't want the


kids. Not a fluke. He got the TDK, the dreaded double-kiss. I'm


surprised he played that so hard. Again, John Higgins full of


confidence. You lined the cue ball up so he can play for the black. I'm


very surprised he played that round the angles to come back up for ball


colour. Barry, what have you done? He turns


away in disgust. He'd love to have another go at that shot. He just got


into it too much. That was a bit of adrenaline that he overscrewed that.


That red weren't cut into the middle pocket if he can get over into the


left quarter of the table. Awkward striking.


We seem Shaun Murphy play the shot of the tournament, when there was a


ball over the middle pocket, he came off two cushions with a tremendous


amount of side, and potted it. John's thinking about a similar


shot. He's only going to hit one person. You would think if he hits


it. If he hits it for ball he won't pot this. Is he going to pot this?


Is he going to hit it too thick? Too thick. But it's safe. Thought he


might have put a bit more pace on this one because even if he potted


the red, what Chuck did he have next?


He's just concerned about pushing a red towards the left corner pocket.


That's the reason he played that one. He hit it a little on the fixed


side. -- thick side. He was so close to this. Normally it


would wobble and go away. Because he was so close it just wobbled four


times and stayed there. He's having to work very hard here


because the pink is tied up and I think the black is also tied up into


the left corner pocket. It might be a chance to do a bit of moving.


There might be one will go into the left corner. Does this red go into


the left corner? That is the question. They certainly couldn't


have made better contact with the pink, hit it absolutely plumb.


Didn't have a great angle, so wasn't able to generate the pace to openly


red up. It was one of those, very tight. If


you were directly behind... Because he was cutting it back, very


difficult to judge the angle. He could only put it into half pocket.


This is a bit of a risky one, this. I'm not too sure about that choice


of shot, it's very rarely John Higgins chooses the wrong shot, but


I think that was asking a little bit too much. Fortunately, that red that


wobbled and went across the table ran safe.


This is what happened with the red. He could quite easily have not one


of those into a portable position. He was rather fortuitous there.


That, for John Higgins, really is a shocker. You could count on one hand


the amount of bad safety shots he plays in one event.


This is what he was doing last night, Stephen. I did all of the


session and he was playing some very poor safety shots. He's going to


need the spider now. I think you can get to it with a


normal spider. He can may be placed ahead of it in between the red and


black. He's got very little to do with the cue ball. It's always a


little awkward using that implement. Little bit of an awkward situation,


you've got to watch you don't follow the red with the cue when you


deliver it, look how close he is. Very well played. APPLAUSE


Looking for an angle. Maybe a red in the middle of the bunch. If he plays


for pink to write corner, he can stun one and leave it to the left


corner. Otherwise he'll have to leave an angle on the black. That is


his plan, play for the pink, but he has underhit that by a long way. A


foot short of where he should be. Yeah, he might have to play the


cannon on the other red, to have the one to the right. They slipped round


the back of it. He's out of position. Unless there is a plant on


there. He wanted to cannon that read because there was a red in the


middle of the bunch. Now he's looking at the plant. Well, there is


a little bit of distance between the two reds, I think you can make this.


All of a sudden, Barry would have thought, it's the end of break, now


a chance to go on and maybe take the frame if this plant comes off. He's


picking the spot where you knock the first read on to the cushion, you


pick a spot on the question, then send the first read on to the spot


you've chosen. It should make the angle. Well played.


It's a choice, black or pink, neither is easy. I think pink is the


one that offers guaranteed position. Nothing to do with the cue ball.


He's got a bit to do with this one, pot for black. I think I'd have


prepared the pink. Harder pot but much easier for good position. That


is how Barry thinks he hit that. Hit it much harder than he needed to,


that was maybe a bit of tension. He knew he had to knock that income


otherwise the counter attack was coming from John Higgins. Only just.


He had to play it at that pace to guaranteed position. At that angle


if you hit them too hard they can wobble, as it did. This time it


disappeared. What a frame this would be to pinch.


Still not ideal just yet. On the blue. That's why he's taking the


black. If he gets nicely on the red, then the black back on the spot,


that'll make things better. This looks a bit hard, he needs a little


bit of good luck here. I still fancy him to get this red


and he can control it to the corner. And early key frame in the


semifinal. John had a chance to open up a four frame advantage.


Sharing the frames, 5-3, coming into the session.


When he missed an easy black off the spot, there was the chance John


Higgins could have pinched it, finished a little awkwardly when he


missed that one with the rest, will not be bothered about that and will


not be bothered about that either. Timely work from Barry, just two


behind, 8-6. STUDIO: Scrappy and attritional, how


does it compare, this is final, compared with the Ding Junhui Mark


Selby one. Not as good, we have to be honest, any other semifinalists


beating themselves up, because they are very close to being at their


absolute peak, these two are not but these are the matches you have, you


cannot always be at your best, you just have to make sure you wince.


What the top half of the draw potentially producing the hard


journey to the final, do you think that has been backed up by the


standard they have two produce? Yes, Stephen Hendry mention this, if one


player gets nervy, it can rub off on the opponent. You can sense when


someone is not playing it as well as they usually do. You can either get


confidence or you go, here is a chance, and you get the same


problem. At some stage you would want to change things, perhaps they


will change their game will stop you would expect against be that one but


Hawkins, he has been the distance, Nino sat to get the final. Does not


make it any less important because it is scrappy, -- he knows how to


get to the final. John Higgins started off like a train, looking


wonderful, it is not good to end up like a carthorse, better the other


way around. And you cannot make it happen, you cannot force it but


competitive momentum in the second week, in the second week of the


tournament, is immense, and Mark Selby looks like he's getting a head


of steam, ancient way, full throttle as well. -- Ding Junhui. They have a


very big couple of sessions to play tomorrow, they will be playing both


morning and evening. Settle down now, please. We would love to -- we


know that he would love to take a lead into that morning session.


COMMENTATOR: Pull a break-off shot, to bring it up, I'd never like to go


out after a friend, I like to sit there, number of times you see a


player leave the arena, and come back in and you make a mess of the


break-off shot, losing a bit of concentration...?


Terry Griffiths was the first player who used to have to go out, had to


go out, to go to the toilet, but it is the done thing now, but never


ever used to leave the arena. CO-COMMENTATOR: Gasp from the


audience, almost missed the black. That is why the cue ball has


travelled further, straightening this red, two left middle, if he put


the black in the pocket... Good recovery. Difficult angle.


Left-hand side of the bunch. Into the reds. Hold the cue ball in the


middle of the table. I think he is unlucky but he might just have one


red, might be able to pot this and get up for the pink or blue.


Looking for a blue. Going to the bunch...? I think a bit of distance


between the pink and the reds... Sometimes players reluctant to play


the normal shot. This is when you definitely have two hit the pink in


the face. Already pointing the tip of the cue, thinking, inking a


couple of shots ahead. It's the red, onto the black. Then into the bunch.


Not too badly placed. Little gap. Not too difficult a pack to go into,


lovely little gap, I think he is OK, if he can get the gap between the


reds at the back, he will be spot on. That is where he would like to


go. And he did. Absolutely perfect. APPLAUSE


45. Highest break in the semifinal,


break of 69. You can see that going here. Incredible after 14 frames. If


someone had told me that, at the semifinal of the World Championship,


John Higgins, that was his highest break up to now, I would have


laughed in their face. Sometimes you just have to play the frames the way


that the balls lie. Thinking about not a century break, getting to


nine, guaranteeing himself a lead going into the next session. Wide


target to land on the three reds there. Little bit of right-hand side


will spin it up towards the reds. Not that many pots away from


securing the frame. What these is the pressure is the two read safe,


John does not mind that. No intention of breaking down, that is


for certain. Highest break of the semifinal. More


to come. It is going to need one of those to


make the century. Because of where the reds are situated, big target,


to play the cannon on top of them. I don't know if he has got the angle


of this black. Aiming down on the cue ball. Just shows the importance


of a good break off, both players left the arena, Barry came out and


made a mess of the break-off shot. John Higgins has taken full


advantage. Now he can play a cannon on the roads. It has gone a little


awkward. 124 centuries at the Crucible Theatre, in his career.


What a shame, no century break. One chance at the start of the frame,


took full advantage, terrific break of 89 now extends his lead, 9-6. As


I was saying, sometimes you go out, you come back in and you have lost


that focus, Barry seems to... Worst break-off shot he has made in the


semifinal and you cannot afford to do that under these conditions with


the way that you are playing. This afternoon's session has been


littered with carelessness takes for both players, captures the break of


shot far too thick. And he has paid the ultimate price, he has lost a


frame for it. Looking at the picture, the red, the colour on,


magnificent break from John Higgins, that is the sort of thing he can do.


Barry, making the century break, before the mid-session interval,


that has sparked John Higgins into top form again. You cannot do any


better than win the frame with one chance. That is the kind of snooker


you expect from John Higgins. He is so experienced. Even though he has


been far from his best, both players have been far from their best, still


maintain the focus, has a chance now to have a 10-6 lead, going into the


third session. Great position to put yourself in. Thank you, final frame


of the session, John Higgins to break. The referee Paul Collier


calls it, last frame. Put that camera away, please. Bad enough


chasing it being two behind, but four frames, that is tough.


He has hit that too thin. Holds his hand up to apologise. Coming back up


the table. 5-2 behind, responded with a final frame of the first


session with a 74 break that closed the gap to two frames.


Round of applause, it that shot thin veneer intended, bonus to go up


around the brown, trying to get close to the discussion. -- trying


to get close to the cushion. Little bit unlucky to leave the red


to get onto the black, the black was only available into one corner


pocket. The red has come over with the cue


ball. Going into the main bunch again now,


to the left corner. Called loose reds before hitting the


main bunch. Flicks off the red, there, and that causes him to lose


position. Very thin and close to the red. If


it misses the grain, it hasn't missed the green, had he slipped


past the green, would have been perfect, now... Looking at cutting


the Brownback, the white the other side of the baulk line. This is as


thin as the previous red he potted. -- cutting the brown back. This is


far from easy. Got a kick, got a horrendous kick.


Expected Barry to pot that, John Higgins was out of his chair, he


flew to the table, but he was hampered slightly there.


Wasn't a confident shot at all that was played, that was the shot of a


man that expects to be 10-6 down after this frame. At this distance,


John Higgins has not been too reliable. Not straightforward, the


black is not available, will play on the blue or pink.


Will have to play a cannon, two reds close together, if he does that, he


may free the black. If he had hit that a little bit harder, would have


been perfect. A little bit more pace... Still a bit unlucky. Do you


think he's trying in the last frame of the session.


That was a chance that slipped away. Playing to cannon those two, called


the one to the left of them, unlucky. Called that one first, and


that is why the white is stuck in the red.


Barry Hawkins, you have to find something in this frame. These long


matches the difference. The difference between this frame can be


huge. Come tomorrow. Find something, one last effort. That's going to be


difficult. The long shots. Surely this is the chance that John wants


to be 10-6 up. So important, shot to nothing. He


has thought about the brown will stop fact that he started thinking


about the brown, usually the first shot you see is the correct one. Now


he's taking the pink. Took the bull by the horns. Thought


long and hard about the pink and the brown and decided the green was the


best one to guarantee position. Smelling blood, now, John Higgins.


Can sense weakness in his opponent, can sense this is the time in the


match to put the foot down. Doing what all great champions do,


it's important, that is when they start producing their best snooker,


looking ragged at the end of the last session, did not start this one


very well, but now back to his best. Maybe not his absolute best, but


certainly, finding the form that he wanted to guarantee this for frame


lead. Doing what is required. Barry has a lot to think about before


tomorrow. Slow going, this match, as far as the last two days, only


playing one session per day. Tomorrow, their turn to have the


double session, big day. Barry will need a very fast start tomorrow.


Still needs one more already. Surprising choice from John, tricky


one into the middle pocket, that is all he needs. Last positional shot.


Baffled me a little bit. 65 ahead, with a possible 67. Changed his mind


on the black, I thought he could have punched the black in. Just


punches it and cannon the red, strange way for him to play that


one. Cannon the red away. That is an edgy one, that is an edgy one! Comes


away from the table smiling, he is one of the nicest lads that you


could ever wish to meet, but can't believe what he has just done there,


should have had Jon Snow could in behind the black. -- should have had


John snookered in behind the black. Attempted the double, because that


is all he needed, with the reds going up the other end of the table,


that does not help Barry Hawkins, because he needs to stay on blacks.


Could afford one pink, how will you get blacks and pink with the way


that the reds are finishing up? Never thought about that one. Barry


holds his hand up to apologise. How did he get the cue ball in tight to


the yellow? Dear me. Going to play for the two reds. He's tried to pot


this in the middle. Barry will have thought, that the end of this


session. Look where the White has finished up. He wants to hit this.


Shouldn't be a problem. The two reds are a wide target.


It's a long time since he last puddled the ball. He needs four red,


four black, one pink, all the colours to win by one point. Here is


the pink coming up. It's bouncing too far. Any other colour's no good


to him. He'll need the extended rest extension on his cue. It's a must


iron pink otherwise there will be an chicks, you would feel. -- a must


pot pink. Well, have a look where he has


knocked the red. All of a sudden he can get up to the black, this would


be one of the all-time great clearances at the Crucible if he


could pull this off. Got that red over the middle pocket. Maybe have


spoken too soon. He has 10-6. Make sure you get a blank with each red,


if you can't get on the black, play safe.


If he could win this frame, it would be one of the all-time best frames


to win. You just sensed when that white went on to the yellow after he


missed the red, the middle pocket, something might just turn around. To


get the red next to the green is going to take some shot here. No


problem here. Still he needs another cracking pot and needs to get up


under the black. Hit that superbly well. He killed the pace of the cue


ball when it hit the cushion. Here it comes, here comes the cue


ball. To perfection. What a shot. And he's a left-hander. As you were


looking at John, Barry was leaning across the table to see where he


could put the cue ball. He needs to pull up a little bit, he's hit it


too hard. But he's back in this final frame as he grimaces. What a


frame of snooker this could turn out to be. It is already. Trying to get


as close as possible to that red to make it easy to pot, cue the cue


ball back down for the black. Can he find one telling safety shot?


Has the green come to his rescue? I think he's got the snooker. He took


a risk, Higgins, playing the red to this end of the table where the


black is. The red is going to bounce. It is


far from easy. Very clever shot from John Higgins,


very clever shot indeed. As long as he can get a thin contact


on the left-hand side of the red, it'll stay where the Brownies. He


won't leave it. Don't know if they know if this right-hand pocket at


this end of the table is in play, if he plays that. Pretty good shot.


He's having to bridge over the brown. Difficult to control what


happens here. That's pretty good because even if he can see enough of


the red, there is no way he can take the pot on because there is no way


up to the black. It's amazing, the change of Barry language of Barry


Hawkins. At the start of the frame he looked like a man resigned to


being 10-6 down, now there is something to play for. He looks


focused. He could have put himself bang in


trouble here, I don't know if Barry can screen behind the brown but if


he can pull this shot off, we'll have a new favourite for this frame.


He can go up behind the black if he wishes, but... Type in behind the


brown. He's using the yellow as a snickering ball. Maybe the brown is


that little bit too close to the cushion to nestle in behind. You've


also got to keep the red safe. He's got the snooker, but... Done


feels he can just swerve around the green. But to be careful here, if he


gets enough on it. He has... Where is the red going to finish? Where is


the red going to finish? Anxious looks. If the green isn't in the


way, he can get up to the black. Oh, that was very fortunate. Looks like


he's going to have to play a swerve around the green so he can pot the


red thin enough to get the cue ball back down the table. A pretty decent


effort. Pink to tie. He's just checking the scoreboard,


he's got to take the pink. He's going to tie the frame and have a


re-spot at black if he takes the green he's going to need one


snooker. He feels he can get that snooker. I suppose he feels like


he's definitely in the frame if he keeps putting. If he went for the


pink and missed it, the frame is over. Can he get this cue ball in


behind the brown? Not a bad effort, not a bad effort.


Another fraction, typed in behind the brown, it would have been so


difficult to escape from. What a frame of snooker, looked like


it would be over ten minutes ago. It's turned out to be the most


exciting frame of the semifinal so far.


Looks like it will be the longest frame of the match. What an


important one now. Now, has he given himself an angle


to get in behind the brown? He would have to run this through. What a


shot this would be if he could somehow get in behind the brown ball


from here. It's a great effort. It's there! The last one has not blocked


the easy escape route. Great attempt. Again, as you say, another


half inch. It has been very missable. Where is the cue ball? I


think we're all getting excited here, Stephen, in the commentary


box, in the audience. It's worth watching then? It was watching than


it is out there playing sometimes. He's back there again, is he?


John Higgins just wants to get out here, just once this frame over. How


well did he hit that? Barry was walking to the table, had a big


smile on his face. That was nice to see. If it plays two cushions, I


don't know if he can get in behind the green enough to send the green


up the table and leave the cue ball behind the blue. It is a


possibility, that, Stephen. He has the pink also as a snickering ball.


He has the blue and the pink as the snookering ball! Good call, Stephen.


He can get off the baulk cushion, there is enough room to go around


the back of the green. He keeps getting out of these snookers.


They are pretty well placed for that snooker Barry needs. If he gets the


opportunity, he needs to pot the green, possibly the brown. If he can


get the cue ball between the black and cushion, send the cue ball in


behind the pink. He's not had the opportunity to pot that green.


Has he found the gap this time? No. No gap. One question again. A little


swerve. This is a bit delicate, this. Played it well. He'd love to


knock that brown into a safer position because he's fed up playing


in behind it. He would need to hit the blue here.


It's a pretty good effort again. A very good effort again. This is not


as easy as the others. He can't go the left side, the middle pocket is


in the way. He can't go up and down, the blue is in the way. This is a


tough one to escape from. If he comes off the baulk cushion, he'd


have to swerve around the blue and have to create the angle with loads


of side. What an escape this would be. He's playing it with a little


swerve, loads of left-hand side, watch the white as it hits the


question. Here comes the side. Not enough, not enough. He played it in


such a way, John Higgins, the pace, even if he missed the snooker, it


was never going to leave a pot one. It also has left Barry Hawkins was


not the easiest safety shot in the world. If he can play of the


right-hand side of the green, send it to the baulk cushion, bring the


cue ball back up the table... Can't afford to hit it fit. And what this


bottom right-hand pocket. He's been thinking about this.


Doesn't like it, so he's put John back in again. What shot will John


think of? If John plays this good enough, he could say, but this green


on the baulk cushion, you could have Barry snookered behind pink or blue


here. He's hit it all wrong, he hasn't


flipped it, surely. What a fluke that is. He hit that all wrong.


Barry Hawkins can't believe it. Amazing way to finish this frame.


It's not quite over just yet. Look at that, 27, two snookers still


needed. What a fluke that was. Brutal, absolutely brutal.


If Barry did get a chance, he would pot the brown. If he potted blue, he


would win with one snooker on the blue and black. John still not home


and hosed yet. He doesn't want to leave brown one. Looks as if it's a


good chance. He's got the snooker. That could be the end. He needs a


bit of good fortune here. Is still smiling is Barry. The crowd


enjoyed that. Before he came to the table for his last shot, Barry, he


tapped the table to say good shot to John, it shows what a good guy he


is. If John had done that against me he wouldn't have had any tops. If he


pots brown and blue, look where the pink is. If he only pots brown, he


could get the snooker and tie the frame. It's not over just yet.


Because he can get the snooker and get a good one in behind the black.


23 is the difference if John doesn't escape from the snooker. Barry would


be able to tie. An amazing frame of snooker, this is. What was John


Higgins doing pushing the brown over the pocket?


It's the swerve again with loads of side to create the angle. Here comes


the side. There is the cue ball. As I say, if he was to pot blue and get


one snooker on pink, he would be able to win. He'd only get one


chance, you would feel. This is not a bad effort but I don't


think it's hard enough. As they say, John's got to be careful, he can cut


this blew in, but if he misses it, Barry will take the opportunity to


pot blue. Possibly get that one snooker on the pink to win.


A bit too thick, but listen, here it comes, here comes the cue ball. Here


comes the cue ball. Every credit to Barry Hawkins, keeping his hopes


alive of winning this frame. I'll tell you what, they are not back


until tomorrow morning but both players will have to have a lie down


in a darkened room after this frame. Just over the 40 minute mark. He's


looking at the potting angle. Keep one eye on the cue ball to make sure


it doesn't go near a pocket. He's missed that by a proverbial mile. I


think he played it with side to make sure he wasn't going near the corner


pocket with the cue ball. His desperate to get this frame over


with. Going back to the green he fluke, how badly did he hit it?


Had to hard again but once again he has a pot here. The white is a


natural to go towards the left middle pocket. John will be well


aware of that. You'll have to play this with a touch of side to make


sure he keeps it away from the left middle.


Who everybody smiling, Barry come in the crowd. John Higgins is not


smiling. He wants this frame and he wants to get out of there.


At the end of the day, he's far from his best, John Higgins, today. He's


won another session. Looks like it anyway. Unless Barry Hawkins can


find the snooker. What if John finds the snooker. What if John Higgins


finds the snooker? Almost! As I mentioned, John has to be


careful, he can't just roll the blue over the pocket. Because Barry would


pop that, then get the snooker. -- pot that. Now that he has hit the


jaw of the middle pocket, this is a bit of a chance for Barry. It's as


if he's only got one ball to snooker behind, the black, because pink is


sitting in front of it. He's urging the white ones. Didn't


quite get there. STUDIO: A quick announcement,


eggheads is coming. It'll follow shortly at the conclusion of this


frame. Got scrambled eggs here. Here we go. COMMENTATOR: I like that,


Hazel, scrambled heads! I'm usually pretty calm when I'm sitting in the


commentary box, I'm sitting here with my hands perspiring because of


what has happened in this frame. 49 minutes and 12 seconds is the


longest frame, that was Judd Trump and Rory McLeod. This is the third


longest frame so far. That could be the one, he hit it far


too thin. Coming up to 46 minutes. It was an unbelievable frame of


snooker that could have been over 20 minutes ago. But Barry Hawkins was


brilliant. It'll be a very relieved John Higgins, it has to be said. He


did start playing much better. But every credit to Barry Hawkins for


the battle he put up on that frame. The four-time champion will be


delighted, he takes the session 5-3, extends his lead 10-6 frames.


STUDIO: His four in front but John Higgins has been ragged,


unpredictable, most unlike Higgins. They look completely frazzled after


that session. Yes, but ultimately he is still a match player. He hasn't


been at his best. When it 8-6 and he needs to win to map a important


frames, he wins them. Barry Hawkins has never been more than two frames


down until this point, a big ask to go in with two more sessions to play


tomorrow. Higgins hasn't played that great. He's lost 5-3, not good for


Barry Hawkins. I'm glad you stayed with us for that one. Jason will be


back on the air shortly, 7pm, with the third session between Mark Selby


and Ding Junhui. 9-7 the defending champion leads. This is a cracking


match, well worth catching Jason four at 7pm. Goodbye for now.


You are not a fun person to share a trishaw with.


MUSIC: Pure And Simple by Hear'Say It's like old times!


You look fantastic! I look ridiculous.


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