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Good morning. This 40th anniversary championship from the Crucible
Theatre was given the big build-up and it certainly lived up to
expectations. It's the final push this weekend. Stand by as four
becomes two. In the closing stages of the semifinals. Stand by for a
snooker Festival over the next three days. It's what the bank of the
weekend was made for. -- bank holiday.
This afternoon from 2:30pm, reigning champion Mark Selby has nine frames
to keep his defence on track. He is 12-12 against Ding. The fireworks
have been overshadowed in a more nervous and fragmented affair
between former champion John Higgins and Barry Hawkins. So, Stephen
Hendry, 15 days of long nights and matches and adrenaline and getting
tired. That's just the broadcasters! In the first semifinal, they look
like they are peaking, in the second one, a little bit of wilting going
on. Let's talk about Ding and Selby. That session, how good was it? One
of the best in Crucible history. Selby through the sink at this guy.
This is one of the best shots I've ever seen. Ding had to go about
level and he really impressed me. I didn't think he had it in me to
produce two centuries but he did, back to back. What do you think
produce this mental strength? Perhaps it's working with Terry
Griffiths. He was Serena in his chair when Mark Selby was playing.
That is going to be a blockbuster for session coming up at 2:30pm.
This morning, John Higgins. Yesterday he changed the tip of his
cue. I wonder what he's searching for. He has always tinkered. If he
is not happy, he's not going to play well. Neither player has settled
well in this semifinal. Very surprisingly. If you're going to win
the championship, you need to get better as the tournament goes on.
They have stood still. Today could be different. It's the day they can
get into the final. John Higgins is very experienced. Barry Hawkins has
been here as well as. What needs to happen for John Higgins in terms of
his level? He needs to win the first session 3-1. 2-2 is no good. --
Barry Hawkins. John 's Higgins could win it this morning. John Higgins
first played here as a 19-year-old and became world champion within
three years. He played another final in 01, losing to O'Sullivan. He
waited until 2007 to become world champion again against a very young
Mark Selby. He was there again in 2011. He hasn't been back since. It
is 20 years since Barry Hawkins first tried to qualify. Only at the
tenth attempted he set foot on this stage. Five first-round defeats in a
row. Not a stunning -- but a stunning run to the final in 2013
when he lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan. Raring to go in the commentary box,
Willie Thorne and Dennis Taylor. Make a case for Barry Hawkins this
morning? Stephen Hendry said, he has to win the first mini-session 3-1 to
get a foothold in the match. John Higgins isn't playing brilliantly.
If he had a chance to get to another final, this is it. John did well to
win the last two frames. I can't remember John Higgins playing 16
frames and not making a century. Very unlike him. To win the last two
frames was a boost. He has to think, if I can share the sessions, I'm in
the final. We will leave you at home to be the judge as we introduced the
players. They are all set for a mammoth Saturday with likely to
sessions to play. The arena weights and so too does MC Rob Walker. Good
morning ladies and gentlemen. This is the day that we complete the
line-up for the World Snooker Championship final. Today, this
famous old theatre really does become the arena of sporting dreams.
Please welcome a player with a brilliant Crucible record in recent
years, making four out of the last five semifinals. He won his first
ranking final in 2012 and hasn't looked back. Winner of this season's
world Grand Prix in Preston, a brilliant left-hander, now firmly
established amongst the game's elite. Here comes the Hawk... Barry
Hawkins! And his opponent, a player who has
once more arrived on the sport's biggest stage. Back in the first
time in six years, he won his first ranking title of 28 in 1995 and his
first world title three years later. One of Scotland's finest sportsmen.
The Wizard of Wishaw... John Higgins!
It's time to sort it all out. Willie and Dennis are with you.
COMMENTATOR: Thank you very much. A huge session coming up. Barry
Hawkins could do with winning 3-1 in the mini-session here. Frame 17. Ari
Hawkins to break. Always important to get a good break. That is not a
good break. He's hampered with the green. I don't think I've ever seen
a break of shot when you hit the blue and then the green. That might
be a first. That was a great effort considering
he was cueing right over the top of the green. Big targets now the green
for Barry Hawkins. We can see that John Higgins was very close. But
with the cream of its spot, it -- with the green off its spot, it's a
massive target. Look at that. Wonderful site.
Crucible Theatre, semifinals day. Can't beat it.
This is a better line. Has it got the pace? Still a good shot but not
a snooker. The match last night between Ding Junhui and Mark Selby,
I've never seen anything like it. 18 minutes without a ball potted and
then Mark Selby made a century break. Usually, after 18 minutes,
all of the colours have gone safe. It was amazing. That's how good the
quality of play was. I hope it'll be the same this morning.
That's one way of getting the cue ball up the table. A bit of good
fortune there. At any sport, you need a little bit of luck now and
again. Goes a long way. Don't know whether he can hit this
thin enough to get back into baulk. Just playing a slow roll up. A
containing safety shot. Didn't find the baulk crush on this
time. So Barry may take this on. This is a real test of your cue
action. Beautiful. Terrific cueing. Could have done with just bringing
the white back a fuel more inches. Running slightly away from the reds.
Two are available into the right corner. The white is going up past
the blue spot area. He'd like to take that one again. He's covered
those two reds with the blue. So, that's end of break. We'll have to
try to get back behind the green. Feels he can find a path around the
back of the black, if he takes this on. And, well,... What a result
there. He was playing to get around the back of the black. They weren't
quite on for a plant but the black very close to going in. It of good
fortune to finish on the black there. He's got the perfect angle to
go into the bunch but seems a bit reluctant to do that. You think he'd
have to go into a bunch at pace. Yes he did. He needs a good click here,
otherwise he's nowhere. That's very unfortunate. Very unlucky. He's
hampered on one read to the middle but that one there, if he can cue to
the side, he might be able to take that one on. John Higgins, eight.
Amazing how neither player has got his A-game in this semifinal. Barry
Hawkins not been to a final for a couple of years. John Higgins trying
to get there for the first time. Both players very tentative. The
shot that you called to cannon into the reds, he was on the key to open
them up like that and not finish nicely on one. It's a very tricky
one. Looking to the left middle pocket. One will go into the left
corner. No. In fact, he didn't want to know about a pot. I don't blame
him there. Two reds he could have had a go at, wasn't guaranteed. Good
position. With the reds open like this. One stake and the frame could
be over. -- one mistake. Barry Hawkins has played a very good
safety shot there. Maybe forced into taking this pot on. No, he's decided
against it. I wonder if Barry Hawkins will take the pot on. If the
red hadn't gone next to the black, he might well have done. The red
going next to the black is properly going to stop it. This will be some
short. Everything seems to be covered in to
the left middle pocket. Can he get past the black? I don't think so. To
pot that read. Can't see enough of that. There is one he can get
through to the middle pocket. An edgy start from both players here.
Quite understandable. Got very close to the last long pot.
This one is easier. He's played up for the blue. If he gets on the red
to the left of the black, it is a frame-winning opportunity. Probably
can't do that on fifth blue but... The pace is good for the one in the
middle but he'd like to get on to the black.
Couldn't ask for the balls to be any better here in this first frame of a
very important session. Played for the red that Willie mentioned. That
just gets it out of the way. Just coming round to see if he can
get to the potting angle of the red that is nearest. Once he gets rid of
those, all the avenues to the pockets are in the clear. He will
just pushed the red slightly towards the red on the side question and
that will clear the pockets now. An excellent chance of winning the
first frame of the session. Needs a delicate little positional
shot here. He has hit that a little bit too
hard. He didn't want this kind of angle on the pink. We'll have to
screw back of the cushion. A lot of Czech side on their two strain it
up. This is not bound to go right. He may kiss the red fall ball. Now
he is playing with bottom to screw back. It's gone wrong. The fact that
the green off its spot helps this shot. He can go around the back of
the green. Looks to have regained position.
Thought it would be a lot more difficult with the green on its
spot. Because he went right over the spot on the last positional shot.
His demeanour is a lot better this morning than it was in the last
session yesterday when he looked all at sea. Not the best contact.
Just jumped slightly there and took the pays out of the cue ball. --
pace. Now he's got to try and get to the blue. Is it going to cannon onto
the rednecks to the pink? He'd like to avoid that.
He could just avoid the cannon. Warm or good shot and Barry will have
this opening frame of the session. -- one more good shot. That looks
pretty good. He might have to use the rest. If he was to get this red
and a black, he'd be in pretty good shape. He'd be 60 in front with the
red and the black with just 59 on. Just the start that Barry was
looking for. John had a couple of chances. He should have clipped the
red into the middle pocket. That was a great chance for him. Missed it.
Barry can relax now. APPLAUSE The stats sometimes don't actually
tell the truth. Barry is in front of every start. The only thing he's
missing is the pot success. That tells the story. Barry is not
scoring the 40 and 50 breaks early on. He is out playing him in most
departments. He seems to be getting either 30 or 80. He doesn't get the
50-60 breaks that put the opponent on the back foot.
John signals to the referee and concedes the frame.
Just the start that Barry Hawkins required. Will there be a hangover
from yesterday or will it be a brand-new start? I think today will
be different. They have had a very slow start to the semifinal, one
session per day. It will seem like it has dragged on. Now, they can
finish it today. It was a perfect start for Barry. He's got to do that
this morning and really pal pressure on John Higgins. He's never looked
easy this final. He has really got to smell blood and go for the
throat. John Higgins has changed the tip of his cue. I wonder how long it
will take him to settle. How long will it take to get the measure? You
need to get a 60-70 break to ease the pressure, or make a long pot.
Until you do that, there is doubt in the back of your mind. This tip
feels different. How's it going to work out? But find out.
COMMENTATOR: All he has to do is share the sessions and John is in
the final. He'll be looking for at least two in this mini-session.
I thought he could have a free pot at that and wouldn't leave anything.
He's left the red near the middle. Just skewed slightly across that
one. Over the black, it is tough to get
the white away from the pocket, is having to dig down on it as you can
see. That is a good shot. The perfect angle to go into the pink.
There's one at the back end to the left that is available. But he
usually goes into them the first chance he gets. Maybe there's a
plant at the back as well. Maybe he spotted the two reds, yes, in line
for the pocket. Just means he has got to get good position again. To
go into the pink. One of the red is available. -- one of the red is
available. This is a slightly more difficult
pack to go into than it was from the blue. A lot of side and a lot of top
spin. No, he's played for that red that I mentioned and now that he has
finished short on it, he can open the pack that way, there are
different ways of going about getting the pack open. This was
John's choice and if this works out, he has got lots of reds in play.
Excellent. He has brought at least three reds into portable positions.
That the match yesterday and Stephen Hendry was saying if one player
plays well, it's burst the other on, and that is and has been -- spurs
the other. Yes, Stephen Hendry in the studio
was talking and only four frames in the match has a player won one frame
in one visit and that is the important part of these matches, it
takes a lot of pressure off yourself if you win a frame in one visit. It
has only happened four times in 17 frames.
This is the only red that is available. He will be looking for
another cannon. He does not want to be straight on the black, that is
careless. He stopped in his tracks and he has a look at the angle he
has left himself and it is not good. He might be able to power this in
with a lot of top spin. He's striking the cue ball right on the
top to send it off two cushions into the reds, it will not be easy to
develop any here. The shot on the black was careless. A little bit
surprised he did not generate very much top spin. The white came off at
normal pace. When they powered them in with side like Selby or
O'Sullivan when they get the top spin going, they go in with a lot of
speed. He did not generate a lot of speed.
John Higgins, 42. Barry might be tempted here to take this red into
the right corner. He could get on the black. He would have to play
it... He would have to play a great shot, a lot of scrum and side. He
will take on the fact he's 42 behind. This would be some shot if
he pots and gets it for the black. That was a good attempt, but he did
not get the cue ball where he wanted. He will be up behind the
green and pink. You would think. I don't think he can get behind the
green and pink from this one. Very clever. He could have got in behind
the green and pink off the red on the right side of the table, but he
left it and he played a safety shot and he pushed another red safe. That
was clever thinking. Which always have said he's one of the best
snooker brains in the game and he proved it. Yes, it just shows how
bad my defensive thoughts are! I thought to get behind the green.
Well played by John Higgins and he has another two reds saved, forcing
Barry Hawkins to play that shot. Well, he has got away with that. He
got the old red with a double-kiss and I think he would have been very
concerned when he saw this red coming up the cushion and making
contact with the white, because he has been very fortunate.
Well, he wants to play off the thin one, but he would be pushing that
red towards the corner. You can't get into was a colour playing the
way he's doing now but he can get into trouble if he placed tight off
that cushion. And that's not good. You could see his reaction, he was
pushing the cue through afterwards as if to say, I did not cue that
very well. That was interesting. Just watch after he plays the shot,
watch what he does. Look, he did not hit it hard enough.
And I think Barry knew that was coming, that is why he reacted the
way he did. You have got to get that cue ball near the cushion, not the
baulk line. He has come up just a little bit short, another six inches
and he would have had a very easy shot to get back to the five reds
just above the black. This is good. This is excellent.
That is a frame when. -- winner. Yes, a lot of talk about Mark
Selby's tip in the opening frame they played yesterday against Ding,
but he's played two shots that shows me he's very happy with his tip. The
first red was a stunning run, and that shot round the angles, he has
obviously spent a lot of time knocking that tip in. I think our
own John Parrott put the tip on for John. Can you believe it? I mean,
that is incredible. He slipped back into what he was doing a couple of
seasons ago. He looked a world beater. And then all of a sudden, he
does something like this. That is just amazing. Look, as he hangs his
head. That is a lapse in concentration. That is four black
Sea has missed off this spot. How costly is that going to be? That was
very careless. The miss four in one match is amazing he's in front. --
missing four in one match, it is amazing he's in front.
Barry Hawkins will be buzzing inside at this moment because if he can
pinch this frame, it may take a while for John Higgins to get it out
of his mind. As Dennis said, that was a frame-winner, and it was. I
think that is one of the easiest blacks I have ever seen anyone
missing. There's a little bit of work to do
with this cue ball. Obviously, the black is nice and easy, but can he
get the white away from the cushion? Close to the pocket, it is sometimes
hard to generate the speed. And that is the prime example. And he can
afford to be another two feet further up the table, so overhit
rather than underhit. So he has not punished John Higgins so John
Higgins may forget that black very quickly.
John can get back down the table and is looking at the two reds. He
played the safety shot but might get close to planting those reds even
though there's quite a distance between them. Just a safety shot,
but a chance he could pull this off. And he has hit it far too thick.
That is a terrible safety shot from John. He played some yesterday like
that where he just was not getting the cue ball past the baulk line.
You see him rubbing his eyes a little bit and he did that in
yesterday's session. Do you think sometimes you can want it too much,
Dennis? And all of a sudden, you lose your form? If you try too hard,
it can affect your game. I tell you what, this man is giving his all
here. He wants to get back in another final. But if he keeps
making mistakes like that... Barry Hawkins could quickly get right back
into this semifinal. A delicate little cannon here. He
could get round the back, that was even better, rather than risking
pushing the red, just slide round the back of it. It is all about that
red that is near the cushion. He's already looking to see that he could
pot the red, but a risk trying to move a red when potting a red,
always better doing it off colour. So it looks as though that it is
planned -- plan, to get off this red and scanning the other out. Only
problem is, sometimes you can leave the cue ball near a cushion. He's
going to need a good cannon on this difficult red to bring the white
away from the cushion also. Oh, he has missed the cannon. Did
not look possible, I think he was trying to hit it and did not give it
enough. I don't like to be rude, Dennis, that was on missable.
Amazing miss. Just over the six hours.
Just ten points behind, who would have thought that, John Higgins?
Should have been in the next frame, he should have had a four frame
advantage gained. And if he does not get this safe, his advantage could
cut the two frames. I was just saying the Dennis Taylor,
a very strange frame. Four golden chances, two from each. If Barry
could quit this in the left-hand corner and not cannon into the green
all the brown or going off, he would take it on, but that's not on. So a
safety shot right behind the black spot. He's so good with the rest.
He's so good with the rest. He's a little unlucky because I don't think
the brown goes past the black. But what a fantastic shot with the rest
that was, the brown into the middle. That is awkward. 87% success with
the rest. Oh, Barry! What a golden chance! Well, Barry has had three
golden chances now to win this frame. And John Higgins now we'll
forget about that black because even though he was only nine points in
front, this should be no problem at all in potting these four colours to
leave snookers required. He's going to need green, brown and blue. And
he will be able to raise that easy black that he missed off the spot.
-- to erase. In the Barry Hawkins camp, I would be very perturbed
because he's four frames behind now and he knows he should be only two.
It was workmanlike from John Higgins in this frame. At this level, you
don't normally get three chances. And he will be delighted going back.
He leads, 11-7. We have to ask, how is he four
frames ahead? There's a frailty which we did not see against Martin
Gould and Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson. This is pure concentration,
not nerves. He has done the difficult part, he has won the frame
and not paying attention to the black. Sorry, Barry Hawkins does not
deserve to win this match. If he does not jump all over that with
three chances, that is the brown, the less chance, if he does not jump
over those mistakes by John Higgins, you don't deserve to win because at
this level, you have to be punishing those mistakes. John Higgins is
playing average, let's be honest, average snooker, but is four frames
in front. How do we explain this? He's a great champion but since we
got into this one table stage, he has looked vulnerable. Yes, maybe he
does want it too much and he's trying too hard to play his best
snooker on the stage and may be he thinks it is the last time he will
be here and he wants to get the final, I don't know. Has Barry
Hawkins got too much respect for John? John was a winner when Barry
was starting out, has he got too much respect? Yes, if it keeps going
like this, John Higgins is just going to cruise to victory.
That's not the best break of shot from Barry. That is two break
office, in the first this morning he hit the blue and the green and the
second, he has, a long way short. He has not left anything for John. He
could quit this end, it is a shot to nothing. -- he could clip this in.
And he did, he has overcut it. Which means the white... That is a nice
little nudge on the brown. Although Barry can get down the right side of
the table. He has been very fortunate, John.
Very fortunate. He knew straightaway he had not potted this because he
would have been on the black, but look at where the cue ball has
finished. Yes, and there would have been a nice easy red. The red he
missed kissed the red away from the middle pocket which would have been
easier than the safety shot he's playing now. And look at the pace
again. He just can't hit a ball this morning. That is nerves. Yes, and
you are looking at a man who has been at the one-table situation
three times in the last four years, a great record. Two semis and a
runner-up. This is a bit of a bonus. He would have been playing to get
tight on the cushion and tighter behind the yellow. Even better. That
is twice across the table just a land on the side of the reds. Well,
that is nearer the pink, is it? No, perfectly played, well judged. And
John was waiting to hear touching ball, but it is not. Had it been, he
could have rolled past the green. All he can do now is off the side
cushion and into a similar position. He might just have a little bit of,
as John Parrott calls it, tipping and tapping for a few shots. There's
a tip. And the next shot will be a tap. Unless they are touching. It is
not easy. That has sorted the problem out.
This is not straightforward to get back to baulk, the red is causing a
big problem with that safety shot. He's going to have to hit that
mighty thin. Mighty thin, he did. He has been struggling to find the
baulk cushion and he hit that a little bit harder and all of a
sudden he has found his timing again. He overhit that. Well, this
is a very positive shot John is taking on here. That is a bit more
like the John Higgins we have seen throughout this year's World
Championship. That was a cracker. Because look what he was leaving had
he missed that red. I mean, you go back to the most simple black which
he missed in the previous frame but did not get punished for, and he
knocks one like that in. He has surprised me the way he has been
playing that he even took it on, but he probably thinks he has to make
something happen because he keeps waiting for Barry Hawkins's mistakes
to get in. An attacking shot and he deserves everything he gets from
that shot. He would love to take that one again. Is he on that red?
Maybe just a little bit further than he intended. I think you just missed
a little cleansing can and when he was playing and when he potted the
black -- a glancing cannon. Just glancing off that red on the edge of
the bunch. Yes, good recovery because the pink is available.
The brown spot is available should the pink not go in, so he would not
be tying up any reds at this end of the table. The referee has the ball
market in his hand, he's just checking. Top side of the blue,
straight into that pyramid red at the top.
I can't see the point of playing for the pink, to be honest.
Well, that shot amazed me. He has now got plenty to do with the cue
ball. Either the pink or the brown. And he could have easily held for
the blue, half ball. Taking the brown, probably still going to go
into the side of the pack. Got to get a lot of side on this because
the middle cushion is in the way for it to be natural. -- Middle pocket.
That is what he's after. He was unlucky. Very unlucky.
Look how close he had to get to that Middle pocket to make that shot one.
Yes, frustrating yawn almost. Frustrating raw.
He could have stopped it dead or rolled tin which would have been a
lot easier. He has now tied up both pink and brown. -- or rolled it in.
Good pot there. It was very awkward. This angle shows you how awkward
that bridge hand was there. He has regained the initiative. It's the
wrong angle on the green to take the pot on. I think a cue ball on the
cushion would be better than trying to roll up behind the colour. Does
he feel he can get some sort of angle? He's come off the brown.
That's a superb shot. That's a brilliant safety. APPLAUSE
Totally the wrong angle on the green but to play it like that and use the
brown. Just look at that. Loads of top spin. Brilliant shot. And there
he's done it again. This is a bit of the old John Higgins. He's losing
concentration. There's no pressure on him. He's potted that fabulous
others-macro and he is getting down and Mrs a sitter again. That is
going to be very confusing for him. How's that for a bit of misfortune?
To see the red comeback and block your path. In fairness, he could
have just played a holding storm shot. He got the cannon OK but is
unlucky. That's pretty good because he can't
come off the right side cushion and get behind the black, well, he could
but if he didn't get it absolutely spot on he'd leave a read. If he
gets close to the pocket, he can land on the one to the left. This is
the one that he could land on here. Well, he's hit the other one. Is he
OK? Just about. Or is it? Didn't play to hit that one. The one that
Barry thinks he can pot is the one that John was trying to lay on.
Little awkward this, he might have to play a delicate little cannon.
The only problem, he could push one red onto the black. That's a good
shot. Once again, a little unfortunate not to have nicer part
than this. -- not to have nicer pot. Careful
positional shot. He can get onto leader of the two reds to the right
of the black. After that black, he can move the red to the left of the
black spot. So, this is a frame-winning opportunity. He
certainly didn't play for this red. So short of pace.
Can you believe it? Once again, the lack of pace. That's a schoolboy
error. Goodness me. He really is going through it out there. He's got
John Higgins exactly where he wants him he just can't get into the
match. He will never ever see John Higgins play this poorly again and
find himself for friends behind. -- four frames. One good positional
shot and he can be back amongst the reds. Safely in.
Quite a margin of error there. Can you believe that start? After 14
days of snooker, both have exactly the same number of points. At this
game, points don't make prizes. It's frames that make prizes.
If he's held the spot, it's a poor shot. It makes the reds difficult to
get onto. Yet only has to run through a couple more inches and he
had the cannon. He's tried to play the angle on the black to get the
cannon again but he hasn't got it. Still slightly underhitting
everything at the moment. Barry Hawkins, 19. Not enough at
this level. When you get in, you need to score more. Unfortunately,
he didn't put the red on. Look at this shot from John Higgins. OK,
it's safe but he didn't intend to cannon into the brown. In fact, it
turned out to his advantage. He's covered that.
Just the basic, a little bit of side to get past the brown.
APPLAUSE Quite extraordinary. Look at this
shot. And then write in the middle of the pocket. And then he misses an
absolute sitter. It's amazing what is happening to the former champion
out there. That was a good long pot to knocking. -- knock in. The
right-hand red he'd like to land on. As long as he doesn't slip past the
first one. And he has slipped past it but it all depends. Has he left
it? That's not the one he played to hit. Can John get to the potting
angle? He could even play it as a shock to nothing because the brown
is over the pocket. The other way, just drop it in and be on the black.
Dead weight. That's what he's done. Of course, as he plots the one
difficult one along the cushion. He's left with the other one there.
We'll have to roll this one in and finish low on the black. Straight on
the black is no good. As slow as he can with this one. That's there.
That's a good shot. A slight chance he's going to go five frames in
front. How he's done that, I've no idea. Perfect angle. Just stunned
down, keep it away from the middle pocket. Which he hasn't done. Makes
the pot more difficult now. Caught the jaw of the left middle pocket
there. There's a bit of pressure on this now. No. The black was the poor
shot. It should have been a straightforward run to the winning
post in this frame. He's got away with that, though. When he parted
the black, he shouldn't have been near the middle pocket. Quite a
margin of error. Just misjudged it. Very good indeed from that awkward
position. All of a sudden, it's anyone's
frame. John, if he had parted the black and missed the middle jaw, he
would have been perfect on the yellow. This was the shot. Keep away
from that and you're perfect on the yellow. What a tester this is for
Barry Hawkins. The yellow passes the brown. He's automatically on the
green. What a huge shot this is. That's if he takes it on. I'm going
to fall off my chair if he plays a safety shot here. I cannot believe
it. And it was a big pocket. OK, it's quite a good shot. But where's
the advantage? He's looking at the potting angle.
This is much more difficult than the previous one. He just didn't feel
comfortable taking on the long yellow.
John Higgins will be delighted to see the pink and blue go safe
because he's 16 in front. John only needs the yellow, green,
and brown. With the blue and pink knocked into safe positions, it
makes him a strong favourite for this frame.
Where is this cue ball going? He's OK.
There was the dreaded double case. Careless from John. If he gets on
the green nicely, the pet hate of a snooker player. The double case. --
case. -- kiss. He'd love to finish on the
half ball green to bring the pink interplay. I'm not sure he can do
that. He's tried it. If it slows up he's got a chance of bringing the
green interplay. Where the blue is, he can drop nicely behind it. He
needs the pink interplay. That changes things dramatically.
But he still needs some shot to get to the blue. He's got a little bit
of angle to study it. He's got to be careful with this
one. It's a natural angle to come around
the table and finish on the black. What a frame this would be
to win he seems to be annoyed by not being in the top left-hand corner.
So much for being off in the bottom corner. He took his eye off the
pink. This is heartbreaking for these players. He put everything
into the positional side of that shot and forgot the pot. At least he
didn't leave it. He was having to play that with an awful lot of pace
to get around for the black. He's played the up and down well, as long
as the pink doesn't bounce too far. John Higgins knocking the table.
Appreciation of that good safety. The up and down is not
straightforward this time. John might be tempted to go for the
double here because the White will be coming back towards the black.
Just depends on the angle he has here. He's usually pretty good at
doubles, is John. This would be some time to get one. No. And look where
the cue ball is. Terrible effort. He should have at the cue ball on this
back cushion. What a shot Barry Hawkins is faced with here. He's got
terrific cue power. He can pop this and screw back. The thing going to
finish. Not over middle, surely. Barry has come around to look at the
angle. I think it's just gone an inch or two so far to be cuttable.
John feels he can cut this in. Have a look at this angle. How then that
would have to be. Surely not. No. And he's got away with it. Settle
down, please. I think everybody needs to settle down. It's so tense
out there. Such an important frame. No. It's the tension. This is far
from easy as well. Don't blame him. It was awkward.
More or less in the identical position he was previously when he
just doubled the pink on to the left cushion and left the white on the
right side cushion. Will he do that again? It's slightly different this
time. It's rather macho to take the double on. I think I'd be sending
the pink to the baulk cushion. Which he has done nicely. It may have been
trying to kiss the black there to push it onto the cushion. Five
minutes they played on this pink alone. This is the toughest one
Barry has been faced with. Three frames behind of five frames
behind. Maybe resting on this shot. No. He's left a chance for John. If
he plays a plain ball, the white would be close to the middle pocket.
If he puts a trace of side on it, the pot is much more difficult.
Safely in and John Higgins will be absolutely delighted. He doesn't
need the black. It looked like Barry Hawkins was going to move within
three. He is now five behind. It's not looking good for Barry
Hawkins. You picked out a shot that was an example of real tentative
thinking. He is four frames behind, it's not the time to get negative.
He might put the brown safe but when you are four frames down, you've got
to attack your opponent. Look out vulnerable John Higgins is looking.
Barry Hawkins is not going to safety is way to victory. After, he looks
like he might win the frame but then this pink. I wouldn't have played it
this hard. I know what he's doing. He's thinking if he plays it slow he
might leave the cue ball close to the side cushion. Plays more
positive but he took his eye off the pot. Barry Hawkins, the couple of
pots after that, he didn't get close. He is starting to look like a
beaten man. Higgins is there for the taking but he can't capitalise on
what John is doing. John Higgins has played 19 frames. A really average
display from him. Whether he is... Barry is respecting him too much as
a great champion. He's five frames in front. He's getting away with it.
We were just discussing the desire levels. It's proving claustrophobic
to him. His desire to get to the final. Barry Hawkins looks more, the
table. Five frame advantage. Looks like he's marching on. The last
frame of the mid-session. And let's just quickly say that
after 40 years of the Crucible... I totally agree with Stephen, John
Higgins is breaking up in frame 13 and he can't win this match unless
he attacks. At the best of times, you will not out safety John
Higgins. John Higgins is there for the taking and is five in front,
amazing. Excellent safety shot from Barry
Hawkins. Foul and a miss. Barry Hawkins,
four. Yes, it is amazing the amount of balls that Barry has potted, but
he's five frames behind. Paul Collier is just checking that he has
got the cue ball exactly where it was. That statistic tells me Barry
is dominating most of the frames. But get down to the nitty-gritty at
the latter end of the frame, he's not winning them.
He might be able to have a go at this. I don't know if it passes the
pink, maybe not. Well, I don't think so. Otherwise, he... Well, it sort
of does, but he's just playing the safety shot. I don't know if this
red cuts in, the one he's playing. No, just a safety shot, and it is
not a good one. It was not an easy red but the red would have passed
the pink and he could have got on the black without leaving a great
deal. John Higgins, just a trace of left-hand side will get him onto the
black in the left-hand corner. Decided to play the other ones
first, going for the blue. You will probably notice that red went in off
the side for the Dua Lipa Micro -- for the jaw. Watch the way this red
goes in, how thick, it took the pace out of the cue ball which tells me
he's still not cueing great. Imperative this time that he gets
the correct side of the blue to get up to the reds near the black. Three
reds available. Which he would have played for previously, but he did
not get the angle to do that. No, nowhere. So at the moment, John is
just playing pretty average snooker, but he's five frames in front. His
match against Mark Allen was incredible, Mark Allen was
incredible in that match. Barry Hawkins has won one of these
first four frames. But he should really be trailing nine, ten now.
Well, that was a bit more like Barry Hawkins. He's so good at that type
of shot. The black is on, but he's looking at you would have to say the
more difficult green. This is just rolling got behind it. -- rolling
up. But the red was difficult, the black was nearer the pocket, but he
did not even contemplate taking that on. OK, the white was down near the
jaws of the pocket, but he potted a cracking red, the black was slightly
easier. I think he's waiting to get a good chance amongst the balls, but
sometimes, that does not come along. Well, he has got a chance here.
Awkward bridging, but if he'd just rolls the red in, the black is there
for him. He's hampered by a couple of reds.
Well played, very good. Striking down like that, if you just get a
bit of unwanted side, it makes you missed the pot.
He could do with this being off straight so he could pot this red
just is the kiss on the black. He can run round two cushions, so he's
OK. Got to be straight on that red. You are kidding me! He just wants
the ground to open up and take him away at the minute. It must be soul
destroying for Barry, he's such a brilliant player. Stephen Hendry
talks about his match in the English Open at Preston. He made five
centuries in about nine frames and he looked unbeatable. At this moment
in time, he's playing like a club player. Really, really struggling.
You have to feel for him. Yes, it is awkward now with the two
reds up the other end of the table. John is close to the cushion, but he
can just create enough back spin, he feels. Using the brown and the red,
and he played that want to perfection.
He took that on and he got up straightaway, he knew he had mis-hit
that. Was trying to pot that red and come back for the black, but as soon
as Barry delivered the cue, he more or less stored up and you don't
usually see that. -- he more or less stored up.
That was the pot that Barry Hawkins played and missed a long way, John
Higgins plays a similar pot and he gets it.
Did he get heavy contact that? Fortunately, he has got the red to
the left of the yellow available because he's the wrong side of the
blue. That did not seem to jump that time. He's almost straight on this
blue. So he could leave the one in to the right corner, he had that to
the left of the yellow, had it not been quite at the correct angle. So
he's OK at the moment. Mid-session interval is coming up
after this frame. And at the moment, without playing anywhere near his
best, he's cruising towards the final, it has to be said. Should
John Higgins get to the final, which is obviously looking like he's the
favourite to do so now, he will have to at least get the fourth gear to
have a chance of playing against Mark Selby. But he can do that, he's
such a great match player. And I think he may relax if he did get the
final. He has under scrutiny that again. You just can't get the right
side of the blue at the moment. He might relax a little bit more when
he gets to a final. Yes, he has got to pot quite a view balls before he
gets to that position. Big odds-on favourite now to do that.
Nice angle on the yellow and he can go straight into the reds, a couple
of loose reds covering each other, so any sort of cannon, he would
bring some into play. Just plenty of left-hand side, nice little pond
shot. -- punch shot. There's one available, but is he going to be on
it? I'm surprised he did not play the cannon. He usually does. There's
one red he could get on. And he has misjudged it.
Well, the red is still cut a ball, but the white will be running around
the table free and he has decided to take the cut on. Coming round to
look at the potting angle and with the safety shot, it is bite the
bullet and stay safe. It is dangerous to take the cut on.
Well, it was a great pot with all the extensions on the cue and rest.
So it is just a little talk up behind the brown here.
And that is clever, he has blocked off the escape down the right side
of the table. And if Barry goes the left side of the table, you will do
well not to leave a pot one. I don't know if the two cushion escape route
is there to get back down the table. Just looking to see if he could
possibly attempt that. He has tried it. He does not mind giving four
points away. Better that than hitting the red sick and leaving
John Wright in amongst them. -- hitting the red sick.
That was the big problem with that shot, so difficult to judge. Just
overcompensated. 26 behind at the moment, just glancing at the monitor
to see exactly what is left, this red will cost. Changed his mind
slightly. As to the way he's going to play it.
He did not get the cannon on the pink as he intended and now it is
awkward. You can take the green on, but do the reds pot in the left-hand
corner, is there one of them available? Yes, there's one there.
He can get across full-back. -- he can get across four that. That is
just about perfect. Great chance now. Yes, it was fortunate because
that was tight on the cushion, that shot would not have been on. The
preview shot he played to kiss the green. He's 30 in front. Three reds
and three colours is enough. Reluctant to say at this moment in
time he's going to get three reds and 323 macro. Nothing is
straightforward between Barry Hawkins and John Higgins at the
moment. That tells me the top one of the three is into the right-hand
corner or else he would not have played that way, clearly.
Two ways of playing this, you play the cannon to leave the reds or you
play the right-hand side to get the other side of the reds. That is the
shot he felt would get on one, but he hasn't, so would you question the
way he played it? He would have been thinking any kiss is good, except
that one. This red can still be cut. It is fair. And somehow, he goes
into this mini-session 3-1. Without any breaks, his highest was 42. If
you had told me he would win three of the four frames against Barry
Hawkins, there would definitely be a wager on that and I would have lost
the game. Barry Hawkins has got a lot to think
about. John Higgins goes further clear, now leading 13-7, six in
front. A six frame advantage and he needs
just four more and he might be looking at them in this session to
get into a sixth final. What a curiously difficult first
mini-session to describe, please sum that up, Stephen. In terms of the
playing of snooker, average, not great snooker. John Higgins looks
under severe pressure. I think he's putting himself under pressure to
get to a final. I think to be perfectly honest, when he plays
Barry Hawkins, he has had half an eye expecting to beat Barry, which
is right because he's a better player than Barry Hawkins, he has
more pedigree at the Crucible. And he's so desperate to get the final,
it is affecting his game and his demeanour. Barry failing to grasp
the metal. He has had his chances and has failed to be decisive this
enough to go for them. This could be deferred in recent times and he will
be well beaten if he keeps going like this. We have talked about how
Ding has found another level and maybe Barry Hawkins needs to find
another level to start competing at the business end of this tournament.
He loves playing here and is very consistent and gets to the one-table
set-up, but you need that bit extra. You are only halfway to getting the
job done, so he needs to, it looks like he's going to lose this match
unless something drastic happens, he needs to look at himself and see
what he has to do to win this. The last couple of semifinals, he has
been beaten by Shaun Murphy with a session to spare against Ronnie a
couple of years ago. So much to do, not many big breaks, only one
century, and half a decade since we had a maximum at the Crucible, you
remember the one! Cliff Thorburn taking this sport to the max in
1983. I do remember having a dream a couple of weeks beforehand that I
could make a 147 in the World Championship.
Well, that is one way of getting them, I suppose, and staying on the
black as well. When I did have the first opportunity to shoot the first
black, the balls were spread nice and good.
Spread open beautifully. I was sick, I did not feel that
great. But anyway, I managed to keep going.
On a stage like this with just one red left, he stops and he blows his
nose and he says, let's have a break. If he can take this red and
the black, the colours will be on their spots.
I was thinking positive. Keep rolling! They have actually
stopped playing on the other table. Now this is the real shots to get on
the yellow. He hasn't come quite for enough. He
has left himself a tough shot, 15 reds and 15 blacks he has taken now.
When I got to the black at the very end, I felt comfortable enough to
save to myself that I wanted to pot the black no matter the size of
pocket. Good luck, mate. Wonderful! That is
truly wonderful! A very defining moment for me.
That was the first in 1983 and there have been nine since made by six men
in total, three from Stephen Hendry and three from Ronnie O'Sullivan and
yours was the last in 2012, a long time ago! Yes, you keep saying there
are a load of maximum is these days but nonsense me, very surprising.
Their team this season, extraordinary. Perhaps something to
do with the prize money, it is not the incentive it once was? -- 13
this season. Yes, it is very poor in the biggest tournament we have, it
is pretty miserable, I think. One reason why Ronnie never gave it 100%
is that. Yes, that was the third 146 in his quarterfinal against Ding
Junhui. We will be coming back shortly, but we are moving to red
Button coverage now for the remainder of this. That will be
coming up on the red Button, and you can continue to watch the last four
frames between John Higgins and Barry Hawkins and then we will
return shortly at 1:15pm on BBC Two for the last frames of bests. And
building up to that blockbuster final frame and it could be a final
session between Selby and Ding Junhui. See you soon.