Day 16, Final, Afternoon Session Snooker: World Championship

Day 16, Final, Afternoon Session

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Good afternoon. Youth trumped experience in last night's


prizefight at Wembley but will it do so again in the Crucible Theatre?


Because we have got ourselves another heavyweight contest. Mark


Selby, the world number one at the peak of his powers is the man who


owns the title. John Higgins, one of the greats of the game, at 41 years


of age still capable of landing a punch and a fifth world title. The


Crucible Theatre is filling up beautifully ahead of this year's


Betfred World Championship final. And the world number one defending


champion Mark Selby is into the second round. And he wins quite


comfortably in the end, Mark Selby is now through to the quarterfinal.


It's nearly embarrassment level. What tremendous, almost flawless


snooker from the current world champion and he's going to be so


hard to beat. It's been a fabulous semifinal. Mark Selby gets into his


third final in four years. To get there again having come here as


defending champion, it would be nice to go out there and win it again but


if I didn't I have had a good run as defending champion but I will have


to scrape myself off the table for the next two days for me to not win


that title. Every credit to Martin, he did really well there but John


Higgins is now safely through to the second round. 94% potting success,


what a performance from John Higgins, he's back to his best in my


opinion! John Higgins is through to his


eighth World Championship semifinal. John Higgins wins comfortably by


17-8. What a final we have got to look forward to! It means everything


really, it is the World Championship, the biggest tournament


in the world, and having a chance to compete in the final again and try


to add another one to make it five, it would be my best ever achievement


in snooker. Steve, put yourself in Mark Selby's


shoes, what have you made of his progress in the championship? I


think he will be pleased with it, confidence and energy levels will be


high. Two easy first rounds and a second round, against Marco Fu in


the quarterfinals, he got into bed with one session to spare, tested


strongly against Ding Junhui but came through with flying colours,


but from John Higgins' perspective, how do you think you will be


feeling? He had a tough draw, Martin Gould, since then the matches have


gone to plan, he came through relatively easy against Barry


Hawkins and let's be honest, you don't win four of these things


unless you know your way around one of these. Whoever picks up this


trophy will have deserved it. This Crucible final between Selby


and Higgins is take two, ten years on because they squared up in 2007


when an up and coming Mark Selby had yet to win any titles in the sport


and now owns seven majors. Higgins was the man back then, but this time


in the 16th big match between them, the veteran comes in as underdog.


Here we are, backstage, next to the champions board. Who will be on


there 2017? Will it be John Higgins, four times champion, Mark Selby,


defending champion? This is when the nerves, excitement and anticipation


kick in. They both look very relaxed. Just a little smile. They


can't wait to get out, we can't wait to see what happens. The first few


frames very important, set down the marker.


Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. After 15 epic days of


action, this is the big one, welcome to the final of the 2017 Betfred


World Snooker Championship. Two of the all-time greats waiting


backstage so let's get the boys on Please welcome a player already


regarded as one of the greats. He won his first world title in 1998


and here he is, almost two decades later still going strong, still at


the top, still hungry for more, a man of immense courage and


determination, such a proud day for him and his family, the Wizard of




And his opponent, a player who from humble beginnings has journeyed to


the very top of his sport and done so with humour, humility and style.


Ten years on from his first Crucible final, back as defending champion


and world number one. A mild-mannered man with the heart of


a lion. Ladies and gentlemen, he's a credit to the sport and his family,


he is the from Leicester, he is Mark Selby! -- the Jester from Leicester.


CHEERING AND APPLAUSE So sit back and immerse yourself in


what is a full two de drama at the Crucible.


Four sessions between now and tomorrow evening, John Higgins


attempting to join Ronnie O'Sullivan as a five-time world champion. Mark


Selby hoping to join three legends who have won this back to three


occasions. John Parrott alongside John Virgo,


good afternoon. COMMENTATOR: Yes, there is nothing


like the final of the World Championship at the Crucible,


Sheffield. And as you say, it will be played over four sessions, the


first to a team to lift that magnificent trophy. But we well


know, Stephen, that this first session is always very important.


Just to get a foothold or stay in the match or those psychological


things you think about. STEPHEN HENDRY: Very much so, I agree


totally. The last thing John wants to be doing is chasing this final


the whole way for two days. I think John Higgins can... It is a world


final, he's not going to relax, but I think he can enjoy it. He's


definitely the underdog, he has nothing to lose in my opinion. He


can relax and play the snooker we know he is capable of. That's a good


start. He came through his semifinal very


comfortably. Without making a century break I think, in that whole


semifinal, John. He is OK, maybe overscrewed that


slightly. You wouldn't be human if you weren't feeling a little bit of


nerves. In these opening exchanges. That one not right in the heart of


the pocket, but safely in. A couple of roads above the black


available. That's why he didn't have to go into the reds to play any


cannons. He's played that nicely. And it's been a bit of a resurgence


of John Higgins this season. In three ranking events early on in


the season, to show he was no back number. He just went off the boil a


bit but has produced some great snooker in this championship. His


performance against Mark Allen, if he produces that, he has a chance


here. He has more of a -- more than a chance if he reproduces that. If


you watch after every pot, his tongue comes out slightly and that


to me is a sign of when he is in the zone, focused.


Just got to be precise, going for the red in the same pocket as the


black. Judged it nicely. Yes, you will see that almost every shot.


That didn't sound too good, that did not sound good. No, that was a bad


contact. Contact that took all of the pace out of the cue ball.


Thankfully the red went in, but this black is tricky.


A shake of the head. Has he got on this red? He can't hit through to


the red. That was a good pot, played with a trace of side. That cue ball


with a bit more pace may have released, but as you can see he just


cannot get to the potting angle. Yes, I think he wanted to have a


slight flick on the red that he is snookered by. Didn't quite get the


side on the cue ball that he wanted or get the reaction he was open for


off the cushion. -- that he was hoping for.


This is careless. You don't make a 34 break and then play a careless


shot like that. You would be disappointed. Can't be leaving a pot


on. He's got quite an acute angle on


this blue, if he wants to go into the pink, really nipped the cue


ball. He thought about it. This needs good striking. And he


did. Yes, good shot. Doesn't have to do


much with this red, just roll it in, even though he's closer to the


cushion than he would like. Yes, right in the heart of the pocket.


And John Higgins will be sitting in his seat now, thinking, "What was I


doing with that safety shot?" All he had to do was make sure he didn't


leave the pot on. He couldn't leave anything. He just needed the cue


ball to run this side of the black. How costly will that careless shot


be? I used to find playing in the world


finals four session much over two days, the final session seems so far


away when you start in the afternoon of Sunday.


That was a nice little kiss, the last case he got just took the cue


ball up towards the blue. Otherwise he was going to be on nothing there.


Yes, he's got a bit of work to do here, to get the cue ball at the


baulk end. He has got a good line. But as hard as he hit it, I think


the cue ball would have run down the table a bit further. This is no


gimme. The cushions have apparently been


recovered for today and tomorrow's final so perhaps didn't get that


speed of the blue out of the baulk that he will maybe get in a few


games' time. He got a good red to rescue the situation and this is an


excellent positional shot. He will be disappointed not to win the frame


from here. Yes, when you look at the table, you can't see a difficult


ball, apart from the pink but he doesn't need the pink to win this


frame. Without worrying about that. It just shows you though, Stephen,


you just cannot drop your guard for a second. John Higgins was playing


nothing safety shot, left the red, looks like it cost him the frame.


Yes, and that's why this tournament is such a test of stamina and


concentration. One lacks shot, you think oh well, I will get away with


that, but you don't at this level. And probably the last player you


expect to do that is John Higgins. That takes Mark five points into the


lead with the four reds left on the table. And the black, you would


assume. That would be enough to get to the snooker is required stage.


Here are seven of the 24 points needed. He will be playing the red


on the left-hand side of the table here. Could have played better.


Could have played it better. I thought it would have screwed off


the side cushion. That's exactly what I was thinking. If you use the


cushion you have a much better chance of leaving yourself a decent


shot. Blind pocket. But right in the heart of it. He's going to have to


pot this black and come in the left-hand red. And he got it right.


-- cannon the left-hand red. Perfectly played.


It has to be said, both players looking sharp. John Higgins was in,


but for a better kiss when he hit the roads, this could have been his.


A careless positional shot. Mark Selby has looked very sharp also.


Hopefully, a sign of things to come. Let's be fair to John as well, it


was a bad contact that left him a quarter ball like. If he'd had a


normal contact he would have been better on the black.


That was an important black because these two players are probably the


best in the game against snooker is so it's very important to make sure


you kill the game off when you get to the end of it. Don't let your


opponent back to the table, if there's even three snookers, John,


they might fancy it. They certainly know their way around a snooker


table. And looking at the time of this frame, it's been quickfire


potting and break-building, but we will have some very tactical games,


I think that's bound to happen. Well, missed the brown but I don't


think John Higgins will come back to the table. It was just a loose


safety shot really, he was unlucky not to get on a red, but he did not


give Mark Selby anything. With that break of 76, he takes the first


frame. Yes, it is worth telling you that


that was the 202nd frame they have played in professional snooker, and


the margin of difference is two frames. Selby actually leads John


Higgins! What a start, brisk business, and tough school, one


mistake on safety and that's it. Yes, not like John as well. We have


a shot later that we will show, this is all about Mark Selby. It is a


horrible shot into a blind pocket that he drops and keeps the break


going. Trust me, they are horrible and I don't think there is anybody


in the game that's better at awkward shots. I used to think Mark Williams


was good at that stuff. I think we saw a famous black missed like that


at one time. There's nobody like him. Steve, what will be the


difference for John Higgins here? Because he said after his semifinal,


his levels are going to have to come up. Already there is a spring in his


step. Yes, there's a thought, it may not play a part in it. There's four


sessions of play coming got to get out of the starting blocks in each


session as quickly as you can and that's one of the keys to being a


successful winner of this tournament. John Higgins got out of


the blocks quickly but when the question was asked Mark Selby he got


straight back into his stride. The one ahead.


JOHN VIRGO: Frame two under way, and that's not the best safety from


Mark. He doesn't have to do anything, no side, he can go round


the back of the black so good cueing, centre ball striking needed.


And got. So, as in the first frame, John Higgins gets first chance. Yes,


two out of two. A little bit ironic really, mistakes on safety shots


macro from two of the best players in safety today. That was a nicely


played shot as well. Couldn't really have picked the cue ball up in his


hand on put it any better. I like to see 90% on safety, but we are in the


final so something has been working. I like to see about 30%, John!


Using the bunch here. Don't miss the black. At this level, if you miss a


black on the spot while you are in, you are asking for trouble. Yes, I


agree, John. He's going to struggle to win this final if he misses many


of them. Got to keep unforced errors at premium.


He has got the red to the right corner, but hampered. But he thinks


he can cut this one back to the left corner.


The cue ball could be going near the right middle here. He has overcooked


it. -- overcut it. For once, missing the black off the spot has not been


too costly. Playing the road the middle, which


gives him more control for position. Played it well.


Don't think there is any value. He could pot the green and try to bring


the black into play, but no value in that, Stephen? A bit early to be


thinking of that. Just concentrate on the loose roads. I don't know, it


is a pretty good call. Yes, it's just one of those things that if you


caught the black the wrong side and couldn't get through to the red over


the corner, you would have been thinking, why didn't I do that?


Maybe concentrate on building up a useful lead and think that way at


the moment. Yes, I think if you are four or five frames into this


session, you would definitely have played that shot. He has been


unlucky there. He has got this blew straight to the green pocket, he has


been very lucky. That was a nice kiss on the blue. As


Stephen said, anything but straight that would have been very awkward.


But the one of the ball can change so quickly in this game, when you


get it, take advantage. Especially in a four session match.


The run of the ball can change so many times.


It looks like he's going to leave himself further away from this red


than he would like. I think the pink is available to left middle. Nothing


to do with the cue ball, just stun this red in.


Stroke that beautifully. It is so easy on that type of shot to


decelerate and just not get through it, but he held the cue ball


perfectly. Now, does the pink go on its old


sport? You wouldn't mind it going on the black spot. That's handy. That's


very handy. This could be the shot now That wins


him a frame. The pace should open everything up


here. To the right middle, it's


unmissable. He will not want to nudge the other red. He'll want to


pot it clean and he did. Looking for another 24 points to get


to the snookers required stage. That was a heavy contact. It didn't run


through as he would have liked. Wanted to be straight on his red


immediately left of the pink. Now, as we watch it, he doesn't want to


Whether he thought he could get a kiss on the black or something, I


don't know. I know he'll play the snooker now.


You don't want to break up your rhythm, do you? You don't want to


stop all the time to get the cue ball cleaned. He's got a 42-point


advantage. He's thinking, can I pot a colour safe and stale get the


snooker? Personally, I would be rolling up to the green.


Mark Selby having a look. He's interested.


Unless it flicks off the next red, it's hard to tell from behind the


pocket. You'd only know if you looked down. It's not a direct


plant, but it is a return to bog. I don't know whether it flicks off the


third red. We'll see. Only just trying to find the path


back to the ball. That red immediately to the left of the pink,


I think it's available. That's the one John played for before, until he


got the heavy contact on the blue. Stephen said they recovered the


cushions. Seem to be coming off them a little bit slower than they had


been doing. I think as a player, you prefer that


from the other extreme, bouncing off the cushions.


Pretty much uncontrollable when that happens.


Just a bit thick. That was half a chance.


There is a red, so not completely snookered.


A bit thick again, took the pace out of the cue ball.


I suppose you could say not left anything that easy. But a look of


bemusement on John's face. I bet the fans of the safety game


will be fascinated to find out who gets the better of the exchanges


over the next two days. The thing is and that was a nice


kiss, but no matter how good the safety is, it will come down


eventually to who will knock the long reds in.


So John Higgins has made that adjustment to get the pace of the


table. Given Mark here something to think


about. As I say, John Higgins having a


42-point lead. One more chance and the frame will be his.


If you play that across double, a fraction too thick, you can get into


another red and keep the cue ball at this end.


Over one minute's thinking time. If he could, he may play off the side


cushion to try and nestle on the red. I think the brown may be


stopping that escape route. If he plays the red on the left-hand


side of the table, he's got to catch it mighty thin.


This is a big shout - a two cushion escape with pace. I know he's very


good at this t this will be good. He's caught it thick. Where's the


red going? Would you believe it! Looked to his


opponent, raised a hand. Not a glimmer from John Higgins.


This is horrendous if you were John Higgins sitting in the chair. He's


in. He's going to win the frame now and the red goes in the mid-. And


yes... John's been around long enough to know that things... If the


red doesn't go in the pocket, look where the cue ball was, it was a


simple finish of the frame. OK, only cost one point, but it's kept him in


the frame. Once again, struggling with the pace


of the table, want it to be on the baulk cushion, no not the baulk


line. Well, couldn't have been much closer


with the pot and no luck this time for Mark Selby. I have to say it is


a bit unfortunate for that red to come back, the cue ball.


Just got to control it. Got to miss the kiss on the red and


the red below the pink, for position. Shouldn't be a problem.


Seems to be playing slower off the cushions at the moment.


The last long ball attempt that John played, you could tell when the cue


ball came off the top cushion, the way it reacted.


If you watch the cue ball here... Couldn't quite see it from that


angle. Not perfect on this pink. That's why


he's missed it. And it all came about when he potted the blue and he


didn't get right on the red. OK, he potted in the middle.


He's gone away from the red he needed to clinch the frame. He


shouldn't have missed the pink, in all honesty. Needs to win this frame


for me now, John Higgins, because he's had a few chances at it. And


he's maybe getting a wee bit edgy. I couldn't agree with you more and


that red over the corner now covered.


John Higgins has a problem. Played that nicely. Needs to run a


touch. The red to the left of the pink as


we look, he can get to the potting angle. Can he? There's a gap.


There's always a gap! He can pot this.


Unbelievable! It's amazing. Is he on the colour? Is he on the


brown? At the moment, he's 47 points behind and he's only 43 remaining.


He was hoping to be on the black. If he pots the brown, he can only tie


now. He could pot the brown but he's 43


points behind, 43 remaining and he's sneaked past the pink and he's not


on the red. And whatever red he plays, if he doesn't get a black


with it, he'll need a snooker. Not out of the woods yet.


This is tough. I don't think as a player you can just roll in. I think


there's a danger of the left corner pocket, so he'll have to stun it a


little bit and that makes the pot a little bit more difficult. Right


below centre, just to widen the angle.


Yes. He was tough. I am sure he would like to look at John Higgins


now and say, you can have this frame. But it's not to do that.


He'll be a very relieved John Higgins now to have finally got this


frame in the bag. Once again, you see, just not got


the pace of this table yet. On the line and on the scoreboard, I


wonder how much relief there'll be from John Higgins. A few edgy


moments there. As he got off to a decent start in the first frame.


Looked like he was cueing well. It is not nice to feel you are cueing


well and the frame starts to slip away. Sort of reset now and you've


got your game going. You've got your arm going. This is the fifth time


they have met at the Crucible. Interesting matches in the past. It


is John who has the better record here. He's 3-1 ahead at the


Crucible. He played in a best of 17 as well. So, as it's going a long,


John's held the upper hand, which may surprise a few people. Mark


Selby only beat him once at the Crucible, way back in the first


round. Other than that John Higgins has been doing very well. He's won


three titles this season. Mark's won four. I was looking at the odds the


bookmakers were offering, you could get lengthy odds on John here, just


over 2-1, which surpriseded me? There was a big boxing fight last


night between the old man and the young man. I think probably the


youth was the only reason that person got over the line in the end.


I think youth may play its part in this game as well. I think they are


chatting about the cushions or something here. I think because we


noticed straightaway on the commentary it doesn't seem to be


bouncing off the cushions very quickly. It is a new cloth. It was


done last night. Sometimes it takes a while to bed in. I think that is


what the discussion was about. Plenty to talk about between the


players and us. We are into frame three.


THE COMMENTATOR: Sorry, I can not help you with what they were


chatting about. Any clues, Stephen?


I don't know. Normally it would be, I wouldn't say there was much point


talking about the cushions - it's not as if they can do anything about


it. Sometimes the players can think a white is a little bit light and


maybe change the cue ball. The cushions - there's no point chatting


about it as you cannot exactly change the cushions.


A little pacey on that one. He hit the red, as he wanted to. Maybe a


normal adjustment, trying to find that baulk cushion.


You heard John Higgins there saying, "Shot." That was an excellent safety


shot there from Mark Selby. Can hit the red down the left-hand


side of the table. Nestling into this cluster, got to be careful. You


can slide past them. Doesn't want to slide past them!


He has. And I was going to say, he's weary


about how the cushions are reacting, that wasn't as easy a shot as it


might have been. Mark playing the more difficult red.


The position, may have to use the bunch now to kill the pace of the


cue ball. Keep it on a red, left corner. Don't forget to pot the


black. As we said, normally very costly. In


fact when John Higgins missed the black off the spot in the last


frame, it didn't cost him in the end, but it may cost Mark dear here.


Well, he will be going back to his seat now, John Higgins, absolutely


kicking himself. He let Mark Selby off there.


Mark Selby got out of his seat, he sort of examined the cushions and


pulled a face of disapproval. Obviously players are not happy with


the way this table's playing. Got to get over that and just get on


with it. The old saying, it's the same for


both players. It is at this level. It's not if


you're playing someone you should be.


This is what Stephen's referring to. You see, sometimes when they recover


the cushions, they can just pull them a little bit too tight and then


the point of the rubber, where the cue ball bounces off, could just be


a little bit trapping the ball slightly.


Normally the table-fitters do such a good job. This table seems to be


playing superbly. The session that Mark Selby had against Ding Junhui,


nothing wrong with the table then. They have put new cloth covers on.


I am sure, at the interval they'll have a word with the tournament


director. Anyway n the mean time, excellent


chance this now for Mark Selby. John Higgins couldn't blame the


cushions for the red he missed middle. It had nothing to do with


the cue ball. Just pot the red. OK, it's more of an acute angle than


it looks sometimes. You wouldn't have expected him to have missed


that. A cannon into this cluster of five, if it goes right, frame over.


Well, he must have found a red in the middle of that five that goes.


Does it go? Must do. Yes.


So, let's have a look now. He'll still have to open these four reds


to open the frame at this visit. Looking for another 18 points.


He's going to need another red and a high value colour. Blue will put him


63 points in front, with 75 remaining.


It was a half chance of a counter attack. It was not easy that red.


Especially playing two cushions for the black. Sometimes those are the


ones in world finals you have to take.


That was a type of frame. It may still be because I don't think he's


left Mark Selby anything easy. 75 remaining. Still needs a red and


a colour. But it is frames like that crow can look back on in -- you can


look back on in matches and say, remember that third frame, it turned


the match? John Higgins missed a red in the


middle. A bit of nerves out there. I think it is plain to see.


Understandable. The double... It's not there. The


problem is if the double doesn't go in, you are not certain where the


red will go, depending on which jaw of the middle pocket it hits. It was


close. Just not there. Will John be tempted


to play this red along the cushion? It's a lot more difficult than the


one he missed before. A big shot. Could be a big frame if


he knocks it in. Too thick. Just wanted to glance off


the red to lead it to the left corner. Safety shot now, I think,


unless this red fancies going to the left-middle. But I think it is too


risky. Just got to make sure... He's coming around now, covers that brown


or yellow. Probably brown. He's very much back in this frame, John


Higgins. Got to cover the red near the middle


and I'm not certain he has. No. He's left a gap.


Not saying it's the easiest pot. He shouldn't have left him this. I was


going to say that, John. This is a horrible shot. He's not really play


it with a lot of pace. Bound to leave it.


Took the stress out of the short. Bidwell, his shot maker, Mark Selby,


no doubt about that. So, a nervy frame, but Mark Selby is


going to take it. Just this red required.


There you see it, 67 ahead, 51 remaining, but not for long. The red


just right of the pink is on. Yes, the second famous 22 minutes,


but this one just over 13 minutes is going to be finished any time now so


I'm sure in this match we will have some 40 minuters, maybe even 50,


because they are such great tactical players, but at the moment it is


pretty open. Of course it depends if the black and pink stay in the open.


Nice shot, got the cannon. The frame is over, so getting down quickly.


It's not far away. It has just pulled to the cushion.


The World Championship last for 17 days, and at the end of it you just


want a show really, you want a good final. And it has all the makings of


being a good final. Mark Selby world number one, defending champion, and


John Higgins, one of the toughest competitors in the game. So let's


hope both players find their best form and we will be in for a real


treat. A bit of an exhibition shot there


from Mark. He's not bothered about the pink now.


Indigo is the black, so Mark Selby made a few mistakes, John Higgins


was unable to punish him, and the defending champion goes ahead 2-1.


Interesting opening exchanges from both players. You saw the players


talking at the beginning of the frame and they were talking about


the cushions. This table has a new cloth on it, and what happens is


sometimes the cue ball traps so it's a little bit slower. Remarks are --


we saw Mark Selby low on a black and both players are little bit


unnerving. But don't forget there were 57 frames over the two matches


in the semifinals. This is a new cloth and it will take a few frames


to bed in. Some of the safety shots have been short of the baulk line.


They are not as square off the cushions as in the semifinals. It


will take a few frames to bed in but I'm sure the players will get used


to it quickly. That was well explained by Ken.


After the referee set up the balls in the last frame they were having


an in-depth conversation about something. But there's not a lot he


can do about it, unless he's got a screwdriver with him. The cushions


are ready-made, ready to be clipped on, so I suppose they could do it


after the afternoon session. Cut that break of shot much too


thick. But not left anything that would tempt John Higgins you


wouldn't have thought, unless he can get past the yellow to the red on


the right-hand side of the table, but I don't think you can. No, he


cannot play the pot on this red, he would be bound to be running into


another red, so just a safety. Need to miss brown. And that's one


of the best safety shots we have seen so far. Good line, good length.


Something that he didn't do a lot with with Dean -- Ding Junhui. A


possible plot, but risky. Now, can he cue past the red to make


the black unmissable? I think he can. Good part. An aggressive safety


from Mark Selby just left half a chance, in it went, and then for all


money it looks like the cue ball was going to finish up in the middle.


Couldn't have been any closer. But as I say, I think he can just cue


past this red. It is awkward if he can't. One good thing, he can just


fully concentrate on potting the bark. He's bound to be on something.


There is a red in the bottom of the bunch to the left corner, even the


red closest to the cue ball pots in the same pocket. Playing with a


touch of the left-hand side. As you say, Stephen, quite a few reds to go


four-point Here, having to put side on that you wouldn't want to. It


always makes the pot a little bit tricky. So a decent chance for John


here. I said earlier on, we didn't have


the century in the semifinal, we did have one in the final. You would


expect John to have three or four. One of the best break-builders the


game has seen. He needs to bring that game to this final. He has had


six in the competition so far will stop its going to put pressure on


Mark Selby in this final. He has got to win frames like this at one


visit. I know you can win frames in all types of ways but nothing puts


fear in all types of ways but nothing puts fearing your -- fear in


your opponent than capitalising on shots like this. Played for the red


just the right of the black. He wants to be straight on at all


costs. He is perfect. If he'd just been the wrong side of Street, he


would have had to try to avoid the two roads near the top cushion, but


finished on it nicely. Still imperfect position. When you watched


John Higgins' technique, what's different from almost every other


player in the game is how far his tip is from the cue ball when he


addresses the shot. Almost every other player virtually touches the


cue ball. You can see the distance. Fortunately he has had the same cue


action his whole career, very repetitive, very effective.


Yes, it's funny when you look at that addressing the cue ball, when


you get someone like Ding Junhui, he is so close. The other day he fouled


the cue ball, just feathering it. No chance of John Higgins ever doing


that. Another little quirk, John, he's


right-handed but he puts his job in his left pocket and uses his left


hand to chalk his cue. Ray Reardon used to do the same, he have that


habit. -- puts his chalk in his left pocket. The reason you have got all


of these bits of knowledge about John, you practised with him for so


many years. It's getting near the point now where he may have to go


into reds, so he needs a good angle on the block. Just about got it.


Played to perfection. He had to get that screwing the cue ball to bring


it back out of the reds. This is the first century of this final coming


up. There you see it, 63 ahead, 83


remaining. That equates to red, colour, red, to get to snookers


required. I must admit, in the second round I


thought we might beat the record for centuries this year but it doesn't


look like it now, unless we have an extraordinary final. 86 is the


record. I can't see there being 17 centuries in the final, John. That


would take some doing. You never know. In goes the black so there


will be no way back to the table now for Mark Selby. Mid-session interval


after this game. The question is, can John make the century.


What a way to punish that mistake on the safety shots from Mark Selby.


Just over an hour ago, so it is pretty good pace. As I said at the


time, it was the type of safety shots that he wasn't playing against


Ding Junhui. But he thought he would put pressure on John, and this is


what happens. John knocked it in, or I may be a bit fortunate to catch


the knuckle of the pocket and finish on the black, but Mark Selby, no


matter how good a player he is just had to sit in his seat and watch.


Not the best positional shot there though from John Higgins. It's a


good shot here to keep this break going.


Immaculate. There is his mum Josephine, enjoying this century


break. It really has been immaculate from the word go.


Possible 141 if he gets the black off this last red. The highest break


of the tournament is still held by Ronnie O'Sullivan, a break of 146.


Soap, the six remaining colours for a wonderful compiled break. And it


just shows you, this game, half a chance, good pot, and he's never


really been in trouble. He has taken these really well. That's a good


sign for the rest of this match as far as John Higgins and his


supporters are concerned. Well played. Superb, and Mark Selby


gives a little tap on the table to agree with me. And John Higgins has


never been in front but he's all square again as we go to the first


mid-session interval of the final. All square, two apiece.


John's highest break at the Crucible this year, Mark Selby with the


immaculate 143 which was described by the pundits as the most


incredible they have seen, but John Higgins' significantly means he has


found 50. And what a fillip for him, what a great way to walk into that


session. Absolutely, there was an interesting aside at the start of


the frame because Mark Selby played a safety shots, thick edge, to try


to stop Ding Junhui, took a chance to open the balls up and said go on,


off you go, I will leave you belong red, and John Higgins played it


beautifully. This will be a feature of this. If John Higgins keeps


knocking them in, and does what he did, obviously he is a match for


anybody. He chipped the black in and made 141. And how important to


remind Mark Selby that he can still produce this. In the semifinal he


didn't produce it all that often but Mark Selby will know it is there.


You always hope your opponent won't do well but you expect him to do


well, nobody has got to the final by merit. For the crowd watching,


trying to work out what type of match we were in for, there was a


possibility with these two tactical players that it could become not


exactly a safety battle but a battle of the weights. As it turned out


it's been quite an interesting first session with a couple of great


clearances and also mistakes, and the occasional bad safety play. So


it hasn't gone to plan, which has been refreshing in a way. It's been


a very quick session. Perhaps we were thinking it could be a long


one. Yes, a lot of people thought we would put the sign on the door


saying craftsmen at work! It is fascinating that this final is


actually a repeat of the final we had to mark the 30th anniversary


championship in 2007, that was also the year Judd Trump made his debut


at the Crucible, and John Parrott and Steve Davis played in the first


round, it really is that long ago. But this is the 40th anniversary


championship and it has lived up to expectations so far.


HAZEL IRVINE: Good evening, welcome to a special night at the Crucible.


Ronnie, you know what to do. 17 days of this, it is fun. It's a fantastic


tournament, it doesn't matter if you have been here one-time or ten


times, you still get goose bumps. JOHN VIRGO: We are back at the


Crucible Theatre. And the world number one, defending champion Mark


Selby is into the second round. What is shot! Obviously in a bit of


discomfort out there. What a magnificent victory for Rory McLeod,


absolutely brilliant. He has pulled off one of the best comebacks from


7-1 down. This is what they have come to see. He gives Ronnie a


handshake and look at that, that's what it means to him. I don't get


involved because I'm not being bullied. I just want to enjoy my


life and I'm not putting up with someone who wants to threaten and


bully me. It always seems to be Ronnie, I like to do my talking on


the table. Could have handed the initiative to Ronnie now. Very solid


performance from the five times world champion. Don't normally see


that from Neil Robertson! Just come off the rail. I like his


shoes, I really do. What a performance and he beats the former


world champion in the end. There is some pressure out there at the


moment. A great match between these two Chinese players, Ding Junhui


goes to the final. I think he just caught his leg! The


pain has gone. If that pin breaks we are all in trouble here. That's one


of the best century breaks I have ever seen. What a tremendous, almost


flawless snooker from the current world champion and he will be so


hard to beat. If John Higgins is through to his eighth World


Championship semifinal. Barry Hawkins delighted to get his fault


semifinal in five years. He has made the highest break of this year's


World Championship, a magnificent 146. Absolutely fantastic from this


Chinese sensation. I can't make a 146 these days without getting


slated for it, what can I do? He gets through to his third final in


four years. What a final we have got to look forward to!


From your perspective, Steve, what will you take with you from the last


couple of weeks? I think the spirit of the game. The opening Friday when


we started it off and seeing all of the champions in the room, realising


how much everybody has been a part of snooker and then watching the


greatest event unfolding, and also the biggest bit of scandal, Ronnie


makes a 146 instead of a 147! Ding Junhui has impressed a lot of


people, 13 centuries, and got so close to being in a second


semifinal, and I think he has won even more at my wrist, particularly


in these parts in Great Britain. 100%. I'm struggling to think of


anybody who has played that well and lost here. That's how good he was.


Ding Junhui competed better than I've ever seen him, his scoring was


better than Mark Selby but he didn't win. Going back to that match, at


the end of it Mark Selby was criticised to some degree for his


overzealous celebration, but you don't really understand how much it


has built up and it's pent up inside you. Champions have that nasty


streak in them and perhaps the only thing possibly missing from Ding


Junhui's armoury is that little bit more nastiness. Perhaps the likes of


Mark Selby, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry... And you. I wasn't going to


say, but off the table a different story. Some people like that passion


and people don't. It is just in the moment, it is a release. When they


have played here and been through that, they would do the same thing,


they really would. I am like you, I like to see the passion. This may be


the 16th day of the championship but perhaps you are just dialling in on


the bank holiday weekend. That's OK, you are very welcome at any point in


this 17 day marathon but if you are using in gradually, it is time to


bring you up to speed with some of the most gentle points of the game.


It is our jargon buster with John. The game of snooker has some


complicated terms and phrases so we have put together this guide to help


you make sense of some of the game's snookerisms. Screw, also known as


back spin, applied to the cue ball by hitting low of the equator. It


can be a real crowd pleaser. Look at the action he has got on


that! Cannon, the cue ball hits more than one object ball with either


positive or negative consequences. That is a nice little cannon. By


striking the cue ball just above the centre, the tiny amount of top spin


that is applied will cause the cue ball to stagger through, a handy


shot to have in the armoury. Kick, one of the great phenomena of


snooker, where either the cue ball or the object ball literally jumps


in the air after receiving contact. That is a terrible contact. It took


all of the pace out of the cue ball. Double kiss, can be either fortunate


or unfortunate, it is when the cue ball hits the same object ball


twice. He got it on the second attempt, double kiss. The shot to


nothing refers to a stroke where report is attempted but the safety


shot is of far greater importance and the uncle takes the cue ball


into a safer area. As a result, positional colour is guaranteed, but


if it stays out the opponent will have nothing to aim four-point


Excellent shot, look at the cue ball. That is one of the best shot


to nothings you can never see because he wasn't leaving anything


and he is perfectly on the brown. And finally, the masse shot, by


striking the cue down, this is used by players to attempt to get round


balls in close proximity. If it was at distance it would be called a


swerve. But there is one thing still bothering me, why is this called a


half butt? Don't ask me. They are in their mid-session interval. Here at


the Crucible people fly in from all over the place, and like a real rock


star he is we have a special guest here with Ken. We have a very


special guest, a big snooker fan, the drummer of the biggest heavy


metal band in the world, Iron Maiden. There's a rumour going


around you arranged tour with the tour manager to make sure this


weekend was free so you could come and watch the snooker. That is very


true. My manager spoke to me last year. We started the tour in


February and halfway through he said we will go back out next year for


months starting in April. And I said I need that bank holiday weekend


off. He said, I don't know about that, Nicky! Bless his heart, she


said what you want the weekend off I said the World Snooker Championship.


He said we will see what we can do. True to his word, here I am.


Where did this love of snooker come from My dad took me to Wood Green


snooker club above a tailors in. I remember I was there at eight. It


was dark. There was a fruit machine in the corner. A little bar. I was


not supposed to be in there. I started to enjoy the game. I'm


treble at it. I have been trying all my life to play this game. I love


it. What do you think about the first four frames? Amazing. Both a


black each and a red each. You know, the punishment comes when things


like that happen. But to see John make a century break on that last


frame. We saw Mark Selby doing some practise there. This is the demo


table. I want you to pot the black, screw into the pack... I am only


joking! As bent as a nine bob note. OK.


Great to have you. Thanks. I know Nick will be back with iron maiden


and the boys - I think it is the 10th May they are coming here to


play. They are all over the place at the moment. The man in the middle of


the action here is our referee. Now, in 2003 he became the first


non-British referee of a Crucible final. The big Dutchman wore an


orange bow tie. I remember it well. He has overseen one of John


Higgins's finals before. This is the sixth time he's been afforded such a


special honour. Snooker referee, have been at the


Crucible 23 years. The atmosphere is second to none. Everything breathes


snooker. To walk out


there, through that curtain. The MC does the walk-on for the players.


It's just incredible. I have always understood as a referee you are a


service to the players. It is about the two players at the table. You


have to have the discipline to be in the right spot, never in the


eye-line of a player, not to move when the player is down on a shot.


And under extreme pressure make the right decisions. I think you're in


the wrong job if you don't get butterflies walking out for a final.


You are a little tense, I suppose. You concentrate on the job ahead of


you. The first one obviously was an incredible moment. Like you have


your family over for it. I was nervous then for that final. That


pink curtain, I stood there and the inintroduces were coming in. I just


-- intros were coming in. I remember the score line. It looked like Mark


Williams was going to win it easy against Ken. It looked like I might


not have the Monday night and you always look forward to that Monday


night, you have seen it on telly and whilst you were working here.


Luckily, the third session, it was Ken's comeback. All of a sudden we


started 12-12, went 14-14. The score line at the end was magnificent.


The one also that stands out is probably the one that Ronnie won in


'13 when he had a year off. There was so much media hype about it all.


And the one with Higgins stands out for that final Monday night


introduction with the players, it was incredible.


I actually look, I don't look a lot of snooker back, when I have done


intros, but I had to see that again. I'm very proud, especially to be


chosen for the 4th anniversary of the Crucible. I'm not the youngest


any more now. If I am true to myself, I probably think this will


be the last one. I will be over the moon and really proud and I'm going


to enjoy every minute of it. The ever popular and hugely


respected Jan Verhaas is our man in the middle today. The two finalists


coming back, all square at 2-2, after that breathtaking in the last


frame from John Higgins. Time for a change in the commentary box now.


THE COMMENTATOR: Good afternoon Hazel and to everyone. John Higgins


about to get this first frame, after the session, into the under way.


And what a cracking start to this final. Both players cueing very


well. Both made a few errors. Missed a few


easy balls. What a break in the last frame! 141 - magnificent.


Not been making enough breaks to win frames at one visit. Whatever


happens now Mark Selby knows he cannot take any liberties. He's


obviously been the best player throughout this tournament. John


Higgins, if he plays like he did against Mark Allen this match could


be very close. John never batted an eyelid. He just


sat there, which tells me he's well focussed and well up for this final,


as we show you that red clinging to the cushion.


I think he's left himself a chance of a double because there was no way


to get on to a red there. He's pretty good at doubles, Mark Selby.


He has to be a wee bit careful because there's a red just sticking


out the pack. It will be interesting to see if he screws it back, the


double, rather than plan to lead the black into the other corner pocket.


He's screwed it back and it's in. The way he played that, he was never


going to leave anything. It's all about the split.


That was a difficult pack to go in to.


Unless there's a plant there, surely he couldn't have a fluke and a


plant, no. I don't think he's seen enough of the plant, otherwise he


would have come around and played it.


Quite dicey there. I thought he could have played harder. Mark Selby


is one of the best players in the world at playing this particular


shot. Watch the cue ball now. Trying to push its way through the reds.


And because those two reds together, right there, that's the reason it


stopped. Will be pleased to have been 16


points behind after that fluke. I must admit I thought there'd be


more tactical playing because they are two of the best safety players


in the game. It's just fascinating to see how it will pan out and


whether there will be a little more tactical play.


I wouldn't know who to pick in the tackty dal


In the tactical department. Maybe he feels because John Higgins


is equal almost in the safety department he doesen want to get


involved in that. He probably feels he's break-building slightly better.


I just noticed that John took a little bit longer when he was cueing


up to that. He hit it absolute spot on.


Didn't force it. Just stroked it beautifully.


That angle shows you how difficult that long pot was.


Now the only thing I noticed in the semifinal, John started, cracked


some cracking ball, of a sudden he would miss a sitter, something he's


managed to eliminate from his game. That's why he's been so successful


this season. Can't afford to miss the easy ones against Mark Selby. He


will know that. Played a little bit too close to the


cushion for comfort, but should pot this. Cannot do a lot with the cue


ball. All the reds are in the way of one and other. That's why it looks


like he's playing the higher one of the two. Trying to force through it.


Just brought the one red into play. Just played for that red that was


mentioned. Might just bring another couple in to play, looking at the


angle he's left here. He could have played a cannon off the black.


Previously there he decided to do it this way.


He's looking at the two reds if they are a plant. Well, they were


absolutely spot on. Seeing if there is a plant in the


middle. Would like to finish low on the


plant so he could bring the reds into play. If he thinks he's dead


straight he might get the double-kiss on the first red. For


that reason, he may just knock the pink in to play.


Certainly opened the reds up. Shot played with top spin. The white just


ran a bit further than he intended. He's cannoned the other red.


This becoming a great chance for John Higgins to take the lead in


this match for the first time. Doesn't have to worry about the two


reds on the side cushion. Finished almost straight on the


black. He can screw back, there shouldn't be a problem, can screw


back off the cushion and leave the red near the cue ball for the same


pocket for the black. Not sure if he's straight. We will find out very


shortly, as we zoom in there. That's a perfect picture to see him. He's


striking the white right on the bottom.


The only thing is if he removed that one that's to the right of the two


reds, it would have cleared the path for the right corner.


Slightly more difficult this time. I think if he screws straight back


he might hit the red near the cushion there.


Got a slight angle. I know the three reds are in open


play and he can get on them, I think forced to play the run around the


three cushions and kiss the reds. He's looking what kiss he can get.


He would be unlucky to kiss and not get one.


Dethis is one of those shots where you are not quite sure what will


happen. He's not played that, he's played to one in the middle.


He's got one in the corner as well. I think the...


He's only a few pots away from securing this frame.


A very nice 63. He knows against Mark Selby it might not be enough.


Surely Mark Selby cannot get back into this frame where the reds are.


You want a bet! Screw back a little bit to try and


move the red nearest the middle pocket or roll through slowly for


the black? Hopefully he's got a good angle to play a similar shot. He


will not move the red on the left-hand side, nearest the


left-hand corner. He will not get on a colour to try and move that one.


Which way is he going to play it? Black or pink? He's playing for the


black. They always say there are never two


frames the same. How often would you see three reds like that on the side


cushion? Very rarely. Might just have to sacrifice a


really good position. This is where playing left-hand


would help. Ronnie O'Sullivan would play this left-handed.


And screwing up for the blue, probably.


Can he get this cue ball away from the cushion?


The cue ball between the two reds and close to the cushion here.


That's a pretty good effort, if it keeps on running. This is a tough


one he's faced with. If he pots this and gets out on to the yellow, he


can bring the difficult red in to play. What a shot this would be.


If he could screw over there he would be perfect to bring the red


into play. What a tough shot. Just having a little practise run


there. He got the cue ball where he wanted


it. But John's going to need the


difficult red also. I suppose the reason Mark Selby


played it, he thought I've got every chance of the red going safe. As we


see it for the second time, the red's come back over the middle


pocket. There you see John Higgins playing


to get into a position that Mark Selby tried to get in to, because


the yellow's at a perfect ang toll try and move the red. He would be


very fortunate to knock the red over the middle pocket. When it is that


close to the middle it's so difficult to judge.


This is not straightforward, the green's in the way for the up and


down. A minidouble kiss.


I think once he's seen the red coming towards the white he thought


he'd stick it up. Your DDK that time. Not a dreaded double-kiss!


Mark is very good at knocking balls safe when he's snooked. You always


need a little bit of luck as well. Hit this off two cushions. Send the


red up towards the yellow and brown, you would feel and hopefully the


white will come back across the table.


That's what he's looking at. He's pretty good at this type of


escape. He's miss-judged that.


That would have cost him that fifth frame.


John's wife there. A little round of applause and rightly so. She's a


delightful lady. It was great to see John's mum here


as well. I have not seen her for a while. I'll catch up with her later.


This could turn out to be one of the all-time great times because both


players look to be playing well. Going to take the black as well. He


wants to pot the lot. John Higgins gets himself into the


lead. It's now 3-2. There was a shot you picked out


Denis, that Mark Selby had a choice of playing, either slow to the


middle pocket and then leave half to kiss it. You called it right. This


is so difficult, isn't it? The pace To get over. I have the three ball


anywhere. He's got quite a margin for error. It was all about the pot.


He probably would have pot the red. The fact he tried to force it to get


it on the yellow, to give himself to bring the difficult red into play, I


mean he's wobbled the red. Look where he got the white. He got the


white exactly where he wanted there. And just didn't pull the pot off.


Just watch the cue ball here as it's bouncing. Because he's put the screw


on the ball, the white's bouncing first. That was so close. It was


interesting to see Denis the shot that John Higgins played immediately


afterwards. He played the same shot to get the yellow half ball.


He looks pretty relaxed. He looks very focussed.


He's very happy with that new tip that's on the cue. This could be a


cracker and this Crucible crowd could be in for a treat.


Mark Selby playing catch-up for the first time. Eight frames played in


this session. Another three to go. I think they're finding it difficult


to get over behind the yellow or the green if you break off from the


other side. He couldn't have done much better than that.


That's a good return. Tucked up on the cushion to get the


white back there. He said we will see what we can do.


True to his word, here I am. Jan Verhaas having a good look to


make sure he knows where the cue ball will be replaced. He can play


this one very thin. REFEREE: Foul. Higgins four. Well


spotted. He needed to hit it a lot thinner.


Once again, Jan Verhaas just having a look, just in case he was to miss


the red. He's in an awkward spot to get the


safety down the right-hand side of the table.


He might get a thin enough contact. I thought the left side of the table


will cut off but it's not. He could go in off.


John Higgins more or less tapping the table there, as he has cut off


the escape route down the left side. Once again, Finnish contact to avoid


that black. -- thinnish contact. There hasn't been a great deal of


tactical play so far but watching these players play safety is an art


in itself. It's nice to see the big breaks but also nice to see who is


going to make the first mistake in the tactical exchange. But it's


terrific stuff at the moment, isn't it? Three big shots on the trot to


the baulk cushion. John will do awfully well to find the baulk


cushion off this. John just tapping his chalk on the table to appreciate


the good shots. I don't see how John can get back to baulk here so he


will either play the red to the right of the pink and tried to leave


the white in the jaws of the black pocket in the corner or he may just


rest into the side of the pack. He's looking at doing that. He is playing


two cautions to try and get these two red is nearest the black spot,


but he doesn't want to drift by them.


John might as well have stayed at the table because the white will be


in a similar position. That is the same shot available to


him, he might play the same shot again.


No, he has spotted one he can get back down off. There are two reds by


the pink, the right one he can find the gap back down off that one.


Great stuff to watch, it really is. Not too much sense... The red is


covered by the black so this could be a long frame now. Just wondering


if he can get through to it, Willie. It is tight but I think he can just


get to the potting angle, but he is going to cannon the black as well so


difficult to know what's going to happen here. We will find out very


shortly. He has no idea what's going to


happen to them there. Yes, you must have thought he was hitting the


black thinner than he was. REFEREE: Yellow ball. Just a clear


that up, if it is a split ball, if you hit them both at the same time


it is a foul shot but he wouldn't have parted the red if he had hit


the black first. Mark Selby can see the one below the


pink to the left but his worried about pushing the ones you can then


into into the corner pocket. He's just coming round to see what will


happen to the red when he planted onto the two reds and that what he


is worried about, knocking the third red that is aligned. I don't think


he can go right of the pocket but he's decided on an alternative.


I think what Mark Selby is doing here is shutting up shot for the


time being after John Higgins made the break of 141, and then 63.


I mean the session with Ding Junhui, in the second session they played


for 18 minutes with some brilliant safety play, then Mark got a 128, I


think it was. That is fascinating to see who will


make the first mistake here. This is one of the hardest shots in the


game, when the dropped -- object ball is near the cushion. If he


misses the brown it is another excellent safety shot. Some


brilliant safetys in this game. As you can see, John well ahead in


the safety success department. All avenues back down the table


seemed to be blocked off. Did that drift slightly or did he


get some unwanted side on it? He left the red on. Let's have a look


at this now. He is indicating with acute there that it drifted slightly


to the right. Jan Verhaas was quite lucky on that


last shot of Mark Selby, Mark Selby nearly harpooned in with his cue!


There he is saying, wow, that's an inch and a half roll off. I mean the


tables have been playing beautifully and running perfectly straight. It


is such a fine art. He did give the referee a crack with acute there!


That's not the kiss he wanted. I don't think there is a plant on. He


was looking for a better contact on the red when he dropped the black in


there. The pink would have been perfect to


cannon into there but with the extension on he didn't get quite


enough side on it so it looks like it is just a safety. Which Mark


Selby will be delighted about because he did feel the cue ball


drifted slightly there. He hasn't potted the ball I think for about 20


minutes. Another excellent safety shot,


virtually snookered on all right. Conceive the red over the left-hand


corner but can't see enough to property. With the table drifting


that way a little bit he may be able to pot it! But surely he can't take


this on. He would have to play with a vast amount of top spin to


straighten the white off the second cushion, otherwise he would career


into the pack. That did surprise me, the pace he played it. Maybe he


worked it out as a shot to nothing. It's pretty tight but John feels


this one will pot. OK, he's heading up the table but he feels this one


will pass... It clearly does and its there. There's not a lot available


to him at the moment, there's only one easy red to the right of the


green, the rest are pretty awkward. It might not be awkward after this


short. That has brought the black interplay.


It's not going to be easy to get to the 72 points he


it's amazing, you can hear a pin drop in the Crucible at the moment,


brilliant atmosphere. I think he's got an angle here to bring a few


roads into play. No, took his eye off the pot. Took


his eye off the pot, and there's a red on and Mark might be able to


cannon into the reds, open them up and possibly finish on the bike, as


we show you this shot from John. But most of the concentration into the


cue ball and forgot the pot. This will certainly open up everything.


If he doesn't finish on the black he could run through for the pink or


the blue, but it will open the red silk, you feel. That's not what he


intended. He didn't think it was going to knock one red out there,


Willie. I must admit, I thought he was going to bring three or four


out, he is now forced into playing the blue. He has cued beautifully so


far in this tournament but he's not been behind very often so there is a


bit of pressure on this blue. A little bit more pressure than


that, in fairness he didn't hit the white vote, did he? He was playing


for the middle pocket. This is a bit of a free shot for


John, he can screw back for the pink. The only red he would leave is


the one he's attempting to pot. And it is there. OK, the wrong side


of the pink but what a shot this would be to go right down the


angles, avoid the colours, and there is a red next to the black, as we


show you this very good longish pot with an extension on the cue. Here


it comes, has he got enough pace? Does the one at the top of the


triangle pot? Yes, if Potts also so just didn't quite hit it hard enough


to be perfect. These long matches, four sessions is


always nice. If you can get four frames on the board you know you


won't be behind going into the second session. Great point because


Mark Selby has only lost one session, against Ding Junhui when he


lost 5-3. If you lose 5-3 there is no real problem over this distance.


So it is very important, this frame is not over by any means, but it


will also be asked of him one of the two remaining frames of the


afternoon. And John has got himself on the red. I mentioned he was


trying to get the brown on because he knew if he potted that he would


bring the black interplay. It's not going to last much longer this


frame, but it is the longest frame of the match so far. There was some


excellent safety play. So this is frame ball but he will


want to pot at least three more reds to keep Mark Selby from coming back.


He doesn't want to get involved in a safety battle.


This puts him 66 in front. Obviously the red and black 74, so Mark Selby


might carry on. Can he get an angle on the black to bring the other


roads into play? He has got the angle.


Not enough there for a century, but he's cueing beautifully at the


moment. This is how he played Mark Allen in


the earlier rounds. Yes, Mark Allen was outstanding. John was even


better. Watch out, there is a wizard about! He's introduced as the Wizard


of Wishaw. Yes, breaks of 141, 63, and now this. He's looking good at


present. There was atonement earlier in the


season in China, and he was playing with Ding Junhui and finished the


match with three century breaks to win 10-7. This season he has played


as well as he has ever done. Absolutely magnificent from John


Higgins, 63 in the previous frame, and that magnificent clearance of 95


in that frame. He goes two clear now.


HAZEL IRVINE: It is vintage Higgins, at the age of 41 and chasing a tenth


major title, and to underline the longevity of his career, take a look


at this. This is major wins. Stephen Hendry won 18 of them in ten years,


Ronnie O'Sullivan 17 of them starting from when he was a


17-year-old in 24 years, John could win a tenth in a 19 year span if he


were to convert this one, that's a long time to be hanging around at


the top end of any sport, as indeed it is for Ronnie O'Sullivan. It


shows you the nick he is still in. Yes, a lot of attention has been on


Ronnie O'Sullivan, the fact he kept himself in good shape and that has


helped him with his longevity. A lot of people ask if Ronnie is past his


best now, and the same has been asked of John Higgins and he has


probably asked the same questions himself. It is great to see him


here. I did ask the question of whether age and youth might come


into this equation and at the moment John is answering those questions.


Win or lose this, his back-up to world number two behind Mark Selby.


It was the wonderful Matt Hewitt who just told me that 141 he had in the


frame before last is the joint highest break in a world final along


with Ronnie's in 2012 so still able to produce the goods on the big


stage. So he's in good nick then. I didn't think he still had that, I've


been honest, I have watched him in the commentary box and thought for a


couple of seasons he wasn't anywhere near his best, his long game was


struggling a bit, but his long game has come back, every facet of his


game has come back. He plays the right shot all the time and to an


incredibly high standard and if you do that you are going to hang


around. John Higgins start this campaign off in excellent style,


darted well in the tournament, looks like he had run out of steam in the


semifinal but you never know. There's a long way to go but he's in


good nick. Yes, that showed you, John turned


professional in 1992, and he got to be world champion and world number


one in six seasons. I could mention a lot of that is down to the fact he


practised with Stephen Hendry for a good few years up in Stirling. All


of the top Scottish boys used to practice there.


An attacking safety shot there, opening the rental. -- the reds up.


Such is the brilliance of these two players, throughout the 17 days, as


this red goes over the corner pocket... Amazing that over these 17


days there is only 50 points between them in aggregate scores, they've


both scored over 5000 points. It's amazing in 17 days they can be so


close. 17 days, and is only 45, 47 points between them. He will want to


make this one count, but he won't be happy with where the cue ball has


finished there. Got second prize, got the brown in the middle, didn't


play for that. and seven it was just not Astroturf


on the right-hand red to get through to the black and that is why he's


played a more difficult red to go for a baulk colours. What was


interesting, as I mentioned, Mark Selby played a safety shot,


attacking safety shot, opened the reds and he's now reaping the


rewards for that. One of the secrets of being a top


player is to play a lot of safety tactical play and be kept off the


table and when you get a chance, do the business. Slightly more reaction


from the yellow, he wanted to be straight on the red. There's a


lovely gap between red and pink and he can play the stun off the black


cushion and that is the key red because it opens everything up. He


has done it nicely and it bounces. Yes, he was not happy, you could


tell by his facial expression, he left himself straight on the black.


It should not be a problem, screwing out for the red on its own.


There does not look to be anything available so he may have to play a


cannon, he may can then the red to the right which would still leave


the red in the right-hand corner. If he catches anything other than the


full bore, it is not going to be perfect on the red. He's played a


cannon, is it for ball? Not quite, but still just left to the pink.


They are awkward when you are that close to them. He played the shot


but he was a bit unlucky to cover the one to the right, and because he


was so close to that, it is difficult to pick out the angle. And


if this next cannon works out, John can leave quite a few on here.


Would you believe it? The black off the spot, with all the reds at his


mercy. The black is being cleaned, I don't know whether he got heavy


contact or he did not strike it very well. Yes, I think up to the


semifinal, Higgins had not missed a black off the spot and he picked it


up in the semifinal and he Mr two of the easiest you have ever seen, and


that was not a difficult black. That is worrying because he would be


excited he could take a nice lead into the second session. How


much action did he get on that bridging over the red Mr Mark I


think he was hoping to be on pink oil blue, the baulk would always be


there, but to create that back spin striking over the red. He's one of


the best I have seen bridging over the ball and playing the shot as if


it is normal. He knows that John Higgins missed that easy black off


the spot and that will hurt John Higgins, 30 points in front as we


speak. Like out of commission and blue and pink not good. He flicked


the blue, the pink and blue were in play and he would be playing around


for those. He's just considering whether to flick the black into


play. That would reap rewards. He does not get the kids right, it is


end of break. -- the kiss. Just wondering whether he has decided


against it or he's still going to bring the black into play. That is


what he has done, it is on a baulk colour.


We can show you the shot previously, the pink and blue were in the


perfect position, but he just flicked the blue on the way passed


and he knocked them both awkward. Off one of these next reds, he would


love to get onto the black on the cushion or finish on the pink in one


of the baulk pockets. He's not going to win this frame on this visit


unless he brings either the pink or the black into play, he can't do it


off baulk colours. He's not quite sure what to do here.


Pink and blue is available into the corner pockets. Nearly a minute's


thinking time of how to go about this.


I think the angle he has made just have to cannon the pink if he takes


the blue. If he runs it through, he would clear the pink away. Yes, well


played. He can pot this one with the rest. Can he get through to that


one? That will be even better. It must be tight. But he feels he can


see enough of it. The reason he would prefer to play this is because


he does not have to do much with the cue ball to get onto the pink in the


middle. That was just wide, and he got back in May he flicked the red


and the pink will go into its own spot. But if he's straight onto it,


it is not perfect, he needs an angle to get onto those reds.


How is his pace? He overscrewed it slightly. He played for the red to


the right of the pink, in the middle. Can you believe that, over


17 days, Dennis? 5196 points each over 17 days of play. This could be


an important point coming up here. Is it there? Of course it is! He was


on the march as soon as he hit that, he knew he had potted it. What a


great pot! Once again to slow the cue ball down, he might play a


cannon into the pink, knowing he would have the choice of the red. It


is getting very close to the winning post and if he plays the cannon onto


the pink, it will be a slow cannon. I did not know that red potted. 53


in front. Red to be assured of winning this frame.


Can you believe it? That is the second one he has missed into this


pot as he looks to the balcony. I think they were in shot and they did


not expect him to miss that. That was slightly easier than the other


because he was so close to it. You miss one into the pocket and maybe


it is in the back of your mind. I don't think anyone saw that coming,


especially after the one he knocked up into the corner pocket. That was


not a happy smile, that was bemused. Wondering how on Earth I missed


that. That was just OK. It is what John Parrott would call a bit of a


smelly one, this. It is so close to it. Just the place! Any harder and


that would not have dropped. It just touched the cushion but because of


the slow pace, the pocket accepted it. A wobble. Wobble. In.


And because of that last black, John Higgins is favourite to win this


frame, although he's 44 points behind. He should clear from here.


To go 5-2 in front. He has still got to knock them in. What has he


spotted here? I don't know what that was.


Well, that is just about perfect. He would want more of an angle to play


for the red into the left corner, he will have to leave it to the middle


pocket now. No, he has gone for the deep screw to swing it across, and


he's played it well, he's played it very well. Josephine, his mother,


with his wife Dennis. -- with his wife. And this will hurt. And I


think Mark Selby when he looked up at his balcony knew that he might


have thrown the frame away with that red he missed. He's a different


animal today, Dennis. Yesterday, we see Selby missing again, we said


yesterday about John Higgins playing Barry Hawkins, was not scoring


frame-winning breaks. The run of breaks in the last four frames,,, he


puffs out his cheeks as he walks round the table. It is so easy, it


looks straightforward, but it is never easy.


He could have done with a better angle, he might have to come off the


cushion now. How is the pace on the cue ball? He's coming got a long way


short, it was the shot previously from brown to blue that was not


good. This snubs -- this needs good cueing. Now it is coming round the


angles, it looks fantastic. That is huge from John Higgins. Mark


Selby had an early break of 51, he missed that red, but John Higgins


did well to clear up and now he's three frames in front at 5-2.


Vintage Higgins, the trademark, the counter clearance, we saw it twice


against Mark Allen and he has produced it to take a three frame


lead in this final. You just the words out of my mouth! I'm so sorry!


I was about to say that you made two billiard clearances, overdue, Steve.


I do not need to say anything, Hazel has said it all! How is Mark Selby


responding now? Not good coming he had a chance and he blew it, we are


not used to that and it is exciting because of that. John Higgins is


understandably the underdog, a lot of people wonder how you can make in


the underdog with his experience. But he hasn't been there so often as


Mark Selby in this area. I think it is wonderfully poised and this last


frame always seems to take on extra significance. How surprising is this


from John today given what we saw against Barry Hawkins in the


semifinal? There was an inkling that the end he was happy with the new


tip on his keys and he finished that with no pressure as much as he can


be because he only needed one frame. But the way he went about it and the


way he struck the ball, I thought he was not far playing like he was in


the earlier rounds. 63, 93, 141, as we said last night, he has to score


to win this match and that is what he's doing. Steve, you look back at


the end of the Sunday play from ten years ago and John had a 12-4


advantage. Mark Selby climbed back into it and never really recovered


and you wonder to what extent that might be entering his head. You have


no clue what will happen and we see that admiring these two players, but


Mark Selby has loads of resilience. He has proven that time and again,


the defending champion under real pressure in this opening session of


the World Championship final. Under pressure a couple of times


against Ding Junhui but he hasn't been behind early in a match and he


could well be trailing 6-2 going into tonight's session. I know it is


early days and the best of the T5, but a full frame made at any time,


Mark Selby was favourite and if it goes 6-2, I think you would go even


money. -- the best of 35. Well, there are another four reds


available. And if he could get a break after that poor break-off shot


from Mark Selby, it would give Mark something to think about before this


evening's session. He has left it too low, he could still take it on,


but another three, four inches and it would be perfect. He could still


play the shot because he will open up the reds, but the pot is slightly


thinner than it should have been. He has overcut it, it was the previous


shot that caused the problem. He will be a little disgusted with


himself. Because what a chance he had. I think there were having a


conversation, Mark and John after the opening frame. They might be


discussing the fact this black cushion was playing the slope. He


got down to that shot with disappointment because he did not


get onto the red properly. Let's see how this springs off the cushion if


he plays it really slow. That seemed to come up pretty high.


I mean, the playing conditions these days are fantastic for the players.


Lively clots. Always just slightly lighter, you could not have better


conditions to play. The only worrying thing about this chance for


Mark Selby, he hasn't made a break of 30 since frame three. And there's


Mark this time coming up a bit short on a similar shot to the one John


played, and he can hold this up for the blue without a problem. He has


got a choice here. Plenty of loose reds and pinks tied up. He could


risk of playing the cannon into the pink and reds, but it is a bit


risky. He has done it, how has it worked out?


A little harder and it would have been perfect. Yes, he can't play


this well enough to play on the black and he looked at the gap


between those two reds, going through the same gap where he has


the rest and trying to get onto the blue. He hasn't got the, that is a


very poor shot and you can see the disappointment. He still has not


made a break above 30 in the last four frames. A big. Six inches, if


you would think he would get through that. I don't think he had any side


on it, he played a plain ball and he just misjudged it.


I think John can play the one behind the pink is a shot to nothing. I


think he can see that two want it and bring the white back down the


table. -- to pot it. That is the one he can pot in the circle and play


the safety shot off. He's played the other one, which is even better! So


he had a red either side, but on the brown. And he can go back to the


red, this is a big shot. It is there. Well, that was one of the


best shots John Higgins has played in this session. I say that because


he has been excited thinking, if this goes in, I could win the frame


and I could be 6-2 in front. And what a start to this final it


would be from the flying Scotsman. Well, that is fantastic, he's at


94%. The worrying statistic was 89 for Selby, long potters in front in


that department. He has been under pressure a couple


of times in the match with Ding and he came through that, fantastic


match. He just looks a little tired, he needs something to happen to get


his confidence back, he has been kept off the table in the last four


frames. But he has missed some easy balls.


And that cannon turned out to be perfect, didn't it? He needs to get


to 62 points. Mark Selby will be sitting in his


chair, realising he will be 6-2 behind and he will probably have to


win the next two sessions 5-3, 5-3, and that is hard to do against any


player. He has just got to keep his focus


here, that seemed to jump a little bit comedy he's having the cue ball


creamed. But that did not affect the last shot. Let's have a look at it.


Not much of a kick. Oh, he did not want that! Now, that spoiled things


and it just shows you what can go wrong, it is just fractions. If he


slips past that red, he's absolutely perfect, he's 22 ahead. He's still


on the red, but just watch as he catches that. He makes it a little


bit more difficult now. And he cannons into the pink. You would not


really want to brush the pink safe, that is the problem with this red.


And you would not want to pot the pink into the middle pocket when you


play this either. He has screwed it. And it has worked out perfectly. One


more big positional shot and Mark Selby knows it could be 6-2 behind.


It is just a case of getting the pace right on the shot. Where is the


brown? Why did he not play that up and down straight to finish, two


reds in the left-hand corner? That will do it! 29 ahead. The red.


The red. He knows how big a shot this is.


They are dilated. His son is over the moon with what his dad is doing


at the moment. This is some performance. 41 years


of age and how the in the final. Someone moving from Rome. Could do


with this one going. John Higgins in that position.


Must have caught it in the corner of his eye and a stretcher. If a player


is flying towards you you usually know to keep perfectly still. There


was an awful lot of people the Crucible this year. They have come


from over the world. Very tough to get a seat here.


Nearly an excellent shot. If he had left himself on the pink and got the


stick and have been tough. He is playing the other side of the blue.


Almost a very good snooker. I'm wonder if he plays down and


trans him behind the moment. It may be a good choice if you cannot get


the cue ball back and look this end. Is that angle now. It would be a


tough snooker to hit if he could get the blue behind yellow or brown.


John Higgins tapping the table with his chalk again. Tough angle because


he is so close to the question. Good escape because not as easy as


it looked. John knows only too well this frame is far from safe against


this man. You may decide to go for the pot if you cannot get onto the


black. He could get on the fact that he wants to keep it on the table to


give himself more options. That is a clever shot. To bring the green into


play. It shows how positively Mike Selvey


is thinking this is if he gets the snooker and a chance with the green


of the question he could easily and this final frame of the session. The


Schleck he could easily pinch this final frame of the session.


Went to thing that time, to getting behind black. Can see from this to


take it on. -- he cannot see enough of this to take it on.


It would be a tense end to this session. Hasn't really had a great


chance to lay the snooker as yet. Just trying it the ball safe. Make


sure you do not leave any chances. That could be the mistake John


Higgins has been waiting for. One pot and it is 6-2. What result for


John Higgins. Just make sure you get the object will say, that is what we


were saying. The John Higgins realises what a big shot that was.


His heart would have been in his mouth. It shows you cannot take


anything for granted. Just the scoreline that caused him


to miss. He knows how big this frame is. He knows Mike Selvey is still in


this. If he was 30 points behind he would have spotted it every single


time. -- potted it. That is unlike Mike Selvey.


John Higgins cannot wait to see the back of this red. That will do


nicely. If he plays the swerve SHOUTING


Close to putting this on the condition.


That is OK. Still only needs one snooker.


Just looking John Higgins and his face dropped when he saw it going.


That black was really tough. This frame still alive.


They will be back at 7pm so not much of a restful them.


This is better, look where the yellow is going. Usually you prefer


two cushions on this gave rather than one. So he has two hit this


one. Kudryavtsev Cyber Monday. Well played.


No, no. Looking up and smiling. John can play a little swerve and


recursion then maybe it is a bigger one than I first thought. The only.


Surely he could not pinch this frame. Just enough room around the


fact of the yellow. Some players can move it two or


three feet. Just flicked the yellow. Jon Dibben want to see the blue


heading over there. It is in a better position. -- John did not


want to see the blue heading over there. The best two balls at the


moment are blue and black. Where is this yellow going? This is a much


more difficult shot found the red John missed five minutes ago.


Amazingly enough it was 12 months ago. He should be in his hotel room


now having a cup of tea. Decided to attempt the snooker rather than risk


potting the yellow. This is the longest match and you


would expect that with players playing for smokers. He can hit the


yellow 4-ball. -- snookers. He can hit the yellow full bull. He will


hope the yellow can kiss into the black. They did very thin. That was


a bit dangerous. Could have gone into the corner.


He would like to keep the Unal and that it is pocket so he might have


two just put it. Magnificent angles you can get now


they are bound to one table. The brown is on the way. To give this


one off three cushions and behind the black. He does not want the


green to cannon into the blue. He wanted back in open play. This could


be end of frame. Playing at half four, he cannot believe it, walked


away from the table in disgust. Looking on the television screen. It


is there. John Higgins missed the last red and he would have had more


rest going into this second session but now the frame is safe. What a


great session for John Higgins. STUDIO: Not since Ray Reardon on


this title has anybody done so in their 40s. How surprising is this


scoreline, Steve, given that the world number one, the man in form


was expected to come out firing today which are certainly was not in


the script. But discount this man at your peril especially after having


such a good season this year. Had a little purple patch. There was


something that led towards Mike Selvey dominating this final but you


never know what will happen in sport. What do you think of Mike


Selvey so far and what kind of bearing will yesterday have? That is


a good point, he went through the ringer. He is the younger man but it


must have taken a lot of mental reserve out of him yesterday. He


looked tired. He had chances as well. When he was not quite at his


best. Not long before they come back and 7pm for the second session. When


you were appearing in the finals what did you like to do in between?


Used to try to put my head down for 20 minutes even. Tough to know what


to do. Some food, that is all you can do. That is exactly what we will


do, we will be back from 7pm tonight. We have seen just about


everything this afternoon. Brilliant safety, 141 from John Higgins, a few


mistakes and enough to keep it tasty. The Wizard has got us under


his spell so far. Can he keep it going?


You are not a fun person to share a trishaw with.


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