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Good afternoon, 900 seats are being taken here inside the Crucible
Theatre and I hope you have cleared the decks and are settling in for
one of the great days in sport, it is the 17th and final day in our
annual snicker marathon. What a story is unfolding in a Crucible
final. The world number one, Mark Selby, he does like to do things the
hard way and he will have do, again because John Higgins is bidding for
a fifth worth title, some 19 years after his first is in vintage form,
again. This is it, the big one welcome to the final of the 2017 bet
Fred Welt -- welcomes the final of the 2017 Betfred World Championship.
And man of immense college and determination, John Higgins.
Defending champion unbowed number one, the Jester from Leicester, Mark
Selby. There is nothing like the final of the World Snooker
Championship. You do not give Mark Selby anything. The defending
champion goes ahead. He goes to clear, now. That is a huge frame
with John Higgins to pinch. He is leading by six frames to two. He
looked a bit nervy, can the defending champion take the second
session? Keeping it tight and it just gets worse for Mark Selby. He
is now six frames behind. What a brilliant shot, the last two shots
of them superb. Still behind but he has a foothold in the match. He will
not be happy with that. The match was beginning to slip away from Mark
Selby, he is still three frames behind and there was all to play
for. A fascinating first day. I do nothing anyone could foresee what
would happen to Mark Selby by not coming out of the starting blocks,
John Higgins was looking the better of the two the same in the evening.
Think Mark Selby would be pleased to come out only 7-10, behind. Giving
John Higgins missed a trick last night? I think so, a couple of
colours, pink especially into the middle pocket, you have to save them
John Higgins multipack blue'... You Frisbee inexpert, give as a
prediction. Yes I am, and I defy anyone to predict what will happen
today. John Higgins is featured here for the last 22 years, took in only
four times to land the title, 22 years of age in 1998, then came the
longest ever wait between victories at the Crucible, nine years, until
he did it again, in the final decade later against a young Mark Selby,
two more titles followed in 2009 and now six years on he is bidding to
join Ronnie O'Sullivan with a fifth world title. Now, as the Mark Selby,
that front of the 2007 final where he would will back it Higgins after
a bad start served notice of his promise and his grit, and seven
years later in 2014, Selby rebranded in his final to overtake Ronnie
O'Sullivan and this time to win. Last year came a second success. He
is going for a third world title today. And Mark Selby will have to
stage a dramatic comeback if he is to join Bonnie O'Sullivan and others
to successfully defend the world title here inside the Crucible
Theatre. In fact only another couple of guys have got close to doing
that. Yes, this place has thrown up some fantastic comebacks in its 40
year history, can Mark Selby become part of that history or can John
Higgins win his fifth world title at the age of 41, this place was like a
marketplace only five minutes ago bustling, now it is just the players
and it is so quiet you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. We got the
smell from John Higgins yesterday and we might get a thumbs up to
date. I read it Rose John is ready, Marcus ready, the players are ready.
-- are you ready? Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen this is the day
we crowd the 2017 Betfred World Championship, we know both men have
won it before and are both desperate to get their name on the famous
trophy once more. This without doubt has the makings of one of the
all-time classic last days here at the sport's spiritual home, the
Crucible. Please welcome a player who has been
at the top of his sport for more than two decades, he is already
regarded as one of the all-time greats will stop his form yesterday
was the perfect reminder of why he has amassed 28 ranking titles. One
of Scotland's finest sportsmen. He comes the Wizard of Wishaw, John
Higgins. MUSIC: Iron Sky
by Paulo Nutini And his opponent, plays Jenny has
taken him from humble beginnings to the top of the world and he has done
it all with humour, humility and sheer class. Last night the final
three frames proved just how good he is under pressure, and huge day for
the defending world champion, the Jester from Leicester, Mark Selby.
MUSIC: Eez-eh by Kasabian
Settle in, the aid frames play this afternoon and we will share the
first part of that in the company of two men who know what it is like to
win one of Snooker's three majors, in fact read between you, I believe.
COMMENTATOR: Thank you, Hazel, and of course...
The buzz around the hotel last night, everyone was saying who was
the favourite? A lot of people said Mark Selby was. I find it hard to
believe, being three frames behind. These four frames could be the key.
An awful lot of frames have been played this year. And John Higgins
has played his 100 frame, believe it or not. -- is playing his 100th
frame. 41 you are old, looking for a fifth world title. At one stage it
looked as if we might not have an evening session away John was going.
But the defending champion came right back. It is difficult to
predict a winner. If John Higgins can share the mini
sessions you will become champion. So, just having a look here at the
situation. There is attentive to the left corner but with the black and
the pink being out of commission. He has to avoid the red.
He courted very thin. Catching the yellow, not a good safety. -- he
could it thin. A risky pot. Hard to see a reward for it.
A good length of the cue ball. APPLAUSE
It has gone towards the corner pocket. Brilliant tactical play
between these two players. It really was. In the Huybrechts when they get
a chance, at that magnificent 141, and Mark 121. -- in the high breaks.
They are even in that apartment, now. That is for the whole
tournament. For this match, they are so evenly matched. John, just ahead
in this much. Yes and maybe that is why Mark Selby is free frames
behind. I was thinking the parting and the safety, you have got to be
90% or above. -- I was thinking the parting macro and the safety. This
is what Mark is looking at and read near the corner the problem. He's
frightened to leave it. Can he nestle up to it? Can he get in
behind it? Kenny get back to baulk and not leave the red?
Played a thin one. Left the red barn. I am looking at it as we show
you the shot again... The red is almost straight, the pink
and black tied up. Mark will realise that as he sits down.
Now he is catching the other red. It was not quite as bad as we first
thought when Mark missed the red completely going up.
It is a tricky little blue with the rest. If it was straight you would
not expect him to miss it. We will would have known whether it
was in before he did, no. It was tough, as I say. If it was a
straight blue it would not be a problem. It just shows you, as we
see, you make a bad mistake in your back at the table and the reds are
open. I think the pink is now available.
That will be key. The black is out of commission. He any has the pink
to work with. He was the wrong side of the road.
-- the wrong side of the red. He get to the state in these type of
situations where you don't know whether to take a risk, there was a
possibility of parting the red to the left corner and bring them back
into play. It is whether it's worth the risk to try and open the frame
and give you a chance to score heavily.
I am certain Mark Selby knows the importance of this first
mini-session, these four frames. He is thinking about it. If he can
win three out of 40 will any be one behind. He is thinking whether it
will be worth it to pop the red and bring the black one into play. We
thought the pink rent and I'm surprised you didn't play for it
when it went up to the green. It looks like it goes. He's decided to
go for Abott colour. Back in a similar position again.
Believe it or not. It will not be easy to score many from the
situation. There was a little cannon to get up
there. I would like to take that one again. Having said that, he has
slipped past the blue. It looked like he would land on the blue,
there. There is the wonderful Crucible Theatre and I love this
shot is using mean and it shows you the length of the table. 12 foot by
six foot. That rummy was the right shot.
APPLAUSE -- but for me. John Higgins will do
well to keep it safe. Particularly when you're coming off a cushion
quickly it's hard to judge, sometimes.
He did not want to slip from the back of that.
APPLAUSE It will not cut back it is far too
thin. He's taking the pot on here but it
is sort of a free shop. -- shot. He tried to get on the yellow but
even that was not going to be easy having popped the red. A little bit
of an awkward frame, here. Playing the safety shot, highly unlikely he
would plant one red and to the other.
What he needed was a good cue ball which he has not got. I think Mark
will be able to get his hand on the table in the yellow, to interfere
with the Bridgend. Second out from the left is the one. A three
quarters ball pot. He does bridge long, sometimes. Can he get his hand
on the table? The cue was very far from his bridge
hand. Result. And that sums up the snooker, really. This match could
swing on a run of the ball here. Or a plant that appears from nowhere.
As we show you this attempt, once he missed it he thought he would put
John Wright in amongst them and then he gets that double-kiss twice. --
he would put John in amongst them. Amazing, and if you can get away
with it you can make all the difference.
The one thing that John was desperate to do, there, on the
right-hand side of the table was to cover it with green. Otherwise he
would have left an easy safety shot from Mark. The fact that Mark is not
looking at the red tells me he has covered it.
And Mark had the same problem. APPLAUSE
A good tap of the table. As I say, normally you would play to get to
the baulk cushion, but he did not leave the red. There is no gap
That finished awkward. He can hit the red that is next to
the blue, but it is not easy to send it up the table. He will leave the
white back in the safety area, because he could pan into the blue
if you tried that. -- he could pan and into the blue.
There was a few frames like this yesterday and it was fascinating to
see who would make the best mistake, it is an awkward table blacks
surrounded with five reds. That did not look possible, to
overcooked but shot. -- to overcooked that shocked. And that is
probably why he missed it, he was probably thinking that if he hated
it as thin as he could it would go in, to overcooked it is remarkable.
If Mark Selby is re-watching this, if you cannot get through it direct,
he can play one into the overcome his.
That is what he played one red into the other. Switch that light off
please! Looks like he's on the black which opens up the frame completely.
What a bonus that was. Is it tied up now? I think he will be hoping it
still goes but it does not look like it does.
Amazingly he did not move many reds. No, it does not go. OK he has the
easy read on the left corner but he is hampered.
APPLAUSE This table is playing beautifully
because that did not look as if it would get around the ankles, the
pace of the table, I know they were concerned about the cushion behind
the black not bouncing correctly but it seems to be beautifully.
Turning into a decent chance. Probably for portable reds.
He did not hit that hard enough. That was a poor shot from Mark. He
should've been more straight on the pink. Now he has a bit a problem. He
tried to let the side to do the work and play it on the right-hand side
but for reason, as you say, he has finished short. OK, you can pop the
pink but he has taken the cue ball away from the red and surely it is
too risky to play the pink in the middle.
Just struggled its way in. He would never be good on the next red. He
needs a good pot here. There it looked as if the pink would not go
in. It wobbled three times. Have a look...
And in. Any harder and it would've missed.
APPLAUSE A tremendous pot. But no position.
It is one of those, you really think it is a puff shot Andy think BOOING
Put all your concentration. -- it is one of those, a tough shot.
We never realise how much the balls bounce from the table in particular
with the superfine cloth is. Have a look at this again of course when we
were playing there was no such thing as slow motion cameras.
Much too thin. There is a chance for Mark Selby he has a 30 point lead.
He needs to get a good position on the pink.
APPLAUSE Doesn't want to be straight. There
is a red, if you look to the left of the black, it is pottable, as is the
one below the black. He couldn't, so he has played for
the red just below the black. It will be awkward cueing, here. He
just needs 17 points to get to the snick required state. -- to get to
the snick required stage. Good shot!
APPLAUSE Keep saying I have not seen anyone
as good as Mark Selby when he's bridging over of balls. He is
amazing because he not only gets the pot bookie generate enough pace to
get the position. It is such a difficult shot striking down. He is
the best I've ever seen at it. He looks to be a bit straight on
this pink. What is it? Eggplant? Does he see a plant? -- a plant?
I can only assume that, because otherwise, why would you play this
shot? I think he's playing safe. It was too straight on the pink,
couldn't do anything about it. And he knows the importance of this
frame. When he came to the Crucible Theatre, he had one priority in his
mind : Win the first frame. And he is favourite to do that now.
REFEREE: foul and a miss. What my good luck with replacing these! --
good luck with replacing these! He's having a glance at Mark, but
thankfully, he's playing it from here.
It was the side he put on that that threw it into the brown. He has kept
this frame very tight, has Mark Selby.
APPLAUSE John Higgins hasn't had a pot to
look at. This is not a bad shot. Purposely
played it with a bit of pace because of the situation of the brown and
blue. He is favourite now to take four
frames in a row. It really was a terrific display last evening, to
win the last three. There was one person in the Crucible
liked that last shot, a loan clapper.
The reds running loose, he needs a good cue ball? Where is it going? In
the pocket! Just caught it a fraction too thick, the safety. And
of course, ball-in-hand, looking at the red to the middle. This red and
the black... Will put him 60 points in front with
just 59 remaining. He's got to be careful there. He
left the rest on the table. If you touch one of the balls with the cue
or the rest, it is a foul. And when you finish your short with the rest,
you have to give it to the referee. You have to take it off the table.
That is the ball that means that John Higgins needs a snooker. Highly
unlikely he will get back to the table now. Didn't really have much
chance, and if there was any little run of the ball going in this frame,
it certainly went the way of Mark Selby. One particular long shot that
he missed and got the double-kiss, which left it safe.
But just the start the defending champion was looking for. He will
know in the back of his mind that he wants to win this session at least
5-3. He's got the perfect start. Not quite. I don't think John
Higgins will bother coming back to the table. He doesn't, nods
concession. He trails 10-8. Hazel Irvine: Steve, John, myself and all
of you are watching this final eagerly, and the awaited comeback is
on, because having one the last three last night, there is a bit of
deja vu about this from a finals perspective for Mark was Mike same
thing with Ronnie O'Sullivan. It is looking the same. He came back to
beat Ronnie 18-14, so he has got previous. It has become a trademark
for Mark Selby, this comeback. Suddenly. The first frame, very
important to get on the board. It was understandably a bit of a
tactical frame, when nobody was trying to take any risks will stop I
think the way he has won it, you will be quite pleased with it. He
never actually had to make any big decisions, really big decisions, or
put it all on the line. It was virtually identical to the one
Higgins played last night at 8-4, and there was a bit of that in that
one. He was so determined to win the frame, it didn't matter how he won
it. At the start of each session, it is like to make boxes feeling each
other out. As the session unfolds, the players open up a bit, take more
risks once they know their cue arm is going right. John will be looking
over his shoulder at the moment and needs to steady the ship. It was the
longest frame in this final so far. It has been very free-flowing and
hugely enjoyable. APPLAUSE
COMMENTATOR: Not a bad break off, just the one red came out. The
pyramid is more or less intact. It looks as if Mark Selby's set his
stall out to play very, very tight snooker here to get back in this. It
seems as if he is going to make life very difficult for John Higgins and
he's not going to be risking anything. With the red up the other
end of the table, and only stalemate. -- an early stalemate.
Not touching any red, otherwise the referee would have declared that.
He will just roll back into them again, because he can't take that
red next to the yellow from that position. If he gets a chance, he
could send it up the table and get the frame back to normal, but that
is all that is available at the moment. It may be a touching ball
now. No? Some referees would find it
difficult to see from that position whether they were touching or not,
but this referee is about six foot four and doesn't have that problem.
23 years he has been refereeing. And he has been one of the best, no
doubt about it. And that is going to get the frame
back to normal. John wants that to run a little bit. I think he is a
bit short of pace. He wanted to cover the red near the yellow,
because if Mark can get to the right-hand side of the red as he
looks, quite an easy return to baulk. Six hours of tough match
snooker. I don't think he can hit that red without swerving it, and
that's what he's going to do. And that's the frame back to normal
John Higgins knocked a pot like this in yesterday, bridging over the
yellow, and it was an incredibly long red.
And he's got it again! APPLAUSE
What brilliant cueing to knock Latin. -- to knock that in.
CROWD GROANS I don't know why he hit it that
hard. It was as if he wasn't ready to play the shot.
That's the third black he has missed off the spot. He has got an angle on
the blue here. Someone moving in his line of sight there, but he is
playing this with a terrific amount of left-hand side. He is going to go
between the yellow and brown, off the bottom side cushion, and then
into the reds. Look at this shop he has played!
-- look at this shot he has played. The pace you are generating into the
cue Bull, particularly as he was stunning in between the yellow and
brown. You would think, first chance he gets, get up the table, get
leaping back down this end. You would like to have the pink back at
this end. Just checking to see if he can get position on the black. He
could play for the black and still be on the blue. Stunning round off
two cushions. Needs to miss the blue... And he didn't. Well, he may
be able to cut the pink in. I would rather be thinking of cutting the
pink in and trying to find a path for the cue ball and potting the
blue. It depends how difficult he thinks the pink is, but he's going
for it. APPLAUSE
Well, he didn't quite hit that as thin as he intended, because it went
in off the jaws. There is a path around the back of that red that is
mere percussion. -- that is near the cushion. That is amazing. He has had
the first two frames with all the run of the ball. Very, very
fortunate there. And John is smiling to himself. What a difference that
makes, when you make a mistake like this and leave absolutely nothing.
That is why we say it is a cruel game. There is no really good safety
shot on here, so he will just be playing to contain safety. As you
say, Dennis, in these longer matches, there is time for it to
turn around. And we could be in for another long
frame. With that red up at the other end of the table, and that one has
joined it, just past the blue spot, another very awkward looking frame.
I used to hate these frames, John. It is just a case of tip tapping for
a while. He did bring the black interplay,
the -- he is bringing the black into play. It is an important safety
exchange, this, now. Just a little drop into the reds,
you would imagine. That was dangerous, he had to find
the top cushion, and he didn't. The pink has now gone safe. In fact, he
didn't find the top cushion, and you would expect Mark Selby to play a
better safety shot than that. Just looking, if he hits the bottom
one, will be red go towards the left middle? There are already seven reds
at the other end of the table. There might be a few more before we
resolve this situation. This was John's shot as he tried...
Look at the white... When it bounces, it takes the back spin off
it. This was the last thing that John
Higgins wanted, two friends like this. He had a three frame
advantage, and he hasn't had a shot at a ball, hasn't got in amongst
them at all. -- two frames like this. Patients... That's the key at
the moment. -- patience. The reason players
don't like these type of frames is that if someone goes for a risky
pot, or you can't get it safe, all the red Czar there for the taking,
so you know that if you make one mistake, it could be your last shot
in the frame. There are only three reds left that
this side of the table. Well, what an unusual frame.
He was just right and that the second red might not go towards the
far left corner here. There was only one red left on this side of the
table. I don't think I've ever seen a frame quite like this. They have
made a right mess of it. Neither... Oh, he has left it. Can
you believe that? To wobble and go across. I was starting to think,
where was the safety going to be? There was nothing at this end to
play behind, but that red... The run of the ball certainly still not
favouring John. It is going to have to be the green,
I think. But if he can get the blue back on its spot in a couple of
shots' time, he will have a chance. He was very unlucky there, John
Higgins. I'm sure he was just trying to knock that red onto the cushion
and send the black back up the table. Let's show you it again. He
is not playing to pot this. He is playing it on to cushion to send it
up the table. It wobbled in the jaws and stayed over the other corner
pocket. It was very unfortunate. There are only the three colours he
can play for at the moment, Mark. He won't risk playing the pink or the
black, or even the brown. The red he would like to get rid of, sooner
rather than later, is the one immediately to the right of the blue
at the moment. That is stopping the blue going into both metal pockets.
So, just playing an area here, because if he could get on that red,
it would be a bonus. There are other reds to play for obviously. It looks
pretty good. As I say, he is playing for a choice of three reds, but the
one to the right of the blue is the one he would love to be on. He is
hampered, so he will play for the green or yellow now.
Already got a 29 point lead. Big favourite now to take this second
frame of this third session. I think the red just above the
yellow goes to the far left corner, so... The reds that he needs are in
the open, but the more low value colours he takes that -- the more
low value colours he takes... Yeah, he's going to have to pot an awful
lot of balls for not many points, but as long as he keeps potting
them, he will get to the winning line.
And he is well on his way to winning five frames in a row.
Now, where has he finished here? 40 ahead. Still needs a few more. I
think you can just stun in between the two reds and back out. That
would give a choice of yellow or green here.
Now, according to the side bar, he needs another 29 points to get to
snookers required. With that yellow and green that he is playing for,
that is another three reds required. Not quite a formality yet. There is
what he has potted side two blues, four greens, and a yellow. Make that
two yellows. Yes, and clever thinking, 46 points in the league.
Red and blue will put on 52 points in front with just 51 remaining. So,
that is how he has got his nine points - red, yellow, red, blue.
APPLAUSE It does not really matter, the wrong
side of the blue. Just make sure that the blue, he will not try and
power attending ghetto for the two red that a Navy of the cushion. --
power it in. He has kept his concentration, he
did not rush this break. It is such an unusual situation with all the
reds at the other end of the table. It is not a straightforward break so
you have to plan your way around it. APPLAUSE
It would have been more straight forward if he was in amongst the
pinks. It took well over eight minutes to compile that 40 break,
but it was important. You would not give John much chance
in this frame, there's nothing to play behind, here.
That red, what do you think about the red just behind the yellow? I do
not think John can get to it. APPLAUSE
Good shot! To keep it at one snick required he will have to play the
double. No other shot available to him.
He looks around at Mark Selby... Two very tactical frames, he has taken
both of them and all other son didn't he is just frame behind. John
Higgins 15 in a row LANS is final and this is fired in a row for Mark
Selby and he was gifted the chance from Mark Higgins. It never looks
good when you missed them it looks like he is bashed it. If it goes in
the middle and you split the reds opened, it is the hero shot. John
Higgins is reeling. 10-4, it is tough to get that lead out of Europe
brain and you are being reeled back in.
# It is tough to get that lead out of your brain. I know what that
feels like to have someone breathing up on your shoulder. Somewhere down
the line John will steady the ship, it is usually when sudden parity
sets in and then you can start to compete, again. It's been tough job.
He not happy, he he's been looking up at the commentary box, he thinks
the light is bright. Do you feel, John, that yesterday was such a
golden opportunity for Selby so far off his game, it was extraordinary
to witness, that perhaps he is kicking himself that it did not take
the bed branded? He would have been like that, it was mentioned about
one hour or two hours, he would have been steaming, that it was only
10-7. It is still there in the back of his mind. It is just how you
approach it. At the moment Mark Selby has played to rock-hard
brains, and slowly but surely he's clawing his way back as it always
does. -- two rock-hard frames. We consider John Higgins has bolded
bit, it in the interview he will say he blew it if you lose is this
match. That is at the highest possible level, so it is not that
embarrassing. There was a long, long way to go.
COMMENTATOR: Yes, in fairness we can have a look at John Higgins but it
is probably a terrific long read. He missed the black which you can do, I
agree he did not hit it smoothly, but he has not had a decent chance,
yet. He has had a bad run of the ball, Mark Selby has got away with
it a few times, he has had a series of cannons and left everything safe.
Let's even get going. Never easy striking down, he has hit
it to fall, which is wide that cue ball has any hit the blue spot area.
CROWD GROANS. Much too thick and the one he missed was the one that mark
could part but I am not sure he could get round the back of the
black. Wow, he had has played it with a
touch at the side. Has he got away with it, again? He was concentrating
so much on getting round the back of the black... This is the one
instance, when we see that red mist, you come to the table and be glad
that your opponent did not punish you. Looking up to leave anything
easy. And it is the, past the blue.
APPLAUSE Now, this is the first proper chance
that John has had. He will be kicking himself. He has
missed a sitter. And he did not leave anything easy.
That was a tremendous opening pot. John will recognise the importance
of this visit, to punish your opponent when they miss.
All of his intention was an train to get round the back of the black,
it's nearly dropped. -- Mark has got to sit there and suffer. He has hit
this too hard. He is not in perfect position, by any means.
APPLAUSE Good recovery. He would love to get
on the red that is next to the black. Having a look at the yellow.
John is quite an attacking player. He has played for the split, wow. He
is stuck on them. He thought about playing the green
and going back for the red necks to the black, and then he decided he
would take the bull by the horns and try and split them.
That was an awkward angle, but well played.
APPLAUSE He could not get the other side of
the blue, a delicate shop he played. He had to be careful not to push it
and he did well. Yes, the blue is taking him away from the red. The
pink wood offer a certain position but it is missable macro.
But the top spin but did not find of the gap. Plenty of top spin on it,
but it needed to get between the brown and yellow, there.
And much more open frame from the two previous weather balls went very
awkward. -- when the balls. He is to get a good length with the cue for,
here. The brown could come back down the table. That is why he's taking
this one. I tell you what's come out what a
good shot that was. I cannot think of many players that would have
chosen that is the safety. Well played.
A huge frame the John Higgins. He needs to start the rot, he has lost
five in a row. APPLAUSE
What are shot John Higgins is just tapping the table, there is no brown
there so there is only the yellow and green to trying get in behind.
Tapping the table. I would not have been tapping in my day. I believe
that players playing this safety are trying to get near the baulk
cushion. Very close, I'm sure Mark will have
it replaced, it all depends on whether brown was, really. It went
in off the brown, so he will have a pretty good idea. Might pick up the
monitor, there. Touched it. One of the top referees. To me, again. Keep
coming to me. He is a car park attendant.
LAUGHTER Move your hand. A touch to you. Yeah, yeah. That is near
enough. That is spot on, this is so tough to judge. He might come down
and hit the red and the pink. He has done the same thing again
The car park attendant again... LAUGHTER Better missing it a couple
of times than giving eight away. It is nice to see. They have had a chat
with each of John and Mark, and that was nice to see. -- they'd had a
chat with each other. OK, John? Mark? Thank you. Smiles all around
but now back to the serious stuff can catch the red?
Oh, hello! CHEERING
APPLAUSE Have you ever seen anything like
that before? LAUGHTER The one thing is says on
you have got to applaud the referee for putting the brown back in the
same place. Perfect, the rights to me.
LAUGHTER. Be quiet for a second. Bring the ball to me at touch. John?
Mark? LAUGHTER Come on, let's clipped it
this time, John. Brilliant! Chairing APPLAUSE
That deserves a tap on the table. -- CHEERING
That relieved a bit of tension, I can tell you.
There was a lot of tension in those two opening frames.
He can get down off the red the left of the pink.
He needed a bit more pace than that. He came up short of the baulk line.
We'll Mark Selby be tempted? He is looking... Yes, heating get on the
black here if he hits this correct. APPLAUSE
And look where he has finished. Right on the black.
APPLAUSE When it set off, have a look at this
now... That was not going in the pocket and then all of a sudden it
upheld nicely in. Amazing. -- is held nicely in.
All square. All the red senior in the middle of the table. -- all the
reds he needs. The frame will be at his mercy.
CROWD GROANS How many times have we seen that, when they take that as of
the pot. Mark has now missed three blacks off the spot. That is the
chance that John has been waiting for.
At the moment it seems chances are coming from unexpected messes.
This could be a pivotal moment. Never saw that coming.
I/O is pink when you get these chances, you come to the table...
-- I always think when you get these chances. You come to the table with
more relief because you are just glad to be back.
He just needs 28 more points to get to the snooker required stage.
Not a straightforward run to the winning post in this frame.
The red is next to the pink, alt commission, there is one text of the
cushion. John mentioned he needed for reds.
I like this shot. The red was always going to be over the middle pocket.
This is not where he wanted the cue ball. He has got the brown. That was
strange. A bit of adrenaline, I think. Absolutely. This is a
terrific shot, can he judge this a bit better?
Good solid cueing, nicely on the black. It looks like you get the
first on the scoreboard. -- it looks like he will get the
first frame on the scoreboard. That will give Mark Selby a lot to
think about. He was taking control before.
John Higgins and all his fans will be feeling better, now. A lot of his
family are here. It is worse that the family watching
the displaying. -- it is worse for the family watching Bennett is for
the supplier. APPLAUSE
This will make John Higgins Phil and four lot better. -- this will make
John Higgins Phil an awful lot better. He is 2p bend the head,
again. There is one more to play aboard the middle session interval.
Psychologically, how important just to keep Mark Selby from drawing
level with him, he still has them at arms length put littered with
mistakes. There were two misses in that frame, the best one on the red
in the middle pocket, you cannot believe he has missed it. That is
never read he's going to miss. The funny thing is, I said to you off
there, it will be interesting to see it the make something, we know we
talking about the world number one, but there is something psychological
bar during level. When you have done all the hard work to graft your way
back in when you can win the frame, there was something about it that
adds a bit of pressure. I thought there might of been a mistake. What
is clear is that neither of them are impervious to pressure. It is
fascinating. To the greatest players and scorers on the days and they are
playing like scared kittens. It is marvellous for it. It is impossible
to predict how it will come. Do not see at the moment how anyone would
take the game by the scrub of the neck, but somebody probably will. --
by the scope of the neck. We don't usually see mistakes like this at
the well final. The more exciting for that.
Last frame before the mid-session interval.
Can John Higgins take it and shared the session? Can he keep the
advantage he had at the start of the session?
No, I thought everyone thought it was going to slip in behind the
brown. If John can get through to the side
of the reds... Of course, when you get to these final sessions of a
World Championship, Dennis, Mark Selby would have come out today, set
himself a little girl, to win three copy first four Prince. Having won
the first two, if John Higgins wins this next frame, and it is as you
were, so to speak, it will be a blow to Mark Selby, particularly when he
looks back and sees the black off the spot.
APPLAUSE There is a lot of pressure on Mark
here. If he comes out of this little mini-session of four frames two
apiece, he will not be happy, and neither should he be. He has had the
run of the ball, he has had the opportunities and not taken them.
And just maybe, that little situation where John kept missing
and going in off the brown, having a laugh with Mark and the crowd, maybe
that has just settle him down. Not only the plant, but look at the kiss
on the brown. Well, that's... You can't pick that shot out. He's very
good at angles, but that was an amazing plant. The kiss on the
brown... John will be thinking. I have always said Mark Selby is a
shotmaker, but he didn't put his hand up and apologise, so maybe he
thought there was half a chance of that red going near the pocket. But
I agree with you, to get it, how many times out of 100 would you not
it in? -- knock it in? Well, the black's tied up with the
two red's. You think he would scatter them and develop not only
the reds and the pink, but he could clear one of the reds away from the
black. How hard would he hit it? Pretty hard... It did three the
black, but look where it has put it. At least he's got the pink and blue
to work with. Now, this will be interesting, when
the pink goes back on its spot, is it going to be available into any
pockets as much as you say, Dennis, with the blackout of commission, OK,
he has got the blue and baulk colours, but he needs the pink to be
available as well. Just going round to see if it goes
into the right corner. Looks as though it will.
He won't necessarily play for the pink, but it goes into the opposite
corner. He did. Sets it up nicely. Now, no easy misses here.
The reds are covering each other now, so he needs an angle from the
pink to come back off the cushion to disturb some, play at the top spin,
right-hand side. -- play it with top spin. He is annoyed at where he has
left the cue all, which makes it very difficult to bring the reds
interplay. The only downside of this is, to go into the reds, you will
have to play with right-hand side. With a lot of pace, he will have to
judge the throw of the side, which makes the pink missable. That tells
me he won't even attempt that. People pot the pink, and then
looking at another difficult plant. He could play the safety shot also.
That first plant was quite incredible. This is a bit easier.
But even that is difficult. So, he has played to leave the
plant. Yeah, but, well I'll be amazed if he plays it. It's too
risky, surely. There is no way he can guarantee it being safe. If the
cue ball was going back to baulk, playing the plan, I would have a go,
but as I said earlier, he is a shot maker. I can't believe this is the
right shot. Neither can he! On this occasion.
APPLAUSE Yeah, the first plant, he was
playing it as a shot to nothing. As you mentioned, John, he could play
that 100 times, the opening plant, and be lucky to get it. Lucky to get
it five or six times. In fact, it's worth another look at
the opening one. It takes some judgment, that. That was a useful
nudge on the brown, but it was a sort of free shot. Yes, and
sometimes you see those sort of shots, you know you have a good
angle to get back to baulk. The significant thing to me was, he
didn't put his hand up to apologise, which he would have done had it been
totally unexpected. APPLAUSE
You can't get a better length of cue ball than that. John Higgins, having
a look at these two reds. They are not a plant. There is a gap that
could be made. The fear I would have, if you hit it too thick, you
could carry the red near the black. -- you could cannon the red near the
black. He did. Where will be red go? John's turn to have a little run.
Just coming up to the minute mark for thinking time here.
I think he was trying to make it ultrasafe here. I'm surprised he
played that shot. That helps - touching ball. No value in going to
the baulk end, so just go off the side cushion. Nestled into the black
would be as good as anything. If you don't leave anything, as I say,
there is no advantage to going into the baulk end while that red is in
the baulk area. You just leave an easy safety shot for your opponent.
John might be able to take that red now. If he gets a good cue ball, he
could make it quite awkward for Mark Selby.
I'm just wondering if there is a possible chance of taking a pot on
back down the table. There are a lot of balls to avoid. He could just
snick this one in. APPLAUSE
He does pick out some terrific shots.
But when he tried a shot like this yesterday, he was further away and
he didn't reach the green. All sorts of trouble.
John will have to find a red to nestle onto.
The reds nearly pink, if he landed in that, it wouldn't be too bad. The
others you would be looking for the two near the cushion on the
right-hand side, just nestle onto that. I think he's playing into the
side of the reds here. But he doesn't want to play it with too
much pace push one into a pottable position. He wants just to land on
Well, can he get through to pot this red? He's having a very close look.
Can he turn it over with a trace of left-hand side?
It must be close. It is interesting him.
He thinks he can pot this. Remember the great Fred Davis were used to do
that? You would be sitting in your seat, thinking, this won't go, then
he would knock it down and everyone would cheer.
Oh... He just couldn't hit enough of it, as it turned out. Did he play it
with a trace of side? I think he did, turned it over a fraction too
much. When they are that close together, they are so awkward to
judge. This frame, like the three before, feeding off your opponent's
mistakes, you have got to punish them, and if John Higgins could go
into the interval still with a 3- frame advantage... After losing the
first two, remember, it would be job done. That is a chance. I won't take
anything for granted here. You can feel the tension in the air. Noisy
shots now. APPLAUSE
He missed one easy pink into that
pocket. But that is long gone from his memory bank.
Played it well, but looking at John's phase, I don't think he has
quite the angle he was looking for. He was looking for an angle to pot
the pink and maybe run into these three reds. He is now desperately
hoping that the left-hand one goes. It is tight.
He thinks it just goes. The chances of John winning the frame at this
visit, well, it is long odds, funny, but he is desperate to get back in
the frame, points wise. That will be his priority. Does this red go? Boy,
it's tight. Well, watch the red. That was well
judged, that. Just looking to see if that back red of the two is
available, so he must be pretty straight on the pink again. He has a
slight angle, so he may be able to cannon them.
On these lively cloth is, he could force the pink, nudge the reds. --
these lively cloths. So, he's not too sure about those
two. And that was the reason he screwed it back.
APPLAUSE He is back again, looking. Still not
sure. Well, he has convinced himself that
the bottom red does go. And he was right.
APPLAUSE . He has run too far and just push
the cue ball through an inch too far. Even a quarter of an inch. He
is not on the pink. You see it. So, he has only a safety shot shot to
play. But he has reduced his arrears to only five points, so right back
in the frame. APPLAUSE
Yeah, just looking at that, if he had it over again, he would have
played a little stun there, just make sure second red moved away a
bit more. A head scratcher. As I say, he is right back in the frame.
A massive frame now, this. Yellow and brown are the targets for
John here. Tight on the cushion. He has those two snookering balls.
That's pretty good. Judged perfectly. As you can see, that is
all that Mark can say. -- can see. APPLAUSE
I'm not sure if John would be tempted here to take this read up
past the blue. -- to take this red up past the blue, into the corner.
He's looking at it. Keeping it tight because he knows
they are going into the mid-session interval and he could still have his
three frame advantage. No risks at the moment.
Yes, and it's not a straightforward run back to the baulk end here. The
red in the middle of the table, as we zoom in. He may have to play a
containing safety here. If he played the red in the middle of the table,
he would have to avoid the two reds at the top cushion. Try to put the
cue ball near the black. That is all he could do, really.
Three fairly long frames. Because of the way the balls finished up. Still
fascinating snooker. They are both so good in the
tactical department, as we have mentioned so many times. They are
brilliant safety players. John, just ahead in the safety success
department. Where is the red going? Where is the
red? All of a sudden, the luck has turned around. As we said, sometimes
it evens itself out. But what a fluke that could be, because he is
on theblue. He needs to hit this with a bit of pace. He would love to
be able to get onto the blue, because that is the one that would
give you a chance at moving the two reds. He had to swerve around the
yellow and flick the blue. To get onto these two is difficult reds, he
would have to screw back for the blue.
Oh, he miscued. At least he potted it. He was trying to get near where
the green is so he could play a cannon.
That wasn't the angle. It was a good pot, but he could never get to the
two reds from that position. Seven points, the lead, now. But it is all
about who gets the next chance. APPLAUSE
Now, does Mark Selby take a risk and try to play a good safety here? It
is risky. But he doesn't want to just roll up to them, because he
would be handing the initiative to John, so... He has put a little bit
of distance between the balls, but not really put John under any
pressure here. And this is the fourth frame of this
session, and everyone has been 20 minutes plus. Both players being
extra careful, understandably. This frame has just gone over the
half-hour mark. It's a long day, Dennis, isn't it? I
think Mark is being ultra-careful. He is trying to find a difficult
spot to put John Higgins in, and he's trying to keep the reds safe
also. You would normally just get down and play twice across, of the
table, but he is trying to get the most difficult position he can to
put John in. I'm just wondering if John will take
the chance to get in behind the yellow, swing this cue ball around.
At the moment, both players are trying to make sure they keep the
reds safe also. S He can go down either side of the
table. The normal way would be to come off the right side of the red.
There's not a lot to play behind going that side. I'm surprised
there. I thought the first choice was to swing it round and get in
behind the yellow. All this tipping and tapping not to
leave a pot on. He's left a pot on here.
I think he's got an angle on the green to pot the green and move this
difficult red. With a bit of stun, he's pretty good
at this type of shot. If he double-kisses the red it will
stay. -- stay there. If anything he caught the green a
fraction too thin. If the green were in the middle of the pocket, he have
got it perfect. You'd be unlucky not to get a
snooker here. That's what he's looking at.
When the pressure is on, you're thinking don't miss it on the way up
and catch it on the way back. He's played it very well. Is there a
gap? No gap there. Advantage Mark Selby now. The colours all
available. The problem for John Higgins, hit
the red, can you get it safe? He's played it well. He's played it
very well. That's a little beauty. It's the frame that will take us to
the mid-session interval. It's the longest frame of this final so far.
I think John can get through to the red.
You're trying to put distance between cue ball and object ball
here. A snooker is a bonus. I think he's got the snooker. He's
going to have to hit the baulk cushion and come back. He's got to
go between the pink and blue. Makes it more difficult to know
where the red will end up. He's left it. This red cuts. Here's the chance
for John Higgins to go out of this mini-session. A tap on the table. I
don't know why. If he really wants to hit this red
off two cushions, not direct off the baulk cushion. Hit it off the side
and kick the red up the table. The white might even come back towards
the yellow and brown there. He has judged it. He needs a big
bounce with the red. He hasn't got it. This is a chance for Mark Selby.
There's a bit of pressure on this long red.
But it's the chance he was looking for.
You could play the blue. You could play the pink. It's whatever is
going to offer you position on the yellow.
He'd love to get the cue ball anywhere there. He'd have to power
the blue in to get right round there or play the pink to get there. The
only reason he's not playing the pink, because the pink is missable.
If he plays the blue, as you say, it's going to be an unbelievable
shot. I think he's going to roll the blue in and leave a more difficult
yellow. Under normal circumstances, if he were a few frames in front,
he'd play the pink I'm sure. But the blue is unmissable.
Yeah, he could never get it right round to where I had the circle up.
He tried to. But it was so difficult.
Because he was fairly straight on the blue, he was never really going
to be able to get there. No attempt at the pot. So John
Higgins will be mighty relieved to come back to the table. He's only
three points behind. That was about all he could do. Mark
Selby, if he can find the correct spot on the baulk cushion, he's got
the brown, the blue and the pink to get a snooker behind.
He could have played this better. It needs to pull up. This is aye
chance. He can get through to the yellow. I'm nearly certain he can
see enough of it. Might be a guide, if he passes the
blue. He hit it thick, that's why he's
cannoned on the pink. I didn't even think he could hit that much of the
pink. I don't think John did either. It all depends, the angle on the
yellow, he's got to be careful. He's got to be careful if he screws
back too far he could go off in a middle pocket.
That is definitely a deep screw off to the left middle.
That's all he could do. You see the line. It had gone in off in the
middle. This is the big shot. Five points the lead. Green, brown and
blue to just be one frame behind. The green was off its spot, which
did help. Always nice to win any frame, but to
win the longest frame of the match is even better.
APPLAUSE Unbelievable snooker. He has taken
the mini-session 3-1. He's now just one frame behind.
STUDIO: That was a frame, 45 minutes worth of real, tough, hard match
play snooker. We thought we were going to get that from the off. This
is the first time in effect that the match has slowed down to this
degree, Steve? Yeah blood out of a stone stuff. Possibly it's the
nature of how it's come to this point. It's not been dinning-dong
players -- ding-dong players making nice breaks. One was in front, the
other had to dig in. It's got nervy. Can you see why. Mark Selby knows
how to play this game. The respect from both players is massive. It
wasn't - it's not going to be like this all the time. Somewhere
down-the-line somebody will break free of that. Exactly, you guys have
so much experience in finals. You've about there and done it. At this
point in proceedings, you know, I'm sure, why are you experiencing --
what are you experiencing at this point? Different emotions from both
players. John Higgins has had the lead and is pegged back. Then back
in again. Mark Selby catch up all the time. Nearly got there, let it
go. You're going through everything. Rather like you say, this is like
moving day the third session. This is massive. It sets the tone for
what happens this evening. You can see both players are trying not to
make a mistake, perfectly understandable. It's hard snooker.
It is. But it's very enjoyable. I hope you're enjoying it at home.
Looks like we're in for a very long evening by the look of things. I
know Ken Doherty is watching this. I was going to ask you, when you came
back to try and defend your title in 1998, you came up a certain John
Higgins, it is remarkable to think 19 years later, he's still trying to
do something similar to Mark Selby. He's amazing in that regard, isn't
he? Incredible. He's there, 19 years, such a tough match player,
probably the toughest since Dave Davis. I think Mark Selby has taken
over that mantle. It is a complete war of attrition the first four
frames. Both players trying to outdo each other. They're forgetting how
to play. What they normally do is try and play, as Steve Davis said,
when one gets ahead, it becomes a bit a slug fest. If I had words of
wisdom for either player in the dressing room, I would say release
the shackles. If anybody can get a bit of momentum here, they can go on
and get two or three frames and get the balls open a bit and make some
breaks. At the moment, they're trying to do each other. They've got
bogged down. The pressure is getting to both players. A massive session
so far. The momentum is with Mark Selby. John Higgins needs to get a
little roll, get his head together and get whack the way he can play.
Ken, always words of wis Dom. If you were to to the up the numbers in
this year's Championship between the play here and a full qualifying
event here beforehand, you would realise we have played nearly 2,300
frames of snooker in the last few weeks. But what about the best shots
within those frames? I wonder, you'll be judge of this, we have a
few starters for ten for you. Four cushions - what a shot!
Fantastic shot. I thought it was possibly too straight to play that
shot. Excellent. The power it generated.
This is dead straight. Knock this for a long screw back. This is a
monster. Oh, my goodness! You cannot hit the
ball better than that. Tremendous pot.
Count the cushions with him. One, two, three, four - I'll tell you
what - and there's the green! What a shot. They don't come any better
than that. Brilliant. And a snooker to boot.
How is this for a shot? Wow! It was a cracking shot.
He's coming off side cushion, top cushion, lots of right-hand side.
This is risky. What a shot this is! Great shot! Oh, unbelievable! What a
time to play an exhibition come trick shot.
If he's taking this on, this is really tough. Oh, what a shot! That
was incredible. What a shot this will be. Oh, stop
it! He's got a beautiful line, if he
misses the brown, this is sensational. What a shot that was.
The best safety shot of The best safety shot of the
tournament so far. Wow, look at this for a shot -
unbelievable! Wow. Screw off the side and top cushion
with loads of side? Have a look at that for a shot. That is one of the
best positional shots you could ever wish to see. This, here, was
tremendous, really was. STUDIO: What is your winner? Vote
now: Also speaking of voting, earlier on
on the BBC Sport website, we asked you to pick your favourite Crucible
moment in the last 40 years. A whopping 55% picked the 1985 final
between Denis and Steve. Funny, they never pick your sixth world title,
never. Second, it was followed by Ronnie O'Sullivan's fastest 147 and
Alex Higgins' triumph in 1982. Just condole the boy, shall we. Shot E,
we were talking about this a lot over the last week or so. It was
Shaun Murphy's incredible trick shot when he was up against Ronnie
O'Sullivan. That's had many of you trying to recreate it. We asked you
to do this last weekend. Some ffgs entries. This is a cracker. I like
the celebration. We're not sure how many attempts each had actually. One
is very impressive. Roll up, roll up, Ken Doherty, it's your big
moment. Fantastic shot. And John Higgins
saying you have to play this shot. I am going to try and play it. He's
laughing his head over there. He can't wait. He plays it with
right-hand side. It hits the cushion here. It takes effect off the
cushion here, comes back at almost a 25 degree angle and hits and pots
the red. I've had about 20 goes in practice. A few have gone in. A few
missed. This is the practice room. It's not the heat of the battle. Ten
to one John Higgins says. Well, you see what I mean. It is the
practice room. I knew we should have recorded this instead of doing it
We did ask him to do it live. By the time he gets that in he'll look a
Robin Carusoe. As you can see from the practice room in world sport,
where you have the players, broadcasters, organisers living and
working in tight proximity. It's an amazing atmosphere here at The
Crucible Theatre. It just makes you want to keep coming back for more,
behind-the-scenes and front of house.
I'm Rob Walker, snooker MC. It is so important that your contribution to
the drama is at the start of the evening and at the appropriate
moment. It's just the best place in the world to come and be a part of
live snooker. There is no venue like it anywhere in the world, because
the place, the people and the players deserve everybody to walk
through those doors thinking, right, I'm going to do my little bit to be
a part of another great year of snooker. A world class weekend of
live sport starts right here, right now in Sheffield.
CHEERING The world snooker tournament
director. The atmosphere is still there, the fundamentals are still
there. The people are so close to the players. The people sat next to
the player's seat can virtually touch them. Cameraman, Duncan
Richmond. The word unique is overused. Sheffield, The Crucible,
is unique. There isn't enough space to work in. Then it becomes one of
the most spacious venues to work in. I'm Eugene James, table fitter. It
is magic. It's great. When you've been to all the other venues all
over the world, this one definitely special. When we service the stables
during the tournament, people are right behind you. It's scary
sometimes. Snooker referee. I've walked out there five times as the
snooker referee, to walk out there through that curtain is an
unbelievable. It's the pinnacle of your career. You know, you can feel
the atmosphere, the tension, when the MC does the walk ones for the
players, it's incredible. I get a lot of stick sometimes on social
media for being cheesy, but being cheesy is part of the role, because
you're there to pump people up. The Wizard of Wishall, John Higgins. You
have to give it a bit of welly because you want the audience to
give that back, not to you, but to the players when they walk out. If
it's fun for me coming back, in my little role as MC, imagine what that
must feel like for the players, first time, tenth time, 23 rd time,
must be amazing. You cannot get closer to the crowd. There's no
other sport where we work closer with the officials and the players.
One wrong move from you and you can put a player off. Rule number one -
we're at the back. The players know us, the players trust us. I've
always understood that as a rove ree you're a service to the player. You
have to have the discipline to always be in the right spot, never
to be in the eye line, never move as a player is down on the shot and
obviously under extreme pressure make the right decisions. All these
people constantly walking around, always makes the table move. They're
not allowed to touch the table. We're sat there like bull dogs to
make sure they go nowhere near trchlt You never get border of
seeing that final day and winning it. Not just because you want to go
home, it's because of the excitement and the buzz it gives those players
as well. The adrenaline pumps. The more exciting it gets, the more
difficult it gets, I find the breathing slows down, the heart rate
slows down because you're thinking quicker and quicker and quicker.
It's incredibly exciting. When you see the great matches on the table,
I don't think a lot of people appreciate how hard we work and what
we put into it. I think it's just the satisfaction that you've seen a
great game, that's the satisfaction I get really from it.
It's just been so, so special to be part of such a great event. It's
very humbling. You're watching people live out their dreams under
the most intense, immense pressure. So, it means everything that I've
had a chance to be part of it. We should all be proud year on year,
because the figures are getting better, the sport is getting bigger.
This is going out to 70 countries around the world. It's a team effort
and we should all be proud. I'm very proud, especially to be
chosen for the 40th anniversary of the Crucible. I'm not the youngest
any more now, so yeah, if I'm true to myself, I probably think this
will be the last one. I'm going to be over the moon and
I'm going to be really proud and I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.
It's one big happy family. Though I'm looking forward to going home.
No, I'm joking. It is an incredible event because you do have to work so
close to everybody and as I said in the introduction, I can't think of
any other events where we are all so closely knitted together here.
That's right. In recent years, it must be said, a happier family, when
the game was being run by the players, there was all sorts of
political in-fighting. Now it's far better set up. Enjoyable to come
here. Is this Championship getting bigger and better ever year? I think
so. To be honest with you, this is where the want to be. This is what
you want to be, in a final like this. John Higgins six frame lead
over Mark Selby has been cut to just the one frame. Time for a change in
the commentary box now. Seven times world champion Stephen Hendry made
his debut against Willie thorn. Thank you Hazel. The only thing you
didn't tell them was the result. I'll remind them, I won!
This was real connoisseur snooker the first four frames.
One for the purists. I don't think you got involved in frames this long
in your career, did you? Probably because my safety wasn't
good enough! Yesterday, we didn't have a friend that was longer than
half an hour. Today, I think the pressure has been cranked up, the
final day. The average frame time has crept up
over 21 minutes. 28 seconds is quite long. What mattered when you think
of the likes of O'Sullivan and Trump, taking 15 seconds per shot.
That is an error. Very unlike Mark Selby. I don't think the frames will
get any quicker from here on in. The pressure's just going to get higher
and higher. Under normal circumstances, John Higgins would
play for the black here. I don't know if he will do that or play for
the blue. He is playing for the black. If he didn't practice, he is
straight into the bunch of this black. He will probably still play
some sort of cannon, but not with the same pace he would use if it
didn't mean as much. In fact, he didn't even play the cannon. Not the
best position all shot he has played. That was a bit tentative, a
bit negative. I think he missed the cannon. I
don't think there will be anything negative about this shot. Would you
not think about playing the drift to Mr pink? The two reds, would you go
into them? -- drift to miss the paint. It went up to the far left
corner. He has won in the right corner. Except the cue ball has gone
into the reds. If that red had bounced off the cushion an inch, it
would have been perfect. At first glance, that looks like a
terrible shot, but he has played to kiss. Let's see if we can notice it.
I presume he is playing half ball on the one just above it. Yes, the red
and white jump, so it took all the spin out of the cue ball. He has put
himself in trouble now. It didn't look so bad in our
picture. I don't know whether he hit it badly. He didn't get great
contact on the first red that the cue ball struck. He did that well.
APPLAUSE It is amazing what the pressure does
to chances like that. You would almost get your house on John
Higgins winning it in one sitting from that situation. Everything is
difficult from here on in. A test for these two players.
To get the White in behind the green, he will have to play a stun.
He may play the cannon on the blue, twice across. May be the red is
further away from the left corner, but it might have been worth playing
a double there. Maybe the red is just a bit further away from the
corner pocket. It is normally a shot that Mark Selby would spot
straightaway. This will be a thin one.
It is amazing how every frame this afternoon there has been this kind
of pattern. The black has gone safe very early on in each frame. Neither
player has yet won a frame in one visit. And the safety play has all
been very negative as well. There have not been many aggressive safety
shots, they are all about containing the situation. Both players scared
to give any chances. John Higgins can play a safety shop.
Whenever you get your hand on the table, you should find the baulk
cushion. A good shot there from John Higgins,
covering the right-hand side of the table.
Because the players have to have time to get ready for the final
session, they won't start a frame after 5:15pm. There is every chance
this could be pulled off with at least two frames despair. There
could be on the two frames left in this session now, getting ready for
the 7pm session. There may only be this one.
If John feels he can get through just to the edge of this red, he
doesn't want to be kissing the brown. He is able to flick it round
the side. He has kissed the blue. The important thing was to miss all
the baulk colours. Nothing easy available.
Maybe this frame, maybe two more, this one is certainly very important
for Mark Selby. He would love to get level.
You thought there would be a couple of 40 minute frames in this match
with these two great safety plans go about looking at the whole
tournament, Mark Selby playing so well early on, should he have played
more openly? Yeah, I think, I don't know. He seems to change his game
sometimes when he plays the top players that he knows can hurt him.
Against Ding, a lot of his safety was thin clips. He doesn't want to
put things in the open. The way the session went yesterday, he got 10-4
behind. The second four frames of yesterday afternoon, John Higgins
had something like a 90% pot rate. I think he does decide just to tighten
things up. That's not so good. That is a
mistake. You see his head drop there. There are reds available into
the middle pocket, which would put him on the green.
CROWD GROANS You see how much more difficult
those opportunities are when the pink and black are not available. It
does not whet your appetite coming to the table, when you know it is
going to be hard to score. You are not as enthusiastic going for a pot.
The result he has had there, yes, he can smile. John Higgins is in real
trouble. I think he might have to take on the
pot. There are three reds in a line next to the black. I think he will
have to take this on. It looks a big pocket for that red, closest to the
left corner. If he takes this on... May be the red is just a little too
far-away from the pocket. You see... Thought he might just get
a clip of that red. Again, Mark Selby comes to the table with a
chance, but it is not easy to score. Amazing the number of times a player
plays a bad shot and all of a sudden it gives him an opportunity on his
next visit. Mark Selby missed that red in the middle by quite a long
way. Somehow, he will have to get onto the two reds around the black
spot area, with the chance eventually to bring the pink into
play. This frame is very tough at the minute. If anyone has the cue
power to play the shot, Mark Selby has it in spades. Pop the yellow,
direct screw into the pink. He may think it is too risky. If he wants
develop this to a frame-winning chance, I think he can go for it
here. Here it comes. Great shot. Great
shot! That really was a super shot. Stephen Colbert, and he did not play
it as hard as we thought he might, but he has cleared the pink spot.
Can he get nicely on the pink? If he does, this is a great chance. There
are six reds in the middle of the table. As much as the last shot was
good, that was bad. If you are overhit this by a long way, you go
up the table and you have got four colours are there. He will be very
disappointed with that. He is looking at the black. This would be
handy, get it back on its spot. APPLAUSE
A very friendly kiss. We just talked about when you sometimes play a bad
shot, it can get you in the next time. But that had shot to try to
get onto the pink has turned out to be fantastic now. It is now a
frame-winner. OK, he is seven points behind, but you would expect him to
pot these seven reds and five colours. When Mark Selby potted the
first red, within three or four shot, he has got the pink and black
interplay. -- into play. Mark Selby knows he can't win the
frame without getting one of the three reds on the left-hand side.
We didn't see this coming when he was 10-4 behind. The last three
frames yesterday evening were just superb Selby. Since then, he has
ground his way back into the match. Now the real work starts. He may be
trying to leave an angle on the pink to remove the red mac that is tight
on the cushion on its own. -- the red that is tied on the cushion on
its own. If he brings that red interplay, he won't be giving it
here, after the colour. Would you be playing to move this red? Or would
you get a colour to move the red after the next shot? I think the
fact that you only need the red, of the colour... Finish high on the
black here. To the right corner. So he can stun off the cushion, a
little bit of side, the two reds that are close together, the one
closest to the cushion, try to flick thataway. There is the half bald
black Stephen was talking about. He will be playing that shot that
Stephen called, going into the red that is just off the cushion. Very
good. Unlucky. OK, he might have to take this pot down the cushion, just
because it is frame ball. The fact the red is touching the cushion
makes it that much more possible to get. You have to think, even if you
miss it, the position of the red means it will be some clearance for
John Higgins to pinch it in one visit. He will play with lots of
left-hand side to try to cover the pocket with the black, just in case
it stays in the jaws. Keep an eye on the white ball. Loads of side. Mind,
he is stretching a bit. He has gone all out for the pot.
Very good. But you know that John Higgins is going to come back to the
table unless Mark Knox this black in. -- Mark knocks this black in. A
break of 67. 48 points in it, 43 on, two snookers required. That really
was a class visit to the table. Never looked like a frame- winning
opportunity. He will be taking this on. This, a
chance to level. He led 1-0 and 2-1. Since then, he has been playing
catch up all the way through this final. But he is not playing catch
up any more. All square. John Higgins conceded. Mark Selby
draws level for the first time for a long time. It is 11-11. Hazel
Irvine: It is, from 10-4 down, he has won seven of the last eight. It
is 11-11 and we have a final on here. You were crooning about that
break. What did you particularly admire about it, John? When we
started, it looked like there was nothing on. John Higgins vote, go
on, there is not much on that. But he played a brilliant cannon. You
have to hit it perfectly. The pace he played it with, it moved the reds
away from the pink, got things into position. He had sussed out that the
Blackwood pot. We don't know whether he played on pink and didn't get up,
he knew the black was there, but clever shots. You would say the
momentum is with Mark Selby. It does. Halfway through, it looked
like the match had got bogged down. That break could be the thing that
kick-start this game into life again. It was tough, turgid stuff,
tactical play was important, but now Mark Selby perhaps has his arm
gathering. Perhaps John Higgins will have to respond. They can get bogged
down in safety exchanges for half an hour, but when the chance, -- when
the chance comes, he is ready. COMMENTATOR: He has got a lot to
think about, John Higgins. Just have a little look at this.
Mark Selby, talking to himself, saying, believe, believe, I think.
This is possibly going to be the last game of the afternoon session,
and that is definitely of benefit to John Higgins at the minute. Yeah,
very much so. It is interesting watching Mark Selby eyeing up his
opponent as well, when he was saying, believe.
APPLAUSE Magnificent. He is finding a gear,
Mark Selby. You are right, Willie, it is a good
job this might be the last frame for John Higgins' sake. Mark Selby will
be disappointed. He would like to keep going, should he win the frame
at this visit. If he does win in one visit, there will certainly be time
for another frame. He has got a nice angle on the
black. He can almost stun this off the cushion on the left-hand side,
into the bunch. CROWD GROANS
Just a little bit too much top spin there. The cue ball went out to the
left. There you see, lots of top spin on
the cue ball. This frame might not last much longer. When you play the
shot into the pack, you will never get any movement out of the pack
that way. He is 24 points in front. John Higgins has lost a bit of
concentration at the moment. As Stephen and I have just discussed,
he would be delighted to walk out now, because he knows that whatever
happens, he can only be one frame behind going into tonight's session,
and he needs to rethink and regroup. I'm a little surprised that that
aggressive safety shot. He hasn't played one of those thick ones into
the pack for quite some time. As I said, he was playing them in the
first rounds, when he knew that he wasn't going to get punished boss
that he was so confident of winning. But maybe that is what he thinks.
Maybe he thinks that John is in a state where he will not punish
mistakes. Dangerous to underestimate John Higgins at any stage.
This sort of situation, when you are playing safety, bringing the cue
ball back to the black cushion, so important to keep the cue all tight.
The first mistake, or the first chance, it is normally a good one.
Look at the way the reds R. I don't think either player will be aware
that this is going to be their last frame.
Can John Higgins get back into this frame and still be one in front
ahead of the evening session? He needs to find the cushion. He has
done. I think he can see the red that is nearest the left-hand middle
docket. He is looking at the potting angle. He could well get on the
black from this. CROWD GROANS
He had to go for that. The way the reds are you would
expect Mark Selby to win this frame. Mark Selby must be buzzing inside.
He's clawed his way back into this match and could well take the lead.
Just about keeping his focus Mark Selby.
Now is not the time for a careless shot.
A couple of pots away from taking that lead.
John Higgins' supporters will be hoping this is the last frame of the
session. There's every chance they could be playing one more. I can't
see John Higgins winning one with the frame of mind he's in.
He's getting stronger and stronger, Mark Selby.
Mark Selby is definitely going to lead.
Really has been phenomenal performance. At 10-4 down, he looked
all over the place. Since then a typical Mark Selby,
dominant performance. Mark Selby has taken the lead.
STUDIO: The last time that Mark Selby was ahead was 2-1, about 26
hours ago. It's been a long, long time. He seems to be all fired up
now. This is a fantastic performance from the world champion en route,
perhaps to a third world title. It's funny that John got left a real
smelly cut in the pocket. When you're under the cosh you hit these
shots thick. Exactly what he did. Especially a shot where you have no
control over your position. He didn't get. It he left a great
chance. It's just what you'd expect from Mark. Is this the psychology
for us now? John Higgins has been keeping him at arm's length, now the
initiative has gone to the defending champion. What can he do to regroup?
He has a different pressure now. At some stage it may be the case that
he actually consider himself not exact lit underdog but have no
worries about that. Looking over your shoulder is a horrible
situation on the snooker table. It really S it's a still board game.
You have all the time in the world to think. It may be that Mark Selby
gets in the same position, but you've got to say incredible
performance by Mark Selby. It's not the first time he's done this in the
world Championship finals. Perhaps the confidence he got from the first
time against Ronnie O'Sullivan is possibly why he's not panicked. I
think John's had the nod there to tell him there's one more frame in
this session. There will be, it's confirmed. He's given a nod to the
authorities to let them know he knows. I think fascinating with that
glimpse into the mind of Mark Selby, when we saw him mouthing "believe,
believe". Very seldom do you see someone articulate that. He would
have been looking to get out of this session, if he could win it 5-3
today, that would have been brilliant. He's well ahead of
schedule in this one COMMENTATOR: As Mark Selby breaks
off, every chance of being two clear going into tonight's session. John
Higgins somehow, after summing up all his experience, and win this
final frame. The green jacket winners, Masters
two years ago, Danny Willett. Just on his iPhone.
Mark Selby left the arena and I was looking at John Higgins' body
language. It wasn't good. A bit depressed, which you
understand the way it's gone the last few frames
I detect slight blood shot eyes in John Higgins there.
He's going to need a chance for these reds to part where it's almost
impossible not to make 50. I think the crowd would like John
Higgins to win the last frame. What a final session that would be at
12-12. We just noticed John Higgins' eye
blood shot. Did you have trouble sleeping when you were winning, it's
hard when you're playing. Fortunately, that was never a
problem for me. You're in a fortunate position if
you can sleep. It's amazing the psychology of snooker. Yesterday,
the body language is a complete turn around for both players. John
Higgins had the spring in his step round the table.
Now it's Mark that's prowling. People talk about how great the game
is and how many great players we have, but it seems when we come to
the Crucible, when we get to the quarter final stage, every player
was a top-eight player apart from Stephen Maguire.
The cream always comes to the top in this tournament.
Mark Selby has covered the right-hand side of the table. No
avenue back to baulk from there. He may play it thin with right-hand
side. Very dangerous. He's hit that
terrible. A horrible situation to be in. One
bad shot sheems to lead into the next one. You just want to play one
good shot. Must be a great feeling for Mark,
the fact he knows that whatever happens worst thing would be he will
be level. If someone had said that at 10-4, that he might go into the
last session ahead, he probably would have laughed at them.
Just wriggled in. Got the position. Does it red go?
Can you see from that picture, that red doesn't go. But there is one to
the left of the black that pots. In the end, fortunate to have that
natural angle on that red, go for the pink.
Another thing for John Higgins in his chair now, he's witnessed two
breaks of 67 and 58 in the two previous frames. He must be thinking
this frame could well be over in a minute.
Good shot, really was. He plays the screw shot better than any player
out there at the moment. John Higgins will be resigned to the
fact that he's going 13-11 down, the way this match is going.
He'll be thinking, "What's gone wrong?
This is reminisce tonight one of your games, when you were playing
Jimmy White, 14-8 behind and won ten frames on the trot. This is a
similar pattern to this match. With Mark Selby, he will be more
confident now than at any stage in the match.
You combet a sense of your opponent weakening and wilting under the
Again, maybe the adrenaline, he's overscrewed that as well.
The shot from red to pink, when the pink was on the brown shot, the
timing of that shot, he didn't hit it hard at all. He's absolutely
pumped up now. He's really feeling in the mood, feeling like he's
cueing lick a dimon. There's -- like a demon. There's every chance now he
will win this. Good position shot. Wonder what John
Higgins will do. I would suggest he has a shower and try to brush
himself down. He's still very much in this match.
It's not over by any stretch. I certainly would not be writing
John Higgins off yet. Perhaps it's good that the session is ending now,
though. You couldn't see a way back if the
match was ending in this session. Get away from the venue and spend
time with family. New scenery, just get out of this place.
The way he's played that shot tells me the red to the right of the black
pots. This is a very good performance,
having some dogged frames, Mark Selby's produced three breaks over
50 on the trot, as he did last eveningment
-- evening. He played some of his best snooker. These last three
frames in this session have been his best snooker again.
Tonight with John Higgins, he will need to attack more tonight. I think
so. If that could happen, the pressure would turn. Easier said
than done. You can only play the balls on the table.
Maybe more aggressive safeties, maybe.
That was a key when he got his lead. He was playing a lot quicker pace,
opening the balls early, feeling great. It's hard to do when you're
not feeling good. The fact that they're finishing a
frame early in this session has helped him.
This is frame ball. Very well played Mark Selby.
You wouldn't have thought there would be a possible Severnery when
he came -- century when he came to the table again.
Oh, he's missed that. But I'm sure John Higgins (inaudible) fantastic
safety play in the last few frames, great breaks, he goes into the lead
now by 13-11. STUDIO: From four frames to ten
behind to two in front. He's won nine of the last ten. And Mark Selby
closing in on a third world title in four years. If he pulls this off
tonight, he will be the most dominant winning period at The
Crucible since a certain Stephen Hendry and indeed Steven Davis.
Ronnie won his five titles over a 13-year spread. But this man is
certainly closing in in terms of Crucible history here. How will John
Higgins rationalise and explain to himself what's gone on today and
indeed last night? One or two shots he missed last night Chancellor ght
changed it slightly. You give credit to Mark Selby for that. Today he's
just been outplayed. That takes a massive effort from a massive player
to do that. Higgins is just brilliant at match play. He's been
outplayed today. The best thing about that session is it's just
finished. The way it was going and the way he was playing, and how Mark
was fluent amongst the balls, there was only going to be one result.
Finishing there two frames behind, get out the venue and come back
tonight. How much life is left in this final for you, Steve? I don't
know. John Higgins has had his head scrambled here today. By one of the
greatest predators the game's ever seen. He hasn't got much time to try
and exorcise the memories of this afternoon before he's under the
grill again. If Mark Selby continues and starts off the session, which is
always a big if, because things can change, if he starts off the way
he's finished off this session, John's going to be back in that seat
wondering what on earth went wrong when he was 10-4 up. Can you
describe for those of us who will never know what it's like when
you're out there, how your brain can become scrambled to such a huge
extent? It's awful. He just wants to get one good short. He couldn't get
that towards the end. He was struggling to play a safety shot.
Desperation kicks in. All you see are problems. When your opponent
keeps putting you in the trouble and knocks in the balls after, it's
tough not to panic. How do you get out of it? Well, the best thing is
that session is finished and come back and you know, as Willie said,
have a shower, come back tonight. They were talking about play a few
safety shots a bit thick, but you're playing against someone who knocks
in long balls. Hard to play against. If anybody's got the resilience and
doggedness in his game, a great champion like John Higgins has. It
seems like the writing is on the wall. It sure does at the moment,
unless the Wizard of wish all gets the wand out. This final is a
fitting finale to this 40th anniversary Championship at The
Crucible. Good evening, welcome it a very,
very special night here at The Crucible. Thanks whoever thought
this up. This is great. LAUGHTER
You know what to do. 17 days of this, it's fun. It's a
fantastic tournament. It doesn't matter whether you've been here one
time or ten times, you still get goose bumps. We're back. The
Crucible Theatre. And the world number one defending champion, Mark
Selby, he's into the second round. What a shot! Stop it! Obviously in a
bit of discomfort out there. What a magnificent victory for McLeod.
Brilliant. He has pulled off one of the best comebacks for quite some
years here at The Crucible Theatre from 7-1 down. This is what they've
come to see. Look at that. That's what it means to him. I won't get
involved in it nowhere. I'm not being bullied. I just want to enjoy
my life. I'm not putting up with someone who thinks they can threaten
and bully me. It ain't happening. It always seems to be Ronnie. I like to
do my talking on the table. He is an animal. Could have handed the
initiative to Ronnie now. A solid performance from the five times
world Championship. -- champion. Come on! Don't normally see that
from Neil Robertson. Just come off the rails. I like his shoes. I
really do. What a performance and he beats the former world champion in
the end. There's some pressure out there at the moment, it really is. A
tremendous match between these two great Chinese players. He's potted
this, has he? Oh! I think he just caught his leg. Oh, the pin's gone.
I was going to say, if that pin breaks we're all in trouble. A big
shot from Rory Mc... I nearly called him Rory McIlroy. Almost flawless
snooker from the current world champion and he's going to be so
hard to beat. John Higgins is through to his eighth world
Championship semifinal. Barry hawkins, delighted to get into his
fourth semifinal in five years. He's made the highest break of this
year's world Championship, a magnificent 146. Absolutely
fantastic from this Chinese sensation. I've got 146, 147, can't
even make a 146 these days and get slated for it. What do you want me
to do? It's been a fabulous semifinal. Mark Selby gets into his
third final in four years. John Higgins wins comfortably. What a
final we've got to look forward. To -- forward to.
It's England against Scotland in this final, but I think this
Championship has shown us that the Chinese are coming here, big style.
Plenty of them. Six in the top half, all in the top half of the draw. It
was unfortunate they played each other. Then played a couple of his
fellow compatriots there. A great match that went to the final frame
decider. There's a revolution going on there. It's a matter of time
before there's more players come. Wei is a star here. I know many
people would love to have seen him in this final. No guarantee he will
be the first Asian player to lift the world crown. It's not that easy
to pro dict. It isn't. We're not making predictions about this
evening either. From your point of view, how much mileage is left in
this final? I think there's a chance it's going to p ha. You feel a bit
for John Higgins. Mark Selby looks like he's in the groove. John has to
kickstart the engines, not sure how he does it. As we saw from out
there, Mark Selby certainly believes. He's been mouthing that. I
wonder how much John Higgins still believes that a fifth world title is
possible and indeed how much John Higgins has got left. We will find
out the answers to those questions when we return at 7pm. Just 90
minutes, it's not over yet, see you soon, bye for now.
I've got some good news. Did you hear?