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Good afternoon. We are spending our
week here in York for UK
Championship. This is one of the
landmarks of this city, very popular
at this time of year, with the
Christmas markets in full swing. But
not far from here somebody is going
to win a sizeable Christmas bonus at
the Barbican centre. This afternoon,
we have the class of 92. They are
like the sporting greats Ryan Giggs
and David Beckham but these guys
have been dazzling the crowds for 25
years. They are John Higgins, and
the man who celebrates his 42nd
birthday today, The Rocket, Ronnie
O'Sullivan. Thank you very much.
I played Stephen Hendry and Steve
Davis, the legends of the game, and
they've won the most, but I think
he's somebody who just makes it look
easy, right-handed and left-handed.
He's just a one-off.
one of the greatest players of all
time. You know, me, John, Mark
Williams, we've noted each other,
we've probably been good for each
Still standing indeed. Both
42 years young, O'Sullivan and
Higgins are now very top two players
left in this Championship, at four
and five respectively, and they both
have something in common today. They
are fighting off the younger
Ronnie is officially the top man
here in York now. So say both the
rankings and the bookies, who make
him a runaway favourite for his
sixth title. Michael Whyte is in his
way today. He has also struck
lightning in the silverware. John
Higgins has been putting in the
miles ahead of his match back and
forward to be tiptop today. Because
he faces the amazing 17-year-old
Yann Byng Tao -- Yan Bingtao, who
reached his first semifinal. Any
questions or queries, you know where
to send them.
These guys were once sensations
themselves. This is a truly old
Championship. It's getting very
precarious now all those top seeds
have gone, especially after that
final frame decider last night.
we all say you don't have to get
that much from your top standard.
They think is a bit easier to win
but you just can't let your guard
We have two cracking matches
this afternoon. That's talk about
this amazing 17-year-old, Yan
Bingtao, against a wily John
Higgins. How much of tasks as John
I've been watching Yan
Bingtao and he has been improving
hand over fist and he's a top, top
competitor. Jermaine has a
potentially very difficult
afternoon. He's incredibly talented
and works very hard. -- John has a
potentially very difficult
It was Ronnie who won
this title at 17 years of age. This
guy is only 17 as well. Let's focus
on Ronnie and John's longevity. It's
I went round looking at
the junior event once and then I saw
these two, and once these two suss
out what it it -- what is needed to
be a professional, my goodness! And
then to still be playing 25 years
later, remarkable. Willie is the
favourite for the event and John's
matchplay is incredible. -- Ronnie
is the favourite.
Will this be more of a contest for
It depends how he
plays, because when he puts his mind
to it he has as good a safety game
as anybody in the game and you would
expect him to dictate the exchanges.
Michael is seriously talented and
he's going to have to play his own
game today, so it will be
We are ready for it. We
have another couple of crackers for
you as well, on tables three and
four. A former semifinalist here.
Martin Gould, who knows there's a
possible route back into the top 16
world rankings, if you can keep this
one going this week, he takes on the
23-year-old Iranian player Hossein
salsa, who has already been to a
quarterfinal of an English Open. But
it is Ronnie's match we will be
watching festival. It has been clear
skies and plain sailing for him but
he doesn't want to get hit by White
It would be nice to win a sort of
major tournament but I'm quite happy
in general. I'm quite confident that
it's going to happen. If not this
week then maybe this season may be
next season, because I'm doing all
the right things to put myself in
the best position I can, so my game
is in a pretty good place at the
moment and hopefully I can soon get
back into the top 16. I've worked a
lot on my safety. It's been a bit
inconsistent. It's going to have to
be as good as it can be. If I do get
the chance is going to have to take
them. I need to enjoy it and not put
too much pressure on myself, which
I'm trying not to, but it will be a
great occasion for me. I think a lot
of pressures came when I won my
first tournament and I don't think I
dealt with it as well as maybe I
could have, but I was young at the
time. I'm still pretty young. I've
got years ahead of me so, yeah, I
think I'm sort of getting back to
playing some of my best snooker.
COMMENTATOR: Once again, your
champion, Ronnie O'Sullivan!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
He's the greatest player that has
ever lived in my eyes, so he's going
to be tough to beat, especially in
the Barbican, where he is so
comfortable. He's won numerous
times. If I turn up and play as good
as I can, I can do myself justice.
Well, this is the biggest stage upon
which these two have met so far. The
two previous matches, the most who
profile of which was a tournament in
Belgium. Michael has become a
multiple trophy winner this season,
most notably in Germany. It might be
Ronnie's birthday but Michael would
be in the room -- in the mood to
hand him any gifts yet! Let's get
the show on the road.
So many of the top 16 have gone but
many of the all-time greats are
still in contention in this
Championship. Two of the member
stage have amassed an incredible 59
ranking titles between them. This
promises to be a very special
Tuesday here in Yorkshire.
Please welcome the most exciting
teenage player we've seen for many
years. Former world amateur champion
and World Cup winner, he was one
frame away from becoming the
youngest ranking event champion in
history last month in Northern
Ireland, so here comes the Chinese
sensation Yan Bingtao!
And his opponent, one of the finest
sportsmen Scotland has ever
produced. He's been at the top for
well over 20 years adding yet
another ranking title to his huge
collection in India this season.
Four times a world champion, here
comes The Wizard of Wishaw, here
comes John Higgins!
About to emerge on table one, a
classy Welshman who's been banging
in competitive centuries since the
age of nine. His senior breakthrough
came in India two years ago and
earlier this season he doubled his
ranking event collection, winning
the Paul Hunter classic. Here comes
Michael White Lightning!
And finally, a man who has been
thrilling snooker crowds for a
quarter of a century. Superb form
this season has seen him win the
English Open and the Shanghai
Masters. 30 ranking titles in all,
five times a champion of the world,
blink and you'll miss him, The
Rocket, Ronnie O'Sullivan!
So, here's how we are going to play
this. Higgins-Bingtao will be on the
Red Button. We'll be keeping you
updated here on BBC Two and the
matches are also available via the
BBC sport website. It is table one
where we are heading, and, Dennis
Taylor and Ken Doherty, are you
DENNIS TAYLOR: We are. We are both
looking forward to seeing how the
birthday boy is playing today. A top
Welsh opponent in Michael White. So
off we go, then. Ronnie gets the
match underway. And pretty good
break-off shot there.
looking forward to this match,
Dennis. A classic already this
season, Michael. But other than
that, he hasn't played particularly
well. But he's a man for the big
occasions, you can certainly say
that, and this is one of those.
I think if he gets off to a good
start, settles down quickly, then it
could be a very interesting match.
But like any player playing Ronnie
O'Sullivan on the big stage, it
depends how fast Ronnie starts as
Another pretty good safety shot.
From Ronnie. But Michael White, I
mean, we're looking at a player here
who made his first competitive
century when he was nine years of
age and won the world amateur when
he was 14. That's amazing.
bundles of talent, no doubt about
that. And he's very, very quick
around the table. Scores very fast.
It was quite interesting in the
intro when he was being interviewed,
he said his safety has to be
top-notch. It certainly has to be,
but also scoring has to be top-notch
as well today, to put Ronnie under
any pressure. It's one thing that
sometimes we forget about with
Ronnie O'Sullivan. For all his big
breaks and 147s, his safety is among
the best that there is. A match for
Well, this is not the best safety
shot he's played if this red keeps
on running. It's pulled up just in
time. Looked like it was going to go
right over the corner pocket there.
And it's put Michael in a spot of
bother, the fact that it's finished
there, because it's not easy to
knock this in, and there's no easy
safety shot on. So he just might
have to take it on. It wouldn't
normally be his choice. He's looked
at the potting angle. If he doesn't
get this, you could leave Ronnie
right in amongst them. -- he could
leave Ronnie. And that's a terrific
shot. Deserves to be on the black.
Superb queueing there.
That's not bad.
Looks to be a bit straight on this
Didn't get into the cue ball the way
he would have liked. A lot of cue
power but didn't use it there at
all. Trying to get onto that red
just below the pink. Playing at off
the cushion now at this angle makes
it a lot more difficult.
This is missable.
Yeah, as Ken said, it was certainly
missable from that angle. It was the
shot just before where it was more
of a stunned than the screw. He just
didn't cue it the way he normally
would have. And you can see Michael
looking to see what Ronnie was going
to do with that shot and he's just
looking around the corner, around
the back of Ronnie there.
Just a bit awkward on the blue and
that's the reason he's taking the
Ooh! Now, then! He might get away
with this even if the white goes in
the pocket. There's a pottable red
to the middle but that was an
unexpected miss. No one saw that
He's got a couple of rates to the
left centre. -- a couple of reds.
Not easy with the jaws of that
pocket. But certainly worth having a
go at it. He's looking at the safety
Well, quite a long way away from
that one. Has he left it?
That's a bit too thin from there.
Just planning the safety shot. He
could do with a gap here between the
green and the blue to get down the
left side of the reds, and there
just might be a gap.
And there was, and he's played it
well. Very good shot.
Another mistake from Ronnie.
Unexpected. But he hasn't left
It doesn't half make a big
difference, that. That's twice
Ronnie's missed one pot. He got it
safe and then hitting the jaws of
the pocket. He could quite easily
have put Michael in on both
This cue balls come very close to
this pocket. He's played it very,
very well. He has him in a spot of
It's a bit of a messy
table, though, isn't it? The black
where it is. The pink off its spot,
the yellow up this end of the table.
You never know how it's going to pan
out but it's bit of -- it's a bit of
a scrappy frame. You never know how
the balls will finish up.
Well, that was a great shot. That
was an excellent return from Ronnie.
He duly acknowledges it.
It's the type of frame both players
went really enjoy very much. --
weren't really enjoy. A bit of cat
and mouse at the moment. Trying to
find the first opening.
He's covered most of the reds. The
one between the pink and the red and
the pink spot is the only one that
is possible to pot.
If he took that on, the white would
be going towards the right corner
pocket, so he's got to try to cut
this in the middle, but this is
awkward cueing. That wasn't easy.
The cannon on the brown has kept
everything safe, though.
But gradually they are starting to
There's a couple of words Michael
could have a go at here. That one is
almost straight. A bit of angle. But
the yellow is up this end of the
table. That's what he's looking
that, to see if he stopped it dead,
would he be on the yellow? If he
stopped it dead he would be
snookered on the yellow with the red
to the left of the one he would be
taking. Playing it with topspin,
he's got to be careful the white
doesn't follow it in.
It wasn't easy, that.
He was hoping to get the cue ball
behind the brown but he's left this
red inside the blue. A very
straightforward safety shot from
Just wondering, can he cut this one
into the right-hand corner pocket?
There's a couple of friends he can
go at. Maybe get back up for blue or
yellow. -- a couple of reds.
good long balls already in this
frame. That's another good pot.
Trying to get back out for the
yellow into that corner pocket. Does
it go into the right centre? Well,
it's very tight.
No. Very tough to judge, those.
He let the white runaway there.
Good cueing. And just look at the
table. There's very few points
available but it's one of the
situations sometimes where Ronnie
O'Sullivan is good at break-building
when there's not a lot there. But
he's not timing the ball just as
well at the moment. He didn't get
into that one.
It is the first frame and it takes
the players just a while to settle
He's got an angle on this red to
clip the black and the red on the
right side of the table. Doesn't
have to but it's possibly on.
Didn't take the opportunity. But it
worked out OK.
Now, he needs a nice angle after
putting this red. Hopefully for the
blue. Then try to go into those four
reds at the top there. It's a tough
Well, he hit them OK but nothing
Certainly not the type of framework
were expecting to start off. The
balls can sometimes get tied up.
Just got to be a bit careful here he
doesn't capture -- catch a colour on
the way back down. The yellow and
blue are in the way of the cue ball
heading back down the table, but
this will cut in. The referee,
Marcel Eckhardt, just removing the
foreign object of the cue ball.
It was a bit of a free shot, as I
That's a few times Ronnie has put
Michael down in this position, and
it is always a very tough to cue.
Almost over the pocket.
You have got to be so precise.
It wasn't the best safety shot, but
he will certainly be happy with it.
Well, how many times have we seen
that white up in the jaws of that
top corner pocket? But this will cut
in. It is a half chance for Ronnie.
It has gone close on numerous
occasions, and there again it is in
the jaws, but he is on the brown,
and there is a red, the one that is
nearest the right corner.
The other one might possibly be.
He is now looking at the green. But
you would think the brown would be
the better one for position. Yes,
back to the brown.
Oh, the flick on the blue. What's
the outcome? I tell you what, it
might not be bad, because he flicked
the red away, and now the black is
available. So that could turn out to
his advantage, that flick on the
I tell you, that really takes superb
cueing. That was a fantastic shot.
The brown wasn't that easy either.
Those two shots on their own will
tell you how good he is cueing.
watch this, it was amazing. When he
flicked the blue, I thought it was
all going wrong, but look at the
other flick on the red to free the
This is another tough one coming up.
It is not straightforward.
He doesn't want this red to knock
the black safe, he is playing a
safety shot, that's OK.
28 points, the difference. The game
has now opened up. So, one mistake
could be costly.
At the moment, he may not be timing
the ball as well as he would like,
but his safety so far has been
And Michael's hasn't been too
First loose one.
And as I say, we have had a lot of
safety, because the frame went very
awkward. Can Michael White convert
this long read, give himself a
Oh, dear. There was a lot of safety
play. This might be in, off the
brown, is it? He cued that one very
poorly, have a look at this. That is
not the sort of thing you want to
Yes, quite a lot of movement, and
that will certainly worry him a
Now, a chance for Ronnie to get a 28
He can hold for the black here with
a little kiss on the yellow. Just
the black and one more red for this
opening frame, that has been a bit
scrappy. He won't mind, they all
count. He has got to judge a little
cannon into these two reds here.
That hasn't worked out well at all.
No attempt at the double there,
although the red almost went in off
the pink. But Michael has got to get
the white back up the table, and
somewhere to the right of the yellow
and towards the black, otherwise he
will leave that red near the pocket,
so it will be interesting to see how
he plays this.
And he did. Now he has got the white
up the table, but not the way he
intended. I was just about to say
that that was the frame over, until
he double-kissed the red.
Another good safety from Ronnie
O'Sullivan, still waiting for that
one red that he needs. This friend
coming up to almost 29 minutes.
He has got to be careful here that
he doesn't leave this red on.
Foul and a miss.
He has got hit it this time, because
he is 40 behind.
It is so easy to push this red into
a portable position.
And where is the white going to
finish? On the blue spot.
Bit of a scrappy opener, a lot of
safety, the balls went a bit messy.
Yes, you never know how the frame is
going to pan out. It will possibly
turn out to be the longest frame of
I think we spoke about Ronnie's
safety game that is up there with
the best as well, and a few little
shots during that frame just showed
how good he was, got into all sorts
of trouble a couple of times, and
ultimately it cost him the frame.
Yes, he has kept his focus, which
you have to do, when you get an
awkward frame like this. They are
just as important to win, probably
more important. It doesn't matter
about the pink wobbling in the jaws
of the pocket. It is a frame that
lasted just over half an hour, and
Ronnie O'Sullivan takes it, and he
leads one frame to nil.
Hazel IRVINE: Ronnie off and
running, and there were points when
the decisions needed to be made by
most Michael White and Ronnie. He is
in the situation, he is 30 points
behind, the two reds on the table, I
would have been tempted to play the
other one that was in the baulk
area. He plays it another way, clips
the red, and he is making it harder
for himself to make a clearance if
he gets it anyway, by potting
another red close to the cushion.
He clips the red like this, and now
he is snookered. It is funny how
people see the game differently. I'm
not saying what he did was wrong,
but it is the way of looking at it
and thinking, how will I get back
into the game?
He certainly played a
fantastic safety shot from there,
and it was such a difficult shot to
play, there was a chance of going in
off, so it was an excellent safety
You can't fault his
preparation, he was here for a
couple of hours, and beta you have
been privy to the fact that he has
been doing a lot of work recently.
Yes, I popped into the Academy in
Sheffield yesterday, and I had a
best of nine with one of the lads
before I came to York, and he was
practising there. He was still there
when I left, he is potting a lot of
hard work in.
And he is paying off,
he has been in three of the four
recent finals, he has two major
titles under his belt this season,
and he seems to be very committed.
And he was fully focused, and if he
keeps winning, and his attitude
there was unquestionable.
back to you.
That is a long pot, looks a little
quicker than the other day, but
playing absolutely beautiful.
That was a good point Peter Ebdon
made about the practice, you think
here's a natural player, doesn't
have to practice, there has never
been a player that could play and
get to the top of the game of
snooker without putting the hard
work in. There is no secret to
getting to the top of this game, you
have to put in the hours and hours
A great quote from the
great Sir Alex Ferguson, he said
talent without hard work wins
nothing. Ronnie has got bundles of
talent, but he works hard to go with
it, and that's why he's been so
successful. 25 years ago he won this
championship, just 17 years of age.
And of course, he has won it five
times, he is bidding this year to
equal Steve Davis's six. A
remarkable career, still going
Totally the opposite to the opening
Just a couple more reds available.
Even the great players take their
eye off the pot sometimes. He
concentrated on the cannon into the
reds there, had to play it with
side, and just took his
concentration of the pot.
It is very
important for Michael White here to
knock a few in just settle down. But
in off the left jaw.
If he had hit this any harder, just
have a look at this. It would have
come back out again. But he is a
very talented player, so he could do
with knocking in a few here to get
right back into this second frame.
Yes, it is situations like this that
he really has to score from, not
only to give himself a bit of
confidence but just to let Ronnie no
that he is going to have to play
well to beat him.
He has to make Ronnie know that if
he misses, he is going to get
punished. It is an important break,
this, for Michael.
I think the red that is close to the
pink doesn't pot, so he might leave
the angle close so that he can nudge
the red into play, that looks
The only awkward red would
be that one just below the black on
the cushion, you would have to say.
That may be the key to this frame.
I think he tried to move it there.
He definitely tried to take it off
He has changed his mind a couple of
times there. That's OK.
Very easy to get up for that red to
the right of the blue.
And he got a kick, he almost missed
the pot. That would have been
unlucky, he got a heavy contact
there. It just jumped a little bit.
Now, how is he going to go about
this red that is behind the black?
Is he going to play to get on it for
either corner pocket? Or if he
doesn't fancy that, he can leave the
white in such a position that he
could put Ronnie in all sorts of
trouble. It will be interested to
see how he goes about this and what
his decision will be. When you are
at the table, sometimes you think, I
am going to go for it, but that is
what he is already debating in his
I think he has got to try
to get on that baulk, try to get
somewhere close to that red.
I would just put a little cue ball
up there, Dennis. If he gets
anywhere within that vicinity, then
he leaves a nice angle on the red.
Has he missed the black? Just got a
little flick on the black.
put everything into just potting
this. He has a slight angle, but
that is the problem with these
pockets, if you force them...
It is OK we knew are just dropping
the men along the cushion, but when
you have to put in any pace, it is
so easy for this to happen. I mean,
it looked good there. But this was
the position that Michael could have
put Ronnie in. But you can't blame
him for trying to knock the red in.
Yes, maybe laying a snooker for
Ronnie O'Sullivan. If you just drops
the red in, the angle wasn't
fantastic to get up for the black,
but he could have dropped it in and
maybe played a little snooker just
up behind the black and put Ronnie
and a lot of trouble, and now he has
got to not only try and hit this
red, but get it safe, that is going
to be the most difficult part of
He is going for the swerve shot,
right down the cue. Now, where is
the red going to finish? And where
is the blue going to finish? Is the
blue coming to the rescue on the cue
ball? It is, he holds his hand up.
You never know where they are going
to finish, and what a result there.
That was a case of, anything you can
do, I can do better.
He has to clip the edge of this red,
because if he clips it fourball, the
Green will take all of the pace out
of the cue ball, so he has to clip
the edge. That is not too bad, he
will be happy with that.
I don't fit Ronnie can pot this red.
If he sends it all around the angle,
he will get somewhere behind the
black, I would think. And here it
comes. He caught the jaw of the
pocket, otherwise he would have got
the red in behind the black. I tell
you what, if Michael can play one
good safety shot here, double the
red across, the white back up
towards yellow and brown, the red
might go close to the right corner
Played it well, this is a very good
Is there a gap?
I think there is.
Well, Ronnie's time to be extremely
lucky, he got the double-kiss.
There is a big target there, the
green, and the pink and of course
the blue, he can use them as
Brockers. The yellow is not a bad
That is a great safety, and he will
need a little bit of luck, two
Foul, and a miss. Michael
Ronnie is not playing just hit this,
he wants to clip it.
And this could be a free ball, this
could be very costly, it could have
cost him the frame. It is, and I
know it is the best of 11 and it is
early days, but this is a huge frame
for this young Welsh player.
The yellow counts as one point.
I don't know about you, Dennis, but
I think I would like to get the
greenback up on its spot here, just
to make the break a bit easier. OK,
he is 18 points ahead, he could go
blue, red, blue or pink and then
yellow, and then Ronnie Wood need
snickers, but he could go for the
green here, if he wished.
No, he is going to go red, blue,
yellow. And Ronnie will need one
snooker. This is a frame that Ronnie
really should have won.
Yes, surprised he left a three ball
-- free ball there.
But as you can see, only one snooker
required, so this green might go
past the black. I'm not sure.
think this was the problem. By not
getting the greenback on its spot
he's made life a bit more difficult
for him. Well, just about.
Well, Ronnie says that's enough so
Michael White name gets his first
frame on the board. It's 1-1.
HAZEL IRVINE: So, one frame apiece.
The way he went about getting over
the line there, there was much
discussion between you two about
Yeah, you don't expect
O'Sullivan to miss the way he's done
that, miss the red and then the free
ball. The first shot out have been
playing was yellow off side cushion,
get the green, dead straight,
greenback on its spot perfect and
then the clearance is much easier,
but he went another way and got over
the line but did it the hard way.
Questions of Michael so far, Peter?
It's been an interesting game.
They've shared excellent safety,
potted a lot of balls. Michael White
now really have to play his own game
and he's gone out and attacked
Ronnie but he's also tried to
compete with him in the safety
department, which will be difficult
over the course of the match, but
he's doing well and that was an
important frame to him to win.
is one of the first times that he
opened my eyes to think he could be
one of the best players was when I
saw him not at his best but, boy,
did he compete. He took Selby to a
final frame decider. He didn't have
his best game that day but he showed
me that even without his best game,
he's a good competitor and he's
difficult to beat.
He has had a
rough time of it of late. He came
back and won an event in Germany. He
has taken some matches against Selby
this season, but even with that,
he's had some mental health issues
and address those and really seems
to be getting back to where he was a
couple of years ago, which is
fantastic to see. In terms of his
competitive ability, how would you
rate him as a 26-year-old in this
He's a very good
competitor and he such a natural
talent as well, isn't he? When he's
on his game he is capable of beating
anybody. Going back to his mental
issues, this is the most difficult
game in the world bar none. When you
get beat, when you sit and make a
mistake -- when you met mistakes,
then sit in your chair. There's so
much luck involved as well.
story we've heard from many players.
It's a hard game to master and it
does inflict psychological blows
upon you the longer you stay in.
Scars, too, as we talked about,
John. Back we go. One frame apiece.
DENNIS TAYLOR: Once again, another
very good break of shocked. --
break-off shot. Tight to the
cushion. That's what you're looking
for. Michael pap the table there to
acknowledge that. -- Michael tapped
Of course he plays it
left-handed as well. You tend to
forget about Ronnie breaking off
left-handed and it just becomes so
customary. You take it for granted.
Coming off two cushions to try to
get to the red.
Foul and a miss.
That's the perfect line. Can he
remember where he hit the cushion?
Well, if he doesn't hit it this
time, this looks a bit weak as well.
Will it reach? Yes, well played,
Good pot from Ronnie into a cute
angle there -- a cued angle there.
This is the only other red that's
available. And those two reds are a
bit awkward to get a good split here
but he's so good at this type of
shot. And he's played that very well
Just going back to what the boys and
Hazel were talking about in the
studio about mental strength in this
game... I haven't seen Doctor Steve
Peters, who arrives a lot of the
time with Ronnie. A sports
psychiatrist rather than
psychologist. When he's around,
Ronnie's always in a good frame of
Yeah, well, I think his good friend
Damien Hirst is here as well, the
artist. Always seems to have a
calming influence on Ronnie. They
get on very, very well together.
We talk about how tough this game
is. Michael White bounced out of the
arena after winning that close last
frame. He's in a difficult position.
No shot, plays out of snooker and
has been sitting in his chair for
the rest of the frame. Tough game.
This just improves the importance of
getting a good break-off shot and
Ronnie have the perfect one. -- had
the perfect one. I mentioned at the
time I thought the first frame would
be the longest of the match. It's
certainly proving that way at the
moment. Last frame was just 15
Should be OK. Just need to avoid the
baulk colours and a few reds still
That was a lovely little
shot Ronnie played there, and that's
part of the art of break-building.
He used the pack of reds, a bit of
left-hand side to bring some more
reds back into place to go up for
the blue. Beautiful shot. And the
control that goes with it.
Ronnie's up at 95%. That's
Yeah, you're watching a player who's
made 908 century breaks in his
career. That's remarkable! He's made
two in this tournament. Made 50
centuries last season. 34 this
season. The highest break at the
moment held by Ronnie's opponent,
Michael White. 142.
Another marvellous century from
Ronnie. Never been out of position
once. A wonderful break. So
effortless, so easy. And often that
Just coming up to eight
minutes in this third frame. He is
slowing down a bit, isn't he?
Everyone always brings up the
maximum break in five minutes and 20
seconds! That was made in 1997 at
The Crucible. Can you believe it?
Well, what a magnificent frame from
Ronnie O'Sullivan. It was the great
break of shocked that opened the way
for him to get that chance, and
didn't he take it well? -- the great
HAZEL IRVINE: You two were waxing
lyrical about the shot that enabled
him to go on and win previously.
Yeah, he plays the cannon,
deliberately just sending the white
through there to leave himself the
red into the opposite corner.
got to get the correct angle
absolutely on that. If you don't, it
can and is the red out of the way,
you don't get back on the ball. But
so poetic. Every positional shot was
perfect, the touch, the way he works
around the break. You know they are
going to go in. The touch is
We were saying at the
weekend, he crossed that 900 ton
mark and now he's going so quickly
to try to establish the 1000th. It's
off the chart, really, that
achievement, isn't it?
phenomenal. I did an interview
recently for the BBC website and
he's a creative genius. That's
exactly what he is as well. Even the
red he played, the hardest on shot,
he didn't perfectly get on the blue,
then he played a lovely controlled
screw shot. Brilliant and beautiful
The trouble is, he makes
it look too easy. I could do that!
You can't! Trust me, you can't!
There's nobody like him.
Does he see
a break differently? Does he go
about it in a way that is
and he's proved that because he's
made more centuries than anybody
else, but as John alluded to there,
it's his touch, on these very
difficult cloths. Just a genius.
Brilliant to watch.
Ronnie has given
us some artistry, as Peter said, and
it is Michael White with it all to
do as we head into the last before
Interesting from the
studio there. It's a great sight
when you see Ronnie O'Sullivan in
full flight. Particularly some of
the shots he sees, and he sees them
so quickly. And plays them with the
greatest of ease and aplomb.
It would be some feat when he
eventually does reach the 1000 mark
in the century 's department. I
don't think he's going to be too far
away. Already 999. A couple of
Could well reach
that thousand but you never know
what's around the corner for anyone
in sport or life. You just enjoy it
while you're doing it.
And the double-kiss. Well, I thought
it might come to his rescue but he
can pot this one to the left corner.
Just a couple of the long pots
Michael's had a go but, he hasn't
queued them very smoothly. He needs
to get in amongst the balls but he's
not getting any chances. -- he
hasn't cued them very smoothly. Not
getting in at the moment. Though he
might get one here. Not happy with
He was playing a delicate pot and
the cannon to hold the black there.
Well, I did mention there that
Michael needed a chance in amongst
the reds and he's got that. If he
can go into the mid-session interval
at two -- to-2, he would be a happy
I like that shot. I really do. He
took the risk there to open up the
reds and stay on the back. Did it
perfectly. He made it look very easy
but could quite easily have run onto
the cushion. So the chance is there.
Can he knock this sizeable effort
Just having a quick look at that top
two. Doesn't feel they are on,
otherwise he would have gone
straight there. Try to stay on the
black here. Potting this red.
The top red of those two, the right,
we'll popped into this pocket.
Really open things up for him. --
we'll popped into this pocket.
He didn't have to hold for the
blue there. By doing that it just
made it a bit more difficult. He
could easily have gone for a baulk,.
-- a baulk colour. Could cost him
It certainly quickened up on this
table. A couple of the tables were
playing a bit heavy but not now.
Would you believe it? At first
glance he hasn't left anything. The
only possible red is the one up past
the pink into the corner but he's
down on one knee there and he
thought he would be in his seat for
a while! That's tight, isn't it? If
he was right behind the red he might
be able to take that on.
He tried one in the middle pocket
that caught the yellow with it and
that was similar to this. He's
missed it to the right.
He thought he would put the white in
a safe position but Ronnie can knock
this in. No, yes!
That second chance. How many can he
make this time?
Not gone far enough but still
pottable. Wanted to be straight on
Just makes this next positional shot
is a bit more awkward. He played a
nice cannon on that red to hold for
Would like to get that red away from
the blue. Just sizing it up there.
Just trying to leave a nice little
angle on the red, and when he opens
the blue up it will help his cause,
back down for the black or the pink,
you would suggest.
It's not completely straightforward
to win the frame from this visit. A
few difficult pots to negotiate.
Hmm, unexpected miss there, but when
you force them into the middle
pocket, that can happen. The red
jumped there, so... It was in the
pocket for a split-second but it
jumped back out. That was the that
caused that. -- that was the kick
that caused that.
That was a careless one. Now, will
the red next to the pink... It might
not pot but... It will go to the
middle pocket as we look at it, so
that is for a few shots' time. But
not going to score many points from
this petition with the way the reds
are situated. He's just checking
whether the red next to the pink
goes to the left middle pocket. --
many points from this position.
He didn't want to be hitting the
yellow. That's very careless.
He had already planned his strategy
there. That yellow spoiled all that.
A good escape.
He's played that nicely. Terrific
shot there. He couldn't go down the
other side of the table because of
the reds near that cushion. He would
have cannoned into bins. -- into
those. That's opened them up. He
needs a good cue ball here and he's
going to come up a long way short.
Maybe the brown's helping him
slightly. A long, straight red. He
is hampered by the brown so he'll
take one of the others. Those two
there to the left of the pink.
That red, he's just had a look and
that red closest to the pink will
pot into the centre pocket. So he
doesn't have to nudge that. Nudge
that red out.
The black will put him 27 ahead.
Just one red and a colour to make
certain of this frame. A quick
glance at the score.
And it's a frame that Michael White,
Dennis, will feel has got away from
him. He had a good chance.
he's going to go into the middle
session with things not all that bad
but you can imagine if he had gone
two each, he would have really
enjoyed his cup of tea.
red to the middle that he missed to
try to hold for the blue. It cost
him this frame.
This is the one that Ken was talking
about, if he had rolled it in, it
would have been much easier, but
there was no way he was expecting to
miss that, and it cost him.
Ronnie O'Sullivan takes his chance
with a nice break of 64, and he goes
into the mid-session now leading
Michael white 3-1.
What percentage increase in Ronnie's
level do you think we are seeing
Slightly, but Michael is a
much better player than he showed in
the opening session the other day,
we know that. The difference in the
match so far for me is the quality
of the cue ball control. It was the
shot before, he was perfect on the
black and shouldn't have been
anywhere near playing that shot. You
wouldn't expect it to miss it, but
when they have got in, the
difference in who has got the cue
ball in the best positions is
noticeable. Sullivan has got it on a
Full of admiration for him
today, are you?
Even the positional
shot he played at the end from black
to yellow was just sublime.
More of the same possibly when we
come back after the mid-session
interval, but we are looking forward
to seeing John Higgins plate Yan
Bingtao from China, the 17-year-old
wonder kid. After his last victory,
he had a few problems with his cue,
specifically the tip of his cue, and
said he was going to go back to
Glasgow to get it fixed, but in the
end he went back to the eminent Les
Dodd in Southport, and you might
remember he did that also at the
Crucible in May. That is the kind of
level of attention to detail and
dedication that has brought John so
much success over the years. Either
that or he just likes driving!
John Higgins was born on the 18th of
May 1975 in Wishaw, Scotland.
been a professional snooker player
for more than a quarter of a
He has been in the top 16
in the world for an incredible 23
He married Denise in 2000,
and they have three children.
couple appeared in a TV show Mr and
Mrs and won the final.
John has also
appeared on Celebrity mastermind,
where his specialist subject was
Dallas, the TV show.
His nickname is
the Wizard of Wishaw.
Last season at
the age of 41 he became the oldest
Crucible finalist for 35 years.
has won more than £7 million in
prize money during his career.
2008, he was awarded an MBE in the
New years Honours list.
He has achieved a whole lot, and
John knows he is going to have to be
in tiptop form today. The defeat
last month to Yan Bingtao is still
raw, this teenager who were still
two months away from his 18th
birthday is apparently afraid of no
one. He became the second youngest
player ever to reach the Crucible
final stages in April, and in the
last month, he became the youngest
player ever to reach the final of a
world ranking event when he appeared
in Belfast, Northern Ireland, open
final, beating any end by Mark
Williams. Sophie is a bull who is
charging headlong up the rankings
right now. The first frame of this
match was a 41 minute one, and was
taken in the John Higgins, and we
are going to pick them up in frame
two. It is Alan McManus and Steve
Davis in have the ringside seats for
STEVE DAVIS: John Higgins has looked
at the possibility of playing this
down into the low pocket, he will be
more concentrating on screwing the
whiteboard back to the black
cushion. If it goes in, what a
And to big white honest, he
didn't play for the cue ball on the
back of the cushion. That was a very
What a pot, wasn't
it? I think even John will be a
little surprised he has potted that,
that was so difficult. We spoke
about his cue action.
And attacking shot from John
Higgins, nobody would have forgiven
him for just playing a safety shot
to the top cushion.
OK, but even so, you have to be
careful where these red Czar, you
could, Cropper. -- you have to be
careful where these reds are, you
could come a cropper. It is closer
than he would like to the middle.
That little clip on the brown was
nice, makes this yellow and little
straighter, more controllable.
That red that you mentioned earlier
by the blue, still causing John
Higgins some problems. The way to
open this frame up would be possibly
to use the blue to get into the
pack. It is not so easy from where
the balls are currently.
He can maybe get things opened up
now, little glance at the pink, I'm
not sure it goes to the corner.
Unless there is a plant, he is going
to have to develop one or two.
wouldn't be the most ideal way of
going about opening the pack off the
bat cushion. Players like to go
He doesn't have to open the pack,
but you feel like you would be
tempted. This is the experience of
John Higgins, knowing full well that
going into the pack doesn't always
come out correctly. And if that red
is now going to be cleared, that you
talked about at the start of this
frame, but he still needs a good
positional shot to get back on these
four reds at some stage. But he has
got a couple of reds to play with.
think again, not going into the pack
a couple of shots ago is out of
respect to his opponent. Against a
lesser player, he would think, nice
angle on the black, let's get them
open and win the frame in one visit,
but he has to build his way into the
match, build the frame if you like.
But if this goes wrong, then you
could make the case if you were
being critical that that was a
chance gone begging.
I think the
reason he refused the split is
simply because his opponent has got
him under some pressure. Just
clearly doesn't want to take any
undue risks come possibly having a
new tip was a factor in this shot
He needs an angle on this
And he has got a nice angle, and
this time, he will go into the pack,
but I suppose it does beg the
question, perhaps he should have
gone into it last time, doesn't it?
Some fascinating shot selections
It is an ice pack, because
they are set diagonal, you would
expect to get a decent split.
there is a situation, you are not
guaranteed. I think he is all right.
It is funny, you can see the cue
ball is actually in the way, I don't
know whether this goes. I think it
will. No problem.
And it doesn't matter how John
Higgins ever... Well, of course it
matters how he plays, but almost
regardless of how he is playing, he
is so difficult to play against, so
difficult to get on top. He keeps
chances at a minimum, stingy he is
as far as making mistakes.
But there is no player in the game
that can add class John Higgins, so
it's no disgrace from Yan Bingtao's
perspective to be going 2-0 down
here. It is going to be a good
work-out. Coming out with the
cliches, he has got plenty of time
and all that, he will be desperate
to win, get a ranking tournament
under his belt, as young as
possible. But it is about learning
your trade as well. And he could do
worse than picked John Higgins as a
master to learn from.
Well, no century. John Higgins goes
into a comfortable 2-0 lead.
Looks comfortable, as Alan said, and
Steve, too, but John was quoted as
saying he would have to play 100
times better to see this fellow off
in this match. He has great respect
for him, and as Alan says, with that
new tip on, he is not taking any
liberties as we head into frame
STEVE DAVIS: Made that opening reds
look a lot easier than it was,
didn't just blast at it.
A couple of loose reds.
Nicely judged. I think he's got
enough of an angle that he can
bounce the cue ball off the top
cushion. And get back on that red.
Might be going into reds here,
though. First shot, I thought for a
minute, it looked like he was
setting up to disturb more. Now he
will need a nice angle on this black
to go into the pack, though. A
little flick on that red creates the
angle. And that second red of the
two that are at the back looks
inviting. That should disturb things
quite nicely. Stun into it.
Got a bit too low on that, I think,
didn't he? Preferred more of a power
May be just felt the
shape of the wasn't conducive to
going in with power and deep screw,
but he has got one.
Tough little red to middle, but
should it going, they are opened,
and it has. John Higgins slowly but
surely finding his way into a bit of
Yes, just sizing up the situation
here, is it worth playing for a
choice of pink and black?
I wasn't sure what she was doing,
whether he was deciding to play onto
the blue because he doesn't like the
shape of the pack? That is the only
reason I can think of that choice of
up and down. The pink as well as you
say, but why he kept looking at that
red in the middle pocket, I'd know.
Perhaps he wasn't looking at the
red, looking at the pink.
I never really used to like this
kind of shot, but sometimes you have
to play it. Not always easy to
guarantee how they are going to
split. Now what?
That was a
brilliant shot, actually.
like that pink doesn't spot.
may be covered. I think it will go
close to it, but can he still get
the red in the middle?
The referee has got to make sure
this is absolutely perfect, as close
as possible to its own spot in a
direct line with the line of the
spots, but not touching the cue
ball, as close as possible to it.
It is actually very classy of John
to just go back to his chair and
have a little sip of water. Wherever
she replaces the pink, he will deal
with it. By his body language, he
can still get it. Tatiana there
doing a very good job.
She is doing a fantastic job, not
only is she refereeing this, she is
looking after two children and Ben
Woollaston as well, the ups and
downs of the snooker player.
That was a brilliant shot, he is an
lucky that he is not on one.
I think I am correct in saying that
Tatiana, Ben's wife, she can't
referee his matches. But also I
don't think she can referee matches
where he might have an interest.
Just to be seen to be correct, not
anything untoward, but correct
decisions. That was tight, but he
got it. So, this black is not
guaranteed, he is a little bit out
of position, said the biggest shot
of this frame so far for John
Higgins. Wouldn't want to take his
foot off the pedal here.
Well, after a tough start, this is
starting to look like a John Higgins
masterclass here today.
Perhaps it needed a match of this
quality for John to focus properly,
or it could be the fact that he has
had tip problems, one of the two.
Yes, we are getting the full gambit
of John Higgins' abilities. These
first two and a half frames, he has
toughed it out, a couple of really
clever shots, that red into the
yellow pocket that set up the frame
when in chance in frame two.
Yan 's highest break still only...
Higgins building up of steam. It is
that ability to just slip into
scoring mode, even though it appears
he is not quite on top of his game.
Still well capable.
No century, but a classy break of
80, and John Higgins is halfway
home. 3-0. And John impressively
freezing out this youngster for now,
you can keep watching this on the
red button, and we will be back for
more of that later on. Mark King
took the first with a break of 86
against Luca Brecel, and he is now
3-1 up at the break. And on table
four, Martin Gould lost the opening
frame, against the very impressive
remaining player, Vafaei, and Gould
has just taken the second. But the
top match we have been enjoying an
table one, Ronnie O'Sullivan's 900
and century, made against this man,
former world number 15, Michael
White, now at 26 in the world
standings. And Michael, he got a
handle on this match at 1-1, but
Ronnie has pushed on with a 132 and
a 64, and has a 3-1 advantage. So we
hand you back to Dennis and Ken.
DENNIS TAYLOR: Thank you, Hazel. He
has made some very good breaks so
far, not quite as good this time. He
has left a possible long pot to the
left corner pocket, but it is far
from easy, that's for sure, and with
the way the reds have opened up
already, it puts a lot of pressure
on this opening chance. Could quite
easily have been two each, he has
had the chances, he is just
limbering up to take this pot on.
He has missed a few long pots by a
long way, and where is the red going
to finish? Sometimes you get away
with it, but he missed that by a
Yes, I think there has
been a little bit of movement from
distance, and I think again a slight
bit of movement on the backswing
there. Quite a long way out, he has
put its good long balls, but some of
the ones he has missed, he has
missed the by quite a considerable
Not a straightforward, that red
below the black is just slightly out
of the way, he couldn't avoid
There is a red that will go up into
a left corner pocket, you know,
there is a gap between the pink and
the other red, and that is what he
is looking at there. He would be
able to get back for the black.
Oh, that jumped.
Maybe he didn't hit it as well as he
want, but have a look at the red
here. Through it off-line slightly.
Well, that was just the pace that
kept that in the pocket. It was
slightly drifting towards that near
Now, time for Michael White to fill
his boots here. He has really got to
make the most of these chances if he
has any ambitions to win this match.
Make it a contest.
I'm sure the red below the pink
pots, and that will free up the pink
into all four pockets.
Well, did he get a kick on that? We
will have to have a look at that
again. I'm not quite sure.
I'm going to give him the benefit of
the doubt, the way he pointed the
cue, I think it did just jump
Well, he certainly can't grumble
about the chances he's had, Dennis,
in these first few frames.
He just hasn't made the most of
them. Ronnie O'Sullivan has been a
little more clinical, whereas
Michael White hasn't, and that has
been the difference.
Let's have another look to see what
happened with that black there. It
is hard to see the kick, but...
Usually the ball lifts off the bed
of the table.
I'm not convinced it
was a kick. I think he has just been
struggling. He didn't look
comfortable. Even the cannon he
played, the pot on the red before
the black wasn't played properly, he
wasn't even trying to get on the
DENNIS TAYLOR: It's not the best of
chances here because the pink is in
the way of splitting the red, so he
might play for green or brown here
rather than the blue. Because if he
had played for the blue, the pink
was in the way of the cannon, so now
he's got the green off beside
cushion and into the reds and he
could open the whole game up here.
-- the green off beside cushion --
the side cushion. It couldn't have
played it better but has he covered
them all? I think he's having to
bend this. He'll have to play it
with a lot of left-hand side to
create the potting angle.
He made it look easy but he had to
bend that slightly.
The red just below the pink pots.
This wondered straight into this
corner pocket as well. -- this one
He's already 37 points to the good.
I think when you're playing Ronnie
O'Sullivan it doesn't half add a lot
of pressure to your game, because
you know if you miss he's going to
do this. A lot of the top players
will do this but more so if you're
playing and you're at the table and
you know you make a mistake, you
know you're really going to be
Yeah, and it's not only the pressure
on the balls when you're in amongst
them yourself and you do have
chances, its pressure on your safety
shots and you've got to try to cope
with it. We thought after he won the
second frame it might settle him
down a bit. Hasn't made the most of
his chances. I think you'll be
kicking himself when he looks back
on this match and went for micro-1
down. -- went for-1 down.
said, did have a chance there but it
was Ronnie O'Sullivan with that one
opportunity who made enough to
secure the frame and an advantage.
KEN DOHERTY: An incredible career
this man has had. Birthday boy
today. He was only ten or 11 years
of age when he moved over and we
used to practice together at the
snooker centre together. When I
moved over from Dublin. You could
tell how good he was going to be.
think the darling of Dublin sounds
better than the darling of
Guildford! You spent many years
practising there before moving back
home, didn't you?
Yeah. A couple of
weeks before the World Championship
in 97, we practised every day for
almost two weeks and of course he
made that magical 147 that year.
I was lucky enough to avoid him in
the draw and go on to win the
Championship! But we had a lot of
great days in Ilford practising with
each other. He used to beat me up
over time. I didn't like it that
much! But certainly good practice!
-- beat me up all the time.
a tough enough black if he had
rolled it in but to stun it in at
that pace - excellent. No. He's
anxiously looking to see if he
covered it. And he hasn't. So a
chance for Michael. It's time for
the man from Neath to go to work
here. This is a must-win frame. All
about the cannon on the reds.
Mustn't let that white slip away.
That's nicely played.
We will just show you it again.
Still very unlucky. Wanted to screw
past that red. Unfortunate to stick
on them but just cannoned the wrong
red there. But that's normally the
case when you are struggling a bit.
That sort of thing happens. When
you're playing well, even if you can
the wrong ball, you always finish on
one. -- even if you cannon the wrong
ball. Where's the safety shot coming
from? Can't do much with this.
Might be touching both reds here. It
is. You don't see that very often.
At least it solves the problem.
Michael can come off this cushion
behind the black and back up, and
the frame will be back to normal.
But this is a must-win for him. You
wouldn't give him much of a hope
with it being 5-1.
That's a wonderful safety shot. Down
the right-hand side. We'll have to
use two cushions past the blue. --
had to use two cushions. Very well
Might be tempted to have a go at
this red into the left corner. He
could get himself on the black. He's
coming round the table to see what
he could leave. If he takes it on
and doesn't get on the black there
is one available to the left middle.
Let's see how this works out. A
marvellous shot! I say marvellous
shot. It was a marvellous pot but
didn't get the cue ball where he
He went full-blooded for it because
he was leaving a red to the left
middle pocket, but just lost the cue
He's left this red. You can't see a
direct but he can play the plant.
Put this red and still stay on the
black, I think, pocket off the
cushion. -- pot it off the cushion.
Wow! Over swerved it.
It's funny. It looked as if he could
just play it off the side of the
cushion but the swerve took it right
into the other red, as we will show
you. But the way they finished up
here, and Ronnie knows only too
well, that it's not easy to get good
position from. If he can use the
rest it might not be too bad. He
might be able to get onto the black.
But the spider would have been
tough. He's played that nicely.
It's just not happening for Michael
White. For a few shots he looks OK
and then like that, he just cued
across it slightly. It's tough out
there. Just at 79% there, as you can
That didn't even get in the jaws of
the pocket, that one.
There's nothing over that side of
the table to play behind because the
green's off its spot. The brown's
out of commission as well. Just
plain to get the cue ball as close
to the cushion as possible. And
that's pretty good. -- just playing
to get the cue ball.
Doesn't want that red coming over
the left centre pocket. And it looks
like it's come far enough. I think
this can cut in.
Needs a bit of luck with the cue
ball. If it runs past the red he
could be on the pink... No.
A slightly bewildered look from
Ronnie O'Sullivan. It's not there so
the cue ball will be going back.
A foul and a miss.
hasn't moved from the position. Just
to make sure. Let the referee know
exactly where the cue ball is going.
Never seen that before. He's staying
there! He's not moving, he's not
moving... He's still there.
going to play this shot again, I'm
sure, because he's going to get
warned. He had forgotten about that,
Ronnie, I think.
He can just play
the black and leave the white kite
on this cushion. -- the white tight
on this cushion.
He's got the white tight on the
cushion but the trouble is he's put
the black safe as well.
a poor effort from Michael. Ronnie's
29 points behind, and, OK, he's got
the blue in play but the pink's not
There's no way he should have had a
shot at that red. A bit careless
from Michael there.
He's just lost his concentration,
Ronnie O'Sullivan, at the moment.
Not a chance for Michael White.
Normally such a proficient long
potter, Michael White, but has been
completely off today.
Delicate little shot there, nice
cannon on the blue.
May have to win this frame by taking
blues with the remaining reds.
that's why I mentioned when he
pushed the black safe it was going
to make it awkward for himself.
That's not the best. Although he's
on the blue. Could quite easily have
snookered himself there. Shouldn't
be a problem.
Good pot but he's going to need
another good position shot to get up
the top side of the blue. --
Sweet. Very sweet.
Seems to like that blue up into the
Well, he's had five blues up to now.
This will be number six. But at that
pace, it was never going to be easy.
He didn't want the cannon on the
pink. That was the problem. Almost
tight on the cushion to force that
blue in. Was always going to be
The percentages against getting onto
the last red there were very low
indeed. As I mentioned earlier, this
is a must-win frame for Michael
White. He's still in it, just six
Well, that's amazing. You could say
the red shouldn't have been near the
pink but still very unfortunate to
leave it over the pocket.
Had to be thin. Oh! That's a Michael
White special coming at the right
time! Is he going to drop nicely
onto a colour? I think he's OK. He's
got the yellow, which will come back
nicely onto its spot. But the
brown's going to be the problem
ball. But the fact that the blue is
up there means if he gets as far as
the brown, he won't have much to do
with it. But having said that, he
hasn't left himself perfectly placed
here by any means.
He's missed it. He was trying to get
through that gap.
He's struggling a
bit, Ken, isn't he? We've all been
there. You have to feel a bit sorry
for him but he's struggling with his
game at the moment.
When he part of the yellow after
that good opening red he just didn't
get into the cue ball enough to
leave himself straight on the yellow
again. Had to use the rest.
Struggling a bit.
But if you hang on in there, you
never know what can happen, because
Ronnie's lost a bit of focus, you
have to say.
Does this green go past the pink? He
can play the snooker if it doesn't.
He had to hit it to
get it safe but to get it into the
corner at that pace... I mean,
goodness gracious me! You could
stand there for a year and not see
that happen again.
Well, it's not over just yet! As I
say, I think Ronnie has lost a bit
of focus at the moment. That was
very careless there. He only needed
the blue. So any distance across the
table and he was on it.
It's not a gimme. It's certainly
potable into the
It's not a gimme. It's certainly
potable into the right centre
pocket. He only needs the blue.
Looks like 5-1 now, Denis.
Two snookers has made a very tall
And where the black is, it's highly
unlikely that he will get the two
snookers that's required.
This is not a bad effort. No, he's
decided that he wasn't going to be
able to get the snookers and he
concedes the frame. He had his
chances though, in that frame,
Michael White. But it's Ronnie
O'Sullivan who ends his lead. He
only needs one more frame. He leads
STUDIO: It could be game over at
this point. Michael White clearly
not in a good place there. He had
chances. In fact, you called it.
There was a distinct possibility he
might have got back into the frame.
Yeah, there's quite a few unforced
Yeah, there's quite a few unforced
errors coming into Michael's game.
One long red into the left hand
black pocket as we're looking at the
screen now. He played it with
left-hand side and just got through
the cue ball very quick, pushed it
thick. He's not timing the ball very
well at all unfortunately. He's had
plenty of chances, which is
One safety shot in
particular that left Ronnie on.
there's nothing worse than when it's
an unforced error. A massive gap to
play the cue ball down in the area.
He hit it completely wrong and
nobody goes out with the intention
of playing poorly. He will be so
disappointed with the level he's
played because he has had chances.
It's been his cue ball today. He's
never had it. Three, four shots in
the break, he's usually lost it.
over by the shouting?
Yes, he's lost
all confidence. It's a shame,
because there was a bit of an edge
to this match. He's been playing
well. You thought if he holds
himself together but he's had
chances and not taken them
unfortunately. He'll be bitterly
Ronnie as the highest
seed left, Stephen said something
interesting he said in many respect
this is Ronnie's Championship to
lose. How do you feel about that?
wouldn't go that far. He's a
favourite. Certainly he's been the
best player on the circuit this year
with his form. A brave man to bet
against him. There's lots of good
players here. When you have best of
11s, we alluded at the start of the
day, they're not best of 17s any
more, best of 11s, some of the
players consider they have more of a
chance in that situation. Yes he's a
strong favourite. If you give me a
free fiver, I'd have it on
O'Sullivan, but there's lots of good
In terms of his
progress in this match. We've just
seen the focus dim slightly from
Ronnie's perspective. Probably no
wonder at this point.
because Michael isn't taking his
chances. It's not surprising that
Ronnie's concentration and focus has
slipped a bit. If Michael were to
step up a gear, it would be there
Is this going to be the last
one? Let's find out.
Is this going to be the last
one? Let's find out.
COMMENTATOR: That's the question
Hazel, will this be the last frame
of the match?
That's certainly opened the reds up
from that break-off shot. Listen,
he's 5-1 down, he might as well
throw the cue at it now, try and
re-Alex and give it your best shot.
Sometimes you do relax and you start
knocking these shots in.
It can be the loneliest place in the
world, in front a packed house,
you're out there. And there's no
hiding place, is there, Ken?
It's not like a team game.
Sometimes you get a little bit
embarrassed that you're not
performing the way you know you can.
Particularly on the TV. And in front
of a nice, big crowd. One of the
biggest tournaments on the snooker
calendar. He's had a couple of good
wins to get here.
We were all expecting a lot more,
I'm sure he was as well. Just hasn't
happened today. His confidence has
drained as this match has gone on.
I mean he's tight on the cushion.
That's probably the best
I mean he's tight on the cushion.
That's probably the best pot he's
had this afternoon. Look at the kiss
he had on the black.
If you don't get that bit of good
fortune in this game, it's hard
He may be able to screw the cue ball
back behind the black here, bring a
few more reds into play.
This is a possible little shot,
screw the cue ball off to the left
hand red of that pack.
He doesn't want this cue ball going
into the pocket. Oh, no. Well it's
It's all happening for Michael
That could possibly be his last shot
in this year's Championship.
Not sure whether the pink will
respot on its own spot. If it
doesn't, Ronnie would prefer it to
go onto the black spot.
That was possibly the reason why he
didn't go into the pack of reds from
Nice cannon into the pack here.
Has he gone too far? Looks too hard.
Good recovery, on the yellow into
the right centre.
Gradually he'll work his way back up
to the scoring end of the table.
He's got the blue and pink
I say the scoring end of the table,
you can score both ends of the
table, but the more points gained at
this end. With the high valued
colours. It's looking good now for
Ronnie O'Sullivan, it has to be
I don't think he'll be overjoyed by
his performance today. He sets very
high standards for himself. Even
when you feel he's played really
well, he'll come out and say he
I think the fact that
Michael has struggled a bit probably
hasn't helped Ronnie's game. He
would have raised his game, but
yeah, you've got to feel a bit sorry
for Michael White. He was so looking
forward to playing Ronnie
O'Sullivan. It just hasn't happened
for the man from Neath.
he'll be back. There's plenty more
tournaments the rest of the season.
He won that Paul Hunter classic
earlier on this year.
Yeah, well he
has won two ranking tournaments and
a lot of players go through their
career without doing that.
60 points ahead, just this red,
leaving Michael White needing a
Acknowledged by the crowd.
Yeah, I think the fourth frame
Michael could have gone to the
midsession interval 2-2, might have
been a different story. But he
hasn't really performed. Doesn't
matter about missing the pink.
Michael has picked up his extension
and he comes forward to congratulate
Ronnie O'Sullivan. He just couldn't
get going, Michael. In the end,
Ronnie O'Sullivan this year's
favourite, runs out a very
comfortable winner by 6-1.
STUDIO: Congratulations to Ronnie,
the birthday boy through to the last
the birthday boy through to the last
16 here in York. Will he have
enjoyed that one, because in the
end, it was a little more
straightforward than possibly we
expected it to be.
We all enjoyed
it. If you won 6-1, and you didn't
have to be at your best, we'd be
delighted with that. He can tell us
better in a minute. I'd be happy
I think I would be as
well. Part of Ronnie will be
disappointed for Michael today. He
knows what a talented player he is.
Don't get me wrong, he obviously
wants to win the match. He'll be
delighted to win comfortably. But he
knows that Michael is a far better
player than he showed today. He'll
be a little disappointed for him.
He's coming in here shortly. Just
before we speak to Ronnie, quick
update on what's been happening out
there. There are dramatic events
here on table three.
there. There are dramatic events
here on table three. Mark King, this
is a respoted black. Mark was 3-2 up
here. It's all very dramatic of the
Yes, funny thing is he's played the
shot. You try to leave the cue ball
higher than the black. Not this.
This leaves a double and he's taken
Luca Brecel levels the
match. Kingy not happy. What's going
on? There you go, he's in a real
fight. Meanwhile table four, Martin
Gould in a tussle as well. Martin
was 2-1 up. A good break of 75 for
Vafaei in frame four has levelled it
there. It's all happening out there.
In fact we're hearing Gould has
taken frame five. He's
re-established a 3-2 advantage.
There's a lot of
re-established a 3-2 advantage.
There's a lot of good snooker out
there. That King, Brecel match, Luka
is one to be watched here.
discovered how to win. I've watched
him in the commentary box the last
few years. He's got tremendous
talent. He can pop balls from the
lamp shade. He's playing against
certain players who wait and wait
and tactically they wait for chances
off him. Now he's got to grips with
what he needs to do. He's a
tournament winner now. That makes
all the difference to confidence.
He's only 22. It seems
extraordinary. He was such a young
man, youngest ever to play at The
Crucible. Turned up there 17 years
of age. I think he's established his
own style. He seems to be his own
man out there now.
Very much so.
He's one of the few players in the
game that plays with a tremendous
amount of side. He plays with a very
small tip. He has fantastic cue
power, pots incredible balls, scores
well and his safety and tactics have
come on a lot in the last season or
They have to. The top players
look for your weakness. Tactically
he wasn't as adept at putting the
cue ball in. They're going to make
it difficult for you, put the cue
ball in awkward positions, try to
keep you away from potting.
Good to see
Into the last 16, happy
Yeah, thank you.
How pleased with that today?
We were saying that 6-1 sounds
fairly straightforward, was it
straightforward from your
Michael didn't play
well at all. He was just struggling.
He was getting lots of bad luck as
well. I wasn't feeling great either.
We dragged each other down. I just
think I managed to scramble better
than Michael did today.
A century in
there, 909 centuries so far and
counting. Have you lost count, is it
something I take a mental note of?
No, I know each entry gets me nearer
the thousand, which will be nice to
do. Someone else will beat it at
We've talked about the
thousand, is there an expected time
scale for this, or you just keep
I've gone past all that. I
just try to enjoy it if I can.
look like you're enjoying competing
I'm trying my hardest. You know,
it's just come here, have a bit of
fun. If I win, great. If I don't
win, you know, I've always got Plan
B, which is nice, so it takes the
pressure off really.
In terms of
what we've seen in this Championship
so far, there's been so many top
seeds going out, you are the top
seed left at number four. A
surprising Championship in some
I don't know. I've not
watched a lot of snooker, what I can
gather, a lot of players say they
haven't been playing well. It's a
tough game when you're not feeling
confident out there. I'm not feeling
100% with my game. This game is a
bit like golf. If you don't get the
line right and you know, you can put
the ball anywhere, so I'm a little
bit fortunate. I'm a bit like Seve
or Tiger, where I can manufacture
shots. Whereas the more robotic type
players, if they're not online, they
really struggle. With me, like Mark
Williams, we are shot makers as
well. We can scramble a bit better.
That's what you have to do
Do you think there's too
much snooker now?
No, I want to see
more. Give us some more! #
a fortunate position whereby you can
pick and choose your turn amounts,
is there a question of players
playing in everything burning out?
don't care any more.
I tried to get players together and
do anything, but they all just
bottled out in the end. I thought I
have to do my own thing, live my own
life. I do other bits outside of
snooker because I can. I come here,
have a bit of fun. This is a Brucie
bonus for me. I understand what the
players are going through. Until
they get some, their bottle together
and stand up together, then this is
going to keep moaning. I got fed up
with moaning. I thought I might as
go and get a great life, which I've
got a great life now. I don't care
what they do. They can do what they
like. Make us play outside, if you
like, in the freezing cold, I won't
ever complain about a ref or
official. They're all fantastic.
are Mr Chill at the moment, I must
No, I'm not. I used to be, I
was ingrained in snooker, that's all
I done. Every little thing bothers
you. I can't. It's too painful. It's
frustrating because you want things
sorted and you want the players to
stick together and they never do.
You know, get on with, it have it.
Have you found a formula, I don't
know if anybody's quite got it yet.
I don't have a formula.
you're trying to come in for the
No, I don't care about the
majors, any tournament is a major. I
don't care. I just come up, pitch
up, the UK is the same as the
British Open, China, they're all
lovely. I take any one of them.
There isn't a formula for success?
No, this is a hobby. I don't care.
Otherwise you start to get driven
mad by it. All the players players
are moaning and you feel like you
want to do something, I give up.
They can do their thing. I do my
thing. Good luck to everybody.
You've just got to drive your own
car. That's what I'm doing at the
moment. It doesn't affect me as
much. If I win here great. If I
don't, I really don't care. I want
to win. Of course, I'd love to win.
I'm not going to drive myself mad.
If the referee has a stinker, just
let him have a stinker. Fair enough.
Next year, when we come to the UK
Championship, it has been suggested,
I know there was a lot of banter in
the press room the other day about
your potentially doing a stint in
the jungle. Jimmy has done it and
Steve has. Would you do it?
million per cent, I'd do anything
now. I love it.
I'm up for the crack. I used to
think, no I couldn't do that. I've
got to be a pure snooker player. But
you get to a stage, where you think
this is painful. That's all fun and
a good laugh. Everything I do away
from snooker is great. I want to do
as much of that as I can. Obviously
I want to play a bit of snooker and
do myself justice. As long as I'm in
the top 64, being number one, number
four, number 64 it doesn't matter
any more. Why not, let's have a bit
of the jungle.
They'll think I'm a
gorilla though when they look at me!
As long as you don't walk round like
No, no, please. If you are Mr
Chill at the moment, how do you get
the competitive head back when you
have to come in?
I love to win.
Simple as that?
I took up running
and I wanted to be like, you know,
compete for my county. I just have a
natural desire to want to compete.
That will never go. But I won't get
bothered by tables and venues and
referees and photographers.
Photographers, they've got to behave
They have to come with a little
stick, you know, tripod, otherwise
no tripod, you're going. All you
camera guys, get your tripods out.
I'll even supply them as well.
are you going to do for the rest of
Go to the gym, treat
myself. That's my birthday present.
Then go and have some food. Then
watch a bit of celebrity Get Me Out
Of Here. I couldn't have done that
trial last night with the snakes.
No, I saw that.
Don't they them
that, that's what they'll give you.
Say you love snakes.
I want to start
getting used to snakes! I'm getting
He's in the jungle next
year, I'm not sure how we're going
to cope without you. There we go.
Ronnie, thank you very much. Enjoy
the rest of your birthday.
Ronnie is through. We will get back
into the match we've been enjoying.
John Higgins took a healthy lead,
taking no chances against this
young, ambitious 17-year-old Yan
Bingtao. We rejoin them in frame
four. Back to Alan with Steve Davis.
COMMENTATOR: Looks on. If John
Higgins goes for it, I expect him to
Or get on black, depending the way
he plays it. Oh, he's played it with
control, this is brilliant. What a
shot that is.
This is currently a master surgeon
Not ideally placed on the red, but
the way he started to cue, you fancy
this red in the middle pocket.
Not much of a pocket to go for, is
there? Never touched the sides. What
a performance so far this has turned
into. Got to say, he's got to be one
of the favourites for the UK
Championship this year. A few big
names have gone out. There's a few
still in, of course.
Not absolutely the way he played it.
Still on one. He's going to have to
put all his eggs in one basket here.
This is dead weight. The fact that
it's a fairly new cloth may help the
I fancy him to get it, but it is
It should go in. But no. Yan
Bingtao, sat in that chair for most
of the last couple of frames, has
got, at long last, a decent chance.
Yeah, very easy to say well, he's
got to make something from this, but
when you've been kept off the table
for so long, it's tough.
This is a difficult one to judge, to
get the correct weight. Can't argue
Made sure he didn't leave it short,
not too short. Assuming the black
does go fully.
Be a good boost for morale now for
Yan Bingtao to win this in a classy
way, this frame.
Just to show John Higgins what he's
This is not an absolute bona fide
chance to win the frame just yet. I
don't think any of those reds will
go to this black pocket. They have
to manufacture something. Wouldn't
really want to play to right middle.
That would be missable. He's looking
for something a bit more certain.
Just a little tester, just the fact
that he's not any table time, you
expect him to get it - nice and
straight, not a lot to do with the
cue ball. Just get the pot, opens
the frame up a little.
This is why you play eight hours a
day, or whatever you decide to play.
When you do get a chance, when
you've been kept off the table,
you're quickly into your stride.
It's definitely a measured approach
from Yang Bingtao.
Even a certain
black you'd already think he'd know
which red he's going to play but
he's taking his time. Average shot
time of 31 seconds, which is
pedestrian by modern standards.
is, but it's indicative of what he's
put up with today. I don't think
it's his natural speed. Floated
past, does the other red go? I think
it does. It's OK. I think if he was
the one dominating proceedings you'd
see faster speed.
That one red at the bottom of the
pack, you can't get the right side
of it, and maybe the other red goes.
Think is available, that helps.
Yeah, the pink goes on the green
spot now, so that's fine. A good
frame-winning chance now. Not saying
it's necessarily a bad thing, the
pace he's played today. It's another
strength to his bow.
You wouldn't always want to be
playing at 30 seconds a shot, it's
difficult to get rhythm but he's
been up against it. It's impossible
for him to have had any rhythm in
the match, soap understandable that
his shot times would be slow. Most
of his shots have been head
scratchers. Doesn't want to be
straight on this. Not good if it's
straight. He's got enough of an
angle. He's got to judge the pace of
this because it is he goes too far
he won't be on the red. Not far
enough and it's too fine Abe cut.
That's very nice indeed. Going to
disturb the other red now. A good
lead of the reds and guaranteed
position on the black, pace wise, he
could be over the line.
I think the other thing it tells us,
the way he's taking his time this
afternoon, and especially this
contribution, he thinks he can still
win the match. That's important.
It's not like, some players can be
forgiven for mentally almost giving
up, just throw their cue at Bayview
shots -- at a few shots.
He's still in line with being the
youngest ever winner of a major
event. Up until the German Masters I
think next year. But to be honest
that would be just a small record. I
think when the history books are
finally closed on this game of
snooker, if they are ever closed, I
think you'll see Yan Bingtao's name
cropping up a few times.
How can you
win the World Cup at 15?
He did that with his compatriot a
couple of years ago.
John Higgins may decide to come back
to the table here. Bingtao's last
positional shot before the red was
perhaps a bit risky. Might seem like
he's well clear but as we've seen,
when you look at the table, after
potting the black he's going to be
55 points behind. It's a tough ask
but not much different to the first
frame with Yan Bingtao carrying on.
He'll want to keep the last red on
the table. That keeps open the
option of free balls. That's a
quicker way to get penalty points.
So, no positional shot played. Can
he get in behind this black? Should
he so choose. He misjudged that by
miles. Poor effort really from John
So, Yan Bingtao gets
a frame on the board but John
Higgins goes into the interval
comfortable but this youngster is on
the move. He started the season as
the world number 56 and he's jumped
up to 27 already. He's a man on the
move and will he keep moving here in
COMMENTATOR: Bingtao straight back
at the table. Bad timing for the ice
bucket to come on the table. Just
out of your picture, one of our
officials delivered a fresh ice
bucket to John Higgins. It was
nearly in Yan Bingtao's by --
Perhaps justice is served, back so
early, that miss to the right middle
Pretty ramrod straight
delivery of the cue. Always nice to
see. Not every player goes through
on a straight line. You'd think it
would be essential but it's really
only at the point of hitting the the
cue needs to be in the straight line
with the desired line to the object
ball. Common sense says it would be
better if it was in line all the
time from the back swing to the end
of the delivery. Plenty of cue power
to get the right side of the blue.
Excellent effort. Has he got there?
I don't think he's quite got the
angle. He's poker straight on it.
Pink is the sort of shot normally
well within his compass but he won't
want to play it unless he has to.
Just a case of how much he fancies a
long-distance red. So this is a
I guess you could say a little
unfortunate there. Is there a plant?
Possible. Oh, fabulous shot. Well
played. That's a bonus, landing on
played. That's a bonus, landing on
the black. Drop in the black and
he'll be back to just one frame
behind, Yang Bingtao -- Yan Bingtao.
That's motored up the table a bit.
He's on the red but not as he would
have liked. He just needs this red.
Plant as well. That's nice. A bit
lucky really, the plants have all
planned out for him. The pink wasn't
absolutely wonderful. So from being
completely outplayed and getting a
lifeline in the fourth frame, all of
a sudden, Yan Bingtao gets it back
to only one behind. Interesting
times in this match.
Another massive kick. What's going
on? From having none to having a
A bit of general consensus that the
new brand of chalk on the market
reduces the amount of kicks players
get in matches. Yan Bingtao doesn't
use that particular brand.
Doesn't matter about the pink.
81 break, Yan Bingtao,
hot on the heels of John Higgins.
And indeed in the next frame,
Yan Bingtao made it all square. A
break of 37 and a pretty elongated
frame, 33 minutes and Yan Bingtao
getting over the line so we're into
a best of five. Let's rejoin in
That could be a
That one he seemed to
play a bit casually. He probably
didn't, it just seemed like he did.
The red actually moved, the other
red, when he potted that.
played a combination shot there.
Nicely judged. Didn't go into them
too hard but he knew they'd open up
A nice feeling when you play
that well, the cannon and they
spread open like they have. Doesn't
guarantee anything but it makes the
next probably 30 points fairly
straightforward, as straightforward
as they can ever be. Just gives you
a nice warm feeling inside, a cannon
like that. Works out as intended. He
needs a few good things to happen
right now, John Higgins.
Re-establish some authority in this
He could conceivably get over the
winning post without needing that
red on the side cushion. Not
necessarily sure he'll have done
those maths. Job in hand.
sloppy, he'll have to be precise
Wasn't the end of the
world. But as you say, there are
easier ways of getting on those
Yes, that's a good point you make
Steve, about the red on the side
He needs blacks. I think he
can get away with one more extra
He's got two points to play
with. Two pinks and three blacks,
sorry, four blacks and he wouldn't
need that red.
It is something you
should do the maths for but there's
so much work to be done, sometimes
you're concentrating on keeping
position. Where these balls are,
you're more or less going to be
going for blacks but if he took too
many pinks, that is a sort of minor
mistake, isn't it?
John won't be
thinking about it yet.
But he should
be. The future of the game, players
should be aware if they need that
ball on the cushion or not.
just we have the luxury of sitting
here and being able to count it out
and we don't have two pot anything.
That's a nice shot opening them up.
I don't know if he's checked the
school board. He's looking at it
now. -- the score board.
he'll look at the scoreboard now.
Now, has he done the maths? He's
doing it now.
Is it the maths or is it the math?
Singular is the posh way
of saying it.
Is there a Scottish
Probably, yeah. That was a good
shot as well. Three blacks.
I think he can screw back to the
side cushion. This is dead straight.
Doing his job of keeping on the
black. Didn't need to screw back to
the side cushion.
The best way to
play for this red is the far corner
because he can get back to the black
for that. He doesn't want to play it
in the middle. That's clever, a very
clever shot. Just an indication
again of the shot selection being
the most important thing. The way he
played it, he didn't have to play
the shot perfectly. Just get top
side of the red and the next black
should be a formality. He's taken
After potting this black, he'd like
to get the double as well just to
put the lid on this frame.
Barring snookers, John Higgins has
his nose in front at 4-3. STUDIO: 67
was enough for John to retake the
lead at 4-3, the momentum back with
the Scotsman. They just had a
rewrite in frame eight. This is
early in the restart of this frame.
John has potted the red, so back to
Alan and Steve.
How is the split? Oh, this is good.
It's just beginning to happen now. A
big target, that. He got the pink
half all. -- half ball. He'd settle
for this, John Higgins.
John Higgins smelling blood here.
Realises the significance of Yan
Bingtao's shot, not punishing him
John doesn't want to play for the
red on the cushion. That would be
Well, this was the shot that Yan
Bingtao played. He'd turned down a
pot to the left corner for the more
safe safety shot. John Higgins got
in from that shot.
Yan Bingtao bashing the table with
his cue, the modern-day sign of
appreciation for your opponent. He's
left a red to the middle. Can he get
past the lack to the red to the
corner? Doesn't look like it. -- can
he get past the black. You'd expect
him to get this. Wow, I thought that
was going in. Just a fraction too
hard. I still thought it was going
in, didn't you?
Yes, you could tell
by John's reaction as well. He
thought it was in. A puff of the
This is thin but I'm sure
he'll get it.
That's why they have experts in the
commentary box, Alan!
Yeah, a wry
smile again from John, he's somehow
covered the red with the blue, Yan
Bingtao was trying to play
a better position or shot than just
potting the red -- a better
positional shot. Would have been
ideal place to pot the red. Not easy
to get a telling safety shot here.
That got a bit close to the pocket,
didn't it? Yan Bingtao tapping the
table. It wasn't that far off being
a mistake. Now it's caused a few
If he's going to play the
up and down safety he'll have to get
this very thin, drop the cushion
first on the left-hand red, which
Still need to give these
respect. With the baulk colours as
they are, not easy to sort of get
that John, the loose red left of the
pink spot, slide off it, cue ball
over the yellow pocket and Yan
Bingtao would be in trouble. I don't
think John will be in masses of
trouble but he's giving up the
initiative. Obviously there was
thought behind it, 37 points in
front, tying up those three reds.
He doesn't make many tactical
mistakes, does he?
There's one here
that he could play, leave John that
tempter, get as close to the baulk
cushion as you can. He's shifting
that red. John's long game's not
been on it. Not been on song today.
I would have left him a tempter
Possible plant to nothing.
about this situation now is there is
a way of getting down the table. And
getting a good snooker. Not easy.
From this side of the table.
That plant was a bit more on than
you would have thought from
distance. Red struggled in. But it's
definitely John Higgins with the
Playing in behind the
brown here, I feel. Clever shot
again. It takes out of the rest of
the left side cushion. Yan's in
Yan Bingtao will be seeing
if he's got any type of route to
those three reds on the top cushion.
He's looking at possibly a three
He'll have to get close to the green
after two cushions. I don't think
that shot is on. Too much slide on
the cloth. He could probably try
this all day long and not get it.
He should know from what he's just
done, unless he gets stupidly close
to the green, he's not going to be
able to get out of it. It's going to
slide too much. I might be wrong.
Put the green back, though.
I don't think he can escape off
three cushions here.
Really, without being
disrespectful, he should know this
now. He's had one go and he must
have seen how the ball released off
that third cushion.
It's important they get the green
exactly where it was. It plays an
integral part of the shot.
He might just have made it.
What a hit that was.
think he's having a chuckle at
That's the best he could
have done to get across the table.
That's the absolute limit.
He obviously knows more than me!
Unless that green wasn't exactly in
the right place.
A great escape.
John will be making sure he doesn't
shift this brown, I'm sure.
Yeah just pushing a red safe.
No way John wants to get involved at
any time with having safety shots
that go near that brown.
Once again Bingtao in touch trouble.
It seems he's going off a side
What was he lining up there? Not too
I think he was just in between
the top, the middle and the brown.
Just looking at the natural and
dropping the three reds. Obviously
didn't fancy it.
John playing this red near the baulk
line. It's not a double kiss. He
doesn't really want to shift it,
unless he absolutely has to.
He can just drop onto the three
It's Yan Bingtao who has to do the
Nicely judged. Bingtao can improve
the situation. Needs a thin contact
on the first red.
Is there a gap between green and
blue that he can get the black into
Needed to play an aggressive one and
has done. You've got to say that
he's asked the best question
possible of John Higgins.
John's got a relatively easy path
back to balk. At least it's opened
the reds up and opened the colours
There won't be many times in his
career that he'll be tapping the
table as many as he has done against
John Higgins here today. Great
judgment of weight there as well,
caused as much problems as the line.
Last resort shot once again? He's
just coming down to see what type of
shot John Higgins as got from the
jaws this afternoon top left corner.
-- of that top left corner. Not sure
he's got many other options. Big
shot to try and pot it.
This is one in ten for me.
Yeah, that was so difficult. He's
not left an absolute sitter. But
John Higgins you would expect to
take full advantage.
He obviously believes in his own
ability. He could have possibly
played a containing shot there.
The score line in the frame and
knowing how clever John Higgins is,
perhaps he thought that was as good
a chance as he was going to get.
The last frame, the first frame
really that's gone against the
Yan Bingtao couldn't successfully
negotiate the positional side of the
frame. John Higgins got back in. Now
looks like John Higgins has smelled
a bit of blood.
Never balks at the finishing line,
that's for certain.
He's checked the scoreboard.
Three loose reds with colours. He
should be one away from victory.
Would still like this red in to
completely seal the frame.
Striking the ball very nicely. Never
overhits a shot, John Higgins. Knows
when to stroke the shot, when to
punch it in. The complete
Apart from those shots obviously!
And that's John Higgins. 5-3 in
front. Needing one more for a place
in the last 16.
STUDIO: I'm sure this will be an
almighty relief to John after that
barrage of breaks from Yan Bingtao
earlier on. This is a fascinating
match. It's a real contrast of the
generations. We've seen enough from
Yan Bingtao to realise this
generations. We've seen enough from
Yan Bingtao to realise this fellow
is pretty special.
Yeah a very
talented young player. John's
experience showed in the last frame
there. He really dug deep there. He
knows that he has to go up a gear
now against this young man. That was
impressive from John there.
hasn't taken him lightly. He said he
would have to play 100 times better
than his previous opponent. How wary
was John coming into this match?
does he take lightly by the way? He
plays the right shot all the time to
an incredibly high standard. Two of
the lads in the commentary box are
exactly the same type of match
players, if you play the correct
shot and you play it to a high
standard every single time you play,
you are going to be a nightmare for
whoever you play against. The last
couple of frames, John's tightened
up. He's still scored well. He's
come to the table and he's tapping
the table all the time. He's just in
the maximum amount of trouble. Every
time he comes, there he's being
asked a question. It's a very stern
examination paper you get when you
play John. That's what he's been
given this afternoon.
We know that
whoever wins this match, they're
going to play Mark King in the next
round. Mark has come through 6-3
against Luca Brecel. After that
losing that respoted black earlier
on, he's won the last three in a row
has Mark. That's really impressive.
That's a great win. He's come on
leaps and bounds this season, after
winning in Northern Ireland last
He's kicked on. All of us were
so pleased for him to win his first
ranking event after all this time
last year. He's been working with
Chris Henry for some time now. It's
made a massive difference to his
game. He's a tournament winner now.
The biggest thing for Mark, with the
greatest respect, he wasn't the
heaviest scorers. He didn't score
like a lot of the top boys did. He
nearly had a maximum the other day,
which he should have had. A nice
break there to win the match. His
scoring has improved.
Mark will be
watching the end of this one with
great interest as indeed are we. Can
John get over the line here?
COMMENTATOR: If he can Hazel, he's
still going to have to put the young
Chinese player away. He led 3-1
early on, John Higgins. Yan came
back strongly to 3-3.
He hasn't done a great deal wrong
today, Yan Bingtao. Last couple of
frames, messed up position once.
Then a sloppy safety shot. Other
than that it's been an impressive
From our perspective in the
commentary box, as players, Alan,
you know, it's not about if a player
just knocks him all over the place,
you don't get impressed by that so
much. It's shot selection,
decisions, demeanor at table,
temperament. That's how you judge
whether a player's got longevity in
Yan Bingtao has been a wee bit more
defensive than I was expecting
today, I have to say that. His
all-round game is
-- certainly improving all the time.
Regardless of the result today, he
will learn plenty. He beat John
Higgins 6-2 a few weeks ago out in
Good to see a Chinese player not all
about knocking in the reds all over
the place, playing the fancy shots.
He can get down and tough it out.
Yeah getting that balance right
between attack and defence is the
art of it. A couple of shots we
actually thought he might have gone
for it and he turned it down. If
you're not attacking enough you're
in trouble as well. Plenty of years
left to get the balance right of
Just a half chance here for John to
perhaps gain the upper hand in this
early safety battle.
Just trying to miss the brown on
either side of it. Yeah, that should
do. That should stop the easy return
for Yan Bingtao.
He does have a figure eight playing
the other way.
He's had enough of it. He's taken
Yeah, getting more
aggressive here. Wouldn't say
throwing caution to the wind. He's
got enough screw power to stay clear
of the pink.
Can't really argue with that.
He's hit it superbly well. It's just
screwing clear of the pink.
Can't really say you should know
where the middle pocket is on that
one. He hit it too well.
Just to even get the pot doing
anything with the cue ball,
impressive. Amazing piece of ball
Got a good cue ball.
Another tap on the table from Yan.
If that red to the right corner is
dead straight, he could play it as a
sort of shot to nothing. The only
red he'd leave on is the one he
missed other than there's a red into
the middle pocket that would
possibly pot. He's got potential
with this one as well.
There was the potential. Never going
to be rolling it in dead weight
that. Was too risky.
Not far off getting the snooker.
Never really going to put his
opponent in too much trouble from
that shot. Yan Bingtao should be
able to find a path back to baulk.
It's been a feature of this match
and to be honest, a bit of a feature
of the modern game. Players are
loathe to play the safety off the
pack and open reds up, push a red
potentially over left corner and
you're sitting down the rest of the
frame. I've seen it more and more.
This looks good.
Not quite in behind the brown. John
Higgins perhaps here about to gain
the upper hand again.
He can't play the four cushion
safety this time. There's that red
between blue and pink in the way. He
can play the two cushion.
Slide it down to the baulk cushion,
line it up on the yellow.
Sound like I know what I'm talking
That was a brilliant
Can't see any return to the baulk
area. I suppose he could drop dead
weight into the top of the bluster
of reds, but even that has a risk
attached to it.
Has he got another half ball one red
into the pack behind the black? If
he can see enough of the right-hand
side of the second red on the left
of the table, if that makes sense.
Yeah, I think he can.
Can't see many other shots at the
That's a good spot that,
Steve. The reason he wouldn't like
really playing it, unless he can
maybe hit the red on the thin side
and not push too many open reds out
of the cluster.
What else has he got.
I think he's got to play this shot
and try to get in behind the black.
Thin half ball, not too thick.
He's looked at it there. He's going
through the same thought process
that we've gone through.
That's the shot he's going to play.
Unless he's seen something else. Can
he play the one nearer the blue?
Far enough out with the red that
didn't get the cue ball tracking
right. Has he left anything?
What he has left is not John's
favourite shot. Especially if he's
going to have to play it slowly. He
will come round for a choice of pink
or blue, makes the pop a fraction
easier. He's dribbled it. Oh, well
Not as easy as it looked on the TV
Frame and match winning opportunity
The balls don't look that much out
in the open. But there's enough
loose reds around that a player of
the likes of John Higgins will be
able to orchestrate a chance.
Straight on this black. Would have
been a lot easier had he not been.
Tremendous amount of side spin on
that. Has it gone too far? Has he
He's just about all right.
in baulk helps him as well.
Holding for pink though, this is a
Slowly pushing other reds into
May be a bit low on this red.
Very nicely judged, though.
He had the experience to know you
have to punch that one in.
Just checking to see if he can play
for two reds, when playing this.
Just helped him get the cue ball
high enough to be perfect on the
It's been a fascinating match to
commentate on and should John
Higgins convert this chance, an
excellent match for John Higgins to
establish his mark in this
tournament and stake a claim on
possibly being the champion. He's
won it three times before, I think.
Who's to say he won't win it again.
Still got to mind his work here
though. Good chance to go into the
pack here. He shouldn't lose the cue
ball. He can go in with a bit of
An outside red ah, pollees.
-- apologies. I didn't think that
went. Flies in. He could have gone
into the reds there. It was risky.
It's actually a clever shot heed
played. -- he's played. Position on
the next red is virtually
That red next to the pink, if that
went, then a gree with not going
into the -- I agree with not going
into the reds.
Such a clever player John Higgins.
He's got that red in baulk as well.
That's why he wouldn't have, excuse
me, played into them.
He needs a red and high value colour
from the cluster.
I might have still
gone into them.
Wrongly! As it's proving.
One good positional shot. Yellow,
big area. Get that one right at
least. That's right, blue.
have played for the yellow. This is
the big shot.
That's why we're in
here! He could have played this
earlier, God knows why he is bladed
knife. This is to effectively win
the match. Good split and it's all
That red, 62, black to follow, which
is match ball. Coming up.
He satisfied hard all day long.
in front, pegged back to 3-3 but
used all his experience. He will
want to see this red drop just to
confirm the victory. Not been
vintage John Higgins but good
It has been good enough on
Yan Bingtao has not been found to
much wanting either. John Higgins
has been the stronger but Bingham
Yan Bingtao has not given up. I
think it's time to shake hands.
Victory for John Higgins and sledger
the next round where he meets Mark
Great victory for John Higgins today
because that was not an easy
prospect. This guy has been like a
charging bull over the last month.
He's a very dangerous opponent, John
will be delighted with that result.
He is just a granite match player,
one of the best match players to
ever play the game. The boys are
saying in commentary he hasn't been
in his best but I didn't see and do
too much wrong, his matchplay
quality, kept his opponent away from
the bowls and his safety play is
excellent, any time he got into
trouble. When he had a sniff of
victory, he just goes for it.
up a was the same.
He lost interest
the last couple of frames but the
sinner seeking to the point where he
could win the match he went up a
gear. Fantastic. Well done.
Congratulations. Is that a bit of a
relief because you told that you
would have two radio level 100 times
He is class. He is a future
world champion, without a doubt. He
nearly beat Ronnie's record, lost to
Mark Williams in Ireland, I knew it
was going to be a tough game but I
thought I played pretty well.
indeed, the way you close the match
out, he came back at you to get to
3-3 at him you Uber and a match.
Something clicked for you and how
much of a relief was it to have the
new tip, that was out of your mind
as well, you are focused. I was
going to drive home to Scotland and
phoned big lies but I would you are
potting in the miles.
You have to
sometimes because there's no point
in going to bed. I knew it was gone.
When you feel OK about it.
I knew it was special.
I knew it was special.
competing, love playing.
can't beat that. I mean, I seen you
this morning and you've got a tough
game. I knew it was a tough game.
You love it out there in the battle.
Even if I lost that game, I felt
that I produced a good standard. If
you end up losing you shake the
guy's hand. But I felt good.
aspect of your game actually saw him
off today? Because we know how
dangerous he is. He's a great
scorer. And the confidence level of
this young man, 17, completely
young man, 17, completely
fearless out there. I competed with
him with my safety game and I put
him under pressure. When I was out
in wasn't getting anywhere near the
baulk commission, leaving him with
his hand on the table and knocking
them in for fun. You need to get
them near the top cushion.
through to played Mark King in the
next round. Good luck. Birthday boy
Ronnie O'Sullivan's day as well. Out
on the table today and there was no
training on his parade at all.
on the table today and there was no
training on his parade at all. This
was a 6-1 win over Michael white and
included a 132, his out of the
championship. He was floating on air
when he came into the studio.
championship. He was floating on air
when he came into the studio.
Into the last 16, happy birthday.
Pleased with that today,
6-1 sounds straightforward, was it
from your perspective?
play well at all. You could see he
was a struggling and getting lots of
bad luck as well and I wasn't
feeling great, we kind of dragged
each other down. I managed to
scramble today more than Michael
Century and then, 909 centuries
so far and counting. Have you lost
can, do you take a mental note of
I know each century gets me
nearer 1000, which would be nice to
do but I'm sure someone else will
beat it sometime.
We talked about
the 1000, is there an expected
timescale for this?
I don't put time
on anything, I'm past on that, I
just try to enjoy it. Bagnaia look
like you're enjoying competing? I'm
trying my hardest, just come here,
have a bit of fun, try to win. If I
don't win, I've always got another
plan, it takes the pressure off.
terms of what we see in this
championship, so many of the top
seeds have gone now, you are the
only top seed left at number four.
It's been surprising in some
I've not watched a lot of
slick about what I gathered from a
lot of players haven't been playing
well and it's a tough when you are
not feeling confident. I'm not
feeling 100% with my game, it is a
bit like golf, if you don't get the
line right, you can put the ball
anywhere. I think I'm a bit
fortunate, a bit like Tiger Woods, I
can manufacture shots, whereas the
more robotic tape players, if they
are not online, these really
struggle. A bit like Mark Williams,
shot makers. Can scramble a bit
better and that's what you have to
Do you think there's
too much slicker?
Give me some more!
You're in the fortunate position
where you can pick and choose your
tournaments but the players who play
in everything, as a of them burning
I don't care any more. I try to
get players together but they all
just bottled out in the end and I
thought I had to do my own thing,
live my own life, dull and do other
bits outside of snooker because I
can't -- go and do. This is fun,
this is a bonus for me. I understand
what the players are going through
but until they get their bottle
together and stand up together, then
they will have to keep morning. I
got fed up morning so I might as
well get the good life, I have a
great life now and I don't care what
they do. They can do what they like,
make us play outside if they like in
the freezing cold. I would ever
complain about the referee or
unofficial, they are all fantastic.
You are Mr Shale at the moment.
used to be because I was ingrained
in slicker -- Mr chill. You want to
get things sorted and the players to
stick together but they never do, so
just get on with it. Have it.
you found a form? Nobody has quite
got it, with all of these events.
You're trying to come in for the
major bug you have these.
care about the majors, I will take
any tournament, I'm not involved in
this game, I just pitch up, the UK
is the same as the British Open,
China, they are all lovely. I'll
take any one of them.
There isn't a
formula for success?
I don't care!
Otherwise you'd drive yourself mad.
We the players morning and you feel
you want to try to do something.
Give up, they can do their thing, I
will do my thing, good luck to
everybody and you have to drive your
own car and that is what I'm doing.
It doesn't affect me as much. If I
win, great, if I don't, I don't
care. I love to win. I will not
drive myself mad. Just let them have
Next year when we come to
the UK Championship, it has been
suggested, a lot of banter in the
press room about you doing a stint
in the jungle, Jimmy has done it,
Steve Davis. Would you do that?
will do anything now. I will do
anything, I'm up for it. I used to
think I couldn't do that, I have to
be a pure slicker player but you get
to a stage where you think this is
painful -- snooker player.
Everything I do away from snooker is
great. I want to do as much as I
can. I want to play snooker and do
myself justice. As long as I am 64,
it doesn't matter if it's number one
or number four. Let's have a bit of
They'll think I'm a gorilla when
they look at me. Walk around like
Steve! If you are Mr Shale at the
moment, how do you get the
competitive head on? -- Mr chill.
want to get running back. I have the
desire to compete. Not bothered by
tables, venues, referees,
photographers. They have to behave
themselves. You have to come with a
stick, a tripod, if they don't have
them they are going. All you camera
guys. I believe a supply of them.
What are you go to do for the rest
of your body?
And good to go to the
gym, that's my birthday present --
the rest of your day. Have a bit of
food and then I'm a celebrity get me
out of here. I'm going to get
trained for it and use to snakes.
You had at first, he's in the jungle
next year, I'm not sure how we're
going to cope in the UK Championship
without you. Thank you very much,
enjoy the rest of your birthday. The
world according to Ronnie O'Sullivan
is a fascinating place and a long
answer is drive your own car and
learn to love snakes. That is what
we have learnt today. We learnt
who's going to call through from
this evening's matches and at seven
o'clock you will be able to see red
button coverage and online coverage
of Kieron Wilson against Ricky
Walden and world number six Shaun
Murphy against Jamie Robinson. Jason
is here with the late shift and the
highlights of the evening session at
five past midnight and it will be
John Higgins against Mark King
tomorrow at one o'clock but running
is on his way to the last 16 and
apparently into the jungle. See you
After the races are won
and medals gained,