Jason Mohammad introduces highlights from Tuesday's first-round matches.
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good evening and welcome to snooker extra, extended highlights of Day
four of the 20 17th that Fred worlds in the championship. Our feature
titan I'd is the second session of the match between John Higgins and
Martin Gould. Higgins opened up the 7-2 lead overnight and was three
frames away from bugging his place in the last 16. Your commentators,
John Parrott and John Virgo. COMMENTATOR: Martin Gould gets this
second session underway. Five frame deficit against someone like John
Higgins, is going to be hard to pull back, JP? Yes. You would think so,
John. One of the best match players, the game has ever seen. And he is
approaching 42 years of age. All his sniggering faculties are still
there, great break-builder. His long game has got better. He has found
something. And he never gives you anything easy, John Higgins. You
have got to earn your corn. There has only been one century break in
this match. The average shot time, 23 seconds. 28 for Martin, but when
you are behind you have to do a lot of thinking time. One century, that
was made by Martin. He could do with a couple of them early on this
morning. To try and get some kind of foothold in the match. He is playing
somebody who has been there, got the T-shirt for times. Recognised by all
as the best match player we have ever seen.
He mentioned about the time it has taken Martin, 28 seconds, but you do
tend to think a lot more when you are stuck in the baulk area. It is
certainly not straightforward. This is an example.
Clever. Normally, a player would try and... Little shake of the head.
Just an inch short. As I looked over at John Higgins, I saw a slight
grimace. So even 7-2 in front, he still disappointed if he doesn't get
it inch perfect. Yes, he will be concentrating like mad in this first
frame, just to dampen any fire Martin Gould has left in him to go
AT two. It starts to look totally forlorn for Martin. This is a
massive frame, John Higgins knows that. All that experience of being a
matchplay. Don't give your opponent any encouragement.
Whilst there is a safety exchange going on, congratulations, you told
me the Grand National winner, eight months ago. Well done to you. Well
done to One For Arthur. Second Scottish winner of the National. And
didn't he win? Could be a Scottish double. John Higgins for the World
Championship. Yes. Towards the corner. Now he needs the
green to come to his rescue. It hasn't. The only thing you would
say, he has a pretty good length of the cue ball. If you play this at
pace, chance of potting it. John just puts a damper cloth on the cue,
to get rid of any stickiness. This is a horrible shot he has been left
with. The angle is all wrong for what he needs. Can't see how he can
avoid a cannon here, if he knocks this in. He will do well to avoid
one. Wow! That is amazing. Where did that gap come from? Good pot.
Amazing, this game. How did he get through there. And it swerved twice.
He is just going to try and nestle behind the green. Making sure he
gets a good cue ball. Just overhit it slightly. He should have stopped
this escape route down the left-hand side of the table, as we look.
That is a better safety shot from John. Just shows you the standard of
his safety play. No shots wasted with John Higgins. You get some
players and they are still playing on the circuit thinking putting the
cue ball in the baulk area is enough. He is always trying to put
you in a position to force a mistake. There is a difference in
that. And there is the mistake. Yes,
kissing the blue. Left the cue ball this side of the baulk line.
He can play the yellow, but I think he would like the blue back on its
spot. Bit more work to do with the cue ball. Couldn't avoid the green.
I don't think he will be getting many more.
OK, it could be made. But his main concern will be getting that cue
ball back to the baulk at end. This is a difficult plant.
Excellent. Perfect length. Well played.
Looks like he is playing the push up and down, trying to lead the cue
ball behind the red on the top cushion. Tried to get it tight, but
there may be a me the pink that goes. But that would top-class
cueing. I suppose at 7-2 down, you might be tempted? There is one thing
clear in your mind when you are this far behind, you have got to come out
and play well. Close. I think sometimes you have got to give
yourself a chance to play well. Just by refusing things and playing
negative, I don't think you can get back into a match with such a
deficit. He knows what he's got to do, Martin. That was a tough pot,
but he took it on. He didn't leave anything. There will be read over
the corner here, can he get through to it? The brown may have covered
it, but a little swerve, the cushion first would pot it. The only thing
is, he won't be certain where the cue ball is going to finish. He will
need a bit of luck for position. Quite a decent swerve. Nearly three
quarters of the ball covered. Got to get it right. The main priority, as
ever, pot the ball. Don't get position, just play a good safety.
But, knock it in. Well done. And I'd tell you what, he will settle for
that. That is a bonus. Little help from his opponent to reduce this
deficit. He has got a good chance to build up a useful lead.
Frame-winning opportunity. Tough call, but just concentrate and try
and get as many points in front as you can.
Good, clean pot but I don't think if he has got enough out of the cue
ball to get the right side of the blue. There we go. Just likely. Just
a run through for the red on the right-hand side now. If the pink
parts in the left-hand pocket as we are looking at the screen, that
would be ideal. -- pots. It obviously does with that
positional shots. Nice chance. Good signs. Struck that one beautifully
right in the heart of the pocket. Didn't look like touching the sides.
We were commentating together on the Gary Wilson much. He is another one
who is predominantly left side. I know he has had one that is stronger
than the other. Always amazes me there with his glasses. It is as
though he looks over the top of them. When you look at the troubled
Dennis Taylor had getting the correct pair of glasses he could
play in. Martin wears glasses and looks like he is looking over the
top of them. Don't tell me he's looking through
the glass there. But it works for him and he has become one of the
most dangerous players on the circuit. Vastly underrated. If those
glasses are working, John, get me a pair.
He has decided to play for the black. Not sure where the black will
go after it is parted. The green spot is available. It is one of
those situations, OK, you would love to win the frame at this visit, but
don't miss anything easy and get what you can. Well, he has played
that absolutely superb. I don't think the black will be available
when it goes on its spot, but he couldn't have hit that any better.
Look at the top spin. Shot of the morning that one. Hasn't been many
shots this morning, but that's the best one. Can't wait for the next
one. I said when he first came to the
table, it was going to be a tough call for him to win the frame at
this visit. It is looking likely now, just the start he was looking
for. Couldn't agree with you more. This has been a fabulous break. Like
you, I look at the table and thought, OK, there is a few reds
available but that shot on the black was excellent. There is a crispness
about the strike this morning from Martin Gould. Hitting the ball very
well. Lots of authority. Certainly better than yesterday. He got off to
a poor start, 5-0 down. He was a little bit at sea. But already this
morning, the cueing looks a lot more assured.
Red and colour, as soon as he plots this thread, there will be the red.
There will only be 51 remaining. This thread, he will be 59 points in
front. We'll be into the two snooker required stage. If he was to make
this, it would be special. Terrific break, this. And just the start he
was looking for. We could see his second century of
the match. Little bit of a gap. Maybe able to drop it in.
He couldn't do much with the positional side of the shot.
Good pot. Nice kiss on the brown. It's not a bad one. Thing is,
everything has gone right in the middle of the pocket, nothing sloppy
about it. As a player, you always feel good when you find the middle
of the pocket. And even as mentioning it, cannot stop them. He
is in fine Vettel. Overrun a little bit. Little bit of work to do with
the cue ball here. -- fine Vettel. We've already had 18 century breaks
in the championship so far. This brown for 19, John and is not been
any better than this. I haven't seen many centuries better than this.
When he came to the table, it didn't look like he was going to clear up.
Excellent. Well played, Martin Gould. Very well played.
He just lost his concentration, probably thinking about the next
frame. John Higgins, didn't do a lot wrong. Martin Gould, sensational
century break, has reduced his arrears now the four.
That looks to fix. Always a danger. Leave one of these mid-range pots.
Players of this class with a hand on the table.
Had an excellent start to the season, John. Won three events at
the beginning of it and was in superb form. Still been playing
well, obviously. You can lose the final frame deciders, anyone can
lose those. His game has still been all right. When he has time to have
good preparation, but the hours in in Scotland. Turns appear with these
long matches, that is what suits him best. He can win those tournaments
that are best of seven, best of night, but John Higgins' game is
suited to the longer format. When he came in, there was a couple of
quotes saying how well he has been playing, which is unusual, he
normally keeps it to himself. So when John says he is playing well,
you have to take notice. Got into that. I thought he would
have stunned of the cushion. I am certain that was the idea. Got into
it too much and didn't bounce it off the cushion. Tricky blue, this. He
is playing it pretty quick, but it is difficult, this. I was amazed he
got down and played it so quickly. You were right, it was very acute,
that angle. Always horrible, chewing across. You have to make sure you
are in the middle of the white. He has overcooked it. But it was the
shot before. Maybe he wanted to play the screw shot onto the cushion but
got into the white too much. Another example of excellent cueing
and to pot that is tough enough and to flick the red out as well, very
good. I think he might be struggling for another read. There is one goes
there, you can see but he has two pot this and screw back off the
cushion and this requires excellent cueing, to find the gap.
That was a classical example of not hitting the centre of the cue ball.
Mishap some unintentional side. Particularly when you are striking
now and it has pushed the cue ball into the black, hitting it much too
thick. He was a little unlucky to come that close to the cushion.
This will be testing his eyesight, we mentioned before, John. If he has
the right hand side of this pack to clip off, you have got to get these
mighty thin. Anything thick he is going to contact the jaws of the
pocket. He will settle for that. Not quite
how he played it. But where it has finished is not too bad. In fact,
where it has finished, the blue is blocking the left-hand side of the
table of John Higgins. Can he get through to this red? He
may be able to bend it with a trace of right-hand side. Another role, we
say it is all about fractions, another role and he could have
plotted this red comfortably. Well! What that was. -- pot.
Absolutely stunning. I thought he was taking that read on, because he
obviously looked at the safety shot and thought, whatever I play safe
here, I might be sticking a read up, so decided to attack. The way he is
hitting this morning, why not? Once again, beautifully cued.
You just concentrate on the blue. He would love the black back on its
spot, but I wouldn't sacrifice your position for that. Just overscrewed
that slightly. He can still cut the blue in and play a little cannon. I
wonder if he will do that? If he takes the chance, he could bring the
pink into play and maybe promote the reds. Where he's finished, he may
have to play the cannon now anyway. Just needs a little bit of luck
here. He didn't bring the pink into play.
That would have been a bonus. He is on a red so the break will keep
going. He knocked a couple of read out into better positions. As long
as he can keep getting the right side of the blue, which he hasn't on
that one. He should be able to score a few. They always say if you are
going to be the wrong side of the blue, be the well wrong side of the
blue, which he is. No problem there. Didn't have the yellow to avoid.
Made it a little bit easier. Just a 17 point lead. It's not a
straightforward run to the line but we saw in the last frame how well
he's potting. Needs to be right side of the blue this time. Just got
there. Just got there. The right side of the blue, in this case, is
the left side of the blue line. There is the side bar. 60 points the
target. Basically, he's looking for another 29 points from this
situation. Only two reds available at the moment. Not an easy 29 points
to get. Not the right side of the blue this
time. Will stun in between the green and
brown here. He's striking the ball well this morning, John. Yes.
There's a sound to it. You can tell when someone is hitting the ball
with great authority, because the back of the pockets make a sound.
He's not hitting any jaws, everything is pretty clean. This has
been a tough break so far. Got to keep that consideration level up.
Which can be difficult when there is more travel in the cue ball. That's
another terrific shot. Hmmm, well, that's unlikely. Worst
way, you would think he would be on yellow. I think he could pot this
black. Or it is an easy snooker. Go for the easy snooker. He got a 30
point lead and John Higgins will be doing well to hit a red here and not
leave anything on. REFEREE: Foul and a miss, Martin
Gould four. Decision time here, John. Would you take the miss? No, I
would play the pot. I tell you why. You can play it claim ball. Well,
I'm surprised at that. He's got a yellow over the corner pocket. If
John Higgins plays this properly, and there's every chance he will,
there's every chance he will be getting nothing. I would have been
taking that one. That's what he's attempting to do, get that side.
Well, this looks nice, this looks nice! Well, he didn't hit it off the
back addition, but he hit it. As John said, probably now the wrong
decision from Martin to have it put back. Well, definitely the wrong
decision. Any time you are given a free shot to nothing like that, and
the way he has ported this morning, you would fancy him to knock in that
red five times -- nine times out of ten will stop the yellow was over
the pocket, no position required, you are guaranteed to be on a ball.
Of course, we'd played in an era where the miss rule wasn't as
prevalent as it is now, and I think some players think, I've got him in
a snooker now, I could get 20 points out of this snooker. The wrong way
to think. I see that a lot now, particularly when there are a couple
of reds left on the table. They think, they can get a tough snooker,
they can get past the winning line just by getting foul points. In that
instance as well, if you were playing against someone who didn't
know his way around the table all was totally attack minded, then
maybe yes, but you know this fellow knows his way around the table as
well as anybody. You make your decisions and you
stand and fall by them. That will all be forgotten if Martin Gould can
win this frame. Is he taking this on?
He did. Now, the red is running loose. Where is it going to finish?
Well, he's left it. John just checking there. All he's
got to do here with the cue ball is stunted, leave the cue ball
basically where the red is, because the yellow will go through the gap
between brown and green. Just concentrate totally on the pot. No!
That was a surprise. Sometimes when you're that close to a ball, once
again, he's just not found the middle of the cue ball, there are,
or he sighted it wrong, didn't get of the shot. -- didn't get in the
line of the shot. In it went. And this blue, I assume he's going
to play the blue... Would put Martin 40 points in front with a possible
59 left, so he is still looking for two reds in two colours after this
point. Yeah, the positional side of this is not straightforward. He's
got to try to play this with a little bit of screw and side, get
between the two reds and the pink if he can. Or maybe flick one of those
out. Hmmm. It was always a little tricky, that. Couldn't quite get
into the cue ball enough to get through the gap, and if you played
it like that, the position could go astray. It's one of those, after the
event you think I could have done with hitting it a bit harder, but
that's after the event and we are all wise after that.
40 point lead, not a bad one. Yeah, I think if he can play a safety, he
can put a red on the side cushion as well, it might be worthwhile just
chipping off the one above. If he can just see the edge of that, push
it on the side cushion maybe... Yeah, because the other two reds
won't pass the pink. He obviously can't see enough of that. Is he
playing this red to the middle? I think he is!
And got it! Wonderful shot. Wonderful.
APPLAUSE Wow. He has ported some balls this
morning. That was an absolute cracker.
He's only going for anything that's round, John, this morning! Well, I
admire him. He could have left the one that was tight on the top
cushion, but he has given himself a chance to see how he's playing this
morning and so far he's playing well, and he must be very pleased.
But take nothing for granted. And that's it. Snooker is needed --
snookers needed. John Higgins had a chance when he had a red to this
corner pocket and missed it. Didn't have much chance in the first frame
this morning. APPLAUSE
Nice little shop here, play this with a bit of running side to try to
make it hard with the cushion. There you go. Every shot you like this
morning from Martin Gould. In very good form.
The frame is over. He can't make a century break. He doesn't want to
play this, really. John said to him, don't bother, that will do! You've
done enough! Nice to see a smile, but what a start this morning from
Martin Gould. Absolutely superb. He's played great snooker, he is
still three behind, but you could say match on.
Of course, there's a possible ten frames in this session. We will play
four before we get to a mid-session interval. Two very important frames,
these. Missed it on the way up. A little
scratch of the head, there, from John. He could have left an easier
chance. He was playing with lots of left-hand side to try to swerve it
that end, and he missed it. He pushed the cue ball out and it
hasn't come back. That's what has happened there. All these little
things will just give Martin Gould a little more encouragement.
Especially when you see someone like John Higgins making a mistake on
that safety shot. Well, if he can get through to the
blue, he will settle for it, but obviously he can't. A little
unlucky, there. I have to say that John was a bit fortunate to leave
the cue ball near the side cushion, there you see him on the blue, that
meant that he couldn't do much with the cue ball, he had to trust quite
a bit to luck. That was massive there. If you just flicks out and he
is on the blue, what a difference that makes. Because he's got
momentum at the minute and he is scoring well. So he's going to take
the brown on. A little bit tricky because he is also slightly hampered
by a red that is under his arm there, when he's playing. This is
one of those instances, even though you've been attacking all morning,
do you just take this on or do you be a bit more prudent and play a
safety shot? I think he's playing safe.
Well, that's the balance you were talking about. I wouldn't disagree
with that. He was a little unlucky, there. I'm quite impressed with
that, actually. Sometimes it's really difficult to reel yourself
in. You can be playing really well, knocking everything in, and you feel
you should be making more of an opportunity, but he has been very
professional there, just played the right shot, until there. This is the
right shot for the instance, I'm going to play it.
Close. It's over 20 minutes now since John Higgins has ported a ball
-- has potted a ball, and I think he may have left this red just do the
right of the black. Maybe not. It's close, that. Well, he wouldn't have
been on a colour but he was just trying to contain the situation.
Obviously Martin can't get through to the potting angle of the red that
is immediately to the right of the black. Otherwise he would have
played it by now. Well, is he playing the pot here? Well, he
played the safety, off that. It always looked a bit risky to me. He
just had to cover the one on the left. Initially he was going to
play-off that one on the left and cover the cushion but he knew the
only place he could play the cue ball was at the right-hand side, so
is what he decided to do. He could have done with better length with
the cue ball. That was a very aggressive safety
shot, and look at the length of the cue ball. OK, an inch short, but a
good one, a telling one. Yeah. He's got a bit more to think about here.
I'm just wondering if he can play off the red that is near to the
blue. The two reds near the left-hand pocket, that is the
problem he's got. There is a safety off that read near the blue, but
unless you get a really good cue ball, you could be leaving yourself
open. Yeah, that is the shot that John is referring to. But you need a
good cue ball to find that baulk cushion. Also, don't hit it too thin
and catch the bump of the middle pocket. Oh! He's missed the bump.
Played it well. Very good shot. Excellent, that was. He's in a spot
of bother. He did get very close to that middle
pocket, that has made a huge difference, not hitting that bump.
It would have been unlucky, but it does happen. Well, as he left
anything? Yeah, it looks like that was a fortuitous kiss on the green.
If he had just run past the green, he would have left maybe a choice of
two reds that were to bowl -- that were possible. His long game and
medium game has been excellent but there is a lot more pressure on this
one when you could be leaving something. That's the first one he
is cued across. But has he been fortunate?
Well, he has certainly covered the one down the left-hand side. Those
of those have been covered. John is already playing the red down the
right-hand side of the table, taking that pot on. All the hours of
practice in your club, this is what it's for, shots like this.
Beautifully struck. He has missed a couple this morning, John Higgins.
But that will give him a bit more confidence. That was a beauty. And
it's time for John to score, now. He has seen Martin playing very well
this morning, winning two quick frames. He needs to restart his
authority back on this match. Just a little overhit, but one of
those shots that John has just played their where you're frightened
of not getting up far enough on the blue. He has just overhit it, but
the brown is available. Actually, the green is, so he can see both of
those. Oh! And that is not the worst kiss.
It's not what he played, but it's an opportunity now in potting this red
to play for the black and get it back on its spot. When the black
does go on its spot, it won't be available in either corner pocket.
So he would like to get on one of the reds that would stop the black
going in the corners. I don't think he'll be able to get
through to the red immediately to the right of the black. But in
moving this red, the black will become available into this corner
pocket. He can't play for the black off this, but that is when you're
thinking a few shots ahead. Once again, I think he went up for the
blue, but would rather be too hard than soft. I think he's got a good
angle as well. The green looks perfect to me, top spin, for the red
to the side of the black. There are three that go but the one just above
the black to the left-hand side would be perfect. And if he is on
the bottom one, well, that is just perfect. Yeah, that's a bonus. As
long as he pots it. He won't be taking it for granted, but getting
this red out of the way makes the black available into both corners.
Yes, it was quite a clever shot off the green. He played it full-blooded
and he knew full well if he wasn't on one he would be on the other. He
has got on the perfect red. He has had a nice couple of little kisses
and nudges in this break. It has been really well construct it. He
will want to win the frame in this visit, John Higgins, just to stem
the tide. He needs another 32 points. To get to the
snookersnookers the snookers required stage. There
is a red on the left-hand side of the table available.
Hmmm. Over done that. There you see it, 53 ahead, 75 remaining. He has
given himself a little bit of work to do here. May be about a foot too
far with the cue ball there. You still expect him to pot this, but a
bit more on it will stop he has recovered the situation beautifully,
there. Good pot, good position. This black would put him 61 points in
front with 67 remaining. So this black, one more red and a colour and
he will have his first frame on the scoreboard this morning. Yes, and it
all started off with that excellent mid-range red, really crisp pot into
the top right-hand corner from John Higgins. Lovely when they go in.
Players spend hours playing these shots. And that is what it's for,
when you're in the heat of battle, you need to lock them in. -- you
need to knock them in. The pink spot not available. It goes
on the highest available one, and that is the yellow spot. Just a red
and a colour needed. Good thinking, that. He is tuned in there. Not many
people would have noticed that the pink wasn't going to go back on its
spot there, so decided that was the way to go about it. Yes, he has
taken these well, considering he has not had much table time so far this
morning. But that is what all the great players can do, of course.
They can be frozen out. It was over 20 minutes since he potted a ball
and then the first chance he gets, he wins the frame. He's a class act
and he always has been. I'm a big fan as well off his cue action,
John. I've always said I like watching John play. He lets the cue
do the work. A modern phenomena, people have gone more compact and
tighter into the cue ball, but John lets the cue ball do the work. I've
never seen him be separate. If I were teaching someone starting off,
I would prefer this cue action. He nearly comes -- it nearly comes off
his bridge hand, he takes it that far back. But he always hit it
straight and it's always smooth. I know you worked a with Frank Allen,
was he the one that started this off? John worked with him and he has
picked that up practising with Stephen watching Anne Frank was very
much advocate of letting the -- letting the cue do the work.
Worked with Steve Davis and Ken Doherty and yourself. He worked with
several world champions, Frank. Sadly passed away last year. Great
character, loved his snooker. So, the 20th century so far. Last
year, the record number of centuries was equalled, and I think it's going
to be bettered this year. Yeah, it's a good shout. I hope so, John. It's
better to watch, people making hundreds breaks. As long as they're
not every frame! You like to see the close frames. But this has been an
excellent contribution. I think he has just played one poor positional
shot. This has been top draw. That's why he's the champion that he is.
Good shot trying to come round. Where's the cue ball going?
Perfectly on the black! Wonderful. We have been treated to
three marvellous frames so far this morning. It seems to be all Martin
Gould. John Higgins, showing what a competitor he is.
Mid-session interval, after this frame. Three marvellous frames we
have seen this morning. There is nothing worse than doing that. You
have played a great frame, made yourself a century then all of a
sudden you make a break of like that and stick the red close to the
centre pocket. You can see it in John's face. He is annoyed with
that. Yes, he's going to finish close to the cushion, so he needs a
nice angle on the blue. That's not bad. Not bad. Doesn't have to do
much with the cue ball, just roll the blue in. I think he will
probably play for the red that is at the back near the black. Seems like
he has enough angle to just come off the side and be on that one.
That's a good shot. Tight onto the cushion. John, JP here was known as
one of the best players of the cushion. I would have been content
to drop that in dead weight. But he achieved that beautifully. -- Kuyt
that. It is amazing how your mind thinks because he would have played
that shot exactly as Martin did. I was fortunate enough to be able to
play of cushions. It is one of those things, never had any problem with
it. He struck that lovely. Played that OK. He would like to
have been another six inches away. I prefer playing the screw shot on the
type of shot. You just feel like you have more control. He has opened up
the reds. It is about potting the black and getting a nice position on
the next red. Just wondering if he will play a little storm into the
three reds, little cannon? I don't know if he can drop this in and get
on one. Could have done with catching it
slightly via the way. He has read to the left middle and want to the
right middle. But just a little bit. Particularly the one to the left
middle. Almost hitting the ball too well this morning. He got into that
beautifully, a good, solid strike again. Just to the other side 's
likely would have been perfect for the bottom read. Now this is tricky.
I just think he cannot get the right side of the blue. If he plays this
one, he would naturally be on the black. But this is a trickier red.
Slightly blind pocket. It is there, no problem. Nicely in position and
this is, as I say, the frame before the mid-session interval. It is a
big one. As long as he can keep John Higgins two frames away from
history, he has a little bit of room to manoeuvre.
I don't think that is entirely how he played it, but he will take it.
This has been a fabulous little mini-session this morning, it has to
be said. Standard is superb. Are they paying us for watching this,
John? It has been absolutely marvellous. Proof of what we were
saying, 94% pot success for Martin Gould this morning. 91% for John
Higgins. Wonderful stuff. And, take your hat off to Martin Gould,
playing one of the best players who has ever picked up the cue. Coming
into this 7-2 behind. He has had such a good approach to the match.
That takes a bit of doing. Just let the cue ball will loose there. Once
again, he will be relying on a little cannon. Can't really
guarantee his position. Pot the black, main priority and keep
yourself on the table. Just hope you can get a little cannon that keeps
you in position. But it is not straightforward. Well played. One in
the middle. And one in the corner. If he can just win this frame in one
visit, which is a distinct possibility he can, it will make him
feel good at the mid-session interval. Not like winning at one
visit, John? He will settle for the blue in the far corner. That is OK.
He has not done a lot wrong this morning. It just shows you, has made
a wonderful century and he plays the break off and caught the end read a
little bit too thick. But sometimes you think, maybe the reds will not
set up right for the red to appear. But it looked, when we saw it then,
he had hit it too thick. Perfect. I think that break of
thing, it happens quite a bit after you have done something really good.
Little dip in your concentration, just made a century, stand your
authority in the match, and you don't concentrate at the break. Then
you sit in the chair and think, why did I do that? We have all done it.
But the worst thing is, you have to do sit down and suffer. This has
been excellent stuff from Martin Gould. Excellent stuff from both
players. He really is a cracking session. I am impressed with the
belief he has shown this morning. Yes. I was impressed with the safety
shot he played. I thought it was one of the best things I had seen this
morning, because he was playing so well. He pulled his homes in and
said, this is the right shot. I remember him refusing the shot on
the brown. That show somebody thinking clearly.
When they started this morning, obviously he would have loved to
have won the four frames they played. He has played a poor
positional shot. If he gets out of this 3-1, he has done some damage.
He was a little bit too far, not sure. If he just plays up, the
higher he goes up the table, the more he will be on the red in the
corner. One thing you couldn't be was short. This is a tricky pot.
Might not look it on your screens, but it is quite acute. Might have to
flick a bit of side on this, so has to be careful. That flick on the
second red has worked out perfectly. Scare over. John Higgins looks
now... He started the morning session with a five frame lead, it
is going to be cut to three. Another good example. To get ideal
positioning, you might have had to put aside on it, but he said no, I
will make sure I just pot the ball. Good thinking again. Very
impressive. Yes, very good. I don't think John Higgins will bother
coming back to the table if this black goes in.
We have already had two centuries. Out of the first three frames this
morning. Will we see a third one? It is not beyond the realms of
possibility. Just choosing to play this one,
little cannon. What a pity we didn't see a century, but it was more than
enough. Martin Gould should be very proud of our performance. He came
out, no negative thoughts, he trailed 7-2, it is now 8-5. This
match will now be played to a finish. No more intervals. John
Higgins, needs two frames. Martin Gould needs five. Every credit, the
way he has come out and fought this morning, Martin Gould.
Decent safety shot from John. No easy path back to the ball, unless
he can get past the blue. He has had a few looks. Must only be
the edge of the red. He probably didn't think he could
hit it that thick. Catching the blue was dangerous, but that yellow has
come to his rescue somewhat. This pot is on to the right corner, but
John will be hampered by the yellow. Might just put him of playing the
pot. If the yellow was in there, you would play it, no doubt. -- was not
there. Looks like he has decided he is.
Maybe his thinking is, if he just runs through a little bit on it, the
only one he could leave is the one he's taking. Brilliant. It is a
great pot, but just lost the cue ball.
Tough enough pot, that was. As John rightly said, being hampered. All
friends here at the Crucible are big, but this one is massive. 9-5,
John Higgins will be thinking, he is more or less home and hosed. Martin
Gould will be extremely disappointed. At 8-6, it is looking
a little precarious. A better shot if Martin hadn't have
flicked the yellow. Easy if John, with his hand on the table.
Who is going to get the first chance? Always interesting piece
tactical battles at the start of the frame. The way both players have
performed this morning, even though Martin Gould has won three of the
first four, John Higgins has played his part. Made a marvellous 127 in
the 12 frame. This is a good shot. This is excellent. Couldn't have
played that much better and a little tap on the table from John Higgins
in appreciation. Couldn't risk trying to get back to
the baulk and, so just containing safety.
John, just checking. Not looking for a planned so much, just making sure
he doesn't knock one over towards the left corner. It is a strange
frame when the brown is off its spot. Not many places you can hide
the cue ball. It is a very good shot as well. Nearly got the pot. But
that wasn't what it was about. It was about getting the cue ball up
behind the yellow. This has got to be thin, which ever way you hit it.
If he hits it thin enough, he could pot it. And he has done. Is that a
good flick on the blue? It's not a bad one. It's not a bad one. You
better is. Wow! Great pot. I didn't thing he cut that in. Excellent. But
the flicked on the blue, what a bonus that is. Absolute natural
angle. Now, what shot does he play? Does he try and go into the reds
odessey come round and play on a loose one?
You can't miss the blue, Martin. Very surprising. How many times do
we say, when you look at the shot it looks easy, but quite an acute
angle. It wasn't that accused, to be honest. He will be disappointing to
miss that after the excellent opening red. The way the balls are
situated, it might not be that costly. It's not an easy table, by
any means. I would settle for the last kiss.
Looked like he could have been nothing. A coming of the other one
has put him on the black. But as you say, it is not an nice table at the
moment. The blue is off its spot, which always makes a difference.
Brown is on the side cushion. I don't think John will be on anything
after that when the black gets spotted. It could be the end of
break. Just needed that cue ball to run up
a fraction further. That situation when the referee spots the black,
you want to say, thanks, rest. It's like the referee takes great
pressure in slowly putting the black on its spot. I'm sure he doesn't,
but as a player you feel that. So that missed blue only cost him a few
points. Court that a little bit too thick
and that's why he's not quite reaching the baulk line. John coming
out to have a look what's available. If the blue passes the red to the
right corner, he will take this red on. It does. Not much margin of
error, but he will feel the only red he could leave in playing this is
the one he is playing. Good, solid pot. An perfect on the blue. That
was always looking like the shot. Beautifully cued. But where is his
position coming from here? Is he going to go up the table and round?
I think that is what he will have to do. But with the yellow not being on
its spot and the brown not on its spot, not too many obstacles to
avoid. Judged this nicely. Very good. Good cueing yet again.
And from looking like an unpromising position, John Higgins pots this
black, easy red on the right, leaves himself an angle and into the pack.
Then, who knows? It might be enough points to win this frame. Has left
himself a nice half bowl angle to stun into the pack or screw into the
pack, however he sees it. Little stunned, up there I would suggest
here. If the split goes right, good chance to win the frame.
Where is the Red Bull going? Can he get past the blue?
Didn't get into the cue ball. Just a tiny fraction of. He feels he can
swerve around the blue to pot this bread. So close to going in. He
thought he could swerve round, but in the end he was very lucky to pot
it. Very lucky. Lucky not to go in. Fractions. They favoured him then.
Looks like the blue, we'll just go past the yellow.
If he is on that red and found the gap, that is an excellent shot. He
will be so pleased with himself with that shot. To find back. Will
he got lucky with the one over the middle pocket. He will take it. That
blue was lovely. This is the last of the open reds.
Got a 43 point lead. Still a possible 83 remaining. So still
going to need three more reds, you would have thought to clinch the
frame at this visit. He needs a good angle on the colour of this red to
try and bring the three reds just below the pink into play. Looking to
see if one of them goes to the middle.
I don't think he's got the best angle on the black, but he may have
a good angle on the pink. Although he's looking once again to see if
the end red goes to the middle. It must be tight. If he plays the pink,
he can open them up. It looks like he has a nice angle on the pink. But
he would rather play this one, because the black is still missable.
Because it is virtually touching the other one or close to it, he has got
to get in the right position. It's not straightforward. Got to get that
position in the right place, so the red is possible. Had a look at it a
couple of times and I think that is perfect. If he pots this, he
releases the other two reds into good positions. That will be
sufficient, these three reds with colours. He will be past the point
of snookers required. This really has been a break of the highest
quality. OK, the red over the middle pocket, he was lucky with the
double-kiss but the shot on the blue, to find the gap. And the rest
of it, the way it has been constructed has been pure John
Higgins. Wonderful control of the cue ball. I have to be honest with
you, when he came to the table I didn't think he would be winning the
frame from there. No, but it was a poor safety shot from Martin. It
shows you, at this level, if you don't find the baulk cushion, you
are in trouble. This, to win the frame.
Just rolling the black in. He will do well to pot the next red. Plans,
that is what he's at. -- a plant. Well, that was asking a
lot, but it didn't matter. And Martin Gould says that's enough.
That was an excellent contribution. You can see a puff of the cheeks
from John Higgins, but he is now one place away from a place in the
second round. -- here's now one frame away. He leads 9-5. Tea and a
cigarette would be one of the biggest things I like to do in the
morning. That would be one of the guilty pleasures. Someone like Adam
Sam Love may be. I'm probably easy-going, very laid back. It's a
bit of a strange one because I do have a short fuse as well when
somebody wines near. I'm a big fan of steak so it would have to be
something like a rib eye steak or a fellow steak. Doing a roast for
myself on the week which normally turns out to be a roast dinner that
is supposed to be for one but it could feed about five. I was sat
next to Frankie Dettori and I couldn't believe it was him! I had
to look at him to three times to be convinced it was him, and I still
didn't bring myself forward to just speak to him. Have like 75 of them!
You just put them all in one room and I would be like, next, next. I
would go back to 1966 and the World Cup final, see for myself if that
ball actually did cross the line or not.
Well, John Higgins would love to win this frame because Martin Gould has
certainly put himself under a little bit of pressure this morning. But
now Martin in the situation where you can't afford to make a mistake
are basically. You've got to play "Don't miss snooker". He's taking
this on. He needs to get it. Oh! Solid.
APPLAUSE It begs the question, how did he
start this session 7-2 down? I tell you why, because he lost the first
five frames. And we always say, you don't settle until you get your
first frame on the scoreboard, it took him a long time. 70% long pot
success, that's good. That's not bad from John Higgins. The reason I
don't look for 90% on long pot success is because some of them are
half played as a shock to nothing. Pot success isn't bad either. Could
win any match, anything at 90% or above is good.
Well, he didn't play that cannon but he has done well there. Good little
shot. He will take where that has finished. Just trying to get through
the gap. There is an expression we use and we say sometimes when people
are in this position, he's got to pay" no miss snooker". -- to play.
When the judges come, they got to go in the pockets. Otherwise he'll be
going home. -- when the chances come. He's playing the run-through,
which surprises me because the black doesn't go in the opposite corner.
Well, maybe it does. Maybe it does. Yes, it does. I know what you mean,
it's quite tight. It's tighter than it looks there. When it gets close
to the red there won't be much margin of error. You've got to cue
this well. APPLAUSE
Did well. Now, I'm going to say that the black doesn't go in the same
pocket as this red he's going to play, so he's got a bit of work to
do with the cue ball. I think you're right with that one! My
commentator's eye is back! Now, it would be easy if the pink would go
to the left middle. I'm not certain that it does. If it doesn't, he
could screw twice across for the black in the opposite corner. Well,
the pink obviously goes. So it's a decent chance. And when we say don't
miss snooker, don't miss anything easy. If you run out of position,
you can always play safe. But don't miss a pot that you're committing
to. The way these two have been playing
this morning and scoring, you would probably think this is frame over,
such has been the standard. John Higgins didn't miss much this
morning to be losing that first mini-session 3-1, Martin Gould was
excellent. Made a brilliant break in the last frame, John Higgins. And
Martin Gould looks like he's in stroke here as well. Very high
quality. Good stuff. A little bit bid to extend between,
here. Straight on the black would have been ideal. Straight on the
pink... Just got a little bit of work to do with the cue ball here. I
don't know why he played the shot he played, John. I thought it was
perfect to drop it in plain ball. Because he stunned it, he got a bit
too close to the black, there. And all shots are coming alike at the
minute to Martin. Yeah, he played that well. He has won a major
ranking event, won the German Masters in 2016. I saw young Yan
Bingtao, 17-year-old, playing yesterday. Martin now at the ripe
old age of 36. But it seems to be not a barrier to winning
tournaments. We've had Anthony Hamilton this year winning a
tournament in his 40s. Mark King. Yes. I haven't had a chance to see
Anthony since he has won, so if you're watching, well done, really
pleased for you. Too good a player never to win a tournament. I spoke
to Mark King after he won and he was still in the Illyria makeable of
weeks afterwards. Yeah, and it was great for his father, Bill, as well.
Because you know what it's like, the family follow you, they suffer all
the heartbreak. And to get that victory and seek Bill's reaction was
wonderful. Yeah. Just this red and a colour required. And he's keeping
his hopes alive. You could say slim hopes, but as John has just alluded
to, when he's getting his chances, Martin, he's making sure he scores.
He will keep John Higgins on his toes, that is for sure. I've been
very impressed with Martin Gould this morning. His attitude, his
commitment and his play. Yes, very good. I suppose similarities in some
ways with the Marco Fu match yesterday. Marco just didn't have
his game than night before. 7-1 down at one point. Humming back to win
10-9, incredible result. Played so much better. I bet Martin wishes he
had started this match is a bit different. Different kettle of fish
coming back against John Higgins rather than Luca Brecel, who is a
very attack minded player, you tend to get a few more chances against
him than you would with John Higgins. But in a way, a similar
story. I think Marco lost the first five frames. All of a sudden you are
playing catch up. You've done all the practice, you think you're
playing well, you lose the first five frames and then start to
question everything you've done. Well, it's not going to go in, but
it won't matter. John will stay in his seat. So, a very good
contribution there from Martin Gould. A break of 80. He is still up
against it but still three behind, and one away from winning -- three
behind John Higgins, who is one away from winning the match.
Another couple of rolls and it would have been an excellent break-off
shot. But John can just get past the yellow. No pot, just a safety.
A bit pacey, this. Is it going to run up behind the yellow? Well, it
has given John a problem here. He can't see a path back to baulk. Yes,
I'm right down the line of it, John, and that is the only thing John has
got, which isn't too advertising. REFEREE: Foul and a miss, Martin
Gould six. Hmmm. I think you will have it replaced. There's no value
in it from there. He wasn't far away from the two-cushion escape. I think
if he makes a minor adjustment I fancy him getting it, but sometimes
you can over adjust. He was trying to catch the red just below the
pink. Only just missed it. John was doing the old lean back there. There
was a bit of limbo going on there, wasn't it?
CHUCKLES You see that in the club with some
of the club players, he kept thinking that if he moved he was
going to make the ball move! I know. It can get you like that, sometimes.
I've seen people in snooker clubs, they play a thin cut and they are
like running down the table, seeing if it's going to go in! Body
movement after the shot. The same shot. This time, can he hit the red
just below the pink. If he over adjust, he can hit it too thick. But
this time... Well, he just caught it a little bit too thick and called
the blue. But he's not left anything that a simple pot. Those two reds to
the right of the pink, the right-hand one won't go and it's
only the left one that will. I'm not sure that is the best potting angle
to get position on pink or black. Hmmm... Well! Well, well, well. I
thought that had stopped in the jaws for a second. Thank goodness for
gravity. Well, I bet you his heart skipped a
beat that, because for all the world it looked like that was going to
stay on the jaws. Maybe just the pace and the fact that the clocks
are still so new, just let that slide in. I know it struggled in,
but fair play to him for playing it that way. It was the only way he
could get position on a colour, by rolling it in dead weight. Not the
easiest thing to do, particularly using the rest, and the scoreline as
it was... A brave shot. But I still don't know how it went in, but it
did. Even on the replay! Martin could do with getting an
angle on a baulk colour here and then coming down and trying to
cannoning to the pink and black. Because he isn't going to score much
on colours up there. The problem funny thing is the blue is actually
a problem there, where it is. He wants about a half ball on the green
or something, pot the green. Although this will help, get the
blue back on spot, that will be something. And then he can pot the
red, up to the blue, and then play a cannon into the pink and black. But
he's certainly going to have to move them. And, John, I suppose if you
play that cannon, the black is going to go into the reds, if you get into
the pink the black will move the reds about, so a chance here. He
just needs to get good position. Hmmm, just overscrewed it a touch.
You see the shake of the head, a bit disappointed. He could still cut
this blew in, but when it's been like this, you can't inject a lot of
pace in the shot. The green is unmissable but off the green, he's
going to have to play a good positional shot for the next red.
Once again, he struck that beautifully. He really did hit that
nicely. So he has got a shot with the rest now. Just looking to see
whether he has got the angle. Well, he had a good look at pink and black
but surely they don't pot. Eight out of eight with the rest, Martin. So
he would like to keep that going. Just looking at this angle, John, I
don't know whether he can... It looks like it is too much and he
would go too close to the blue, I think, to leave that angle back to
pink and black. So he has played for the baulk colour. Now, here's his
chance. Yellow, five cushion, into the pink and black and the pack.
Absolutely. That's what you suggested before he could not be
better situated now. This is an ideal opportunity. In an ideal
world, he would like to just hit the black half ball and then run into
the reds. But if the shot that John is referring to. As I say, you would
love to just nudged the black before hitting the reds. Well, that doesn't
surprise me. That doesn't surprise me. The only thing I can think of,
is maybe he's going to play it the other way, off the blue. Well, it
did look like he had a good chance to do it there. Act up for the blue
and then playing a similar shot into the pink and black off the blue,
again. You've got to go now. If he doesn't go now, I will never believe
it. He will go now. Their play to him, I think you mentioned it
earlier this morning's session, when he refused a shot, he is still
thinking clearly and playing the shots that he thinks is the right
one. Well. I'll never believe it. You've got to go into the pink and
black, there. Yes, wrong choice. You can chip away as much as you like,
but he needed those reds in the open. And it was a chance to bring
the reds into the open and the pink and black. I mean, I know you're
trusting to luck a little bit, John, but you're not going to win the
frame from the way the Bulls are situated. No. The first decision
that I would question from him this morning. Just got a little bit
negative, there. Didn't think positively enough. He's been
thinking positive all morning. Now he's taking this red on, it's risky.
Well, he's potted it. Is he on a colour? Pressure brown. That's what
he's left with. Straight into the top. You always
feel with these as though you would rather play them into middle. Into
the middle. No. Well... A disappointing end,
there, from Martin. I think he made the wrong shot choice. And it caught
up with him in the end. Yeah, it's a strange one as well, because he's
been so positive this morning. That's the thing that got me, every
shot he has fancied, he has taken it on, but it was just so obvious to go
into that pink and black. The funny thing is, the last shot he played
has made the pink and black possible for John Higgins now, as he comes to
the table. Yeah, there you go. So all in all, the last couple of
minutes has been a bit of a shocker for him.
We said that he had to play no miss snooker, and missing that brown
could be so, so costly. It is his challenge for the Betfred World
Championship ending there? It could well do.
He's always had a wonderful way of finishing off matches, John Higgins.
He knows where the winning line is and he knows how to get over it.
He's done this hundreds of times before. Can he do it again?
Looks to have the perfect angle on the pink just to stun it in and play
for the red in the same pocket. Still got a little bit of work to
do. It's not a formality he can win the frame at this visit. Yeah,
initially played in the other red there, but when he finished at that
angle, he knew full well that with a little cannon he could flick the
reds into possible positions. OK he has gone slightly awry because of
it. But his intention was just to get them out in the open as soon as
possible. But there's a bit more to do because of it. Yeah, just the
wrong angle. If he were slightly the other side of the pink, it would be
a formality. Let's see how he plays this, trying to develop a red with a
cannon. He'll settle for that. He will settle for that! Hmmm, just a
bit! Obviously the brown, slight problem
with this break, you just have do not a view in before then, but he
will want to move that brown so that the red will be pottable in the top
corner. He's played that nicely. Had to
screw up with a bit to get the correct side of the pink. So now
when he stands down he can get the red above the black. If he can come
and he may just play on the brown here. Yeah, I think he will have to
play on the brown. Just got to be careful here when he plays this
cannon. He doesn't want to leave himself too thin on the brown, but
he doesn't want the black to block the red from going into this pocket
he's playing into now. Yeah. That was about the best he could play
that, John. May just be able to play a double screw back here and take
the red into the same pocket. They ate cannon onto the brown. Yeah. So,
it worked out well. Yeah, the only downside is that he is slightly
hampered by the brown here. The other thing of course is that he
would like to have got the brown up onto its own spot. That would have
made the rest of the clearance a bit easier. Although he is is probably
past the winning post by then, I would think. Taken these well, John,
hasn't he? Rulli well. Martin Gould had a chance. Just question his shot
selection at a vital time. Well, he's going to need good cueing for
this. These can be missed. Red and a colour required.
In it goes. Flicked the yellow, but that will do nicely. This yellow
will put him 28 points in front with just 27 remaining. Martin Gould's
race looks to have been run. And I have to say, John, if Martin Gould
had been playing one or two of the other players this week, he would
have been knocking some of them out, the way he has played this morning.
He has played superb this morning and I give him every credit for it.
OK we questioned one of two of the shots and he could have been more
aggressive in this frame, but he has given John Higgins a little bit of a
fright, and John Higgins will be very relieved now to just add the
finishing touches to this match. And he has had to work hard today, make
no mistake. He has had two absolutely outstanding breaks in
this match. The one a couple of frames ago was brilliant and this
one to win the match has been better. He's still got it, John. Yes
he has. He started off and had a bit of a lull but he certainly proved
early on in the season that he can still produce the goods, and he has
produced it here and gone all the way four times before. Who's to say
he can't make it five? In goes the pink, handshake, and Martin Gould
will be saying well played and best of luck for the rest of the
tournament. Every credit Martin Gould, did really well there, showed
a really good attitude. He will be back for more, that is for certain.
But John Higgins is now safely through to the second round. He wins
by ten frames to six. STUDIO
So, a very good fightback by Martin but not enough. John Higgins will
now face Northern Ireland's Mark Allen in that last extreme tie which
begins on Friday. That is it for now but we are back with more live
coverage from the Crucible at ten o'clock. Get some sleep, goodbye to
now. Once again your champion, Mark
Selby! Spring is arriving -
in a whirlwind of pink. We're in Japan to celebrate
the sakura. So join us on Friday,
21 April at 8.30 on BBC TWO. You are the cream
of the French aristocracy.
Jason Mohammad introduces highlights from Tuesday's first-round matches.