Jason Mohammad presents extended first-round highlights from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
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Hello again. Day five of the World Championship in Sheffield and it has
been a long wait for the six remaining players who were last to
get their campaigns underway on Wednesday. One of them is Neil
Robertson, the 2010 world champion, itching to get his campaign
underway. And he is officially the most successful player ever to
emerge from beyond Britain's shores. He is a triple Crown winner and
would love to be a multiple world champion. Standing in his way is the
24-year-old player who becomes only the fourth ever player from Thailand
to feature at the Crucible. He and Neal got ready to step out for the
first nine frames of their first match watched by Peter Ebdon and
John Virgo. Thank you ladies and gentlemen, the first frame. Neil
Robertson to break. COMMENTATOR: Neil Robertson breaks
off in this first round match. First time here and this was his
entrance. He went back up the steps but he is pleased to be here. He
certainly is. Let's hope he can perform to his potential because he
has a match on here against Neil Robertson.
He has hit the pink, has he? Misjudged that badly. Maybe there is
a read on, maybe not. Having it replaced. I am interested to see how
Neil Robertson performs in this match. He has underachieved this
season? He has taken time out in preparation for this great event and
decided not to play in the China open. It'll be interesting to see
what sort of form he brings to the World Championships. Obviously a
strong favourite in this match, but I have practised with this young man
from Thailand at the Academy in Sheffield. He is a very talented
player. Not afraid to go for his shots. We'll be really interesting.
As we have seen, on quite a few occasions so far in this
championship, there is certainly pressure on the scene.
He is just looking to see if he can stun through the gap. It is a very
narrow gap. He is playing more power. DME! -- dear me. That is
where the cue ball finished. Just checking the cue. Sometimes when you
play a shot like that, you can just chip it. Trying to put so much power
in it. Didn't do that well. And as immediate, when you play a shot like
that, you look at the tip. But it looks OK.
Where is this red ball going? Over the middle. Neil Robertson, at the
table. Just repairing his Devidts. -- divot. There it is, where he
miscued. I am glad that wasn't in 3-D. Would have been hiding behind
the sofa. I don't know if he can get to the red closest to the middle
pocket? He can certainly... I think the other one goes. But the one
closest to the middle pocket, would be unmissable.
He could get through to it, but he didn't judge it well. Just about on
the green. If he can, he would love to get on
the red. Below the black, to the left of the black into the
right-hand corner pocket. That would free the black up for both pockets.
He missed the green by quite some way. Certainly not the start he is
looking for. That won't instil him with a great deal of confidence.
Missing the green and then of course his previous visit to the table,
miss cueing. A chance here. There's nothing like
getting your hands on the table, first frame and getting a sizeable
break. That will settle view. -- you.
That's a horrible cake. That's an absolutely horrible cake. That
wasn't his fault at all, there was absolutely nothing he could do about
that. Look at the contact. The blue jumps, the cue ball jumps. It has
thrown the blue thick, unfortunately. So an unexpected
chance here for Neil Robertson. He does have the angle to screw into
the reds, if he chooses to do so. He has played for the loose red, which
would free the black into both corner pockets. But he's not played
that very well at all. Because this is really tricky and this is most
definitely unmissable. Played it well. Good recovery.
Neal is just checking that if he plays the blue with pace and sends
the cue ball into the pink, he's just checking there is not a plant
of the two reds to the right at the top of the pack, glancing off
another red and possibly going into the right corner. Well worked out.
Always worth having a cheque in case there is a the corner. Beautiful
split. Couldn't have worked out better. I
don't know if the black is available in the boat corners. -- both
corners. One of those plays, Neil Robertson, once he gets a nice
rhythm going and he is playing quickly, I think he is a lot better
player. Sometimes he has looked for problems.
It is easier for me to say that sat here in the commentary box. 41
points required from this situation to get to the snookers required
stage. He would expect him to get it with no problem, but it is the first
frame. And the first player, a couple of seasons ago, who made 100
centuries in a season. What an incredible achievement. It really
is. I suppose with all of the tournaments, it is possible it could
be done again, but it will be some achievement.
So now the black available into both corner pockets.
That wasn't the best of contact. We were saying this morning at
breakfast how the tables have been saying. But on the other match this
morning, quite a few bad contacts. I don't know why it is. I think more
often than not, it is atmospherics. Different temperatures, different
humidities. Even in an auditorium whereby the atmosphere is largely
controlled, you still do get variables and it does make a huge
difference to the playing conditions. Of course, when you are
playing and you do get one or two of these bad contacts, it does slightly
put it you are. An example, a shot like this, you are just rolling it
through, the last thing you want is a heavy contact.
75 remaining. Red, colour, red would be sufficient to clinch this first
frame. There is a milestone, not saying in
this frame, but it could come up during this session. At the moment,
Neil Robertson has made 499 competitive centuries. Could get to
500 today. I can only think of two people who have done better than
that. That is Ronnie O'Sullivan and the now retired Stephen Hendry. That
would be a milestone. This frame is well and truly over.
I am sure Neil Robertson will be well aware of that fact and will be
looking to make his 500th competitive century break as a
professional and get that out the way as soon as he possibly can.
It is going to the jaw. It is not there. He thought it was in. He was
walking round to play the pink. Barring snookers, he has got the
first frame in the bag. I don't blame Saengkham for play on,
getting his cueing ongoing. He was unlucky on a similar blue to this,
he got bad contact. Didn't play that very well. Doesn't
really matter but needed to hit it just slightly below centre. And then
that back spin, when it comes after pushing, get some top spin, reverses
itself. The frame has been conceded. So Neil Robertson, convincing start?
Well, he did well when he got in. Nice split and he is 1-0 in front.
He caught that much too thick. You play that break-off shot using
right-hand side. But if you don't play it well, the right-hand side
pushes right into the end red. Became the table with the cue ball,
but fortunately for him, Neil can't get to it. He is coming off the push
and trying to hit this sort of half ball and knock it up the table.
Where is the cue ball going? OK. The kiss on the green has helped. If
it had just missed the green, it always looked like it would be a
good safety. Decent opportunity here for Neil
Robertson to get the cue ball on the ball concussion behind the brown and
green. -- ball concussion. He didn't expect the red to come out
from the pack and go towards the right-hand pocket as we look down
the table from the black spot end. Test of cueing, this one. He
couldn't have got much closer. Yes, you would think he would have
potted that. Just the pace kept it out.
Could you check the volume keys in your ear pieces.
That's one wiped its feet, it wasn't a clean pot. From this hugely
talented Australian. There is a distracting noise in the
auditorium at the moment. Neil Robertson has picked up on. Don't
know where it is coming from. Can we try and identify where that
is coming from, that sound? We may have a short delay. Is it from a
speaker. Buzzing and then it stops. We
thought it was the ear pieces, but I don't think it is. It has been
happening since the first day. If it has been happening, I haven't
noticed it before now. As quiet as possible please. Do you want to
speak to a member of staff and see if they can look at the speaker
system. One of the Dorman has said it has been happening all the time,
so someone should have sorted it out before now. What is going on here?
Anyway, that is what you do, seasoned professional. Don't play
the shot until you are comfortable and at ease in your mind. He played
the blue lovely. This red, a little bit tricky. Wide. It is so easy to
do, Peter. You just decelerate a fraction and you hit them too thin.
Yes. Probably played that with a trace of left-hand side. Just pulled
the red thin. Hasn't left anything. You would think Saengkham could find
a cover here, not only with the blue, but the collection of reds on
the left-hand side of the table. As long as he gets the cue ball
somewhere along the far corner pocket. It.
Trying to get in behind the green. The reds will cover the one over the
corner. Could have done with a better lens of the cue ball, tight
onto the cushion. Would be a bit more difficult for Neil to play the
safety. Once again, trying to get in behind the green and brown. But just
caught the green that time. I think he may have left the red? Yes. Think
there is a path through to this red. Might have to play it with a trace
of right-hand side. But it looks on. I think this is really tight. The
way the clots have been playing so far during this tournament, they
have been very slippy. What a shot Axel absolutely
brilliant. Much appreciated by this crowd. That was wonderful. Look at
the back spin he got on that from almost 11 feet away. Good shot.
Played the blue nicely. Now he has this red to the left corner and he
can play for pink or possibly the black. You think the pink is the
easy ball to get on. Once again, if you just don't get
the cue through the cue ball accelerating as you hit the white,
it just drifts off and that is why he hit it slightly thinner than
needed. It could be a costly mistake. His expression says it all.
Now where Wilbur black go? Is he still on this red to the opposite
corner? Just about. That was confident from Neil. Took the risk
and now may reap the rewards. There are not many players that push
the cue through a straight as Neil Robertson.
No, he is superb with his cueing. It always goes through very straight.
That is not always the case with players who are so dominant with one
eye. He is very dominant with his right eye when he lines up and puts
down the cue on his chin. Very dominant with his right eye. Very
often when somebody is that dominant that the right side they will cue to
the right centre of the cue ball when they feel themselves there are
hitting centre, then come across to the left is to actually hit the
centre. Temp two doesn't do that. He hits exactly where he is meaning to.
The cue goes through ramrod straight, particularly on these
cloth cloths. Just 25 points away from winning this frame. Easier said
than done with those five reds on the left-hand cushion. An
opportunity here to bring a few reds interplay, but as Eddie Charlton
always said never bring out our red when you are trying to pot a red,
because you may not guarantee that colour. And Eddie was right! He is
on the colour, but not good on it. Eddie was Australian as well. I
remember watching Eddie Charlton and number of years ago and Eddie played
absolutely fantastic snooker. He just kept rolling long balls in. And
what a sportsman he was! Eddie Charlton, a legend in the game.
Meanwhile, what a tremendous pot on the black that was. These kind of
tables where it can be a bit scary using side would have suited Eddie
down to the ground. You use side at your peril. He has taken these well,
Neil. Colour and one more red required.
He has to avoid the kiss on the green here. He did that. 59 ahead,
67 remaining at the moment but once he gets this red there will be only
59 remaining and he will be 60 points in front. Still a chance of
that 500th century! He timed that one well with the
rest. Got some action going there. Sometimes our early on in the match
when you saw him not cueing well, you worried that you will do that
again, but he has put that well out of his mind. That is not a bad case,
brought an awkward red interplay. -- into play.
This is a bit awkward. Because he is left-handed he will be able to play
the pink. A little in between here. He could
play the red into the middle then tried to disturb the one that is
nearest the middle, but looks like he is just concentrating on the pot.
It meant he could get a little bit closer. This will test his cueing.
You would not want to decelerate on this. Push the cue strip and firm.
Just overcompensated. Neil Robertson has a 2-0 lead.
Well, if he can avoid the cannon on the back, he could take this long
red into the black pocket and play it as a shock to nothing. He will be
playing this with left-hand side, so it is all about timing, if he gets
through the ball too quick, it will go thick. That was a complete
misjudgement. He may well have left free ball here. Waiting for the
referee to have a look to tell us if it is a free ball or not. Free ball.
This is where you can get more than 147. This yellow will count as a
red. For example, if he got 15 reds, 15
blacks and all the colours, it would be a potential 153. I wonder how
they do that for the maximum break. If the took a couple of loose and
browns, and got 147, what would happen? With that count as a
maximum. I don't think it would, but it would count as a high brick, for
sure! -- break, for sure! I like the idea of playing the one
closest to the bunch, but he is just a bit concerned that he might have
to run out of position. He can play at next time around. He can leave
himself low on the red immediately above the black, then those reds
will open. No harm done, I don't suppose. He will get a little kiss
of the main bunch to stay on the black. It won't open up anything
else. It is amazing, Neil was worried
before about the slight noise, but now you can hear all the hubbub
coming from the other table between frames and it is not affecting him
in the least. Just shows how you can block things out with your
concentrating and fully focused. -- when you are concentrating and fully
focused. He will have to go up to this red. I think he will go for an
angle on the blues and he can't played the cannon -- so he can play
the cannon. Nice angle on the blue. He might make his 500th consecutive
century and make the highest ever break at the Crucible Theatre. That
would be something! It is OK. I think he is on it! Still a chance,
still a possibility! We can say we were there! Have very
interesting shock that he played, normally you would expect a player
at to play with more speed than that going into the reds. If he had done,
this red would've gone into right-hand corner, so just as well
he didn't. Maybe he spotted that. Absolutely.
The 338 macro after this black to get this frame, then we will all be
rooting for him. He will go on to 151 if he plays for
the blue again. 149, sorry. Well, he decided to open
up the other reds. All of our hopes and dreams have disappeared. If he
had been more straight on the red he would've had no hesitation the
black. I'm not saying it is the right shop, but they wouldn't be
surprised if he took on the screen. -- this green.
APPLAUSE. Nice break, but he will be
disappointed. Noppon Saengkham still has a chance, 83 remaining.
Good shot, bats. If it had been going in, I would have said, where
is the cue ball going? That was an excellent shot.
APPLAUSE. Add a little tap on the table
thereby Noppon Saengkham. I wouldn't be tapping the table because he
flicked the brown. There may be a gap, but they don't think he will be
able to get safe of that one. He is in a spot of bother here. He knows
that if he leaves Neil one more chance, it will be frame over.
Just about OK, I think. He may have left the red to the far left corner,
or maybe the one closest to the cue ball will cut back. But the fact
that Neil is going to the baulk end, makes me think he is thinking of
safety rather than pot. That red to the left corner looks straight
enough. It will be amazing if he doesn't take it on. He couldn't
refuse that. If he knocks it in, he will win the frame.
He wins the frame! APPLAUSE. Good pot. This black will
put him 76 points in front with 75 remaining.
That was not the best contact. You can hear the sound, it is not a nice
sound, it is a thud. Doesn't matter, frame over.
That has gone wrong, so that is end of break. I don't think the young
man from Thailand will come back to the table. He gives the nod of
concession. Well played by Neil Robertson. He now leads 3-0.
So, Noppon Saengkham with the break-off. Mid-session interval
after this frame. He would love to get a frame on the scoreboard before
he goes back to his dressing room. He has left a pot on for Neil here.
There is a gap round the back of the black. He is potentially looking at
a plant as well, maybe playing that as a shock to nothing. He just needs
to be very careful of making sure he gets a good cue ball. He has decided
to play the plant. Played it as a shock to nothing. That is a very
fortunate as Flick on the brown. It could have been worse for Noppon
Saengkham. He could have been snookered behind the yellow.
Just a little bit fast, and the fact that the cue ball is not tied to the
baulk cushion may tempt Neil to go forward the pot here. I think it
would have had no hesitation in the black was available.
Neil Robertson showing his experience here. He has got the
young player from Thailand under pressure. This is a tough safety
shop, very thin. -- safety shot. That was very tough. Neil
Robertson's decision to play a good quality safety shop has given him a
chance. But it will not be easy to get onto the black, or possibly the
pink. He is also looking at a plant. If the plant is on, he may well take
that instead. He could play the deep screenshot and play that is shot to
nothing. He will be hampered by the brown if
he plays a straightforward pot to the right corner. I think this
straightforward red that we looked that is maybe just covering a bit of
the pocket for the plant. It seems that way to me. Not all of the
pocket is available. You get a better look at it when you are right
behind the shot, obviously. I think this is on.
Almost a minute and a half deciding what shot to play.
Well... Keeping the pressure on. Yes, not taking any undue risks. I
suppose you can't blame him, he has the young man exactly where he
wanted him. He needs to cover this potential
plant with the brown, if he hasn't, Neil may take this on. Now that the
red has gone, he can get past the brown to play the plant. There is no
easy safety. Was Neil Robertson setting a little
trap for the young man? APPLAUSE.
I suppose he is a bit unlucky but when you hit the ball that hard you
are trusting to luck a little bit the position on the colour. I don't
think I would have fallen for that, would you? You did try to cover it
with the brown, in all honesty. I'm a little bit surprised that Neil
didn't play that as a screenshot. Just playing safe of the green.
Another tester here for Noppon Saengkham to get their say. Normally
he would say, of the side cushion and nestle on the red just beside
the pink. It is not straightforward, this safety.
He has left the red to the left centre. Now, whether Neil will be
tempted, it depends how he feels. That is where experience comes in,
of course. He has the young man, he has not settled yet because he
doesn't have a frame on the scoreboard, and he will not give him
an easy chance to settle himself. This needs to be a good shot. He
needs to hit this perfectly. He has hit it too thin. The cue ball will
come back down to this end of the table. The red is on to the right
middle. I wouldn't be certain about the colour.
That is OK. Just like getting that far up the table he knew that he
would be on the green at least. Not a bad little kiss, that. He can
play the red to the far right, or to the corner. In an ideal world you
would like to get the pink on that spot as possible, but there is no
rush to do that. There is the red immediately above
the pink that he could play. Just having a look at that possibility
now. Or, if he has the right angle on the
blue, which he appears to have, he could play for one of the reds in
the middle of the table. Yes, he does have an angle.
This is the red I would have had in mind, so I could play for the pink.
Once this pink is on its spots, it is an excellent opportunity to go
into the mid-session interval with zero lead. -- with a 4-0 lead.
I may have been playing that a little bit more firmly. He will have
to go above the blue now. Just underhit it slightly. He will have
to play for yellow or green. He needs another 41 points to clinch
the frame at this visit. It is not beyond him, obviously, but it is not
as easy as it sounds. Noppon Saengkham hasn't had a real chance
to score. I think back to the horrible kick that he got on the
blue earlier in the match. He has not really been in it since then.
Neil Robertson has showed good discipline in the last couple of
frames. Doing his best to keep the young player from Thailand under as
much pressure as possible. It can be a very lonely place out there when
things aren't going for you and you are not getting clear cut chances.
It is a stiff and stern examination for the young man, this. It doesn't
seem that long ago when he came into the arena and almost kissed the
hallowed turf here at the Crucible, just glad to be here, but it is a
lonely seat and a bad position to be in. He has not have the chance to
show this packed audience how good he is. That in the way is another
thing, you want to get in early and show people buy you are here. You
just want to show it on the bigger stage of all. Absolutely. To be
perfectly honest, even though all of the qualifiers that have come
through have quite rightly deserve their place here at the Crucible,
this really is a step up in class again, isn't it? Not only the class
of opposition, but the fact that you're playing, you are in the
headlights, so to speak, every mistake is greeted by a noise from
the crowd. I think it was John Parrott who said
it is the best place to play, and the worst place to play. I think he
has got the angle to get this in and maybe play for the pink in the same
pocket. So, 50 ahead, 75 remaining. Two
reds, two high value colours. I think he can avoid the kiss on the
second red to get nicely on the black. Well! Why did he play it like
that. Was it the noise from the other side of the wall? Possibly.
Maybe he should have taken a deep breath and waited for it to quieten
down a little bit. Well, that's a top drawer safety
shot. Not for the first time from Neil. Snookered on Allred 's. No,
there is a gap. There is always a gap.
Played that nicely, but of course kissing the yellow full in the face
is not a good safety shot now. Good chance to get the cue ball behind
the brown now. I think he will settle for that. Almost behind the
green. Nice shot, even with the flick on
the brown. It was always going to have a good land. The one thing that
has impressed me with so far, because that's all he has been able
to play so far, safety. Hit that far too thick.
This is a chance. Almost 54 minutes since his last pot. Big pressure on
this. Well played. Well played. APPLAUSE
This is the first real good chance he's had.
There was that one chance when he got the horrendous kick on the blue
in the first frame. But he's not been in and around the black spot
area with his hand on the table. Little bit of work to do with the
cue ball here. Couldn't have struck it better. Beautiful shot. The
reason he played for the black, he is in the ideal position to bring
the other three reds into play. Well played.
I have had a tendency to just hit it a little bit firmer than that. But
he has got this red along the top cushion. Difficult. Not had many
opportunities. Make certain he can be on the pink to the middle. Well
done. Well done. This would give him a boost if he could win the frame at
this visit, after what has gone before. Absolutely. Real test of
character for the young man now. Now, can he roll this red in and
avoid the kiss on the second red? If he can, he is perfect.
Well, he just made certain of it. Needed a little trace of side, but
I'm not going to knock him for not doing that.
19 points behind now. 43 remaining. So, any colour with these remaining
two reds. He took the chance to bring the red
into play. It's not bad. He's on the pink.
The safest way to play this is to just roll the pink into the middle.
So, this could be the key to the frame. How would you play this,
Peter? Would you play the screw to try and bring it up the right-hand
side of the table or run round the two cushions? I think I would
probably played the screw shot. Just on the black, I think. If the
cue ball travelled another inch or two inches, he wouldn't have been.
He is going to have to play this with a bit of pace with the rest. He
has played this really well. How is this for a shot? How is this for a
shot? How is this for a shot Axel absolutely inch perfect. Wonderful.
Considering his highest break had only been seven before he got this
opportunity and he had been almost 54 minutes without potting a ball,
what a clearance this could be. Needs up to and including the pink.
Bit short of pace. I thought you might play that inside. Yes, just to
speed the cue ball up. Just played it with top spin.
Overcut it. What a shame. What a shame. Great effort up until then.
Unlucky. But this isn't a formality, Peter, with the cue ball being tight
to the cushion. No, it's going to be difficult for Neil to get on the
brown, actually. I think he is playing this with lots and lots of
top spin. Very difficult. It was a very good
effort. But he's not on the brown. So this frame is still very much
alive. Just a bit short of pace. Hasn't
quite got the snooker. It is going to be a tough one for Saengkham to
get safe. Yes, very tough safety shot here. The problem with trying
to clip the brown thing and getting the cue ball behind the black is
that he could be pushing the brown towards the green pocket. I wouldn't
be surprised if he doubled the brown here.
I think that was his intention, but you would want to hit the top
cushion first, rather than the side cushion. Absolutely. This is a
chance but it's not easy. No, he will need a good pot.
The best players always have all the luck. This time, Noppon Saengkham
has a good chance of getting the cue ball behind the black. We'll be
pushing the brown over onto the green side cushion.
Just a little bit thin. He needs the pink to come to his rescue. It
hasn't. You can see it. So Neil Robertson needs brown and the blue.
He will be 14 points in front with 13 remaining. Nice, clean pot.
Absolutely inch perfect on the blue. And this blue will put in 14 points
in France with 13 remaining. Looks like the young man from Thailand is
going to get nothing out of these first four frames. Came in
celebrating the fact he had made it to the Crucible. But he's nothing to
show for his efforts at the moment. And it is Neil Robertson, is The
Thunder From Down Under is beating the young man from Thailand 5-0 at
the mid-session interval. That was a poor break off shot. Caught the end
read much too thin and that is why he collided with the blue and the
brown. When you are breaking off, what ever you do, don't hit the
blue. Nice opener. Fully committed to
that. Didn't hold back. Played the right shot and nicely on the black.
One of the few times he's gone in first in a frame.
After the mid-session interval there is five frames to play. So, this
will be a good start for the young man, if he can make the most of this
opportunity. Because the blue is not on its spot,
eventually when he tries to break the reds open, he will have to do it
of the black. Maybe thinking that way now, leave
himself low on the black. It is not the best cluster to go in. As my
friend and colleague Willie Thorne said, it is a bit of a flat pack.
But he has the angle. When you are playing this type of shot, you have
got to hit the end of the reds, that's way it releases the white. If
you go right into the middle, the white could stick and be on nothing.
I remember Matthew Stevens used to play this as a deep screw with
reverse side to take the white back up towards the pink spot. He struck
it nicely enough. Was unfortunate not to finish on a read. But as you
say, it wasn't easy. Just caught the wrong read first. If he had stunned
it, he would have gone through the reds more. But when it came off the
second red, it just screwed away. On nothing. And that is careless. The
yellow has come to his rescue. No harm done.
I said no harm done, there was half a chance at that pot.
Caught it a little bit too thick. Needs the green to help him here. It
hasn't. The reason I was saying the green to help him, because he has
this straight red to the corner. And if the cue ball had run on a little
bit further, he would have been badly hampered by the green. Can see
the distance. This would give you an example of how straight Neil
Robertson pushes the cue through. Just watch this June. -- cue. There
you go. Snapped it right in the middle of the pocket. Very rarely
misses back type of shot. That was a nice pot. Presumably he
is on this red when the black is re-spotted. He's not, he must have
played for the red to the right middle. I have just spotted it.
It is high. Not playing flawless snooker. No, and there was a little
bit of pressure on that red into the middle because he knew he would be
leaving one into the left corner pocket, should he miss it.
Played the delicate cannon and played it very well.
I think that is the shot on. He will be bringing that cluster of reds in
between bringing the black into play.
He needed an inch more pace, a little bit more top spin rather than
pace. Yes, it is so easy on those type of shots to almost quit and not
get enough spin on the cue ball. He didn't exactly do that there, but as
John quite rightly alluded to, he would have liked to have seen the
cue ball travel just a little bit further.
Played it well. Yes, he is on the red to the left middle. Doesn't have
to do much with the cue ball. The blue is adjacent to the far corner
pocket. Then you would think he would be on to be yellow. Another 25
points needed to get to snookers required stage his first frame on
the scoreboard. -- get his first. He'd like to be on the yellow. I
think he is. Yes, just about get through to if.
Would have liked to have had a little bit of an angle. Just a
fraction of one to bring him down amongst the reds just below the
pink. He will be disappointed if he doesn't win the frame now.
He is OK. Look for a moment as though he could have been hampered,
but he can get to the middle of the cue ball. Always a little bit wary
in this shot. You have got to push the tube through straight. If you
just deviate slightly to the right, he could file the red. It is
slightly disconcerting because not everybody would be able to play this
ball. Some players have naturally play this with a touch of right-hand
side. Which is unnecessary. But some players just prefer to do that. As
John always says with these superfine clots, it is a massive
advantage if you can play the playing ball. Sometimes with the
player's dominant eye, the natural tendency is for the brain to self
correct and they could come across the ball. It does make cueing
straight very difficult. Neil Robertson is one of the best in the
game for that. But other players like Judd Trump, cross the ball
considerably. That's because he is so dominant with his right eye.
Saengkham is going quite nicely. He had a quick glance at the
scoreboard. Just needs another red and a colour to get to the snookers
required stage. This blue will put in 63 points in
front with just 59 remaining. That will make him feel an awful lot
better. Taking it well. OK, he got in because Neil Robertson missed,
for him, straightforward read to the middle. But he has taken them well.
That is an excellent pot. There will be no coming back to the table for
the Australia now. The red has not gone in, but that
doesn't matter. He finished first on the scoreboard. Maybe now, the young
man from Thailand, Noppon Saengkham can relax. He is still three behind,
but that will settle him. Just a sign that Neil is not 100%,
in the last frame when he missed that red in the middle. He is not in
don't miss mood. 90% success which is good the Neil. 84%, bit low but
Saengkham. Long pot success, who would have thought it. Five out of
11 for Neil Robertson. That is why he is at 45%. Seven out of nine for
the young man from Thailand. He took that on. Needed to screw
back. Couldn't have hit it much better. Where is the red running to?
He is hoping it won't run past the middle. He has left it. He played
the deep screw hoping the red wouldn't come back down the table
with the cue ball. Unfortunately, it did.
The reds are nicely spread, but at the moment, the black is slightly
awkward. I think the pink, it may be available into the right corner. The
first couple of positional shots at this visit will determine whether he
can make a frame-winning contribution. That is why he's
giving it an extra bit of thought. It is not straightforward.
A possibility here he could get on the black, get the black back onto
its spot. He knew he was going to be hampered,
but just hoping that he wasn't going to be full ball hampered, which is
what he appears to be. He made play the cup on the red to
the left corner. -- cut. I don't know what he can just drop this in
and go for the black. If he can't, he is checking to see if the pink
will go to the right corner, the opposite corner to this red. It
would help if it did. He got the caman, which he expected, but does
the pink go? If not, he has a nice angle on the blue if he thinks the
pink is too tight. But you can see there that the pink does go.
This is an excellent opportunity for Neil Robertson to re-establish his
dominance in this match. It is always the worst time to have
a chance, isn't it, in between frames on the other side and you
hear the noise. The referee just setting up the balls on the other
side, which is why Neil has just stepped back, waiting for things to
settle. We know that the pink goes. The reason he is not taking it is
that he isn't sure where it will go when it is a respot. He is OK. He
has the red to the left middle. He needs another 43 points. To get
to the snookers required stage. This is a great chance, the black goes
into both corners. Isn't it great, John, the CR evaporates, Leo
Scullion, back at the Crucible? Absolutely. He has gone through a
few health problems, but nice to have him back. That lovely little
Scottish brew. A nice man off the table, as well.
A little bit straighter than he would have liked. So, he just had to
slot the pink paint and it leaves this red a bit more difficult. You
wouldn't expect him to miss it, but he will be looking to go back up to
the blue and get a nice angle on the blue.
Nice pot. Just about got the angle he was looking for.
Hoping to be on the pink where he could run the pink through and
dislodge these 338 macro just below the pink. -- these three reds. That
couldn't have worked out any better! Could this be his 500th century of
his professional career? What a great milestone that would be in the
career of Neil Robertson. Perfect.
APPLAUSE. Red and a black for his 500th career
century. Wonderful! Well played, Neil
He has become a scoring machine over the last four or five years.
Trillion, brilliant player. Lovely guy, as well, and a great ambassador
for snooker. That century was the 27th of the
tournament and we are into day five of 17. What are pot that was on the
green! Well, that is a pity. His 500th
century night puts him with only two people I had a pen, Ronnie
O'Sullivan and Steven Hendrie. What a moment. He is now 5-1 in front. --
Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Hendry are the only people in front of him.
That was a good pot. He is looking at the yellow, but it is hard to
inject a lot of pace when you are close to the object ball like this,
but he is obviously comfortable with it.
This is going to require very good cueing. Very good shot.
APPLAUSE. 11 out of 11 with the rest. Neil
Robertson, seven out of seven. When the black is potted, or has a
respot, will these two reds be available? Lets see what he is on.
The one immediately to the right of the black you would like to be on.
It looks like he can play a run through and just cannon into the red
and maintain position on the black. There is a list red at the top of
the cluster. It could even go in off with this
screenshot! It could even go in off with the cue shot! Where has the cue
ball gone? It is hard to tell when you are right behind it, but it
looks like he could have run through and played the caman, but rather
that than that, even if he was going to be a bit low on it.
The cue ball? It is OK. That is the difference, fractions. Now it is a
good safety. APPLAUSE.
That is a bonus. I'm sure that water tastes sweet.
It should do, it has travelled all the way from China!
I don't think the first red that he hit was the one he intended.
If Neil Robertson can win this frame, you would say that this match
is virtually in the bag. He won't shy away from that. He is a
champion. But he won't be too pleased with
where the cue ball has finished. Neil Robertson has not been anywhere
near his fantastic test in this match so far. He conceived the pot
success rate, 90% Neil Robertson. That is very unfortunate. Neil has
not had to be anywhere near his best today. Noppon Saengkham's and
experience of playing at the big venue like the Crucible has been
very evident. Lovely lad. Very, very good player. They practised with him
at the Academy. He pots a lot of good balls, but he just hasn't taken
his chances. That is the one thing that you have to do here, and the
one thing that you always have to do, especially against the best
players in the world. Of which Neil Robertson is one of those. Yeah and
he certainly had opportunities, Noppon Saengkham, to put more
pressure on Neil. But he has made too many unenforced mistakes.
A baptism of fire, his first time here at the Crucible.
Understandable. Just coming round to have a look. I
think the black may be available into the left corner. There, you see
it. Not guaranteed to be good on it off this red, though. He couldn't
have played that much better. Inch perfect.
That was a wonderful example of just how straight Neil Robertson queues.
No deviation in his cueing there whatsoever. Ramrod straight. And by
taking that red he has cleared a path to the black to the left
corner. This is not a good line. He may be
on the red to the middle, but he cut into the cue ball too much there.
Touching ball, says the referee. He will try to nestle up behind the
yellow. I thought he would have played it
with more pace than that. This is not an easy shot because
Neil is bridging over the blue. If he can avoid the caman, there is a
chance of getting behind the yellow. Unfortunately, he has pushed it
towards the left corner and hasn't got a good cue ball. This is not
easy, especially with the red over the corner pocket. There is half a
chance. That is very good cueing. Very well played.
This frame could make the difference between being five behind 47 behind.
Good shot needed here. There is only really the black to play for. He
just has to screw this back a few inches. Well played.
That takes him to points the lead. If the kids take care of the reds
still on the table that would be more than enough to take the frame.
Has he gone far enough? Disappointing. It has not gone far
enough. That was a bad mistake. Unique to
make sure you are high, if anything. Another opportunity that he did not
capitalise on, I'm afraid. It has been the story of this match this
afternoon. He has had his chances. If Neil Robertson can avoid the Inn
of here he could play at a shop to nothing and played the double. What
a shot! What a bonus! APPLAUSE.
He knew he would be running into the red over the corner. What a good
pot. He could not have finished better on the black. That was a
bonus. He now has a 5-point lead. It will
not be easy to get past the winning line. He needs these remaining reds.
That is a decent start, a nice angle on the black. It is never easy to
develop reds when they are in this position, you need a bit of luck. I
suppose the way the balls are situated you feel you will not lose
it if you do make a mistake. I don't think you would have played that
normally, but the scoreline made him think it was a chance to have 8-1
advantage, and the way the balls are there was not much chance for his
opponent to win the frame in one visit.
In patches youth. -- impetuous youth. He will learn. The black was
hard enough without hitting it that hard. His first time here, it is all
a learning experience. He has qualities.
That is a good safety from Neil. This is not a straightforward
safety. Well, he wants to hit it. Foul and the mess. He can have it
replaced or play from the D. Neil has decided to play this red.
Super shot. As you said earlier, Peter, on that straight shot he is
so reliable because of the way he delivers the cue, gun barrel
straight. Now 24 points in the lead. He is not on this red that you think
he will take it on. He will play this safety, get the cue ball back
to the baulk end. The only other player I can think of that you would
consistently expect to pot long straight balls like that would be
Shaun Murphy. This is a very good safety shot. Very well played.
APPLAUSE. Yes, you could put Shaun Murphy in that category.
He was looking at the side cushion. With a bit of swerve he could hit
this red, but could he get it safe? He didn't fancy the swerve. Doesn't
want to run past, which is exactly what has done. The mess is called.
Neil only needs the red. Surely it is worth going for. If he pots this
he goes 29 in front with 27 remaining. That surely will be 8-1.
We have seen a lot of the seeds in this tournament, and every year at
the Crucible, find the pressure of playing a qualifier it is a tough
match. But surely Neil Robertson has broken the back of this one in the
first session. He is going to shake his hand. He
will walk out a little bit disappointed, but Neil Robertson has
done his business, he has taken advantage of the mistakes and this
now two frames away from a place in the last 16. He leads 8-1.
So, they return for their second session of be returned at one
o'clock this afternoon for coverage of basics. I hope you can join us
for that, but meanwhile get some sleep! Good night.
You are the cream of the French aristocracy.
Jason Mohammad presents extended first-round highlights from the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.