The inside track, with Betfred TV’s Matt Hulmes
There had been chatter that this was one of the best quality Betfred World Snooker Championships we had seen in recent times at the Crucible, and John Higgins (pictured above) sensationally hit a maximum 147 break this morning to hammer home the point.
The Wizard of Wishaw, taking on David Gilbert’s conqueror Kurt Maflin, sprinkled his magic on the table to complete his tenth competitive maximum break, and the first at the Crucible since Stephen Hendry in the first round of the 2012 tournament.
If you head over to our Social Media pages, you can hear from the opponent for his first competitive 147, Dennis Taylor, who recalls it vividly, if not too happily!
Despite Higgins’ heroics, it is all square at 8-8 against the Norwegian going into tonight’s deciding session.
Also this evening, we will have the second session of three time Champion Mark Selby, who heads into the evening trailing Shaun Murphy’s conqueror Noppon Saengkham by 5-3 ahead of another eight frames.
It is set up for a sensational evening of second round Snooker in Sheffield.
The fifth and final seed to be sent packing in the first round was Stephen Maguire, who never got into a rhythm as he fell 10-3 to Martin Gould. Gould will now face Kyren Wilson on Saturday morning in round 2, where the Warrior will be seeing the Crucible for the first time in 2020 following a first round bye.
The final match of the opening round saw Barry Hawkins safely into the last 16 for an incredible tenth successive year.
Nobody has played more crucible matches than The Hawk in the last seven years, and he sets up a mouth-watering clash with the Thunder from Down Under Neil Robertson, which also gets underway on Saturday at 10am.
This afternoon, three World Champions were in action in Sheffield. Reigning Camp Judd Trump got his second-round clash underway versus Yan Bingtao, while two former Champions clashed as Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham had the second session of their last 16 encounter.
These four will all be back on the baize first thing on Friday, Williams and Bingham to a finish.
Half the field have been sent crashing at the Crucible, but still sixteen names are in the hunt for the title of 2020 Betfred World Snooker Champion.