The inside track at the Betfred World Snooker Championship, with Betfred TV’s Matt Hulmes
It’s day one of the quarter-finals with eight players in with the chance of winning the 2020 Betfred World Snooker Championship in Sheffield – and no matter who gets their hands on the trophy on Sunday evening, it will be a fantastic story.
Five of the eight are already World Championship winners, sharing thirteen titles between them – while with a pair of non-seeds clashing it means the final four will include a player who came through the qualifiers.
Anthony McGill took to the baize this afternoon just over twelve hours after concluding his second-round clash against Jamie Clarke that will be remembered for a tenth frame altercation.
When discussing the incident, which involved McGill asking Clarke to sit down and stay out of his eyeline, the Scot said: “Jamie just took it the wrong way and it turned into something it should never have done.”
His opponent Kurt Maflin loves chess and was congratulated by the grand master, 29-year-old Magnus Carlsen. This allowed snooker journo Hector Nunns to create headlines such as ‘Pawn Cracker’ and ‘Check Mate’.
The puns didn’t stop there either. With Mark Williams and Ronnie O’Sullivan, the elder statesmen of the tour, clashing in the last eight, Ronnie put their longevity partly down to the questionable ability of the younger brigade coming through.
It received the caption ‘Rocket Rap for Rookies’ and earned the sports headline act more column inches.
There has been plenty of respect and sentiment from the ‘Class of 92’ pair who have eight world titles between them and have known each other for over thirty years in the game from junior level – and both are aware there may not be too many more opportunities for them to meet on the World Championship stage.
Interviews with both players are available on Betfred’s social media pages.
There is still talk of the ‘Crucible Curse’ as Judd Trump closes in on retaining his title, something that has never been done from a first-time winner in Sheffield – while his opponent, Kyren Wilson, will be the freshest man in the theatre having played only 22 frames so far following a first round bye.
Then, there is a second clash of former champions. Neil Robertson and Mark Selby have different styles, but that sets it up for an intriguing contest. Selby is looking to recapture his best form against Neil Robertson, who is looking to right some wrongs and make it to just his second Crucible final, a decade and “far too long” since his first.
While the temperature around Sheffield is warming nicely, the mercury is soaring as these players close in on the famed ‘One Table Setup’ in this iconic arena.