The inside track at the Betfred World Snooker Championship, with Betfred TV’s Matt Hulmes

The Crucible Curse has struck again as Judd Trump was knocked out of the 2020 Betfred World Snooker Championship by Kyren Wilson (pictured above) in a fantastic quarter-final.

The wait for a first time World Championship winner at the Crucible to retain their title goes on, after The Warrior held his nerve, and a rally from The Juddernaut to run out a 13-9 winner.

The Kettering potter opened up an early lead to spend the night 10-6 ahead and, despite Trump taking three of the first four frames upon resumption, The Warrior took frames 21 and 22 to record a 13-9 success and set up a semi-final clash with either Kurt Maflin or Anthony McGill.

Here is a breakdown of where the first time champions have fallen the following year:

  • 1980 Terry Griffiths – lost in second round to Steve Davis
  • 1981 Cliff Thorburn – lost in semi-finals to Steve Davis
  • 1982 Steve Davis – lost in first round to Tony Knowles
  • 1986 Dennis Taylor – lost in first round to Mike Hallett
  • 1987 Joe Johnson – lost in final to Steve Davis
  • 1991 Stephen Hendry – lost in quarter-finals to Steve James
  • 1992 John Parrott – lost in quarter-finals to Alan McManus
  • 1998 Ken Doherty – lost in final to John Higgins
  • 1999 John Higgins – lost in semi-finals to Mark Williams
  • 2001 Mark Williams – lost in second round to Joe Swail
  • 2002 Ronnie O’Sullivan – lost in semi-finals to Stephen Hendry
  • 2003 Peter Ebdon – lost in quarter-finals to Paul Hunter
  • 2006 Shaun Murphy – lost in quarter-finals to Peter Ebdon
  • 2007 Graeme Dott – lost in first round to Ian McCulloch
  • 2011 Neil Robertson – lost first round to Judd Trump
  • 2015 Mark Selby – lost in second round to Anthony McGill
  • 2016 Stuart Bingham – lost first round to Ali Carter
  • 2020 Judd Trump – lost in quarter-finals to Kyren Wilson

Incredibly, only two managed to make it to the following year’s final from the 18 that have attempted.

We are also guaranteed a former World Champion in the final, as Mark Selby defeated Neil Robertson 13-7 in his quarter-final to setup a clash with either three-time winner Mark Williams, or five-time scorer Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Now, as we head at speed towards the semi-final stage the iconic Crucible Theatre will become just that little bit more special.

A dedicated team will work tirelessly overnight to transform snooker’s very own Theatre of Dreams into its coveted one-table setup.

This is the stage on which every single player who ever picks up a cue wants to play. There is something truly unique about this place when just one table sits centrally on this floor, despite the absence of a thousand pairs of eyes descending down on them this year.

John Higgins told us earlier this year “Blood, sweat and tears, that’s all the Crucible Theatre reminds you of. It’s a special place – the best place ever to play your snooker.”

Obviously, there is much more space, but it is now five paces to the table from the chair, where the players also have extra room after sharing their corners over the first three rounds.  

It is a very unique experience that only 56 players have previously tasted over the last 43 years. Either Anthony McGill or Kurt Maflin will be just the 57th.

In terms of a charity update as we approach the semi-finals, the players have contributed to 67 century breaks which already sees £13,400 heading off to Jessie May Children’s Hospice, and just 13 shy now of hitting the 80 barrier that triggers a donation of £25,000.

I can’t wait for the semis to start. Stay out of the sun and watch the snooker!

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