Ok firstly lets get the house keeping out of the way.Mark Allen released a statement this afternoon apologising to Cao and promising to improve his off table behavior next season.Having read the statement I don't think any of us believe Mark sat down with a pen and paper to compose this, rather it's an attempt by his management at damage limitation.That said though lets hope he takes what has been said seriously as a Mark Allen with his head down concentrating on snooker could only be a good thing for the sport.
Onto the action then and the morning saw two of the players many fancy to go all the way this year Judd Trump and Ding Junhui.starting their first round matches against Dominic Dale and Ryan Day respectively. Judd suffering the effects of food poisoning struggled early on and Dale didn't have to produce anything special to lead 3-1 at the interval.The rest seemed to do Judd some good though and he hit back to level at 3-3 and although Dale won the next to lead again Trump won the last two to finish the session leading 5-4.They play to a finish tomorrow afternoon.
On the other side last years semi finalist Ding has a real fight on his hands as he goes into tomorrow mornings final session trailing Day 5-4,
In the afternoon Ronnie O Sullivan did what he had to do and saw off Peter Ebdon by a scoreline of 10-4. Ronnie sporting a new haircut that by the look of it he may have given himself seemed in good form both on and off the table and will be a handfull for whoever he meets in this championship.Ebdon unfortunately never produced the form he had in China last month and gave an emotional press conference afterwards where he broke down talking about the death of his father last year.He also stated his belief that he can stil win another World title.
In the other afternoon match Joe Perry had people reaching for the record books as he raced into an 8-0 lead over 2006 champ Graeme Dott.In a largely scrappy affair Dott at least managed to stave off the whitewash by winning the last of the session but surely at 8-1 this match will see the curtain been raised between tables fairly quickly in the morning.
Tonight saw another seed bite the dust as the form player of 2012 Stephen Lee exited the championship losing 10-6 to former Welsh Open runner up Andrew Higginson.They had started the night with Higginson leading 5-4 and shared opening four frames to go to the interval 7-6.At this point though Higginson played some really fine snooker to pull away and secure his place in the second round. As for Lee no doubt he will be disappointed to exit at such an early stage but he can still look back with pride on his efforts over the last few months which have seen him climb into the world top eight.
Finally on the other table World No.1 Mark Selby faces an uphill task tomorrow to overcome a 6-3 deficit against Shootout winner Barry Hawkins. This was Selby's first match since he withdrew form last months China Open with a neck injury and seemed to lack some sharpness as he missed straight forward pots again and again.He will have to be at his best tomorrow to avoid joining the long list of seeds biting the dust.
So on we go to day 5 and what could be the most telling day yet as some of our pre tournament favourites will have to roll up their sleeves to stay in the hunt to become 2012 World Champion.What an interesting day we have in store.