Well anyone who felt that the one thing this Championship was missing after the first couple of day was a genuine shock result, they certainly got what they were looking for today as two of the pre tournament favourites,John Higgins and Mark Allen,bit the dust
Coming in this afternoon trailing 6-3 from the first session,Higgins knew he needed a good start and that was exactly what he got winning the first with an 81 break.In the next he was again in first,but just as he was looking set to close within one frame at 6-5 he missed a straight forward black off the spot and Davis re-established his three frame lead at 7-4.Higgins won the twelfth to get back to 7-5 but as was becoming the story of the afternoon he just couldn't make that extra leap to close the gap further and Davis won the 13th to go to the interval leading 8-5.
When he comes to analyse this match Higgins will no doubt pin point his inability to get any real momentum going,but he will also be thinking about how,just when he needed it most,he got absolutely no run of the ball.
His first bit of bad luck came in the 14th fame,when after picking his way through some awkwardly placed reds he potted a hanging green,only to see the white ricochet off a number of reds before going in off.This gifted a chance to Davis which,as was the pattern in the match he duly took to go one away from victory at 9-5.Higgins showed all his battling qualities to win the next to but once again the snooker Gods were not on his side as,going along nicely in the 16th frame he attempted to split the reds off the green and a red flew into the corner pocket.This was to be his last contribution as Davis held his nerve to roll in a break of 87 and seal a famous 10-6 win.
This put the cap on what,after a very encouraging start, has been a very disappointing season for Higgins.The start of his demise can be maybe traced back to his defeat to Davis in the UK Championship when with the winning line in sight he unexpectedly missed.History was to repeat itself a month later when something similar happened against Murphy in the Masters and he never looked the same player since.
When he lost here last year to Hendry in the second round, it was probably the worst any of us had ever seen him play and many were beginning to write him off.The fact he could come back and win,what many still regard as the match of the season,against Trump in Shanghai show that you can never really count him out,but you just wonder,after such a long career,how many more times can he go to the well?
For Davis though this has been a season to remember.He has reached three ranking semi finals,finally got into the top 16 and now has recorded his biggest ever victory at the Crucible beating one of the games true greats.All this for a man who has been a pro for over 20 years and who will turn 41 in August.Whats more he has achieved all this by playing some fine snooker.In this one he never let up against Higgins and took his chances well when they came,It just shows perhaps how much of this game is down to confidence.
Confidence is not something that is normally lacking in Mark Allen and a case can certainly be made that he has been the unluckiest player this season,as despite retaining his World Open title he has consistently played very well in matches,only to come up against someone playing at their peak.That was again the case today as Mark King produced his best snooker in quite some time to record a 10-8 win.
This one had all the signs of been close as King won the opening two frames only for Allen to draw level at 2-2.that became 3-3 and 4-4 before King edged the last of the session to lead 5-4 going into the evening.
The evening session began with a series of tight close frames that saw Allen edge 7-5 ahead at the mid session interval,King won the next to make it 7-6 but when Allen again established a two frame lead at 8-6 and it looked as though he may have weathered the storm.
This was not to be though as King started to play his best snooker of the match.Breaks of 74 and 89 saw him draw level at 8-8 and when Allen,by now feeling the pressure missed a straight forward red,King again pounced with an 81 to go 9-8 ahead.In the next Allen again had his chance but when he missed a cut red to the.King again came in to seal a famous win.
This is the second year in a row that Allen has exited the world championship in round one and he will reflect on a season that could have been so different.I wonder maybe could he look at his style and see if there is anything there that he can do to stop players playing their natural games against him without compromising to much on his own game.
For King this is a famous win and not one that,in truth many would have expected.He will be happy not just with the win but also with the standard he produced.He will be looking forward to second round clash with Ding Junhui and Alan McManus
When Graeme Dott was drawn to play Peter Ebdon there was plenty of talk about how long this one would take with people remembering their 2006 World final encounter.and those fears proved to be correct as this one dragged out to a third session.
This was Ebdon's 22nd consecutive appearance at the Crucible and he could never have played any worse then he was here in the first session where hi finished trailing 6-2.It is to his great credit then that,unlike many others who would have possibly just given in,he came out this morning ready to battle it out,In a long and engrossing first four frames he managed to get right under the skin of Dott,taking them all to level at 6-6.at the interval.Dott was clearly getting more and more frustrated at this stage but the 15 minutes allowed him to clear his head and he stopped the rot to go 8-6 ahead before they were called ashore to allow the afternoon session.
Coming back tonight Dott was in no mood to hang around and having made it 9-8 he rounded off the win with a century to win 10-6.Next up for him will be Shaun Murphy in what will be a very different test.
In the matches that started today we could have another shock on our hands as Dechawat Poomjaneg leads. Stephen Maguire 5-3.Poomjaeng who had to come through four rounds of qualifying just to get here seemed determined to enjoy himself from the outset and the crucible crowd responded, immediately taking to the smiling Thai..That said he also played some good snooker and Maguire will have to improve when they resume tomorrow afternoon.if he is avoid a shock exit.
Another debutant determined to make his mark on this championship is Ben Woollaston and he will go into tomorrows second session against last years runner up Ali Carter just the one frame behind at 5-4.
A day of shocks then at the Crucible and the potential for a couple more to come,Add this to the fact that tomorrow we also have Mark Selby,Ding Junhui and Judd Trump entering the fray and this tournament is just starting to get interesting..