Day 6 at Telford and it is the end of the quarter finals as we find out the final four in this years UK Championship.
And today it is England v Australia (again) and it produces the same result as Murphy comes through against Robertson – hmmmm I wont do any Ashes jokes – you can do those for yourselves. But it is fair to say that England are doing better than the Aussies at the mo.
Also through is Mark Williams and it is the end of the line for Mark Joyce who will no doubt take a lot of positives from his performance here. Bizarre moment in the Robertson v Murphy match: well you have heard of rain stopped play – well this was scorebaord stopped play. It was only a brief delay before the match was able to resume during which time two apprentice grandmasters in the press room indulge in a game of chess. No names no pack drill – but neither would worry Kasparov or Karpov.
Semi finals tomorrow: these finishes are getting later and later. Time for bed
FORMER World and UK Champion Shaun Murphy edged his way into the semi finals of the UK Championship in Telford after a 9-7 victory over world champion Neil Robertson. Robertson, who has never won this title, got off to the best possible start by taking the opening two frames of the match. But this was to be merely a taster of what was to come as Murphy got the wake up call and replied with breaks of 70 and 75 to be level, 2-2 at the mid session interval.
The Englishman, who won this title in 2008 was soon in front of his Australian rival as he took the fifth frame of the match with breaks of 44 and 26. But Robertson, was not about to allow Murphy to dictate the match as he squared it at 3-3 with a break of 126, only to fall 3-4 behind withy a 92 for Murphy. With just one frame of the session left to play it was left to Robertson to piece together a vital 40 break – and combined with numerous foul shots from Murphy eventually scrambled over the line to level at 4-4 at the end of the session.
Resuming it was Neil who had the better start as he banged in a 90 break to account for the ninth frame. Murphy though is not easily subdued and hit back with an 88. Never more than one frame in the match – except for the opening frames it was Murphy who claimed the eleventh frame when Robertson missed a yellow off it’s spot and a 50 break was to prove sufficient for a 6-5 advantage before Robertson squared the match at the mid session interval with a 120 clearance.
Murphy took the next with a break of 72 and really should have gone 8-6 up, but after missing a blue off its spot in the latter stages, with the frame still alive for the Australian was forced to sit and suffer as Robertson stroked in the red from short range and made a critical 17 to restore parity.
But it was a grimly determined Murphy who dominated to lead 8-7 with the help of an early 31 and then powered in along straight red for a vital 49 to force a concession from the world champion, who now needed both of the remaining frames if he was going to beat the 2008 UK champion. And he was destined not to get either of them as after a brief delay where the scoreboard stopped play Murphy returned with a vital 22 to seal a 9-7 victory over the world champion, and move into the semi finals.
Meanwhile Mark Williams ended the run of Mark Joyce 9-7 in a nerve jangling quarter final. It is true to say that football is a game of two halves, well in snooker the equivalent is a session of two halves. No where more indicative of this than on the other table as Mark Williams jumped into a 4-0 lead over Walsall’s Mark Joyce, only to be pegged back to 4-4 at the close. Joyce had suffered the massive blow of losing a black ball third frame after recovering from 54-7 to be in a position to pinch it, if he could roll the black from it’s spot into the centre pocket. Agonisingly the ball stayed out and Williams was left with a simple black to the centre. And it wasn’t a huge surprise when Williams accounted for the fourth frame.
But the mid session interval came to the rescue of Joyce, the former English Amateur champion as he returned refreshed to hammer in a 109 to avert the threat of the dreaded whitewash. Encouraged he took the sixth with a 91, and then claimed the last two of the session to level at 4-4.