Frame 32: Selby 17-14 Ding
Shot of the evening — a ridiculous, thinly cut red, leaving the white careering horizontally several times. That brings up 98 for Ding. With three figures on the board however, he immediately dumps out, so no clearance this time.
Premier League, sch-memier league. All the cool kids are over this way. One more charge into the pack needed to free up some more options of a crimson bent — bootiful. Then 66 ahead with an easy black to leave Selby needing to do his snooker-y thing. But I smell a century. A lovely long red from Ding. This is calm and assured stuff under the circumstances. Selby to break after the mid-session interval. Ding sends the cue ball back towards the green pocket, flirts with it suggestively, and leaves Selby with an awkward safety.
The world No1 clips the object red far too thin, but the cue ball, between mid-table and baulk, has the blue between it and anything meaningful. His next safety is much better, and although Ding gets the white back up the table, Selby has a chance. But he plays it as a shot to nothing with enough weight to get tightish to the top cushion. We might have a few minutes of this. Unfortunately, what I failed to acknowledge is that the whippet-like youngling Alan Smith, also of this parish, was also in the race.
And he beat the lot of them, with a fine time of 3hrs 15m 13sec. So belated congrats Alan. Intriguingly, some of Ronnie times can be found in his profile on the Power of 10 website. I knew he enjoyed his running, but I had no idea he was quite that good. His Parkrun 5km PB: So he has me licked by over six minutes no gauge of class in itself by the way.
Back on crap holdy-uppy things in the crowd, important thoughts from our own Owen Gibson, which can apply to all sports everywhere …. Another proposed new law: A4 efforts in felt tip not acceptable.
He visibly relaxes as the ensuing pink also goes down, reducing the possibility for the Selby snooker-a-tron kicking into life for the first time tonight. And Ding goes into the mid-session interval with a clearance of As Lenny Kravitz once sang, much to my annoyance …. Paul Collier, officiating the final, shows his displeasure as another mobile chimes out, shattering the decorum at the table.
Ding is not to be chimed out of his composure however, and his next shot is an outstanding, red-developing rasper. But with his break at the 22 mark, he gets an unfortunate double-kiss trying to play safe off the green. Cracks in the Selby armour. A badly misjudged dink on to a red finishes short, and leaves Ding well set once more. But then Ding finishes short playing for the blue! Plenty of capacity for things to go badly wrong, but playing it round the green pocket with lots of side takes him back in touch with the reds.
Clustered reds leaves lots of mileage in this frame however. Also available on the Guardian tonight, more sport with potentially news-making potential. Currently eight minutes in …. A phenomenal long pot from Ding to get the scoreboard moving. But the ensuing yellow fails to drop. Mercifully, nothing of note left for Selby. A re-rack looked a shoo-in, until Ding leaves the cue ball touching one of the reds.
Easy safety for Selby, playing away. I am following along from the Race Rocks lighthouse perched on a tiny island off the west coast of British Columbia! Only about 10 miles from Victoria, hometown of Cliff Thorburn! Not like the 80s when there were 3 or 4!
Although I read somewhere that Marco Fu grew up in Vancouver. Myself and Mrs Goodwin hit our year anniversary mark next year and are heading Canada-wards.
More phone-based dickheadedness in the crowd. Just put them on silent, folks. Ding composes himself and sinks an awkward black. But Ding gets over the line. He needed to seal the frame to leave himself with more than a margin of error to play with — and he has. And develop them he does. Well, two of them anyway. Time for The Safety Dance. He will be doing extremely well to make a shot and leave Ding without a red on. Almost three minutes after Selby took the table, he tries a tap off one cushion into the base of the cluster.
But he leaves a red on for Ding to the right centre pocket. Ding has cut a calm figure this evening but just before the crucial black in frame 27 his face was suddenly doused in sweat. If this match is to go much further he needs to rally in almost as grand a style as he managed at this time yesterday.
Early stages of this frame, great pot from Ding cueing from the bottom cushion to sink a red into the right centre. Couple of shots later, time for another key black to take the cue ball into the clustered reds. Strong contact, unfortunate outcome.
Not a lot immediately on. Ding towels his face as Selby lines the shot up. Ding responds with a better safety, and a harder long pot faces the world No1. Fortune favours him as the missed red goes safe. Selby eyes up a flamboyant double into the middle pocket, with the cue ball travelling past from baulk down to the bottom cushion and back again.
A brave cannon to develop two balls by the bottom cushion leaves all remaining reds with room the breathe. The Chinese player quickly takes the lead in the frame. Ding needs to head for the cluster off a side cushion. Attempt one stops well short. He chops down on the cue ball, applying left hand side, but has midjudged the gap to the object ball, and strikes another in between the two. No pot, but nothing left for Ding to score with.
Selby then takes on a long red and misses by several inches, before the cue ball hammers into the cluster of reds. This is a crucial opportunity for the Chinese, with plenty of reds available.
May the best man win bbcsnooker betfredworldchampionship pic. The Chinese then leaves the white tight to the baulk cushion once more. A couple of shots later an attempted long red from Ding rattles the jaws but flies out, skirting with the opposite corner on its way back up the table.
However, his opponent - playing in his first Crucible final - won the seventh and eighth frames to stay in touch. Ding, 29, had to come through three qualifying matches to qualify for the main draw after slipping to 17th in the world rankings. He is bidding to become only the third qualifier after Terry Griffiths in and Shaun Murphy in to lift the trophy, and the first Asian world champion. Selby looked like he might run away with the final when he won the first frame of the second session, but he suffered an unfortunate miscue when in amongst the reds in the next.
He followed it up with a century, his 13th of the tournament, and a cool 89 under pressure to reduce the deficit to Ding grabbed two of the next three, including the marathon 15th frame to go behind, but it seemed to take a lot out of him. Selby, who was clearly struggling with tiredness, pinched the final two frames of the session, punching the table and raising his cue in delight on his way to finally bringing the session to a conclusion.
Six-time world champion Steve Davis: When you require one or two snookers you've got to go for them, but the standard of safety play was astonishing and a frame can go on a long time. Nobody is giving an inch. Ding looked as fresh as anything. It was a phenomenal performance. His eyes are so tired, he's absolutely gone, but he keeps finding something. Mark Selby has shown incredible resolve and mental strength. It looked like Ding was closing to within one frame or even possibly levelling the match, but he came back very strongly despite his tiredness.
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: The maths behind s.