DAVID GILBERT DRIVING A TRACTOR!

Ding Wins Despite 147 Blunder

Ding Junhui

Ding Junhui failed to realise he had a chance of a 147

Ding Junhui scored a 10-7 victory over Mark Davis in the first round of the Betfred World Championship – despite an astonishing lapse in concentration which cost him the chance of a maximum break.

By his high standards, China’s Ding has a poor record at the Crucible, having reached the semi-finals only once in eight previous appearances, and he has suffered three first round defeats including a shock 10-9 reverse against Michael Wasley last year.

The Sheffield-based player looked in danger of another early exit when he lost the first four frames against Davis yesterday. Ding trailed 4-3 after the first session, but hit back to win seven of ten frames today to book an intriguing last 16 clash with John Higgins.

Sussex’s Davis made a break of 106 in the opening frame today, then in the next Ding potted 12 reds with blacks and looked to have a clear chance of a 147, which would have been the 11th maximum ever made at the Crucible and worth a possible £30,000. Remarkably, though, he failed to notice that he he was on for a 147, and played for the blue off the 13th red. As the crowd gasped, Ding immediately realised his mistake, but was unable to cut a thin black into the top corner.

The match remained in the balance when Ding led 8-7, but he finished strongly with runs of 73 and 85 to seal victory.

“I didn’t even know about the 147,” said world number three Ding, who has failed to reach the final of a ranking event this season after winning five titles last term. “I potted the red and heard the noises from the crowd and I realised what I had done. The blue was on its spot and I was just trying to make a century, I wasn’t even thinking about making the 147. I was just trying to keep going and potting the balls because I needed to get back in the match. I was just trying to keep scoring heavily, making big breaks and putting him under pressure.

“The start of the match was not very good but I think I grew into it and played ok. I was just thinking about enjoying the World Championship, in the same way that the fans enjoy being able to watch it.

“When it was 6-6 he had a good chance to win the frame, but he got a kick and ended up snookering himself. I got a bit lucky.

“John Higgins is an old friend of mine and I’ve played him many, many times. I lost the first five times we played but I learned a lot from him and I’ve got more confidence to play him now. I need to just stay focussed and play the right shots in the match, then I have a chance.”

Davis said: “It’s disappointing because 4-0 was a good lead but I didn’t take advantage yesterday when Ding was struggling. I felt really good the whole match, I kept feeling if I could get a chance I could score, but I just kept losing position all the time for one reason or the other.

“Ding’s shot on the 147 was a strange one because it was a really good chance. I just said to him ‘you must have too much money mate, you’re not even going for them any more.'”

Mark Allen takes a three frame advantage over Ryan Day into this evening’s concluding session after recovering from 3-1 down to lead 6-3 (Thomas McGovern writes).

The Northern Irishman looked out of sorts at the beginning of this morning’s session as Day capitalised to take a 3-1 lead with a top break of 79.

World number 12 Allen recovered to 3-3 with runs of 67 and 81, before narrowly clinching the seventh frame to go ahead for the first time. Allen’s momentum continued as he went 5-3 ahead, then finished the session with a superb 101 clearance to notch his fifth frame in a row. They resume at 7pm.