Giant Killer Cahill Slays King Of The Crucible
James Cahill added another big name scalp to his resume, beating legendary seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry 10-4 in the first round of Cazoo World Championship Qualifying at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Cahill is no stranger to knocking snooker’s biggest stars out of the marquee events. He defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan on his Crucible debut back in 2019 and has beaten the likes of Ding Junhui and Mark Selby at the UK Championship.
Hendry’s quest for a first trip to the Crucible since 2012 ends at the first hurdle. The 36-time ranking event winer still has a year left to run on his current invitational tour card and vowed to play on when speaking to press after the match.
This morning session saw Hendry make the 777th century of his career, but it was Cahill who emerged with a healthy 7-2 advantage. When play got underway this evening he soon extended his lead when he fired in a run of 70 to make it 8-2.
Hendry refused to wilt and provided resistance by taking the next two frames to stay in touch at 8-4. However, Cahill then returned the favour by capturing the following two frames to get over the line a 10-4 victor.
“I just tried to treat it as another game. I got out there and I couldn’t pot a ball, but it wasn’t because I was playing Stephen or it was the first round of the worlds. Eventually it clicked and I went from there. I’d never played Stephen before, so I suppose I can tick it off now,” said 27-year-old Cahill.
“I need to improve on that. There is no doubt about it. I got a lot of chances and Stephen was nowhere near his best. My long game needs to improve and my safety needs to be a bit better. In general, I think my game is there but it just hasn’t come out properly today. I’ll take one match at a time and see how it goes.”
An upbeat Hendry said: “I definitely want to play on. As I always stress it isn’t a comeback. I’m not going to play three or four hours a day and enter every event. I will play in the events that I can, with my other commitments. I love to play and in a perverse way it is fun!
“I just played too many bad shots and when you follow one bad shot with another it snowballs a bit. I started off great, two doubles in a century is good because I am the worst doubler in the world! There were little bits and pieces here and there, but generally there were too many unforced errors. That is something I criticise players for when I am commentating.
“It is still a very distant dream in the future that one day I’ll walk out at the Crucible again. It is very doubtful and huge odds against, but that is the dream.”
Welsh 16-year-old Liam Davies secured an impressive 10-8 win over Fergal O’Brien. It was a repeat of a second round victory for Davies against the Irishman in last year’s event, where a round earlier he had become the youngest match winner in World Championship history.
Davies won an important 16th frame on a re-spotted black, having previously required snookers, to move 9-7 ahead. After losing the 17th, he then got himself over the line to book a second round tie with Scotland’s Scott Donaldson.
Hong Kong’s three-time Women’s World Champion Ng On Yee put up an impressive fight against former Shoot Out winner Michael Holt, before succumbing to a 10-8 defeat.
On Yee’s break of 115 in the first session is the highest ever made by a female player in the World Championship. However, Holt crafted runs of 75, 56, 80, 51, 98, 56, 54 and 61 on his way to this evening’s win and now plays Oliver Lines in the second round.
Ireland’s 1997 Crucible king Ken Doherty battled to a 10-5 win over 12-time Women’s World Champion Reanne Evans. Doherty top scored with 81 and will face Hammad Miah up next.