Strong Start For Maflin

Norway’s Kurt Maflin holds a 5-3 lead over four-time Crucible king John Higgins after the first session of their Betfred World Championship second round meeting.

Maflin’s thrilling 10-8 victory over David Gilbert in the opening round was his first ever win at the Crucible. His only other trip to snooker’s Theatre of Dreams ended in a 10-9 defeat against Mark Selby in 2015.

Scotland’s Higgins is bidding for a fifth world title and a fourth consecutive appearance in the Crucible final. He booked his place in the second round with a 10-5 win over Matthew Stevens.

Higgins took control in the early exchanges this afternoon, claiming the opening two frames with breaks of 53 and 69. Maflin responded with a contribution of 79, before claiming the fourth frame to draw level at 2-2.

The Norwegian then made it four frames on the bounce, to lead 4-2. Higgins replied with a fine century run of 101 to pull within a frame. However, Maflin re-established his two-frame cushion with a break of 81 to lead 5-3.

They will return for the second of three sessions tomorrow morning at 10am.