I was fortunate enough to watch one of the most extraordinary games of snooker ever yesterday. And it was most extraordinary.
Anthony McGill had valiantly fought back in the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship against much higher seeded Kyren Wilson and looked like he had the final game and match sewn up. In fact the way he was potting you would have placed a sizeable wager upon it. He had a simplish ball off the cushion to push two reds into the middle of the table and set up a pretty straightforward clearance. But remarkably the white ball somehow whistled through a ball’s width gap between the two reds and ended the break. I reckon if he’d actually tried to execute that shot he would have been there the remainder of the day. But it went through and ended his break.
Kyren then hit a poor shot and it looked like he had left a sitter for Anthony, but was just saved by a green ball, which made what was looking like a simple pot, now impossible. Kyren breathed again.
A few shots later Kyren put Anthony in a deadly snooker. Anthony tried eight times to get out and failed. Kyren then had a one shot lead and so necessitating Anthony to make a snooker. With the balls as they were positioned this looked well nigh impossible and so he decided to take command and the next shot. But then something remarkable happened. He was attempting a very low risk shot in putting the white safe down the table, but got a fluke kiss which sent it into the middle pocket! Kyren shouted ‘no’. The unfathomably unimaginable had happened.
Anthony was somehow back in the game! But the the plot thickened again as Kyren unintentionally potted a ball, basically a fluke, to again require Anthony to get a snooker. Kyren was visibly ashamed at this ridiculous stroke of luck, apologising to a now shell-shocked Anthony and both men looked they were going to burst into tears (and one kill another).
The commentator made the salient point though, that Kyren would have to gather himself to finish this off now, because it wasn’t quite over with the pink and black still on the table. However, as Steven Hendry commented, it was almost impossible now for Kyren to lose.
However, Kyren hit a safety shot and almost staggered in disbelief at what he’d just done, for he should not have done what he’d just done, and any sane professional snooker player in this situation would not have done what he’d just done, for he hit a safety shot with a tiny, tiny chance of a double-kiss and the white ball going into the corner pocket. And he should not have done that.
And for one unbearable second, for it must have been truly unbearable after all that had just passed, it very nearly did, as Kyren’s white ball perilously wobbled over the pocket. His heart must have been not only in his mouth but heavily weighing his jaw Crucible-floor-bound. It actually would have been too ridiculous for words after all this. It would have almost in fact been tragic. I don’t think he would ever have recovered from that to be honest.
But most unbelievably fortunate for Kyren, it didn’t drop and you could see him remonstrate with himself for the crazy waywardness of that shot. For it was indeed crazy.
So how can I end this?
Well, as Kyren was seen to say to members of his family in the audience as he worked through this episode.
‘This is mad’
Yes it was.