Neil’s Notes: Doherty delivers first shock

Ken Doherty celebrates victory in his first round match against Stuart Bingham during the Dafabet World Snooker Championships at The Crucible
Ken Doherty celebrates victory in his first round match against Stuart Bingham during the Dafabet World Snooker Championships at The Crucible
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SHOCKS are part and parcel of sport – and they make it exciting.

And here at the Crucible we had our first shock of the championship on only the second morning.

But it was golden oldie Ken Doherty who was the unlikely man-of-the-moment as he rolled back the years to stun Stuart Bingham, a quarter-finalist last season, with a brilliant comeback.

Down 5-3 and facing a battle to stay in the tournament, Dubliner Doherty made his vast experience count to win seven frames on the spin for a fine 10-5 victory.

It was a great performance from Doherty who showed he’s still capable of delivering on the biggest stage of all 17 years after he first won the world title.

Doherty, 44, is the oldest man in the draw and last won a match at the Crucible in 2006.

He’s also well-liked on the circuit and highly respected by his fellow professionals, so his win at snooker’s very own ‘Theatre of Dreams’ was all the more special.

“I was starting to get really emotional in the last couple of frames,” admitted a delighted Doherty.

“At this stage of my career I’m relishing every moment out there. You have to enjoy it because I don’t know how many more times I’m going to be here.

“I had to try and savour every moment of it and, maybe in a way, that’s helped to relax me.”

Next up is a last 16 clash with either John Higgins, the four-time world champion, or Alan McManus, the second oldest player in the draw aged 43.

Tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan predictably eased into the next round with a routine 10-4 win over Finland qualifier Robin Hull, the world No 122, and lowest ranked player in the draw.

The ‘Rocket’ was far from his flowing best as he mustered just one century in his win, but the five-time Crucible winner seems in an ominously happy frame of mind.

But he stressed: “I’m here to do a job, I don’t think there’s a massive expectation on me.”

Results: Ken Doherty bt Stuart Bingham 10-5, Ronnie O’Sullivan bt Robin Hull 10-4, Ali Carter bt Xiao Guodong 10-8, Ryan Day bt Stephen Maguire 10-9, Shaun Murphy bt Jamie Cope 10-9