World Snooker Championship: Legend Jimmy White blasts Sheffield-based Bingtao Yan for breaking ‘unwritten rule’ in win over Mark Selby

Sheffield-based snooker star Bingtao Yan produced an eye-catching performance to end Mark Selby’s hopes of retaining his World Snooker Championship title – but it was not without controversy.

Sunday, 24th April 2022, 2:11 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th April 2022, 10:25 pm

The 22-year-old, who moved to the Steel City six years ago to further his career, is a regular at Vics Snooker Academy and has spoken a number of times about his love for the region.

His 13-10 win over world number one Selby is the latest result of note on an impressive career trajectory. A marathon final session which produced the longest frame in Crucible history. The pair arm-wrestled for 85 minutes and 22 seconds before Yan ended the stand-off.

Selby was seen to be perturbed by a moment in which he appeared to ask referee Rob Spencer to clean the ball when looking over a tight pot.

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Chinese snooker star Yan Bingtao beat Mark Selby to keep his place in the World Snooker Championship.

It was suggested the youngster was attempting to gain an advantage in that the ball could be moved to give him a better view of an important brown, angering six-time World Championship finalist Jimmy White.

“Now that is an unwritten rule amongst professional snooker players,” White said. “Fair play to [referee] Rob Spencer for saying 'No, I'm not going to clean the cue ball' in this situation because he could put that cue ball back slightly wrong and then Bingtao can have an easy shot at this brown. But as it turns out he could pot the brown.

“It is something you don't do. It might have been Bingtao being under pressure and thinking of anything to win, but you don't do that in snooker.”

Former world number six Alan McManus said: “We don't know what was in Yan's mind, as to how underhand he was thinking. I don't like seeing it, Mark Selby did not like seeing it and most of the players on tour would be the same. It's not something we encourage. We actually encourage the opposite.

“The referee won't be hoodwinked there anyway because Rob Spencer is a brilliant referee,” the Scot continued.

“Yan's young and he's not from these shores. Maybe someone could take him aside and say ‘You've tried to pull a fast one there’ but in future you don't do that.”