DAY THREE of this year’s World Championship saw yet another shock result as qualifier Jamie Jones knocked out former world champion Shaun Murphy.
The 2005 winner became the fourth seeded player to suffer an early exit at the Crucible losing to the Welshman 10-8 and followed in the footsteps of Stuart Bingham, Mark Allen and Martin Gould.
Leading 5-4 overnight, Murphy won the opening frame of the final session to go two frames clear. Jones won a scrappy eleventh frame before the next two frames were shared as Murphy lead 7-6 in the mid-session interval.
But Jones turned the game on its head winning the next two frames after the restart to lead 8-7 and then increased his lead to 9-7 to put him on the verge of his biggest win of his career.
Murphy pulled a frame back but Jones managed to hold his nerve at the crucial time winning another tense frame to pull off a sensational win. A long pot on a crucial red saw Jones roar in delight in front of his supporters as he did enough to pass the winning post.
Today turned out to be a great day for Welsh Snooker as Matthew Stevens eased to a comfortable 10-3 win over Marco Fu. The two-times World Championship runner-up was in good form and at one stage held an 8-0 lead.
Three-times winner Ronnie O’Sullivan also enjoyed a good day on the baize after taking a commanding 7-2 lead against recent China Open champion Peter Ebdon. Given Ebdon’s recent success it was a bit of a surprise to see the match as one-sided as it was.
The match looked set to be a classic with the first frame being decided on a re-spotted black. O’Sullivan edged it after a lengthy safety exchange meant a dramatic start to what was regarded as one of the matches of the opening round.
Ebdon responded brilliantly winning the second frame but that was the only joy he was going to get for some time as O’Sullivan dominated taking the next six frames. Ebdon however won the final frame of the session, but at 7-2 down he has it all to do tomorrow afternoon to knock O’Sullivan out at the first hurdle.
This morning saw Stephen Maguire complete a 10-5 win against 17-year-old Luca Brecel. Despite losing Brecel was to receive better news later in the day as World Snooker chief Barry Hearn confirmed he and Tony Drago had been chosen as wildcards to be on the main professional snooker tour for the next two years- despite both being outside the top 64.
And Stephen Lee will go into his final session against Andrew Higginson tomorrow trailing 5-4. Lee, who has had a very impressive season, could have finished the session 6-3 behind but a 58 break reduced his arrears to just one frame. The winner of that match will play the star of the day Jamie Jones in the next round.
Tomorrow will see last year’s runner-up Judd Trump and former world champion Graeme Dott in action.