Former world champion and current world number 2 Neil Robertson has revealed how he was forced to play on in a frame despite trailing his opponent by 106 points – at the home of snooker.
The bizarre incident happened in the early stages of the 2015 World Championship quarter-final which saw the Australian meet Barry Hawkins at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
Both players had been playing brilliant spells of snooker in the opening session. Robertson took a 3-1 lead before Hawkins came storming back with breaks of 91, 98 and 115 to take the lead at 4-3.
The next frame saw Hawkins dominate again by scoring 106 points without reply. Frame done and dusted surely?
Well….not quite. There was a little bit more action.
Robertson has recently revealed how he opted to play on in the eighth frame – despite being 106 points adrift – to pot the final red before then conceding.
The 2010 world champion said he resumed to pot the last red because he felt he was close to becoming the victim of an unwanted record – being the opponent for most unanswered points scored in a World Championship contest.
Before Robertson potted the red, Hawkins had scored 410 points without reply. The all-time record in any Crucible match is 485 by four-times world champion John Higgins who achieved the feat in his second round clash with Anthony Hamilton in 2000.
This meant had Robertson not potted the red, Hawkins could have broken the record in the next frame of their high-quality contest.
And it seems Robertson was fully aware of the statistic at the time.
The Australian responded to a tweet from former player and snooker pundit Neal Foulds who tweeted a picture of a page from the latest edition of the Crucible Almanac – a book which records all World Championship statistics.
Robertson tweeted back: “If you scroll down to unanswered points. Funny thing when I played Barry Hawkins after he played 4 flawless frames where I hadn’t scored a point. He missed the last red and I was well aware I was getting close to a nasty record so knocked it in then conceded the frame haha.”
According to snooker database website Cuetracker, Hawkins continued his dominance in frame nine with a break of 106 – however Robertson did manage to score six points in the frame.
Hawkins beat Robertson 13-12 to reach the semi-finals of the competition.