Amazing fightback by Rugby’s qualifier to keep crowd on the edge of their seats
Rugby’s Chris Wakelin came agonisingly close to knocking fourth-seed Judd Trump out of the World Snooker Championships in a fantastic performance in Sheffield late last night (Thursday).
Having resumed play 6-3 down after Wednesday’s afternoon session, Wakelin went 7-3 and 8-4 behind before showing his class and confidence by winning four frames in a row to bring him back into contention in the opening round of the tournament.
Attracting endless praise from commentators for his impressive Crucible debut, describing his potting as ‘scintillating’ and ‘fabulous’ in an ‘almost flawless’ display, Wakelin also pulled off the most spectacular shot to escape a snooker, hitting the yellow off five cushions in the 17th frame.
Although the Rugby player went 9-8 down, an initial 49 break set up a very stong position in the next frame. Under pressure Trump eventually came back to just four points behind, at 61-65, needing only the final black to clinch the match. It seemed all over, but Trump missed and Wakelin incredibly held his nerve to make the long pot and take the match on to a deciding frame.
And what an exciting cat-and-mouse 19th frame it turned out to be, both men having great chances to take it. At 66-38 Wakelin was 28 behind with 25 remaining and the most absorbing battle ensued with well over 15 minutes of safety until another ball was potted. Again with Trump having the edge, he first missed the green to win the game and then the brown as Wakelin hung in, but just couldn’t stop Trump finally going through to the second round.
The BBC’s statistics for the game show just how close it was, with Trump - who has now won all eight of their meetings - scoring a total of 1006 points to Wakelin’s 929 and potting 291 balls to Wakelin’s 263. But the debutant had the better pot success with 91% to Trump’s 88% and much the better long pot success too with 71% to 59%. Safety success was close at 80% and 79% and Trump’s highest break was 72 to Wakelin’s professional career best of 141.