O’Sullivan flying however pigeon takes centre stage at World Snooker Championship | World Snooker Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan continued to dwelling in on a record-equalling seventh Crucible title on a day when a pigeon fluttered on to centre stage on the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

The avian interloper flew down from the rafters and briefly alighted on the underside cushion as Yan Bingtao ready to interrupt off within the sixth body of his afternoon match towards defending champion Mark Selby.

It was ushered out by way of the gamers’ entrance, previous a startled Selby who was returning to the world, and event officers later confirmed it had been captured and launched unhurt.

Later, O’Sullivan confirmed simply how a lot he fancies emulating Stephen Hendry’s document as he soared right into a 12-4 lead over Mark Allen, which means he wants only one extra body from their concluding session on Saturday to achieve the final eight for the twentieth time.

O’Sullivan began the match by threatening a most break after potting 10 reds and 9 blacks, and posted an extra break of 131 as he cruised right into a 6-2 lead on the finish of the morning session. Allen received the primary body upon the night resumption however missed the best of pinks with the body at his mercy within the subsequent, and the error proved pivotal as O’Sullivan cleared for 7-3 and would by no means look again.

O’Sullivan obtained 88 factors into one other attainable 147 within the subsequent earlier than working out of place, then capitalised on a pair of pricey errors by his opponent to lift the actual prospect of wrapping up his last-eight place with a session to area.

Allen prevented that embarrassment with a gutsy break of 110 however O’Sullivan took the ultimate two frames of the night – the final his second century of the match – to make his development on Saturday a formality.

Earlier, Mark Williams did transfer into the final eight with a session to spare, wrapping up a dominant 13-3 win over 20-year-old Jackson Page, who trains on the three-time champion’s membership in Tredegar. Williams produced a number of the greatest type of his profession to compile six centuries and eight additional breaks of 50-plus as he rendered Friday night time’s scheduled concluding session out of date.

And he revealed he had piled on the agony for his younger opponent, whom he had additionally fleeced in a card sport on the eve of what turned out to be the concluding session of their match. “We had dinner on Thursday night and a game of cards in the hotel reception – I took 15 off him,” revealed Williams. “We will do the same thing again after this match – just chill out.

“If it was anybody else, I’d love to have won with a session to spare. I don’t feel like that playing Jackson. It’s a good learning curve for him and we will see how he bounces back.”

Shell-shocked Page known as Williams’ kind “ridiculous” however the 47-year-old sought to minimize his possibilities of a fourth crown, insisting: “I ain’t a championship contender. I can’t play much better than that at my age. I cannot improve.” Opening with a break of 110 to maneuver additional in entrance, Williams then snatched the tenth body with a clearance to black after Page missed the final purple to go away him stranded on a highest break of 69.

Ronnie O’Sullivan was just a frame away from victory at the conclusion of his evening session against Mark Allen.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was only a body away from victory on the conclusion of his night session towards Mark Allen. Photograph: Colin Poultney/ProSports/Shutterstock

Two half-centuries within the subsequent body made it 10-1 for Williams, who was fulfilling his tongue-in-cheek declare that he needed to “destroy” Page, who arrange the assembly with a formidable first-round success over Barry Hawkins. Page obtained a second body on the board however Williams was cruel, firing back-to-back centuries after which, after Page clawed again one other body, ending with a 56 to e-book a last-eight assembly with both Selby or Bingtao.

Selby twice fought again from two frames behind to finish the opening session towards former Masters champion Bingtao all sq. at 4-4, forward of the ultimate two periods of their match on Saturday. Stephen Maguire is 2 frames away from the quarter-finals after surging to an 11-5 lead over reigning UK champion Zhao Xintong forward of their concluding session on Saturday.

Lisowski hits again over Ukraine flag refusal

Jack Lisowski has criticised the World Snooker Tour for refusing to let him put on a Ukraine flag on his waistcoat at this yr’s event in Sheffield. The No 14 seed, who represents England and was born in Cheltenham, has a Ukrainian grandfather.

“Everyone in this room would agree [to] supporting Ukraine so why the hell can’t I wear it?” Lisowski informed the BBC. “It’s something that is close to my heart. My grandad is Ukrainian, my dad has been out there. It is very sad what is going on over there.”

Lisowski, who will play Neil Robertson within the second spherical, added: “I tried to wear it [in Sheffield] and they told me I couldn’t unless I was Ukrainian. I’ve got some Ukrainian in me, but it wasn’t enough … I want to wear it but I wasn’t allowed.”

The World Snooker Tour (WST) mentioned in an announcement: “Our policy is to not allow our sport to be used as a political platform at the world championship. We are strongly against the invasion of any sovereign nation and all forms of violence or oppression.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people who are suffering as a result of the current conflict in Ukraine.”

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