Anthony Hamilton completed an amazing turnaround in his Embassy World Championship first-round match against Dave Harold by storming to a 10-6 victory at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre today.
The 30-year-old, originally from Nottingham and nicknamed the Robin Hood of Snooker, looked unable to get into the contest when he trailed 4-1 yesterday morning as Harold began like a house on fire.
But suddenly the scales tipped in Hamilton’s favour as he reeled off nine of the last 11 frames to secure a meeting with either Mark Williams or John Parrott on Saturday.
It was a result that condemned Harold who had compiled a 135 to equal the highest break of the tournament so far when he made his flying start to life outside the world’s top 16 next season after a disappointing campaign.
The world number 15 became the third seed to fall this week and was unable to pinpoint why he had lost his form after appearing to have this match under control.
‘‘In the first few frames I produced some of my best snooker ever,’’ said the 35-year-old, who will console himself by attending all of England’s group games at the World Cup and following Stoke City in the play-offs.
‘‘How Anthony came back to lead 5-4 I’ll never know it was a travesty and he had quite a bit of ‘rub’.
‘‘But I played abysmally today and he finished me off well. If I’d played to 80% of yesterday’s standard I’d have won, but instead I was only at 50% and you can’t beat anyone playing like that.’’
Hamilton is enjoying a fine end to the term after a disappointing spell and was runner-up to Williams in the recent China Open.
‘‘I was playing like an idiot earlier in the season but one decent tournament and I’m a good player again,’’ said London-based Hamilton.
‘‘To be 5-4 up was a massive bonus and a big psychological boost. I felt a bit off yesterday morning and was still half asleep, but Dave never missed anything then.
‘‘I got three good chances today to finish the match off and I’m just glad I got over the line before they pulled us off the table. I didn’t want to be sat thinking about it in the hotel for a few hours.’’
In the other match of the morning session, Robert Milkins made a great start to his Crucible career against 16th seed Fergal O’Brien.
The 26-year-old from Gloucester led 3-0 and could have gone 6-2 up, but he missed a long blue which allowed the Irishman to pull back to 5-4 down ahead of tonight’s conclusion.