The final round of qualifiers for the World Championship has begun with already plenty of drama witnessed at Ponds Forge.
In years gone past the viewer has been forced to sit impatiently, repeatedly tapping the refresh button on World Snooker’s live scoring service in order to see who was simply at a table or on a break.
However, the powers that be have constructed a fantastic new initiative for this year’s edition of the last qualifying round – typically one of the most dramatic and tense rounds of snooker on the entire calendar.
Not only are there the traditional two live streamed matches on World Snooker’s subscription service, but there is now an additional free stream on YouTube which covers the remainder of the six encounters of the session in a Soccer Saturday inspired format.
People were a little sceptical as to how it would materialise given World Snooker’s frequent mishaps with technological ventures on YouTube in the past.
Yet, it’s fair to say that a big kudos is deserved as this idea has been brilliantly executed and brings the extremities of the situation right to everybody in their living rooms – or offices.
With Neal Foulds and Rob Walker at the helm, and a camera on each of the tables, we are led to dip in and out of all the important moments as the players attempt to qualify for the Crucible.
And so, this afternoon fans were able to painfully look on as Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh missed the final black off the spot for a 147.
Incredibly, this is the second time – this season – that the 30 year-old has twitched with just one ball left to pot in completing the maximum.
To make matters worse, Un-Nooh faces an uphill battle to qualify, trailing Anthony McGill 6-3 despite a further 144 to add to his 140 on the failed max.
There was plenty more to enjoy as Ding Junhui all but booked his place in the main draw after establishing an 8-1 advantage over Nigel Bond while David Gilbert and Alan McManus also opened up handy cushions.
This evening the second group of eight encounters get their first session under way with Ireland’s Ken Doherty one of the main highlights on the YouTube channel as he takes on Ryan Day.
Other ties that you’ll be able to follow include an intriguing clash between Matthew Stevens and Kyren Wilson, as well as the all-Chinese battle involving Liang Wenbo and Xiao Guodong.
The action begins to unfold at 5pm local time.
Click on or play the live video below. (Update: Day 2 live video added)