Returning after the success of last year is our inconspicuous snooker aficionado, Free Ball.
Throughout the World Championship, this unnamed follower of our beloved sport will provide a few musings on some of the not so well documented happenings in Sheffield – mostly from the luxury of his/her own settee.
The main talking points obviously surround the snooker played in the arena but there’s plenty of other things, both useful and useless, to take note of during a tournament of this extremity and length.
Read below for the latest offering, but who is behind the Free Ball?
By Free Ball
Can we just call these matches the final and 3rd place play-off? What a contrast in play.
In one, you have Ding all sombre faced, eye-twitching, brow raising if he unexpectedly misses a pot. His opponent, McManus, all mumbling, groaning and brow raising if he unexpectedly misses a pot.
In the other match, Selby takes a bow as he impossibly compiles a break of say, 14. His opponent, Fu, seems desperate to allow Selby every chance in each frame. So much so, Fu decided yesterday to take his cue apart.
Alan McManus, would have no such difficulties as he comes to a match fully prepared for any eventuality. He clearly has been playing with a spare cue ball up one of his nostrils. He does need to mumble a few extra frames out at pace this afternoon though.
I find it hard to believe Selby still has a chance to retain his No.1 spot in the world rankings. He had a very average season and his Crucible displays this year have been relatively poor. It certainly reveals how competitive the tour is now, so for that reason, let Bingham be top of the tree for the laugh.
Meanwhile, the gift that is BBC coverage has surpassed itself. Again. The Red Button went off air as BBC 1 took over. And as I write, they have already wasted 50 minutes of live play to show completed frames. This is The World’s third place play-off match, people!