The World Snooker final threatened to be a damp squib, such was John Higgins' early dominance over defending champion Mark Selby in the opening session, in which he raced into a 10-4 lead. Selby battled back, however, and has now won five frames in a row, to trail by a solitary frame this afternoon.
With Higgins rattled, Selby chased the levelling frame in the twentieth, but inexplicably missed a simple red into the middle pocket to allow Higgins come back to the table. Higgins put 29 points up before allowing Selby to return, with the champion then ceding the table to Higgins, with scoring opportunity compromised by a snooker.
To escape, Higgins had to hit two cushions, graze a red, swerve and off-the-spot brown and leave the cue ball at the back of the table.
The first shot went awry, with Higgins missing the red, hitting the brown and leaving the cue ball in the pocket. Selby reset...and Higgins did it again, hitting an identical shot with the same outcome. With laughter engulfing the Crucible, and Higgins betraying a good sense of humour, Selby reset again....and yet again, Higgins hit the same shot, with the same outcome.
To be fair to Higgins, he hit it fourth time lucky, and the players shared a smile as the tension of the arena was put in brief suspension.
Watch it below.
It proved to be an error-strewn frame, but ultimately Higgins halted momentum and denied Selby a chance to get back to all-square. Higgins leads 11-7, with the winner being the first man to reach 18.