Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. 15/04/17

World Championships, First Round, Evening Session.

While this blog is all about my adventure around Non League with my hip, I can’t forget my first foray into professional snooker. Apologies for this, but I’m doing it anyway!

I had to pass up a trip to Selby with Ken for a visit to the home of Snooker. I had purchased these tickets back in August when I was feeling very sorry for myself, nursing my hip and tripping on Tramadol. Going to the Crucible to see the World Championships has been an ambition of mine so I had to follow it through, I would never have thought that my footballing adventure would take the direction that it has, but Selby will still be there next season.

Ironically, the game on Table One was the culmination of pre-tournament favourite and World Number One Mark Selby’s first round match against Fergal O’Brien. I got to see his entrance but the dividing screen ensured that the brief glimpse of the Jester from Leicester was all I would experience. We had also missed out on seeing Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan who played in the earlier session, the draw gods had not been overly kind to us. So it was Maguire vs McGill, the former already 7-2 up in this first to ten frame showdown. Maguire was as dominant as Hemsworth earlier on and completed his three-frame evening-session victory in about an hour, we didn’t really get the World Championship experience I thought we would.

It was a chance to spend the evening with my old man who I had invited to join me in Sheffield. I have absolutely loved my season, meeting fantastic people and seeing some great football. My eyes have well and truly been opened to this jewel in the beautiful game’s crown. the one thing I do miss though is watching it with my Dad. Ihave had the pleasure (or displeasure) of watching around 600 Leeds games with him, seeing the highs of a championshp win in ’92 and the great European campaigns of the late nineties and early noughties. My favourite season was probably the Third Division promotion, travelling the country, drinking pints and picking up points in places like Yeovil, Exeter and Bristol. Sharing those times with my Dad were fantastic but the Leeds experience was going stale, it was time to pack in. Ken takes Nathan, he probably isn’t as fanatical about footie as I was at his age, but he loves spending time with his Dad.

As we walked through Sheffield City Centre, I clocked a couple of ex players – Ken Doherty and Peter Ebdon. Never one for missing a phot opportunity I harassed the pair (individually) and got my money shots…

Graham was happy with the early finish, I wasn’t. The MC grabbed the microphone and announced that due to the early completion of both games a legend would take to the baize and entertain us. Dad wasn’t bothered, I was. After all, I had bought the tickets and I like to get my money’s worth.

I’m so glad we did, enter Dennis Taylor. He told stories and took questions from the audience. We were laughing from start to finish and had well and truly been entertainer by the charismatic Taylor.

Ken had made the final game at Selby where a typical-end-of-season-nothing-game saw Town and Church share the spoils in a 1-1 draw.