Snooker: Murphy recovers in style as fortune favours brave

The last time a qualifier reached the Embassy World Championship final was in 1979, when Terry Griffiths faced Dennis Taylor for the title and won the tournament at his first attempt. Shaun Murphy and Ian McCulloch both sought to repeat the qualifiers-to-final feat yesterday, with contrasting results.

The last time a qualifier reached the Embassy World Championship final was in 1979, when Terry Griffiths faced Dennis Taylor for the title and won the tournament at his first attempt. Shaun Murphy and Ian McCulloch both sought to repeat the qualifiers-to-final feat yesterday, with contrasting results.

Murphy, 22, the world No 48 from Rotherham, laid his claim during a sensational morning session in which he won seven of eight frames in his best-of-33 semi against Peter Ebdon, the 2002 champion. Having trailed 2-6 at the start of play, he stormed to a 9-7 lead ahead of the match's third session last night.

The quality of Murphy's break-building was matched by his fearlessness as he hit two centuries and three other breaks over 50. No long pot, either as a starter or mid-break, was too audacious. Invariably they sank, and sweetly, and when they did not sink sweetly they sank with outrageous good fortune.

The best cases in point came in the fifth frame of the morning. Murphy struck a red towards the bottom left pocket. It crashed into the angle and bounced out, only to fly along the rail and fall into the bottom right pocket.

Later in the same frame he hammered a red towards the bottom right. Again it hit the angle, but this time it spun around the table and ended up in the middle right.

The day's first frame began with a long opening red and a tough black along the cushion, which were the first two pots in a splendid 138 to bring the score to 3-6. Another century, 108, made it 4-6 before Ebdon hit a 61 for 7-4.

Murphy, who eliminated two former champions, Steve Davis and John Higgins, on his way to the last four, made a pivotal 51 in a cagey next frame for 5-7. Then, aided by his fluked reds and a decisive 42 to the brown, he moved to 6-7.

Parity arrived thanks to a risky but crucial plant in the next frame. A bullet red began a fluid knock of 82 in the next frame to make it 8-7 in Murphy's favour. Then two stunning long pots, on a red and an unfeasible blue, took him to 9-7.

McCulloch, who led Matthews Stevens 6-2 before yesterday's sole session in their semi, struggled for consistency as Stevens hit five 50-plus breaks in an impressive comeback to level at 8-8 overnight.

Ebdon received the backing of Ronnie O'Sullivan's mentor Ray Reardon following the go-slow controversy in his quarter-final win. "The audience was bored and I was bored," he said. "It was the slowest game of snooker I have ever known. But was it a deliberate tactic? I doubt whether Peter knew what he did. He was probably wrapped up in the game."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Legal Secretary

£17000 - £17800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to work ...

Recruitment Genius: Ad Ops Manager - Up to £55K + great benefits

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a digital speci...

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

Recruitment Genius: Implementation Consultant

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global leading software co...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent