World Snooker Championship 2021 - Stuart Bingham hits back to secure narrow lead over Mark Selby
There was high drama in the third session of the World Championship semi-final between Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham. The 2015 champion Bingham went close to making a 147, knocking in 12 reds and 12 blacks, while there was a frame that lasted over an hour as the two players battled it out for a place in the final.
'You need to consider taking a stroke' - Selby told to speed up by referee Williams
Bingham was disappointed to lose the final frame of the previous session, but shrugged it off with a brilliant 131 clearance to kick off Friday evening.
It was a break that thrilled the crowd and one frame later Bingham had the spectators in the Crucible on the edge of their seats in anticipation of a 147.
Bingham knocked in 12 reds and 12 blacks, but the 13th wriggled in the jaws of the right middle to end his break on 96. The second prize was drawing level in the match, with his opponent yet to pot a ball in the session.
Watch bizarre moment rest malfunction interrupts Bingham’s maximum attempt
The drama in the third frame of the night arguably required a Lord of the Rings trilogy to do it justice.
Selby looked favourite after opening up a lead, but Bingham chipped away and it came down to a battle on the colours. The latter kept potting balls, and it turned into a safety exchange on pink and black.
Bingham went for a pot on the pink which missed, only to spin round five cushions and drop in the green pocket. Shortly afterwards, an error from Selby presented Bingham with a chance and he cut the black into the yellow pocket to seal a frame that lasted over an hour.
‘A head-scrambler of a frame' – Bingham flukes ‘unbelievable' pink on way to winning mammoth frame
There was not a flicker of emotion on Selby’s face as a smiling Bingham followed the hour-long epic by rolling in a 78 to take all four frames ahead of the interval to open up a two-frame advantage.
The Bingham barrage continued upon the resumption, as he rolled in a break of 68. He did not clinch the frame at the initial visit, and had to endure a safety battle of over half an hour with Selby requiring a snooker.
Bingham resisted everything his opponent threw at him, and Selby is one of the best in the business at laying snookers, to secure a fifth frame on the spin, a three-frame lead, and a guarantee of not being behind heading into the final session
A night filled with drama had everything but a re-rack. A re-rack arrived in the 22nd frame. Twice; much to the amusement and delight of a crowd who have been starved of entertainment outside of their own walls, and were determined to soak up every moment of the evening. At the third time of asking, Selby crafted a 62 and it was enough to get his first frame of the evening.
Selby followed up the 62 with a 51 to cut Bingham's lead to one frame, with the world number three threatening to get out of the night on level terms.
Bingham was by far the superior player on Friday evening, and he took a chance from a Selby error in the final frame of the session. He knocked in a 63, but it was appropriate for the session that he did not seal the frame at the first time of asking. Bingham had to withstand another safety examination from Selby before getting over the line to take a two-frame lead into Saturday’s conclusion.