Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry has criticized Mark Selby and Mark Allen’s slow and cautious play during their World Championship semi-final, stating that it casts a “dark cloud” over the event. The game’s slow pace caused the match to be stopped three frames ahead of its intended schedule.
Despite Allen establishing a three-frame lead, Selby fought back to end the session with a 7-6 advantage after a slow and grueling game that involved a lot of safety play and reluctance from both players to take on important pots. The slow pace of play did not sit well with Hendry, who was on punditry duty for the BBC.
Stephen Hendry expressed his disappointment with the second session of the World Championship semi-final between Mark Selby and Mark Allen, saying that a “dark cloud” hung over the match table at the Crucible. While acknowledging that snooker can be played in various ways, Hendry suggested that the players were too focused on precision and accuracy, urging them to occasionally take risks and “just play the ball sometimes.” Despite his criticisms, Hendry acknowledged the diversity of playing styles that exist in the sport.
Selby and Allen’s slow play has been a topic of criticism for some time, with Allen’s pace being criticized despite his recent success in winning three titles. Further, Ronnie O’Sullivan, a seven-time world champion, even made a joke during the match, suggesting that Mark Selby and Mark Allen should have their “own comedy show” due to the slow and unusual pace of the session.
According to Ronnie O’Sullivan, during an interview, the crowd appeared to enjoy the match. He acknowledged that some viewers at home might appreciate the strategic nature of the play, while others might prefer a more attacking style. O’Sullivan went on to joke that Selby and Allen should consider creating a comedy show together, perhaps even with the referee involved, given their friendship and playful banter on the table.
Despite the game’s slow pace, Selby managed to recover from a three-frame deficit and establish a lead going into the final session. The concluding session today promises to be long drawn out, with Selby and Allen expected to take their time in the same cautious manner.