Anthony McGill’s Crucible dream ‘stolen by snooker gods’

Glaswegian left shell-shocked as he loses out to Wilson in remarkable finish to World Championship semi-final

Anthony McGill's valiant run at the World Championship was halted at the semi-final stage but the Scot said he took a lot of pride from his performance at The Crucible. Picture: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
Anthony McGill's valiant run at the World Championship was halted at the semi-final stage but the Scot said he took a lot of pride from his performance at The Crucible. Picture: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Anthony McGill stood speechless and crestfallen after suffering heartbreak in one of the most extraordinary frames in World Snooker Championship history.

The Scot lost 17-16 to England’s Kyren Wilson in a remarkable semi-final encounter – with the final frame featuring drama to match anything witnessed at the famous Crucible Theatre.

The scoreboard will read 103-83 to Wilson in the decider but that barely scratches the surface of a frame that saw 186 points scored by the two, a record haul accrued at the venue.

The pair played scintillating snooker while luck certainly played its part, no moments bigger than a fluke Wilson bagged on the green with just five balls remaining on the table.

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There had to be a loser and there was certainly a graceful one in McGill, left in shock after a match that neither he nor his opponent will forget in a hurry.

“I think it’s been stolen from me, not by Kyren but by the snooker gods,” he said.

“It had everything, it had good snooker, drama, length, and I don’t feel that I did anything to deserve to lose.

“That match deserved a handshake, he was very apologetic after fluking the green but it wasn’t his fault.

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“Today there was everything on the line and I played my best snooker, there’s a lot of pride in that performance and hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from there. I really enjoyed the fight, it was played in a great spirit with two guys trying their best. There has to be a loser and unfortunately that was me.”

Drama was already guaranteed when the two were inseparable following 32 of the 33 frames to be played. But nobody could have expected what was to follow, with McGill getting the first chance before Wilson battled his way back, both men playing some great snooker.

The Englishman looked to have got the ascendancy when McGill conceded 47 points in fouls on the final red, needing snookers just to stay in the contest. From nowhere his chance was back, Wilson potting the cue ball as the frame ticked beyond the hour mark with a place in the final on the line.

Neither player had been there before and it came down to the luck of the balls for individual glory to be achieved, with Wilson’s fluked green putting him a long way towards the winning line. Still there was work to do but he held his nerve to end McGill’s valiant run at the semi-final stage.

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But that could take nothing away from an extraordinary campaign for the Glaswegian, who came through two qualifying rounds just to reach the Crucible Theatre.

From there he reeled off not one, but two, deciding-frame victories and a comeback – but his 100th frame of the tournament proved to be his last after coming from behind once more.

“Anthony McGill has showed not just what a great player he is, but has also shown what a great temperament he has,” said Jimmy White, six-time finalist in the competition. 
He’s definitely been able to pick that up from John Higgins.”

The victorious Wilson added: “I’m gutted it’s ended the way it has. It’s not nice to send someone home at such a big stage on a fluke.

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“We’re two young lads that have grown up together, played in the amateurs since we were 11. It was great that Anthony and I were able to play together in that semi-final and I think it was one of the best semi-finals you’ll see.”

* Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July – 16th August with analysis from 
Jimmy White.

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