Vintage Hendry Bests Bond at Crucible

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The last eight line-up at the 2020 ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship is now complete following another action-packed day at the Crucible Theatre that saw seven-times world professional champion Stephen Hendry produce a vintage comeback win.

A quarter of a century on from their world final meeting here, Hendry and Nigel Bond dished up an entertaining first round encounter that went all the way.

It was 1996 British Open champion Bond who started the better as he established a 2-0 lead before the Scot responded with a classy 71 break to cut the deficit in half. Hendry then looked like levelling the match up, but a 37 clearance from Bond – featuring a fluke on the pink – put him one away from victory.

The Englishman was in the ascendancy, but an unexpected missed red with the rest when only a few pots away from progression proved to be the start of a momentum shift.

At a venue he made his own throughout his illustrious career, ‘The King of the Crucible’ crafted a determined clearance of 45 to save the match and begin his recovery. With further glimpses of his heyday attributes, Hendry then constructed a run of 77 to force a decider which he came through to set up a date with the 2018 winner of this title, Aaron Canavan.

In an interview with Rob Walker after the match, Hendry admitted to thinking about quitting the tour following a defeat at the UK Seniors Championship in Hull last year. However, he will be encouraged by his performance against Bond, which was arguably his best on the World Seniors circuit to date.

Later in the evening session, one of the pre-tournament favourites Peter Lines comfortably dispatched former world number two Tony Knowles 4-0 to stay on course for a second world seniors crown.

Lines won this competition in 2017 without dropping a single frame and he continued that remarkable sequence here as an effort of 85 helped him book a eye-catching all-professional clash with defending champion Jimmy White.

Earlier in the day reigning UK Seniors champion Michael Judge top scored with 60 as he overcame 1985 world professional champion Dennis Taylor 4-1.

Despite some courageous potting from Taylor – including a fantastic blue that aided him in taking frame four – former world number 24 Judge was relatively untroubled as he kept alive hopes of a unique world and UK double.

Previously in the afternoon session Wayne Cooper made the most of his late call-up to the event as he eventually toppled this season’s Super Seniors number one ranked player Gary Filtness in a meeting of two Crucible debutants.

Playing in his home county, Yorkshireman Cooper registered a high break of 53 and claimed the final two frames to emerge a 4-2 victor. He will face Judge for a place in the final four.

All four quarter-finals will be played on Friday at the Crucible, with the subsequent semis and final bringing the championship to a close on Saturday.

Fans around the world can watch the event live. For the first time the 16-player event will be broadcast live on BBC digital platforms with selected matches available on the ‘Red Button’. Coverage in China will be shown on major digital TV platforms and elsewhere the event will be available on the  Matchroom.Live network.

Go to Matchroom.Live to register. The Matchroom Live platform was launched in May, giving fans across the planet the chance to watch live content from the outstanding portfolio of Matchroom sports, including snooker, darts, boxing, pool and many more. There is also a wealth of classic archive content featuring great moments from the past 40 years.