Peter Ebdon walked into the Crucible theatre at this years Betfred.com World Championship,knowing he had to overturn a 7-2 deficit against Graeme Dott, to remain in snookers' elite top 16.
The 2002 champion made a good start in his quest, taking the 32 minute opener with a gritty 72 break and
renowned for his battling qualities, Ebdon dug deep again in the next reducing his arrears at 7-4.
With the black in the jaws of the corner pocket, the players got involved in a cat and mouse safety exchange.One playing the cue ball into baulk then the other rolling into the reds around the black. After 30 minutes referee Pete Williamson asked the players if they would like the option to have a re-rack, they both agreed
and elected to start the frame again.
On the resumption Dott forged 67 points in front with runs of 30 and 37. Ebdon was given a chance to rally after the Scot missed, and looked on course to steal the frame. He gradually chipped away at Dotts' lead but played a poor postional shot
from yellow to green. He attempted a thin cut on the green, but was clearly frustrated with the green failing to fall. The 2006 champion rolled it in, to open a four frame lead again.
Ebdon rallied back, runs of 55 and 20, helping him take three of the four frames played this evening, going into the mid-session interval 8-5 down.
With modest runs of 27 and 34 Dott moved to 9-5, needing one more frame for victory.
Dott eventually booked his place in the second round after defeating the spirited Ebdon 10-5.
The win keeps Dotts' hopes alive for returning to the top sixteen, whilst the defeat for Ebdon means he will have to qualify next season to appear at the Crucible for the first time in fifteen years.
Peter Ebdon comments
I lost it yesterday, Graeme played very well and even though we both struggled with the inconsistant bounces off the cushions, he applied himself the better of the two of us.
Even if I'd have won 10-0, I would still be saying the same, because it was just so tough to adjust to the reaction of the cushions.The main disappointment for me is that all year, the tables have been playing brilliant and a pleasure to play on.Obviously with this event being an exeption.
But like I said every credit to Graeme, because his all round game is brilliant, his long potting was fantastic and is safety and tactical play was spot on. To be fair I dont think he got the respect he deserved when winning the world title,because he is one of the best match players about.
Missing the green when I had a chance to go only one behind at 7-6, was a big turning point but we will never know if it would have changed the result.
I'm bitterly disappointed to be out of the top 16, but also very proud of being in that elite bracket for so long.
I would be the first person to congratulate Barry Hearn if he introduced new tournaments and revenue to the game, and then take a healthy commision, I dont think anyone would complain.
But to ask for 51% of the commercial rights is too much. There is going to be a meeting and I'll be very surprised if the players give up their control of the association.
We all want to play in more tournaments.
Barry Hearn is a successful businessman,he is a very intelligent man and a very shrewd man and I would love him to do a fantastic job for snooker.
The players need to understand, that giving control to Barry is not for one year, this is not for two years, this is not for five years,this is not for ten years, it's forever gone.
I've only got one vote, it's up to the members at the end of the day.
Graeme Dott comments
It's good, it's nice to be back. I didnt play well tonight. Maybe I had the wrong attitude.I played so well yesterday,
and basically at 7-2 the job is almost done and I probably relaxed a bit too much.
I played a really careless first frame tonight, and then before you know it I was twitching a bit. I could not
get any rhythmn tonight, I played pretty poor. It wasn't like I wasn't getting any chances tonight, I just couldn't control the white. The table wasn't great and I am sure Peter will tell you the same. The cushions were bouncing again which was a bit disappointing. Trying to play for snookers was impossible, the balls were coming off at all different angles.
I have changed my technique a little bit since China. I added a few little mannerisms and am playing a bit quicker and just trying to trust it more. It clearly helped yesterday and I think I can put tonight's performace down to attitude.
There's nothing that can happen here that I haven't seen before so I am obviously experienced enough to deal with
everything. I need to try and win another couple of games here to get back into the top 16. I am sure Peter has
got the right attitude and will bounce straight back into the top 16.
No disrespect to Stephen Lee but I would rather play Stephen Maguire in the next round. If we play each other and I don't happen to beat him, I'd hope Stephen wins it. Obviously he's never won it before, Stephen Hendry has won
it, John has won it and so have I. So it would be nice to Stephen win it, but hopefully that won't happen this