52 year old Steve Davis making his 30th appearance at the Crucible, received a standing ovation from both the crowd and the other three players waiting to start the evening sesion, on day three of this years Betfred.com World Championship.
World number 16 Mark King, got the better of six times champion Steve Davis OBE in the opener. After a lengthy safety battle, with the reds scattered far and wide, the left hander from Braintree slotted home a 53 break to open his account.
The second of the evening was almost a replica of the opener. The reds scattered once more and again it was King who capitalized with a modest contribution of 47, extending his lead at 2-0.
King looked almost certain to extend his lead further, until missing a routine brown off the spot to the yellow pocket. Davis potted brown and blue, then missed a mid-range pink. King failed to convert and Davis got a second chance, which he slotted home and then rolled in the black to open his account.
Obviously a little more at ease after getting his first frame under his belt, Davis knocked in a great long straight red to retain position on the black. To his amazement and gasps from his many fans,he missed the straight black. He remained down on the shot, looking puzzled and trying to process how he failed. King leapt out of his chair, punishing the miss with venom, making an excellent 94 break.
Introduced by the MC Rob Walker as 'Legend', Davis rolled back the years reducing his arrears to just the single frame at 3-2 with a solid 77 break. Far from his best Davis leveled at 3-3 with runs of 30 and 35 then looked to have the upper hand in frame seven but missed a black off the spot, allowing King to forge ahead again at 4-3 with a confident 61.
Twice a ranking event finalist but never reached beyond the second round at the Crucible, it was King who extended his lead to a two frame margin again, taking the scrappy 31 minute penultimate frame of the evening.
Veteran Davis eventually sealed the last to leave himself just the single frame behind at 5-4. They play to a conclusion Tuesday evening at 7pm, in what could prove to be an interesting finish to the tie.