How are we all? I ask, not out of general politeness else all such blogs would begin this way, but because these world championships have been such a harrowing, thrilling, exhausting, inspiring experience. Every year I say there’s nothing like the Cruce and every year it feels justifiable because it feels like we’ve added a new wrinkle, but this time we’ve added a whole-arse face, so, with feeling: there is nothing – nothing – NOTHING – like the Cruce.
There’s a phrase, popular in screenwriting, that writers frequently ask themselves: have we earned it? Roughly, it pushes them to make sure that the big emotional beats and speeches, any redemption their characters experience, have been set up by the groundwork they’ve put in. Do we know who they are and why they are; do we care about them and what happens to them?
When it comes to Ronnie O’Sullivan v Kyren Wilson in August 2020, these are questions we can answer emphatically and unequivocally. O’Sullivan has been seeking a sixth world title since 2013, and time has passed, it’s looked increasingly as though it’s left him behind, the long format too much for him. But this year, he stamped on the gas when he needed to and beat Ding Jinghui, just about stuck with Mark Williams and won from behind, then just about did the same to Mark Selby, his Crucible nemesis. He’s not playing that well, but his not that well remains a fair standard.
Wilson, meanwhile, has looked a future winner for a while, and after a relatively quiet start to things, played brilliantly in eliminating the favourite and defending champion. His reward for that was a can’t miss semi against a qualifier, except Anthony McGill played the match of his life and together they crafted the match of all our lives, which Wilson somehow won after an extraordinary afternoon – the magnitude of which I
demand 5000 words to do justice. As such, it was unsurprising to see him suffer an emotional dump in yesterday’s first session, but as Ronnie undermined himself with cue-action obsession, he schlepped his way back last evening to set up a frankly delicious day of dramatic derring-do – and rightly so, because given the last five months, we’ve earned it too.
Start: 1.45pm BST