Selby threatens to quit

Four-time Crucible king Mark Selby revealed that he could quit snooker at the end of this season, after a “pathetic” performance in a 10-8 reverse against Gary Wilson in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Tour Championship.

Wilson, who has already won two ranking titles during the best season of his career, goes through to face Zhang Anda in the quarter-finals in Manchester on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.

But world number five Selby was left dejected by his own game and insisted that the Cazoo World Championship, which starts on April 20th, could be his last event. “From start to finish I was pathetic, I didn’t deserve to win,” said the Leicester cueman. “I tried and battled but it was terrible. If I carry on playing like that, that will be it for me, for sure.

“I felt flat, it’s a big tournament and if you can’t get yourself up for events like this there’s something wrong. I have always said that if I get to the point where I am not enjoying it, it doesn’t matter whether you are number one in the world or number 128, I won’t carry on playing. I am still putting the work in, but if you practise for performances like that it seems pointless. If I put in the same performance in Sheffield, that will be me done.”

Wilson, playing in this event for the first time, took a 5-3 lead in the first session on Monday with top breaks of 95, 98, 78, 101. The first six frames today were shared to leave the Wallsend potter 8-6 in front. In frame 15 he had clear chances to extend his lead, but twice missed the brown to a centre pocket on the brink of 9-6. Selby converted an excellent brown-to-black clearance to close to 8-7.

The 16th also came down to the colours, and this time Wilson cleared from yellow to black to go two up with three to play. Selby pulled one back with a run of 90 and had a chance for 9-9, but missed a red to a centre pocket on 30 in frame 18. That proved his last shot as Wilson finished in style with a 105.

Wilson said: “It wasn’t a great game, we both missed easy chances. It’s still tough to beat someone as good as Mark, though there are not many positives to take from it other than the result. I kept making it difficult for myself and handing him chances to get back into the game. But thankfully I made a good break in the last frame to get over the line. 

“I need to find something before tomorrow. You never know in this game, sometimes you feel as if you don’t know where you career is going, it feels that bad. But the positives are that I have had a great season, I’m in the top 16 and I hope I’m just having a blip I will come through. I will stay chirpy and just crack on.”

Meanwhile, Ali Carter raced into a 7-1 lead over Barry Hawkins in match which finishes on Tuesday night. Hawkins took the opening frame with a break of 84, but scored just 26 points in the next six frames as Carter rattled in breaks of 80, 51, 83, 135 and 94.

The last frame of the session came down to a safety battle on the final pink, and Carter converted a thin cut to a centre pocket to extend his lead. The winner will face Ronnie O’Sullivan over two sessions on Wednesday.

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