McGill savours Crucible magic after knocking out ex-champ Murphy
ANTHONY MCGILL believes his appreciation for the “magic of the Crucible” is the key to making waves at the World Snooker Championship.
The 25-year-old reached the quarterfinals on his debut in Sheffield 12 months ago and is through to round two this season having defeated World No 3 Shaun Murphy 10-8 in round one.
The Glaswegian has been nicknamed the “Smiling Assassin” having added Murphy to big-name scalps Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire while in Sheffield.
And though McGill revealed snooker did not come into his life until the age of nine, the love for the sport has helped, rather than rattled, his nerves.
“When I came here last year I had no ambitions at all of winning a frame, I just came to enjoy it,” said McGill.
“When you are out there playing you look at the carpet and think ‘that’s where Ronnie [O’Sullivan] stood where he made a maximum’ and ‘Stephen Hendry must have walked on this bit of the carpet’. So it’s an honour to be here. People all over the world would love to be here, and I’ve done it twice.”
McGill trailed 5-4 overnight and lost Sunday morning’s opening frame.
But McGill won four frames in succession to claw his way back into the match, before making a match-clinching 97. He now meets Marco Fu in round two, who beat another ex-champion, Peter Ebdon, on Saturday night.
One member of the Tartan Army is going home though, after Alan McManus defeated Stephen Maguire 10-7. Maguire avoided having to navigate qualification when he snuck into the top 16 following the China Open.
But he admitted he struggled to “get up” for the encounter and McManus, who goes on to meet Ali Carter, will be having a ‘blather’ with his compatriot, who has now suffered four successive first round defeats at the Crucible.
“I feel for Stevie, he’s had some rough rides here over the last few years,” said the 45-year-old. “I’m going to have a blather with him, because he is such a 200 Renfield Street, Glasgow G2 3QB. email: [email protected]herald.co.uk. Tel 0141 302 7156 Sports editor Gary Keown / Deputy sports editor Gordon Stevenson good player. I want to get him hungry, because when he is hungry he is an unbelievable animal. He’ll be back.”
Maguire made 77 and 76 to take the first two frames, but McManus clinched seven of the next eight. World No 16 Maguire, twice a Crucible semi-finalist, won the next three frames to make a fist of it. But it was McManus got over the line, wrapping things up with a 63.