This year’s tournament has developed a quirky sub plot – one us journalists have affectionately termed ‘shoedown’.
While the best players in the world have rightfully been drawing praise for their prowess on the green baize, snooker fans have been treated to some flashy footwear by some of the players.
The latest to dazzle the Crucible crowd has been Welshman Dominic Dale who sported a snazzy pair of zebra print shoes. And that comes after Judd Trump wore a pair of sparkly Jimmy Choo loafers and Chinese cueman Xiao Guodong braved a pair of bright silver shoes.
Glaswegian Alan McManus wore a pair of Tartan pants as a dare for his first round clash with compatriot John Higgins.
Whether it was lucky pants or not, McManus claimed his first win at the Crucible for eight years by upsetting Higgins.
And for Welshman Dale, known to be one of the most eccentric players on tour, victory was even sweeter after he claimed his first win in Sheffield for 14 years yesterday. The ‘Spaceman’ sent world No 12 Mark Davis into orbit with a comprehensive 10-5 win.
World No 24 Dale was shocked to discover that it was his first victory at snooker’s very own ‘Theatre of Dreams’ since 2006.
“I can’t believe it’s been that long; it certainly doesn’t feel that long,” reflected Dale, a former Crucible quarter-finalist. “But just being here is brilliant.
“My shoes are not everybody’s taste, but they cost me about £165. They’re my lucky shoes, although I’ve been hammered for it.”
Next up for Dale is a last 16 clash with qualifier Michael Wasley, the world No 73, tomorrow evening with a quarter-final place up for grabs.
Crucible debutant caused the biggest upset of this year’s tournament so far when he dumped out China’s Ding Junhui, winner of five ranking tournaments this season.
Mark Selby, the 2007 Crucible runner-up, established a slender 5-3 lead over two-time runner-up Ali Carter after the opening session of their best-of-25 frame duel.
World No 1 Neil Robertson cruised into the last 16 stage with an emphatic 10-2 win over debutant Robbie Williams.Ahead 7-2 overnight, Robertson needed just 44 minutes to beat Williams. Breaks of 61, 140 - a tournament high - and 102 did the trick as the Aussie ace moved within three frames of becoming the first player to ever make 100 centuries in a single season.
Results: Dominic Dale bt Mark Davis 10-5.
Latest score: Mark Selby leads Ali Carter 5-3.
Today, 2nd round: 10am - Barry Hawkins v Ricky Walden, Ali Carter 3-5
Mark Selby; 2.30pm – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Joe Perry, Ken Doherty v Alan
McManus; 7pm – Carter v Selby, Hawkins v Walden.