World Snooker Championship: Stuart Bingham 'felt lost' with table and balls

Stuart Bingham
Stuart Bingham made breaks of 109, 96, 57 and 58 on his way to winning four consecutive frames on Saturday

Stuart Bingham says he "felt lost" with the condition of the table and balls during his first-round win over Ashley Carty at the World Championship.

Bingham, Ding Junhui and Mark Williams all went through to the second round in Sheffield on Saturday.

"I felt lost with the table and the balls. I don't know whether they had been sanitised," said Bingham.

The World Snooker Tour said there had been no changes to protocols around cleaning balls.

However, Bingham, who claimed a 10-7 win over Crucible debutant Carty, added: "I played a red near the green pocket, and screwed back past the blue pocket - I've never done that in my life.

"But it is what it is, and if it's sanitised, you've just got to get on with it."

The coronavirus pandemic has caused significant changes to this year's championship, postponed from April and now taking place behind closed doors after Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an announcement on Friday halting plans to allow a limited number of fans into certain sporting events.

Bingham, who is the reigning Masters champion, led 5-4 overnight in his first-round match and won the first four frames on Saturday against fellow Englishman Carty.

Carty then won three frames on the trot before Bingham secured his victory with a break of 82.

Bingham, the world champion in 2015, will now meet three-time winner Williams next after the Welshman outplayed Scotland's Alan McManus.

'Once I got in front he started missing'

Mark Williams
Mark Williams won the last of his three Crucible titles in 2018

Despite trailing 5-4 overnight, Williams produced an accomplished display to reel off six consecutive frames and ease to victory.

"I was not there at all," said McManus, who at 49, was the the oldest player to feature in the main draw since Steve Davis reached the quarter-finals at the age of 52 in 2010.

"I did not get anything going at all so it is very disappointing. I was under a bit of pressure and I just didn't handle things well. In the end I lost pretty comprehensively."

While McManus appeared dejected after his loss on his first appearance at the Crucible since 2016, Williams, 45, was delighted to advance.

"I was over the moon to be 5-4 down. Alan [McManus] outplayed me in every department," Williams said.

"I thought I played OK last night - it was just that Alan's form dropped considerably from the first session. He had been outstanding but to do that in two sessions is very difficult.

"Once I got in front, he started missing all the long ones which were going in yesterday."

Ding edges final-frame decider

Earlier on Saturday, China's Ding came through a tense final-frame decider to beat veteran Englishman Mark King 10-9.

Ding, who led for most of the match, made breaks of 125 and 119 against his 46-year-old opponent.

But he struggled in the later stages of the match and was fortunate to progress after the momentum appeared to shift towards King, who doggedly fought back to 9-9.

"Mark King is a tough player," Ding said.

"He can play scrappy frames, he can make centuries, so it is difficult to play him in the first round. I still felt confident in the final frame. I don't fear them."

Ding, who won his third UK Championship in December, will face Ronnie O'Sullivan or Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the second round.

Meanwhile, Scotland's four-time world champion John Higgins won four frames in succession to establish a 6-3 lead over Matthew Stevens.

Higgins, who has finished runner-up in each of the past three years, had to battle back after falling 3-2 behind to the Welshman.

Stevens, a two-time former finalist who came through qualifying, faces a difficult task when they return to play to a finish on Sunday.

Norway's Kurt Maflin hit two century breaks in building a 5-3 lead against England's David Gilbert before the world number 12 made a 131 of his own to trail by a single frame going into Sunday's second session.