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Page last updated at 22:28 GMT, Sunday, 20 April 2008 23:28 UK
STRAPLINE -World Snooker 2008
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Sat 19 April to Mon 5 May Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBCi and the BBC Sport website; listen on BBC Radio 5 Live

Barry Hawkins
Hawkins lost his momentum once the decider was postponed

Barry Hawkins was left "devastated" after losing his first-round match in controversial circumstances in the World Snooker Championship.

Ali Carter led Hawkins 9-6 in Sheffield and needed one more frame to win.

But the Kent pro won three frames to pull level before play was halted at 1835 BST with the evening session due.

Hawkins said: "I was devastated. After all that hard work to pull us off at 9-9 with half an hour to spare, I was gutted. I had the right hump."

Hawkins showed his disappointment with the decision of the tournament director at the time, shaking his head in disbelief.

When play finally resumed at 2115 - after Joe Swail had beaten Stephen Lee 10-4 - Carter took the decider 69-46 to reach the last 16.

Hawkins, who felt that one of the evening matches could have been postponed, said: "I had the momentum and it was a big difference.

I am sure people would have understood waiting an extra 20 minutes when it means so much to both of us

Barry Hawkins

"I suppose they have their rules but I think it was a bit harsh.

"I am sure people would have understood waiting an extra 20 minutes when it means so much to both of us."

Carter, from Essex, began Sunday's play 6-3 ahead.

But he soon grew frustrated, conceding one frame before the snookers required stage, and Hawkins won three of the first four frames of the afternoon to be just one frame behind.

However, a couple of much better frames - one including a big break of 128 - put him one frame away from victory, only for Hawkins to strike back and take the match into overtime.

When the players came back to the baize for the decider late in the evening, Hawkins missed a vital red when in a winning position and got no second chance as Carter closed out the win.

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Replay: Carter wins epic Hawkins battle

In an equally epic contest, 2002 winner Peter Ebdon produced a strong finish to secure a tense 10-9 win over Jamie Cope in the best match of the tournament so far.

Cope's break of 126 gave him a 7-5 lead, but Ebdon won three in a row - the last of those with a break of 109 - to lead for the first time in the contest.

Back came Cope, 22, from Stoke, with his second century of the session to level the match at 8-8 and when Ebdon won the next, Cope forced the decider.

The younger man had a 41-1 lead and was in the middle of a break when an unnecessarily ambitious shot put him out of position.

Ebdon moved 55-41 ahead but needed one more safety exchange with only the colours left before potting a pink into the middle pocket to settle the match.

"I feel like I've just gone 12 rounds with Joe Calzaghe," said Ebdon afterwards. "That was a really stiff examination, I need a couple of weeks to recover."

Meanwhile Neil Robertson, the world number seven, converted a 7-2 overnight lead over 1995 finalist Nigel Bond to win 10-4.

Fans grill Robertson after win

Bond reduced the deficit in the 10th frame with a break of 67 before the Australian, 26, hit back with a 63.

The pair shared the next two with half-centuries, before Robertson's break of 84 gave him the match 10-4.

Swail had an even bigger cushion when his match against Lee resumed.

Leading 7-2 overnight, he raced to 9-3 before missing the pink off its spot with the last two colours needed.

However Lee was playing poorly, continuing to give his opponent too many chances, and on the first frame after the mid-session interval Swail capitalised to win 10-4.

Meanwhile, seven-time champion Stephen Hendry was in danger of a first-round exit at the hands of rising star Mark Allen.

Allen led 6-3 after the opening session of a high-quality contest and needed only four more frames to claim his second victory of the season over the former world number one.

Mark Allen
Allen let his cue, and his hair, do the talking on Sunday

The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland failed to win a point in the opening frame but then rattled in breaks of 70, 87, 91 and 49 to win the next four.

Allen, sporting a dyed red fringe, was due to complete his duel with Hendry on Monday.

Ryan Day took a 5-4 lead into the final session of his match against qualifier Michael Judge of Ireland.

The pair shared the first four quick-fire frames with Welshman Day knocking in an 83.

Welshman Day rattled in a break of 95 in the fifth frame and added the next to take a 4-2 lead.

Judge won the next two before Day scored his third half-century of the session to finish on top.

That match - with the winner playing defending champion John Higgins - was also due to finish on Monday.

see also
Higgins books spot in round two
19 Apr 08 |  Snooker
Crucible champions
14 Apr 08 |  Snooker

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