Mark Williams defends controversial break-off after first-round win
Mark Williams blasted a bid to ban his controversial break-off technique after cruising into the second round of the World Snooker Championship with a 10-4 victory over qualifier Sam Craigie.
The three-time former champion adopted the shot, with which he nudges the cue-ball into the back of the reds off the bottom cushion, at the Masters in January after growing frustrated at leaving frame-winning opportunities for opponent Shaun Murphy.
Williams revealed an email had been sent to some of the sport’s leading names by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association players’ association, canvassing opinion on whether the controversial tactic should be prohibited.
Williams said: “There’s a lot more going on in the world to worry about than my poxy break-off. Haven’t they got anything better to do than send emails out asking players if they like it and should it get banned?
“I’ll think of another break-off. Why don’t I just smash it into the pack and leave all the reds on for everyone – would they be happy with that?
“If they ban the break-off they’ve got to ban rolling up behind baulk colours and rolling up behind the black. It’s not an illegal shot and I don’t see the problem with it, it’s farcical.”
The WPBSA confirmed the existence of the email but indicated it was yet to reach the stage of being considered by the organisation’s rules committee.
Williams reeled off five consecutive frames upon the evening’s resumption to turn a 5-4 advantage at the end of the morning session into a 10-4 rout, and book a second round meeting with John Higgins.
Judd Trump confirmed his status as world No 1 for the start of next season after sweeping into round two with a 10-4 triumph over Liam Highfield.
Trump said: “This year I’m trying to play with a lot of freedom and enjoy myself like when I first broke through. There is absolutely no pressure this year. I am just going to have a good practice and if I win I win, if I don’t I don’t.”
The 31-year-old praised the transformation under outgoing World Snooker Tour chairman Barry Hearn and said the onus is now on players to continue Hearn’s work and help lift their sport to a whole new level of popularity.
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Trump said: “Barry got us back on the straight and narrow and he’s kind of told everyone to spread their wings and fly away now. It’s up to us to do the job of making snooker bigger – there’s only so much he can do off the table and the players need to take that responsibility.”
Breaks of 76, 126 and 82 saw Barry Hawkins reel off the three frames required to see off Matthew Selt 10-3, while Murphy will resume on Thursday trailing Mark Davis 5-4.