Comeback King Jamie Jones Feels Better Than Ever After Flooring Shaun Murphy

By Simon Kendal-Williams

Jamie Jones proved lightning does strike twice as he shocked Shaun Murphy in the first round of the Betfred World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

Jones’ first Crucible appearance six years ago – when he reached the quarter-finals – also began with victory over the 2005 champion.

But this time the Welshman’s achievement was arguably more impressive, coming from behind to edge a 10-9 thriller.

Having fought back from 5-1 down to level the best-of-19 match at 5-5, Jones could only watch as the number eight seed rattled off successive century breaks to forge an 8-5 lead.

But if Murphy thought he had doused the Welsh dragon’s fire, he was sorely mistaken.

Jones, ranked 51 in the world, roared back, taking the next three frames with breaks of 71 and 57 to leave Murphy reeling.

The Englishman snatched a nervy 17th frame, but Jones fired in a superb 124 clearance to set up a final-frame showdown – and needed only two chances to book his place in round two.

“It’s the first decider I’ve been involved with at the Crucible,” Jones told World Snooker.

“There’s some pressure out there, I can tell you.

“I felt I played ok in patches – we both did – and I’m delighted to come through it.”

Jones faces Kyren Wilson later this week after the number nine seed defeated another Welshman Matthew Stevens, 10-3.

And the 30-year-old from Neath is relishing the prospect of another memorable run in Sheffield.

“I feel I’m a better player these days, more complete,” he said, referring to his exploits in 2012.

“I’m going to take loads of confidence in to the next round.

“I love it here – I want to be out there playing every single day of my life.”

Earlier, Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen completed a 10-5 win over Crucible debutant Liam Highfield.

Having reduced Allen’s overnight to lead to 6-4, the world number 64 spurned a gilt-edged chance to make it 6-5 when he missed a brown off its spot.

Highfield never recovered and was powerless to prevent the reigning Masters champion securing a second-round clash with Joe Perry, conqueror of defending champion Mark Selby.

World number three Ding Junhui lost the first two frames before battling back to lead fellow Chinese player Xiao Guidong 6-3 after their opening session.


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