Four-time world champion Mark Selby ponders the future after first-round exit

Qualifier Joe O’Connor held his nerve to sink four-time champion Mark Selby and book his place in the second round of the World Championship in Sheffield.

O’Connor, who grew up idolising Selby and cheered him to three of those previous successes, scrambled to a 10-6 victory after resuming 7-2 in front from Sunday’s dominant first session.

Selby, who has struggled on and off the table this season and said he was considering retirement after his Tour Championship loss to Gary Wilson earlier this month, looked sluggish and far from his best throughout.

But he still managed to draw on his famous fighting qualities as he opened with a break of 112 and also fired a 91 to reduce the deficit to 8-5 at the mid-session interval.

O’Connor, the only debutant in the tournament this year, showed few signs of nerves as he nudged 56 points from victory in the next to move one more frame from a famous victory.

Selby responded once more with a break of 67 then threatened to edge within two frames when he went 39 points up in the next before an ice-cool red down the rail by his opponent effectively confirmed his demise.

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2024 – Day Three – The Crucible
Joe O’Connor held his nerve to secure a famous win (Martin Rickett/PA)

It marked the first time since 2018 that Selby has lost in the first round, and prompted ‘The Jester from Leicester’ to admit that he will give some serious thought to his future in the summer.

Selby told the BBC: “I’ll sit down with (my wife) Vicky and see what the options are.

“Obviously it will be a big decision but if I do carry on playing I need help, probably on the mental side of it a little bit more just to go out there and enjoy the game.

“That’s all I want to do, go out there and enjoy it and for me, it’s always sort of life or death; I’ve always been that kind of character, putting too much pressure on myself and trying too hard.”

Shaun Murphy avoided the same fate as he turned a 6-3 overnight advantage into a comfortable 10-5 win over China’s Lyu Haotian.

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2024 – Day Three – The Crucible
Murphy eased his way to a first win in the competition since 2021 (Martin Rickett/PA)

Murphy punished Lyu from 38 points behind to pinch the opening frame, and was never in danger of surrendering his advantage in the tie, which he eventually polished off with a break of 81.

The 2005 champion told the BBC: “It’s such a relief, it’s so rewarding and pleasing, I haven’t won a match here for a few seasons. I’m delighted to have got that win and (be) in the second round of the tournament.”

Stuart Bingham stormed into an impressive three-frame lead to give him a healthy advantage at the end of the first session, leading Gary Wilson 6-3.

Cazoo World Snooker Championship 2024 – Day Three – The Crucible
Stuart Bingham (pictured) stormed into a 6-3 advantage over Gary Wilson (Martin Rickett/PA)

Bingham started in tremendous fashion, falling just two points short of an opening-frame century break and he rattled off the next three before Wilson made his mark on the scoreboard.

Bingham responded with a 117 break to go 5-1 up and put daylight between himself and his opponent, who many expected to challenge for the title.

Staring down the barrel of an early exit, Wilson’s session-high 60 break came in the final frame but a missed black helped Bingham swoop and almost clear the table until he himself missed a routine black, which his opponent sunk to reduce the deficit to three.