Craigie hits out at commentators after Crucible exit

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Sam Craigie went down 10-4 to Mark Williams in the first round of the World Championships in Sheffield
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Sam Craigie hit out at the Crucible commentators after his World Championship debut ended in defeat against Mark Williams.

The Wallsend potter more than held his own in a hard-fought afternoon session but the three-time world champion pulled clear in the evening, winning five straight frames to seal a 10-4 triumph.

Craigie admitted he had been beaten by the better player but was disappointed to hear how his match had been covered by the pundits, some of whom admitted they had not seen him play prior to his Crucible bow.

“It has been alright here apart from the commentators not knowing who I am,” Craigie said.

“It’s bonkers. I came third in the (WST) Pro Series recently, maybe not a huge tournament, but it’s their job to know what’s happening on the table.

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“It’s disappointing given it’s my first time here. It’s not affected my game at all, I’m just surprised.”

The Tyneside ace showed no sign of nerves on his first appearance at the home of snooker, compiling a 74 break in the opening frame en route to a 2-0 lead.

But Williams, a winner of this tournament in 2000, 2003 and 2018, recovered from his slow start to take the next four frames.

Back came Craigie, taking two of the next three – including an impressive visit of 70 – to leave the match delicately poised at 5-4 going into the evening session, which began with a pivotal frame going Williams’ way.

A break of 73 made it 7-4 and though Craigie had chances to reduce the deficit, the world no.12 made him pay for missed pots in ruthless fashion to set up a heavyweight second-round meeting with John Higgins.

“At 5-4 I thought I was in for a game but he came out flying and suddenly I was three behind,” he said.

“The way Mark played, even if I was near my best it wouldn’t have been enough. He was far too good for me.

“I’m looking forward to a bit of time off. I’m still learning – I’m not used to coming up against that.

“I know I can do it but to do it on that stage is a different story. Tonight was slack and I need to cut out those silly mistakes.”

Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3

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