In the pocket: has record-breaking Selby confirmed Hendry’s summer retirement?

Mark Selby has set two new records as he moves within one frame of victory at 12-5 against scot’s snooker legend, Stephen Hendry in the second round of the World Championships.

The Jester from Leicester became the first player ever to record six centuries in a 25-frame match at the Crucible, beating the record held by Hendry, and taking his tally to 54 for the season.

Selby had already compiled three centuries, taking him to a clear 7-1 overnight lead and after Hendry missed a black in the opening frame of the afternoon, the world number four went onto clear the table with a break of 100.

Selby had an impressive 127 win in the fourth frame of the second session, and although Hendry ensured the match would go onto a final session by winning two consecutive frames, Selby went on to break the record with a break of 117.

In the final frame Selby came from 70-22 behind to clinch the frame 77-76.

Not content with his new record, Selby had the audacity to reduce Hendry to the brink of defeat by forcing five snookers against him and then clearing the final red and all six colours to steal the final frame of the session. That gave him a formidable 12-5 lead over the scot.

It could be said to have been cruel and somewhat disrespectful of Selby to continue playing until the seven times world champion finally fouled himself into defeat, given his already healthy advantage.

The more sportsman friendly thing to do would have been to offer a handshake to signal the end of the frame and reconvened again on Monday afternoon. However, the fantastic finish to a tedious frame certainly justified the meanness of Selby.

The final frame in this session may have pushed Hendry to within a single frame of retirement, should the 42-year-old wish he does not wish to be part of the new world of snooker with its punishing schedule of worldwide minor events.

The scot admitted earlier this week that he has been in danger of dropping out of the top 16 all season – meaning he would have to play qualifying rounds for ranking events. This is a prospect which has never appealed to the seven-time world champion who has remained firmly in the top 16 since 1988.

Hendry has confirmed that even with a title win, he may contemplate retirement this summer – a defeat from Selby on Monday could confirm this retirement.

Ashleigh McGuinley

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