The crying frame: Judd Trump exit ranks as one of top five first-round Crucible shocks

The crying frame: Trump exit ranks as one of top five early Crucible shocks

20/04/2017 at 06:12Updated 20/04/2017 at 10:34

Judd Trump's defeat to 1,000-outsider Rory McLeod at the Crucible is one of the five biggest first-round shocks in 40 years of the World Championship, writes Desmond Kane.

1. Tony Knowles beat Steve Davis 10-1 (1982)

Romford lad Davis was defending the title he won for the first of six times in 1981, but was bounced out in the first round by snooker playboy Tony Knowles, an unheralded potter from Bolton who became a housewives favourite for the rest of the decade.

Steve Davis in 1981.

Steve Davis in 1981.Eurosport

It was a famous victory for Knowles in only his second appearance at the Crucible, but as an indication of the rising standards in the sport and how poor Davis was on the opening day of his defence, he was thumped by an opponent making highest breaks of only 67 and 55.

Tony Knowles

Tony KnowlesPA Photos

This was the start of the infamous 'Crucible Curse' which dictates that first-time champions have never regained their title in 40 years at the venue.

Knowles reached three World Championship semi-finals and was ranked world number two at various points of the 1980s, but his most memorable moment as a player, at least on the green baize, came against a man who would end his career among the sport's top five of all time.

2. Stuart Bingham beat Stephen Hendry 10-7 (2000)

Scotsman Hendry made a 147 break in his last appearance at the Crucible in a 10-4 win over Bingham at the Crucible in 2012. Yet it was altogether different in 2000 as the player nicknamed ‘Ball-run’ displayed the levels that would help carry him to the title some 15 years later at the age of 38.

A year after Hendry had won the last of his record seven titles in Sheffield, he was emptied out in the first round by world number 97 Bingham in their first meeting as professionals.

Stuart Bingham in 2000.

Stuart Bingham in 2000.Eurosport

The Basildon boy contributed runs of 95, 87, 78, 77, 70, 53, 53 and 51 to end Hendry’s defence at the first hurdle. It was a huge upset at a time when an eighth Hendry title seemed inevitable. In hindsight, given what Bingham himself has achieved in the sport, it perhaps wasn't so much of a seismic shock.

3. David Gray beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-9 (2000)

A year before O’Sullivan won the first of his five world titles in 2001, he suffered this gray day in Sheffield.

Despite making five centuries, O’Sullivan tumbled out of the tournament in a stunning reverse. It must have been even more galling when Gray suffered a 13-1 gutting in the second round to Dominic Dale, unearthing only 208 points which set a record low points haul for a best-of-25 frame match. O’Sullivan led 5-1 and 9-7, but could not scramble over the line.

David Gray at the Crucible.

David Gray at the Crucible.Eurosport

Gray has retired as a professional while O’Sullivan continues to mingle at the very top of the sport. At least Gray will always have the memory of upsetting one of the game's true icons on snooker's grandest stage.

4. Michael Wasley beat Ding Junhui 10-9 (2014)

The pride of Gloucester Michael Wasley was ranked world number 75, and making his debut at the Crucible when he completed a 10-9 victory over China’s lead man Ding Junhui, the world number two and losing finalist in 2016. Ding led 6-3 overnight three years ago, but lost seven of the remaining 10 frames to prompt much wailing and gnashing of teeth back in his homeland.

Michael Wasley beat Ding in 2014.

Michael Wasley beat Ding in 2014.Eurosport

It was Wasley's biggest achievement in his short four-year career as he tumbled off the professional tour in 2016 after a series of wretched results.

5. Rory McLeod beat Judd Trump 10-8 (2017)

Judd Trump washed up at the Crucible as 4-1 favourite alongside defending champion Mark Selby. Declaring it was finally "his time" to win the sport's main prize, Trump said: “There is just a consistency there and when I lose, as you will with so many tournaments in a season, it is usually because someone played out of their skin to beat me."

It must be said, 1,000-1 outsider Rory McLeod did not have to play out of his skin to beat Trump.

On the contrary, the world number 54 occupied the role of 'The Grinder' to perfection as he gave Trump four frames of a start yet still ran out a deserving winner. He prevailed 10-8 courtesy of a series of modest contributions, his top break being only 77 in six hours and 44 minutes of exacting snooker.

Trump, whose highest run was only 65, was hampered by a shoulder injury during the match, but left with a broken heart after his latest attempt to win the game's main prize was crushed by McLeod, 46, the oldest man in the tournament.

Desmond Kane at the Crucible Theatre