BARRY Hawkins eased into the second round of the Dafabet World Championship on Wednesday morning – to set up a repeat of last year’s semi-final against Ricky Walden.

Last year’s beaten finalist Hawkins celebrated his 35th birthday by pulling away from Dave Gilbert to record a 10-4 victory at the Crucible in Sheffield.

“I think it was William Shakespeare’s birthday as well today, wasn’t it?” said Hawkins, and it was a case of ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ for the recent PTC Grand Finals champion.

After winning the last eight frames against a demoralised opponent, he added: “I had actually forgotten it was my birthday until I got a few texts and a couple of cards, and I can go out now and have a nice meal to celebrate.

“There were some nerves out there but my experience from 12 months ago certainly helped, and you are not human if there are no butterflies.

“Ricky will no doubt hoping for some revenge for the semi-final last year, he will be desperate to beat me, but I wouldn’t mind some for the match the Masters in January.”

Tamworth’s Gilbert, 32, said: “Today I was useless. I would have liked that 10th frame again, the first one today, but I started bad and got worse.

“If Barry plays like that he will be tough to beat.”


Photographs by Monique Limbos