Former world champion Peter Ebdon ground out an epic comeback victory early on Tuesday morning to keep his Crucible hopes alive, at least for one more round.

The 45-year-old was straight back in action this evening, but ahead of a decisive third Betfred World Championship qualifier against Ian Burns, the veteran apologised for keeping everyone up until 2am.

Ebdon trailed Gerard Greene 9-3 at Ponds Forge but incredibly chipped away at the lead before winning 10-9 in a little under 10 hours.

The world No32, and 2002 winner, does have a reputation for a slower pace of play, but remains one of snooker’s fiercest and most determined competitors.

However it was a catastrophic collapse from Greene, and one that looks set to cost him a place on the tour.

Ebdon admitted: “I felt numb at the end, there was virtually only the cleaner left in the building, apart from ProSnookerBlog Matt. I thought I was going to have to go through a fire escape and abseil down outside.

“I apologise to the referee, and the table-fitters for keeping them up as they were waiting to re-cloth them, but it was one of my greatest wins.

“I know I have had a bit of stick for slow play over the years, especially after that 2005 Crucible quarter-final against Ronnie.

“But people forget I was 8-2 down in the match with Ronnie flying, so to win 13-11 was one of my greatest victories.

“Sometimes after a huge win I celebrate by shouting ‘Vegan Power!’ or get emotional, but I could hardly register what had happened.

“I couldn’t believe what I had achieved and almost collapsed on the floor, thinking ‘Did that really happen, or was it a dream?’

“From somewhere I found a little bit of something, maybe it was the organic bananas and apples I ate before the final session.

“I was sitting there at 9-3 down wondering if it was time to do something else, because it hasn’t been happening for me this season.

“I suppose having a reputation as a tough competitor can help if it gets in the opponent’s head – but you still have to produce. Gerry wasn’t quite as strong at the end.

“And I feel for him, it is a horrible feeling. I was 8-4 up against Ronnie in the UK one time, got a terrible bounce when in, and lost 9-8.

“It is just a horrible sensation when a lead is slipping away like that, you feel as if it is not your cue or your arm.

“I was embarrassed how I played at the start, and the table conditions were not good at all for both of us, with bad bounces and kicks making cue ball control impossible.

“But I could not be more determined in my attempt to get back to the Crucible after seeing such a long unbroken run ended.”


Photograph courtesy of Monique Limbos