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John Higgins admits “pockets are playing bigger than normal” at the World Snooker Championship

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John Higgins looks on (Credit: Action Plus Sports Images/Alamy Live News)

John Higgins believes the pockets at this year’s World Snooker Championship are playing more generously than usual after landing a clutch of dubious pots along the cushion.

The four-time World Champion romped to victory over Kyren Wilson with a session to spare on Sunday to reach his 17th Crucible Quarter-Final.

Higgins produced four century breaks en route to a 13-2 demolition, but was critical of the playing conditions, particularly the ease of which some balls were dropping from along the cushion.

In frame 13, the Scot finished high on a black along the bottom cushion and opted to take on a seemingly tough pot.

After clipping the cushion, the black somehow went in off the far jaw of the pocket, leaving Higgins bemused.

“That should never have gone in, should it? My God,” Higgins said in the Eurosport studio. “It’s bad.”

“I think all the players are feeling it, they are playing a little bit bigger than normal.

“You’re going to get all the club players looking at that and saying ‘see, we knew those bags were massive.’ They are maybe a little bit bigger than normal, and the cloth seems to be really reactive and slidy so that has helped as well.”

Eurosport commentator Neal Foulds was heavily critical of the ‘receptive’ pockets, commenting: “How on earth? That’s ridiculous.

“I’ve got to make this statement here and I don’t want to detract from any of the play because the standard has been brilliant and I never bang on about conditions.

“This table has played easy, very easy all week. Now that is not to say that these players aren’t brilliant at what they do, I’m just making the point because that had no right to go in.

“John knows it’s playing easy or he wouldn’t have gone for that, that actually was something of a liberty. On certain tables you wouldn’t dream of playing that shot.”

The tables are re-clothed at various stages during the tournament and are likely to be inspected closely by the table fitters in the coming days following these remarks.

Higgins awaits the winner of either Mark Selby or Gary Wilson in the Quarter-Finals on Tuesday.

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