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Barry Hawkins and Neil Robertson resume their second round match in the World Snooker Championships on Sunday on level terms

Barry Hawkins says lockdown came at the perfect time and he’s now five frames away from a quarter-final match at the World Snooker Championships.

Hawkins and world no.2 Neil Robertson are level at 8-8 in the best-of-25 round two match after the man from Ditton fought back from being 6-3 down.

Barry Hawkins is all-square against Neil Robertson Picture: World Snooker
Barry Hawkins is all-square against Neil Robertson Picture: World Snooker

Kent potter Hawkins rallied with a break of 95 and pulled it back to 6-5. A lengthy 12th frame went Hawkins’ way and they went into the mid-session interval 6-6. The pair ended the evening with nothing between them.

Robertson hadn’t got off to the best of starts, spilling a cup of coffee down his trousers just before the second round match was about to get underway.

In what was dubbed as ‘the most bizarre start to a match in Crucible history’, Hawkins had to follow his clumsy rival off the stage so he could get himself cleaned up.

There was another brief delay as Robertson’s chair had to be cleaned by the referee after Hawkins accidentally sat it in the wrong seat.

The players will resume the match on Sunday, looking to win a place in Tuesday’s quarter-final against Mark Selby.

The Ditton potter had eased past Crucible debutant Alexander Ursenbacher in his first round at the World Championship with a comfortable 10-2 win, making amends for a patchy season that's seen him fail to get past a quarter-final of a ranking event.

Those struggles led to the world No.15 falling out of love with the game but he reckons the lay-off has intensified his passion for snooker as he embarks on a Sheffield run.

"Lockdown came at the perfect time for me," said Hawkins.

"It came at the point where I was getting a little bit sick of snooker - I've played so much over the last few years it was just starting to drain me a little bit.

"It was nice to put the cue away and I didn't hit a ball for three months, so it was nice just to spend some time at home, although after a month or two it got a bit crazy and I wanted to get back to some sort of normality!

"I was actually really looking forward to playing again - I've got a new cue now and it's given me that little extra incentive to go up to the club and practice, and a new challenge.

"Lockdown definitely helped - it was a much-needed break and a much-needed time to switch off, relax and chill really.

"By the time lockdown was finished I was ready to start practicing again, and I really enjoyed trying to put the hours in and going round playing a few players again."

Hawkins boasts an impressive record at the home of snooker, having followed up that run to the final seven years ago with four semi-finals and one quarter-final in the next five years.

*Live snooker returns to Eurosport and the Eurosport app. Watch the World Championship from 31st July -16th August with analysis from Jimmy White.

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