World Snooker Championship: Stevens positive after Crucible exit

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at The Crucible
Matthew Stevens
Matthew Stevens was World Championship runner-up in the 2000 and 2005.

Matthew Stevens said he can take plenty of positives from his World Championship run after it ended in a 13-5 round two loss against five-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.

The 37-year-old world number 35 came through three qualifying rounds and beat Mark Williams in the first round.

"I have shown glimpses of what I can do again and can take that in to next year," he told BBC Wales Sport.

Stevens said a neck injury made no difference to the final outcome.

Although he did say it affected him in when they resumed play in Monday's final session.

"I have been suffering with my neck for the last week or so, but I woke up today and I could hardly move it," said Stevens, a two-time Crucible runner-up.

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Matthew Stevens
Ronnie O'Sullivan lost 4-3 to Matthew Stevens at the Welsh Open in February 2015.

"I wasn't going to play but I was lucky it was 12-4. If it was 8-8 going in to the last session it would have been a nightmare. Hopefully it is nothing serious.

"It was a little bit painful yesterday but it didn't affect the match. Today I could hardly go down on a shot, but I didn't want to pull out because the crowd paid good money."

Stevens trailed 12-4 overnight and was clearly in a lot of pain with his neck, even though he took the opening frame.

But he admitted: "I took a bit of hammering really.

"I started off well a couple of days ago but made a couple of mistakes and before you know it he has capitalised on it.

"He keeps putting pressure on you all the time. That is why he is the best there has ever been.

"From 7-4 down I felt I was still in it but he then got two centuries and you are chasing the game.

"If Ronnie has a little bit of luck he makes the most of it. That makes him stand out from the rest of the players.

"It has been a tough couple of weeks having to win three matches to qualify. I could have had an easier draw but I am happy to get to the last 16.

"I will work very hard this summer and see what next year brings. I proved I can play under pressure."

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