Home sports Beaten qualifier Sam Craigie backs Anthony Hamilton over World Snooker Championship withdrawal

Beaten qualifier Sam Craigie backs Anthony Hamilton over World Snooker Championship withdrawal

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Beaten qualifier Sam Craigie backs Anthony Hamilton over World Snooker Championship withdrawal


Anthony Hamilton pulled out of the World Snooker Championship on the even of the event (Picture: Getty Images)

Sam Craigie, who was beaten by Anthony Hamilton in qualification for the World Snooker Championship, has backed the veteran’s decision to pull out of the tournament after securing his place at the Crucible.

Hamilton beat Craigie and Scott Donaldson to book his spot in the main stages of the World Championship, but decided to withdraw on the eve of the event.

The Sheriff of Pottingham suffers from asthma and the presence of a reduced crowd at the Crucible proved to be enough for him to pull out after spending lockdown shielding.

The qualifiers were held in a bubble environment, much more sanitised than the main stages, and Hamilton decided that he could not run the risk of the situation at the Crucible.

The 49-year-old has come in for criticism from the likes of WST chairman Barry Hearn and world champion Judd Trump, who accused him of being selfish, but Craigie holds no grudge.

While Craigie admits it is frustrating, he completely understands Hamilton’s choice.

‘Yeah absolutely [it’s annoying] but at the end of the day, me or anyone else can’t question somebody’s primal instincts,’ Craigie told Metro.co.uk.

‘It’s sort of a fight or flight case for Hamilton and understandably he’s chose flight. Health comes before a game.’

Sam Craigie holds no grudges over Anthony Hamilton’s decision (Picture: ITV/Championship League Snooker)

Hearn has been unsympathetic to Hamilton’s position, saying it ‘doesn’t sit well’ with him and that rules may even be changed to stop something similar happening in the future.

‘The question I pose is: why did he not withdraw before the qualifying competition? Because by getting through the qualifiers he has effectively stopped someone else from going and earning a living,’ Hearn told talkSPORT.

‘He entered the competition knowing there were going to be fans present; why did he not withdraw then, instead of knocking someone else out? ‘He knows the situation. He hasn’t had asthma that started yesterday; he’s had asthma and heath issues for some time, so don’t give me all that.’

Those who spoke to Hamilton after he secured qualification were certainly under the impression that he intended to play at the Crucible, even at that stage, and not that it was always his plan to qualify and then pull out.

Craigie also feels this situation is much more likely than a pre-planned withdrawal from the Sheriff.

‘I couldn’t imagine anyone playing the qualifiers knowing that they’re going to withdraw afterwards,’ said the Newcastle potter.

‘I doubt that’s the case.’

Hamilton has apologised to Craigie and Donaldson for withdrawing, recognising how unfortunate the situation is.

‘I want to apologise to my opponents at the qualifiers, Sam Craigie and Scott Donaldson, and assure them that I had every intention of playing at the Crucible,’ he said.

‘It was only after I finished the qualifying rounds that I was able to do a full personal risk assessment based on the latest information and discussions with WST.’

Hamilton’s first round opponent, Kyren Wilson, has received a bye to the second round.

MORE: Judd Trump and Barry Hearn question Anthony Hamilton’s decision to withdraw from World Snooker Championship

MORE: Judd Trump: Ronnie O’Sullivan should pull out over World Snooker Championship concerns

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