Gilbert 'fuming with himself' after surprise World Championship exit

·3 min read
Gilbert was gutted after he failed to replicate his memorable run to the Crucible semi-finals
Gilbert was gutted after he failed to replicate his memorable run to the Crucible semi-finals

David Gilbert fumed after a rusty performance saw him crash out of the World Championship at the first hurdle, writes Will Jennings.

The world No.12 succumbed to a 10-8 defeat against qualifier Kurt Maflinat the Crucible as a failure to take his chances dashed his hopes of replicating last year’s heroics.

The Derby-born, Tamworth-based potter embarked on a thrilling run to the semi-finals in Sheffield but was stopped in his tracks by world No.34 Maflin this year, who hit four century breaks to blow one of the most popular men on the circuit away.

Gilbert admits he’d never been better prepared for a tournament and was kicking himself after a string of errors thwarted his advances behind closed doors.

“To not go 9-9 I’m absolutely fuming with myself,” Gilbert, 39, said.

“I’ve put a lot of effort into this and it’s probably the best-prepared I’ve ever come into a tournament.

“But being so ring-rusty and not playing a game for five months has caught up with me there at the end.

“I was too busy thinking it ‘it’s 9-9, get ready for the decider’ and I just missed an absolute sitter - you can’t do that and it was just a lack of matchplay.

“I didn’t really play all that good and yesterday I really struggled - I hated it in there and it was a bit weird to begin with, as it was a bit like playing in a club but in a fantastic arena.

“I’m pretty disappointed, but Kurt played fantastically.”

Gilbert missed a simple red that would have given him a golden opportunity to restore parity and tee up a decider, allowing Maflin to capitalise and book himself a place in the last 16.

But it was a thrilling encounter under the Sheffield lights, as the two players shared six centuries between them with Gilbert’s efforts of 131 and 102 make Maflin fight hard.

Norwegian player Maflin struck visits of 124, 101, 102 and 105 to make amends for his 2015 first round defeat against Mark Selby and tee up a clash with four-time world champion John Higgins.

It’s back to the drawing board for Gilbert and the 2019 English Open finalist reckons Maflin must control his aggression if he is to continue his Crucible run.

“He did get the hump in that match, but it seems to inspire him and he controlled his aggression, so it was good signs from him,” he added.

“I’ve just got to say well played Kurt - he played brilliantly, thoroughly deserved to win, and I hope he can continue that in his next game.

“He’s going to have to play well - he’s got John next and John’s a far better tactician than me, and he’ll have to keep on scoring like that under these conditions and keep that level of focus.”

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