Mark Williams Eases Into Last 16 Where He Takes On ''Fourth Son'' Jackson Page

The three-time world champion completed a 10-3 rout of one fellow Welshman in Michael White
21:05, 18 Apr 2022

Mark Williams eased into the last 16 at the Crucible – where he will have to play “fourth son” Jackson Page. 

The three-time world champion completed a 10-3 rout of one fellow Welshman in Michael White – and now faces another for a place in the Betfred World Championship quarter-finals. 

World No8 Williams, 47, has mentored debutant Page, 20, since he was 14 and admits it will be tough to put a close friendship with his protégé aside. 

Williams said: “It will be a tricky one for me in the next round because Jackson is not just a good friend, he is more like a fourth son. 

“I have practised with him since he was about 14 and have a son about his age. I will do my best to beat him, and trying to destroy him. 

“But if I have to lose to anyone, I don’t mind losing to him. I have played him before and it wasn’t nice, but you just have to get on with it. 

“He comes to the house with my kids, we play cards and have pizzas and whatever, golf, badminton, whatever – and we’ll probably eat together tonight, unless he decides to blank me for a couple of days now. I’ll get on the blower and see how the land lies in a minute. 

“It will be interesting, there will be a good few up from the club for that one…and it will be interesting to see whose balcony they sit on! But I have been telling everyone for years what a good player he is. 

“I watched his match against Barry Hawkins and the way he finished the match with two big centuries…you can’t really be under any more pressure than that.  

“But if I am playing some good stuff I can be a thorn in someone’s backside and really I am just happy to still be walking out here in the top eight in the world. I never thought is was possible for so long. 

“I had a good start against Michael with some centuries to put him under pressure and I didn’t really ease up on him. 

“From 7-2 up you are expected to win, and can only lose the match really. But 10-3 against a player of Michael’s calibre is very pleasing. 

“I have been playing well all season really, just lost a couple of close ones with some bad rubs here and there have stopped me winning more tournaments. 

“Possibly I could have beaten Neil Robertson at the Masters, and lost a close one 10-9 to Ronnie at the Tour Championship. When it has got right down to the real nitty gritty, the luck just hasn’t gone my way."

Page stormed through to the Crucible with four wins in qualifying – overcoming Sean O’Sullivan, Ashley Carty and then claiming a huge victory over recent Welsh Open winner Joe Perry, the clear pre-event favourite to walk away with the section. 

That left him a best-of-19 frame shootout against Leeds’ David Grace for a precious and prized place in the final stages, and he prevailed 10-7 in that high-pressure environment. 

Having shown such calm and poise in earning his right to play the iconic Sheffield theatre, it should perhaps have come as no surprise that Page carried once there almost exactly where he left off at the English Institute of Sport. 

Kent’s Barry Hawkins is a formidable Crucible competitor with a far better record than many at the venue, having reached one final and four other semi-finals.  

But even he could not cope with the scoring power and all-round game of the Welsh youngster and Page equalled a record for a debutant by rattling in three century breaks in a 10-7 win, finishing with a flourish and spectacular runs of 128 and 135. 

Page said: “I played good in qualifying, and I managed to keep it going against Barry. I couldn’t have asked to play much better than I did on my debut. 

“It will be a fun one against Mark. It is fitting really, but we will be friends either way afterwards but it will be a good fight and I will enjoy every minute of it.

"We know each other’s games, but everyone knows Mark’s game he is on the TV that much. We have been having food and playing cards together here and at other tournaments this season.” 

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