‘I meant nothing by it’: Kurt Maflin warned for obscene gesture at Crucible

Kurt Maflin was warned for making an obscene gesture in the 16th frame of his win over David Gilbert in the World Championship first round.

Maflin directed his middle finger towards the table after his bid for a maximum break ended when he ran out of position on the penultimate red. Referee Tatiana Woollaston took Maflin aside before the start of the next frame and told him: “I have to warn you – the next one, you lose the frame.”

World Snooker confirmed that Maflin would not face any further punishment beyond the referee’s warning, while Eurosport commentator Dominic Dale apologised to viewers for any offence.

Maflin went on to win the match 10-8 and become the first unseeded player to book his place in the second round.

Maflin said: “I meant nothing by it – it was purely aggression being taken out on the cue ball. I felt like I’d worked really hard to get into that position… and when the white hit the yellow, it was just one of those reactions.

“She [Woollaston] was whispering and I thought she was telling me to tuck my shirt in, but she told me she had to warn me for the gesture. I wasn’t quite with it at that stage.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan made an impressive start in his first-round match against Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. The five-times world champion averaged 13.4 seconds per shot during a session in which he made breaks of 101, 85 and 115 to take the first three frames.

The 44-year-old stretched his lead with breaks of 74, 88 and 76 before Un-Nooh won the seventh frame. O’Sullivan, who had been critical of World Snooker’s plan to let spectators into the Crucible, won the next two frames to lead 8-1 going into Monday’s session.

Four-times winner John Higgins converted a 6-3 overnight lead into a comfortable 10-5 success over Matthew Stevens.


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