Snooker sensation as Lancashire amateur James Cahill beats Ronnie O'Sullivan in World Championships

James Cahill, right, shakes hands with Ronnie O'Sullivan after beating the five-time world champion
James Cahill, right, shakes hands with Ronnie O'Sullivan after beating the five-time world champion

Lancashire potter James Cahill pulled off the biggest shock in snooker history to defeat world number one Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round of the World Championships in Sheffield.

The first amateur ever to qualify for the Crucible, the 23-year-old, who used to train at Stephen Hendry Snooker Club, in Brook Street, Preston, won a nailbiting battle of nerves to defy a comeback by the five-champion and close out a 10-8 victory

Leading 5-4 overnight, Cahill lost the opening frame of the day as O'Sullivan made a break of 97 but won the next three to move into an 8-5 lead at the mid-session interval.

Cahill made a break of 85 in frame 11, then pushed on to leave more than one frame between the players for the first time in the whole match.

O'Sullivan was inspired after the resumption, winning three successive frames to level the match at 8-8, including a clearance of 104 and a break of 90.

Cahill regained the initiative in dramatic style. He missed what looked a vital red to end a break of 62 and let O'Sullivan back into the 17th frame.

But O'Sullivan couldn't hold his nerve and Cahill clinched the frame on the final black to move within one of victory.

O'Sullivan looked poised to level the match again but a miss on 42 proved fatal in the historic 18th frame.

Cahill kept his nerves in check and a match-winning break of 53 completed one of the most sensational stories the Crucible has ever witnessed.