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The public returns to the Crucible for the final of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield

Crowds return to the Crucible for the World Snooker Championship final between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson, while 300 lucky ticket holders enjoy the opening session after the government reverses pilot events

  • 300 lucky cardholders watched the opening session of the Crucible final in Sheffield
  • Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on Kyren Wilson for the World Snooker Championship
  • The turnaround of the government allowing fans to enter the venue allowed some to attend
  • More than 10,000 have requested 500 returned tickets for the four-session final
  • O’Sullivan and Wilson reached the final on Friday after two epic semi-finals

Crowds made a welcome return to the Crucible when Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson kicked off their Snooker World Championship Finals Saturday afternoon.

A socially aloof crowd of 300 in the 980-seat arena in Sheffield has been allowed after the government made a late U-turn after nearly two weeks of action without spectators.

Some fans who held the prized tickets from the original tournament ballot were thrilled.

A crowd of 300 attended the Crucible as the World Snooker final kicked off

A crowd of 300 attended the Crucible as the World Snooker final kicked off

The socially detached audience sat down to watch Ronnie O'Sullivan take on Kyren Wilson

The socially detached audience sat down to watch Ronnie O'Sullivan take on Kyren Wilson

The socially detached audience sat down to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan take on Kyren Wilson

Match referee Brendan Moore posted this photo of the crowd back in the theater

Match referee Brendan Moore posted this photo of the crowd back in the theater

Match referee Brendan Moore posted this photo of the crowd back in the theater

But others who returned tickets after the Covid-19 pandemic got a refund, leaving 500 tickets for the four sessions on Saturday and Sunday that went back on sale on Friday.

More than 10,000 people signed up for the 500 tickets left, priced at £ 121 for the first three sessions and £ 132 for the last, and sold out in just three hours.

Wilson and O’Sullivan reached the best of 35 frame finals after two epic semifinals that ended on Friday.

Wilson beat Anthony McGill 17-16 in an extraordinary final frame decider in which McGill got 35 points after missing a devil snooker eight times and Wilson in-off twice.

Wilson flew over the green looking almost in tears as he apologized to his opponent for a 62-minute frame, eventually winning 103-83 to reach his first Crucible final.

Ronnie O'Sullivan is aiming for his fifth world title in the final of four sessions this weekend

Ronnie O'Sullivan is aiming for his fifth world title in the final of four sessions this weekend

Ronnie O’Sullivan is aiming for his fifth world title in the final of four sessions this weekend

Kyren Wilson will play in his first World Cup final on Friday after an epic semi-final

Kyren Wilson will play in his first World Cup final on Friday after an epic semi-final

Kyren Wilson will play in his first World Cup final on Friday after an epic semi-final

Later in the evening, five-time World Champion O’Sullivan won three consecutive frames to rise from 16-14 to Mark Selby 17-16.

But O’Sullivan has been critical of the decision to take back spectators, describing it as an “unnecessary risk.”

If the pilot event at the Crucible is a success, it will pave the way for other sports venues to be opened to a limited number of visitors in the coming weeks.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We can now make careful progress on recovery by having audiences come back for indoor performances, fans coming back to sporting events and reopening more Covid-19 safe leisure activities.”

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