World Championship: Former cabbie Wilson books Trump semi-final at Crucible

Gary Wilson.Gary Wilson.
Gary Wilson.
Gary Wilson continued his remarkable career resurrection by beating Ali Carter 13-9 to reach the semi-finals of the Betfred World Championship.

The Wallsend 33-year-old spent six years off the tour and endured stints as a taxi driver, a bar man and a production line worker in a frozen foods factory before grasping his second chance in the sport.

And Wilson continued to make the most of his opportunity as a nerveless opening break of 117 paved the way to convert a 9-7 overnight advantage into a place in the Crucible’s fabled one-table set-up.

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Wilson said: “I dropped off the tour and I wasn’t good enough to get back on. I was having all these uncertain times when I didn’t know if I was going to be a pro again.

“I was desperate to get back on the tour and just scrape a living. So to go from that point to where I am now, in the one-table set-up, is absolutely amazing and the sort of thing you dream of.”

Tenacious Carter had shown signs of life after Wilson’s strong start, winning two consecutive frames including a break of 128 to narrow the deficit, but his opponent responded and a 72 in the last saw him over the line.

Reflecting on a now-guaranteed career-best payday of at least £100,000, Wilson added: “I remember situations when I was struggling for money and wondering what job I was going to do.

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“I’d been playing since I was eight years old and I had put my heart and soul into it. I had missed school and nights out with my mates. All this makes it feel worthwhile.”

Wilson next faces Judd Trump, who demolished Stephen Maguire 13-6.

The 29-year-old had built on his stunning opening session by winning the first two frames on Wednesday and establishing a 9-1 lead.

Maguire managed to claw his way back to respectability by taking four of the next five frames including a break of 110 but Trump was in no mood to hang around and swiftly responded with breaks of 68 and 82 to send him over the line with something to spare.

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Shrugging off the fact that his win made him the new odds-on favourite for the title, Trump added: “It’s always good to beat anybody that comfortably but there is a long battle ahead.

“It was nice to be playing with no real pressure out there and just being able to fully enjoy it with that kind of lead.”

David Gilbert also confirmed his place as an unlikely semi-finalist as he held off last year’s semi-finalist Kyren Wilson to claim a 13-8 success.

Gilbert faces John Higgins, 43, who beat Neil Robertson 13-10.