The bookmakers could lose a fortune thanks to Blackpool snooker sensation James Cahill and wily punters from this corner of the world.
READ MORE: Blackpool's Cahill takes aim to rule the world
The 23-year-old amateur was the rank 1,000-1 outsider with tournament sponsors Betfred to win the World Championship in Sheffield after drawing favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first round.
O’Sullivan was 1-50 to win the match, but Cahill’s odds to be crowned champion fell to 200-1 as he led overnight after the first session and then to 50-1 when he pulled off the biggest shock in the history of the game.
And as Cahill prepares for his second-round clash with Stephen Maguire, getting under way tomorrow at the Crucible with morning (10.30) and evening (7pm) sessions, the bookies will be biting their fingernails.
Betfred revealed that those who bet on Cahill for the title at 1,000-1 were mostly from the Blackpool and Preston areas. He hails from Marton and trains at his mother Maria’s Preston club.
And although the stakes were mainly low, it will cost Betfred very dear if Cahill lives up to his belief that he can lift the game’s biggest prize.
Betfred spokesman Peter Spencer told The Gazette: “People thought Tiger Woods’ victory at the Masters was a stunner but young James’ triumph in Sheffield beat that.
It’s no exaggeration to say it’s the biggest shock in the history of the game – the rank outsider beating the favourite in round one.
“Clearly people in Blackpool have good knowledge and are aware of his substantial ability, which is why we had scores of significant bets at 1,000-1 when the draw was made.”
Judd Trump is the new bookies’ favourite but needed to survive a final-frame decider to avoid sharing O’Sullivan’s fate.
Trump recovered from 6-3 down to edge past Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-9 in another thriller.