The 40-year-old was up against Jamaica’s Rory McLeod on Sunday and was attempting to pot the blue into the left middle pocket as he led with a score of 19-13 in the final frame of the match.
However, after hitting the cue ball with too much power, it ricocheted off the pocket before rebounding off the opposite cushion and back towards the group of red balls. The cue ball then hit the pink after the balls collided, which saw the blue somehow roll into the bottom right pocket to the surprise of everyone watching.
Gilbert had turned away in disgust after realising the blue would miss the pocket he was aiming for, but very soon afterwards sported a wry smile when he spotted his good fortune. When the blue fell in, the commentator couldn’t help laughing. He said: "Oh, I’ve seen it all.
"Neil, I’ve seen it all now! That is extraordinary what’s happened there. Extraordinary." Former World No 3 Neal Foulds added: "That’s the fluke of the century! I don’t even know where to start on this. I don’t think I’ve seen many flukes like that.
"There was that one in the Championship League where the ball went along the cushion but that was a mind-boggling fluke I’ve just seen there.” Gilbert prevailed 6-1 and will take on Anthony Hamilton in the next round, known as ‘Judgement Day’.
Speaking of qualifying, the current format has been slammed by Stephen Maguire, who has to go through the rounds to reach the Crucible for the first time since 2018. Until the final round of qualifying, the matches are now best-of-11, something that came in during the Covid-hit 2020 World Championship and Maguire has not experienced before.
He, like many others, would like to see a return of best-of-19 throughout, with some harsh words for the current format. "It feels rubbish being in the qualifiers," the world number 40 said. "I am down the rankings so I deserve to be here. But I am not playing for the rest of my career if I have to play like this.
"It is not the World Championship. It is the first time I have played a best-of-11 frame match in this event. I don’t know what is going on there. I know they blamed Covid last year, but that’s away now, and they could have changed it back. They’ll probably keep it best-of-11s for the first three rounds if it keeps everyone else happy.
"It is garbage, rubbish. I’m glad I have a couple of days off to relax and chill out, because I could have lost that match by beating myself." The snooker world championships gets underway this Saturday on April 16.