Category Archives: snooker

Ronnie to win?

Ronnie O’Sullivan returned to the crucible theatre two weeks ago having not won a game in 2013.

He could leave it a five-time champion.

Such is the class of the man, he has defeated his greatest challenger Judd Trump in the semi-final and potted as if he had never been off the circuit.

If he does claim the title, many would claim he is the greatest player ever.

He dispels the myth that players need to train hard and focus to win, but then he has never been just a normal player.

Superb with both hands, controversial and with off the table problems, this man is far more complex.

Having already announced in an interview with the BBC that this could be his last ever tournament, it would then be fitting he should win.

The record holder for the fastest maximum, one of the best potters and break builders ever, could be hanging up his cue.

But whatever the result on Sunday his form this fortnight has been exceptional and his ability to provide action unrivalled.

It will be a fitting win if it happens but a certain sad day if it is the last time we ever see him back in an amongst the balls.

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O’Sullivan to Officially Quit

Ronnie O’Sullivan has officially announced that this World Championship appearance was all about money.

In an interview with Sky Sports, the current World Champion said he had no desire to keep going after this tournament as he does not enjoy the sport anymore.

He said: “It’s nice to be in the semi-finals but I didn’t really miss snooker, but I missed having something to do and I was struggling for a bit of money.

“I’ll be honest, I still owe the school money for my children’s school fees, I haven’t paid the last two or three terms. I didn’t know what was going to happen here but I’ve made a little bit of money now so I can go and pay the school fees now for the next two years.

“But really I don’t think snooker is for me. This could be my last proper major event. As far as putting my heart and soul into snooker, I don’t think that’s what I want to do anymore but I had to give it a go. I needed some money quick.

“I have signed a contract with my sponsor to play in 10 events so I’ll play in those.”

O’Sullivan admitted this startling revelation after he cruised through to a mouthwatering tie against Judd Trump in the semi-finals of this years championship.

For more views on the tournament , check out next weeks Cue Action by Will Vallely.

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Cue Action – World Champs Spark Surprises – By Will Vallely

The first round of the World Championships is currently underway at the Crucible in Sheffield.

So far we have seen plenty of shock results. Up to now, three former World Champions have been knocked out. This has led to much talk of the new generation of players coming to the forefront.

Most of the attention of the first round was on four-time Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, his match on Saturday was his first match back since September.

Despite his recent absence he easily beat of experienced Scotsman Marcus Campbell. Ronnie started the match in excellent shape with a break of 82 in the first frame. His form looked good throughout the first session as he commanded a 7-2 lead. He went on to win the match by a comfortable scoreline of 10-4.

World Number three Judd Trump, looks capable of matching his high expectations after defeating veteran Dominic Dale. Trump made his 10-5 win look reasonably easy.

O’Sullivan will next be in action on Saturday, when we will see a repeat of both the 2008 final and last year’s final as he will face old rival Ali Carter. Carter booked his place in the second round last night by beating debutant Ben Woollaston, he also managed to win by 10 frames to four.

Last night also saw perhaps the biggest shock of the tournament; much fancied world number five Stephen Maguire lost in a final frame decider against Thai qualifier Dechawat Poomjaeng.

Dechawat, known to his friends as Jack, has quickly become a Crucible favourite, throughout the match he was in a jolly mood and became a crowd favourite by doing things such as, applauding his own shots and trying to break off when it wasn’t his turn.

Poomjaeng had to win four qualifiers just to reach the first round. In the second round he will face fellow qualifier Michael White. White, 21 managed to beat two-time champion Mark Williams in an all welsh affair. White looked in great form, and won by a somewhat comfortable four frame margin. Mark Williams has previously threatened to quit the game due to his lack of form.

Four-time World Champion John Higgins has also crashed out earlier than expected. His defeat was at the hands of 42 year old Mark Davis.

Despite his age, Davis is currently in the best form of his career having reached three ranking event semi-finals this season. He had previously beaten Higgins in the UK Championships last December.

Another much fancied winner Mark Allen also suffered an early defeat. He lost a close encounter against Mark King. King was trailing by eight frames to six but aggressively reeled off four straight frames to cement his place in round two.

Elsewhere, Graeme Dott prevailed in a clash of former champions. He came through a long gruelling match with 2002 champion Peter Ebdon. Dott looked in decent form as he beat Ebdon by a scoreline of 10-6. Dott has been known to bring his A-game to the Crucible and has been to the final on three occasions, however this year he was looking to avenge his 10-1 thrashing to the hands of Joe Perry in last year’s first round.

2005 winner Shaun Murphy came through comfortably by defeating Martin Gould by 10 frames to five. Murphy made two centuries on his way to the victory.

Two times ranking event winner Ricky Walden produced the biggest victory of the first round so far He smashed Michael Holt 10-1. Ricky will surely be delighted by his victory as he has never previously been beyond the first round.
Young debutant Jack Lisowski had no answers against Barry Hawkins.

Hawkins produced a very comfortable 10-3 victory over the 21 year old.
The first round is still underway in Sheffield, hut both Ding Junhui and World Number 1 Mark Selby hold commanding leads in their first round ties.

2010 champion Neil Robertson will soon kick off his crucible campaign against Robert Milkins.

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Cue Action – World Championship Preview – By Will Vallely

The draw has been made for the first round of this year’s World snooker Championships.

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will face Scotsman Marcus Campbell. It will be Ronnie’s first competitive match since September. If O’Sullivan beats Campbell he could have a last 16 tie against old rival Ali Carter. Carter has lost twice to O’Sullivan in World Championship finals, first in 2008 and then again in 2012.

However Carter will firstly have to navigate past Ben Woollaston
Four time World Champion John Higgins will face world number 16 Mark Davis. These two recently met at the UK Championships in the second round. Mark Davis won that time despite a fight back from john Higgins which included a 147.

Another stand out tie is a repeat of the 2006 final as Graeme Dott faces off against 2002 winner Peter Ebdon, who earns his place in the first round this year as a qualifier.

2011 runner up Judd Trump will face veteran Welshman Dominic Dale.
One of the tournament favourites Neil Robertson is matched up against Robert Milkins. Robertson will be much fancied as a former champion as well as recently winning the China Open.
Two time champion Mark Williams is involved in an all welsh clash as he faces off against 21 year old qualifier Michael White.

Chinese sensation Ding Junhui is involved in a first round match against veteran Alan McManus. McManus hasn’t played at the crucible for a number of seasons but boasts an impressive record at the crucible as he is a two time semi-finalist.

One of the hardest ties to call is a matchup between world number 15 Barry Hawkins and the ever improving young qualifier Jack Lisowski. Lisowski is the most improved player on the tour this season and is currently at 37 in the rankings.

The winner of that tie could get a second round match against World number 1 Mark Selby. Selby has yet to win the world championship but was runner up in back in 2007. However, Mark will have to deal with Matthew Selt first.

The world championships begin on Saturday at the Crucible theatre, Sheffield.

Here is the draw in full:
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Marcus Campbell
Ali Carter v Ben Woollaston
Stuart Bingham v Sam Baird
John Higgins v Mark Davis
Shaun Murphy v Martin Gould
Graeme Dott v Peter Ebdon
Matthew Stevens v Marco Fu
Judd Trump v Dominic Dale
Neil Robertson v Robert Milkins
Ricky Walden v Michael Holt
Mark Williams v Michael White
Stephen Maguire v Dechawat Poomjaeng
Mark Allen v Mark King
Ding Junhui v Alan McManus
Barry Hawkins v Jack Lisowski
Mark Selby v Matthew Selt

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Cue Action – Tour Changes – By Will Vallely

World snooker chairman Barry Hearn has announced major changes to the snooker tour that will come into effect next season.

Next season will see twelve ranking events in the calendar, with five set to take place in China and one in India. The tour will also see the players return to Australia for a revamped Australian Open.

However the main change to the tour is that in nine of the top 16 players in the world will no longer have a large advantage over everyone else by entering the events later on. All players will have to start in the very first round of events.

The world championship for now will remain seeded which will guarantee the top 16 players taking part. The Masters will also keep its format with just the top 16 being invited to the event.

This change has divided many players opinions, some players believe that they have earned their place to be considered elite players and that the fans want to see the best players at the end of events but others claiming if you cannot beat the lower ranked players then you don’t deserve to be at the latter stages of events.

One of the most outspoken players on the tour Mark Allen has criticised the decision to have so many events in china, his main concern is the cost of travelling to the events: “There are just so many outlays, especially if we’re going to China six or seven times a year. The expenses have probably tripled or quadrupled since Barry took over, when we started going to China we used to get our flights paid for but when Barry came in he stopped that, so that’s probably another £10,000-£15,000 a year we have to pay out.”

Also this week, qualifiers for the upcoming world championship have been taking place. Young Belgian sensation Luca Brecel will not be at the crucible this year, the UK Championship quarter finalist lost 10-6 to Scottish amateur Fraser Patrick in the first round of qualifiers.

There are a number of older but familiar faces who still have a chance to qualify Jimmy White, Joe Swail, Alan Mcmanus and Tony Drago are all still in contention to make the event.

Also six time world champion Steve Davis will have to beat 2002 champion Peter Ebdon if he wants to appear at the crucible. However he still has to win one more match to set up the tie.

This year’s World Championship takes place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield between April 20 – May 6

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Cue Action – Robertson Wins, But Selby goes to No.1 – By Will Vallely

Neil Robertson beat the current UK and Masters Champion Mark Selby to claim his seventh career ranking title.

The Australian won 10-6. It was Selby who took the first frame with help from a break of 58. However Robertson soon made his presence known by taking the next six frames.

The first session was a long struggling battle which meant that the first session was only seven frames instead of the scheduled nine, to allow the players to have a rest before the evening session.

The Jester from Leicester started the evening session strongly taking the first three frames to reduce the deficit to three frames, with breaks of 81, 125 and 66. But the 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson didn’t let this affect his game as he took the next two frames with breaks of 110 and 90.

Robertson then won the next two frames to take claim his first ranking event title since the World Open in September 2010.

This victory will be a sweet one for Robertson after Selby had previously beaten him by a  10-6 margin recently in the Masters.

Both players will be in good spirits though with both looking in good form with the World Championships just round the corner.

By getting to the final Selby has returned to world number one and Robertson moves up to third in the rankings with Trump down to number three.

Arguably the stand out performance of the tournament is that of 21 year old Jack Lisowski, the newly ranked world number 37 had to win two qualifiers just to make the event, but he managed to get all the way to the quarter finals and only narrowly missed out on a place in the semi-finals after losing a final frame decider to Shaun Murphy. His highlight of the tournament will no doubt be his second round victory over close friend Judd Trump.

 

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Cue Action – Ding Wins in Galway – By Will Vallely

Ding Junhui produced a superb comeback to claim the Dafabet Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in Galway.

The Chinese sensation was trailing 3-0 against Aussie Neil Robertson but reeled of four frames on the bounce to claim the title.

The final was played to a very high standard with both players scoring well. There were breaks of 130, 88, 80, 72 and 70.

However the most impressive break of the match was Ding’s break of 98 in the final frame. He showed great composure and nerves of steel to make the break which secured him the title

This is Ding’s sixth ranking event victory of his career so far, and his first since the Welsh Open last year. He will in no doubt be looking to take his impressive form to the upcoming World Championship’s where is has rarely showed his potential.

After his win Ding said: “I have taken my chances, made big breaks and fought back in matches. I have more experience now and I know I can win close matches with just one chance. It’s all about thinking and keeping my concentration.”

He went on to say: “I have been working hard all year. I might have a few tournaments when I don’t play well and have less energy, but I know I can come back strong.”

Ding looked in great form throughout the tournament and made eight centuries over the event including an impressive 147 in his quarter final tie with recent ranking event winner Mark Allen.

Ding has now made five maximum breaks which makes him the fourth best 147 producer in history. Only Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and John Higgins have made more.

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Cue Action – Allen Retains Title – By Will Vallely

Mark Allen has retained his Haikou World Open title by comfortably defeating Matthew Stevens 10-4.

Allen came out of the blocks quickly by winning the first three frames. But it will be the fourth frame that dealt a major blow to Stevens, as he opened up a 55 point lead, but only to see Allen respond with a tidy clearance of 58 to stretch his advantage.

The Welshman did respond though with breaks of 67 and 112 to reduce the arrears to just two frames. However Allen ended up once again extended his lead to three frames as the first session closed with Allen holding 6-3 lead.

In the evening session Allen looked very comfortable and won four of the next five frames to retain his title with a comfortable 10-4 victory.

The feisty Northern Irishman also won by a clear margin in last year’s final when he thrashed Stephen Lee 10-1.

Mark Allen looked in good form all week and none of his opponents throughout the event came close to victory. He comfortably beat the likes of Ryan Day, Ricky Walden and John Higgins to reach the final.

After his win Allen said: “I’m very happy to win and retain my title, to win the same tournament two years in a row is a great achievement, the snooker wasn’t as good as I had hoped. I didn’t get into a rhythm and I didn’t score very heavily. The scoreline was flattering; it wasn’t as one sided as that”.

Allen became the first player to retain a ranking title since John Higgins retained the Welsh Open in 2011.

By winning the tournament Allen takes home a check of £85,000 and climbs up to number seven in the world rankings.

Despite his defeat Matthew Stevens I’m sure will be satisfied with his efforts throughout the week, as he beat the likes of Shaun Murphy, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson to reach the final.
It was the Welshman’s first appearance in a final in five years.

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Cue Action – Ronnie Returns – By Will Vallely

Four-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan will break his hiatus and return to the baize to defend his world title in April.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has played just one match since his championship win in Sheffield last year, however that resulted in a shock defeat to world number 88 Simon Bedford.

Ronnie cited ‘personal problems’ for his extensive absence from the game but is now ready to return. He says his reason for his return is simply boredom.

He says all he has been doing is waking up and going for lunch every day. There had also being reports of him volunteering on a farm during his break.

He announced his return by holding a press conference, where he spoke about the immediate future and his plans. He said: “I’m very match rusty. I haven’t played any matches. I have not been in any intense situations so it’s going to be a tough call to go in there with no match practice behind me”.

He went on to say: “I might get smashed in Sheffield. I’m going in to the unknown. It’s a massive challenge.”

Ronnie has being known to often talk of retirement form the game even since the age of 18. There have been numerous incidents throughout his career where people have doubted his mental state.

Some will doubt whether he can seriously mount a challenge at the world championships after such an extensive break, however many will also fancy his chances as he is widely regarded as the greatest natural player ever to have played the game.

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Cue Action – Maguire on Fire – By Will Vallely

Stephen Maguire has won his first ranking event title in five years, after clinching the Welsh Open in a deciding frame against Stuart Bingham.

It was Maguire’s first tournament victory since the China Open in 2008. He is a player who has always being touted as a ‘future world champion’, but hasn’t performed to his true capabilities in recent seasons.

The first session saw both players battling it out for an early advantage. Maguire started the better and was 4-2 up before Bingham levelled at 4-4 at the end of the afternoon session.

Bingham came out strongest in the evening session by winning three of the first four frames. However after this Maguire came back strongly and won the next three frames to lead 8-7. Bingham took the next to take the match into a deciding frame.

Maguire showed nerves of steel in the final frame as he made a classy break of 82. In the past Maguire has being known to often punch the table in frustration, however this time as soon as he sealed the victory he punched the table in delight and relief.

The final was played at a very high standard as it saw three century breaks and eleven breaks that were over 50.

Both players came through difficult semi-final match ups, Stuart Bingham dispatched of last year’s winner Ding Junhui in a deciding frame and Maguire beat Judd Trump by a two frame margin.

After the victory Maguire said: “I forgot what it felt like to be a winner at the end of a tournament, it’s the best feeling ever.” He went on to say: “I’ve been playing snooker non-stop since the New Year and I’m match sharp.”

After the Welsh open the ranking list has also being updated, by his victory Maguire is at world number six whilst Stuart Bingham’s impressive form sees him move up three places to number seven. Judd Trump is back to number one after a short period at number two

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