Players Championship 2018 – Ronnie beats Ding in the QF

Ronnie beat Ding Junhui by 6-3, from 2-0 down, in the quarter finals of the Players Championship in Llandudno. He also made three centuries in the process.

Ronnie will now face Judd Trump or Neil Robertson in the semi-final, tomorrow night

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan became the first player into the semi-finals of the Ladbrokes Players Championship as he made three centuries in a 6-3 win over Ding Junhui.

It was a slow start for O’Sullivan in Llandudno tonight as he lost the first two frames and could have gone 3-0 down. But the Rocket soon gathered pace and eventually ran out a comfortable winner to set up a meeting with Judd Trump or Neil Robertson on Friday evening (tickets still available – click here for details).

World number two O’Sullivan is into his fifth ranking event semi-final of the season – and on each of the four previous occasions he has reached that stage, he has gone on to win the tournament. Victory this week would see the 42-year-old equal the record for the most ranking titles in a single season, held by Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui and Mark Selby.

The key moments of tonight’s match came in the third frame when China’s Ding, leading 2-0, missed a pink to a centre pocket on a break of 40 and later played a poor safety on the last red, which allowed his opponent to clear and snatch the frame. O’Sullivan then made a superb 134 to level at 2-2, and he won the next as well to take the lead.

Ding hit back with a run of 119 to level at 3-3, but O’Sullivan moved up a gear and reeled off the last three frames with runs of 55, 100 and 121. The last of those breaks was his 67th century of the season and 941st of his career.

I’m pleased with how I changed the way I was playing after going 2-0 down,” said Chigwell’s O’Sullivan. “I decided to play aggressively, as if I was playing against a load of numpties in an exhibition, going for my shots and not caring if I missed. When I play my best, that’s how I’m thinking, playing the first shot that I see. That’s what helped me tonight. I wanted Ding to play well too because that spurs me on and makes it a great match.

“I’ll treat my next match like an exhibition as well, I’ll go out there and smash a few balls around and see what happens. If I lose I’ll still have fun. The key for me is to find ways to enjoy it, motivate myself and find that spark.”

Earlier, Judd Trump booked his spot in the QF, playing some good match snooker, and, quite surprisingly, Anthony McGill completely trashed John Higgins by 6-0.

Read Worldsnooker’s report here:

Anthony McGill ended a run of four consecutive defeats against John Higgins with a 6-0 whitewash to reach the quarter-finals of the Ladbrokes Players Championship, while defending champion Judd Trump saw off Stephen Maguire 6-4.

Higgins has been in fine form this season, winning two ranking events and earning more money than any player other than Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams. He beat McGill at the Indian Open, Champion of Champions, the Masters and the Romanian Masters, but today the tables were turned.

World number 16 McGill goes through to face Shaun Murphy in Llandudno on Friday afternoon (tickets still available, click here for details).

In fact McGill was not at his best today but took advantage of numerous uncharacteristic errors from his fellow Scot. A break of 64 gave McGill the opening frame and he won the next two on the colours to make it 3-0. A run of 57 extended his lead before the interval.

Both players had chances in the fifth frame and it came down to a safety battle on the brown, McGill slotting in an excellent long pot for 5-0. World number five Higgins was on a break of 48 in the next when he ran out of position, and in frustration missed a near-impossible red. McGill kept his composure to clear with 61.

“It’s a strange result, especially as the way I played wasn’t incredible,” said 27-year-old McGill, who won two ranking titles last season and is chasing the third of his career this week. “We both played around the same level but I won all of the close frames. I know I’d lost four times to John this season but he’d probably do that against most players, that’s how good he is. It’s not a bad thing to lose to him because I always learn something and come away from it a better player. I tend to get more confidence from my performances than my results, although I’m delighted to beat John.”

Murphy is suffering from back and neck injuries, and McGill joked: “I’ll get him some extra hard pillows to make his neck even sorer – I’ll need all the help I can get! He has been one of the top players for well over a decade but I’ll give it my best shot.”

Higgins said: “It was a bad day at the office, my concentration was all over the place. My game wasn’t there and I didn’t put up any resistance. It’s disappointing because it’s a very big tournament. In the last couple of years I haven’t had many performances where there was just nothing there.”

Trump came through a tough battle against Maguire to set up a quarter-final clash with Neil Robertson on Thursday afternoon. World number three Trump is aiming to win the ninth ranking title of his career and to successfully defend a title for the second time this season having done so at the European Masters.

The Bristolian was off to a flying start today as breaks of 128 and 78 made it 2-0 within 13 minutes. Maguire hit back with a 129 then Trump’s 117 made it 3-1.

The high scoring continued after the interval as Maguire compiled runs of 58 and 102 to level at 3-3. The next two frames – scrappy affairs – were shared to leave the contest poised at 4-4. In the ninth, Maguire trailed by 33 points when he completely missed the last red while trying to play safe, and he conceded the frame in annoyance. Trump went on to clinch victory in the next with a 76.

“I felt good at the start, then started missing chances after the interval,” said 28-year-old Trump. “I’m happy with my game and this is an important tournament for me. I enjoy being in Llandudno, I always feel relaxed here. Neil Robertson will be a similar challenge, he plays a similar game to Stephen but scores a bit heavier when he’s playing well.”

The result means Maguire needs a deep run at the China Open – probably at least to the semi-finals – to have a chance of automatic qualification for the World Championship. Click here for the Race to the Crucible.

Thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those images

In case you missed it … as I did actually.

And this was Ronnie’s preparation this time

I have been in Llandudno a few years back and I have to say the sceneries are breathtaking in the area. This hill Ronnie is climbing is situated at the end of the beach and it’s quite the sight… and most would be out of breath just walking to the top, it’s that steep in places!


And I also visited Anglesey (we had a day off).  Follow the link to see more images of this beautiful region, well worth a visit.


Players Championship 2018 – Ronnie beats Graeme Dott in the last 16

Ronnie beat Graeme Dott by 6-1 yesterday evening in Llandudno, to book a place in the QF where he will face Ding Junhui who beat Mark Allen quite convincingly. They will play tonight. It should be a good match.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan compared himself to a Ferrari after finding top gear to beat Graeme Dott 6-1 at the Ladbrokes Players Championship.

O’Sullivan is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, having won more ranking events, made more centuries and earned more prize money than ever before. He’s into the quarter-finals in Llandudno and will face Ding Junhui on Wednesday night in a repeat of last month’s Ladbrokes World Grand Prix final, which O’Sullivan won 10-3 (tickets still available, click here for details).

Dott had chances in the opening frame tonight but couldn’t take them and he was eventually punished as O’Sullivan made a 48 clearance to win it on the black. World number two O’Sullivan then raced into a 5-0 lead with top breaks of 106, 62 and 51.

At that stage he had won 17 consecutive frames against Dott, across four matches, and he looked set to extend that sequence until Dott came from 40-0 down to snatch frame six. Scotland’s Dott also had a chance to clear from 50-0 down in the seventh, but missed a tough last red along the top cushion, allowing O’Sullivan to seal the result.

A lot of the other players are burned out. I just chip up now and then and nick a few trophies,” said 42-year-old O’Sullivan, chasing his fifth ranking title of the season. “I’m as fresh as a daisy because you have to pace yourself. I look at myself like a Ferrari – you can’t keep driving it every day, you have to polish it, clean it, keep it in the garage and keep the miles down. If you want to put 300,000 miles on the car you will wear it out pretty soon so I try to keep my mileage down.”

Neil Robertson was in superb form in a 6-2 win over Luca Brecel, setting up a quarter-final with Judd Trump or Stephen Maguire on Thursday afternoon. Brecel made a break of 130 in taking a 2-1 lead, and he potted the first red at the start of the fourth frame, but then failed to pot a ball in the remainder of the match. Australia’s Robertson piled in runs of 75, 72, 62, 103 and 107, scoring 432 points without reply.

I played pretty much perfect snooker from 2-1 down,” said world number 15 Robertson, aiming for his third title of the season having won the Hong Kong Masters and Scottish Open. “I’m really pleased because I played that well at the Welsh Open but still lost 4-3 to Ian Burns. My game has been in great shape and I feel fantastic.

“Ronnie has been the standout player this season, then you’ve got Mark Williams, John Higgins, Ryan Day and myself who have all won a couple of tournaments. We’re all looking at the next two events as a chance to keep the momentum going heading into the World Championship. There are a lot of players feeling really good about their game, which makes it great for everyone watching.

I didn’t see the match – I’m in Scunthorpe for the World Seniors Championship – but from what I understood, based on the pundits commentary, Ronnie played some excellent match snooker, relying on very strong safeties to give himself the chances he needed whilst restricting his opponent’s opportunities to a minimum. Nevertheless, century n° 938 duly came too …

And a few more pictures, thanks to Tai Chengzhe!

Elsewhere, Shaun Murphy, Mark Williams and Ryan Day also progressed. Ryan beat Mark Selby fair and square and is on course for a third consecutive title after winning the Romanian Masters last week!

Apparently this was Ronnie”s preparation… he likes to cook “in batches” and take his own food at tournaments


WSF Championships 2018 – Wins for On Yee Ng and Igor Figueiredo

The World Women’s Snooker Championship 2018 and the WSF Seniors Championship 2018 concluded yesterday evening with wins from On Yee Ng and Igor Figueiredo.

Here are the reports on WPBSA

On Yee Wins Third World Women’s Title

  • 17th March 2018

Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee has defeated Maria Catalano 5-0 to complete the successful defence of her WLBS World Women’s Snooker Championship title and claim her third world crown overall on Saturday.

On Yee completed a dominant week in Malta with a convincing victory against world number four Catalano, who earlier in the day had stunned 11-time world champion Reanne Evans with a 4-3 win to progress to her fifth world final and first since 2013.

It was also a fifth final for On Yee, who last month became world number one for the first time in her career and following previous victories against Belgium’s Wendy Jans and third ranked Rebecca Kenna, routed Catalano to seal the title without the loss of a single frame.

The success sees On Yee become only the third player ever to win the title on three or more occasions, joining an elite group comprising Reanne Evans (11), Allison Fisher (7), Kelly Fisher (5) and Karen Corr (3).

The 27-year-old will also extend her lead at the top of the WLBS rankings when they are revised next week, while beaten finalist Catalano will rise one place to number three following her run.

A delighted On Yee later revealed that she came into the tournament carrying an illness, but that this could have actually worked to her advantage.

“I am absolutely over the moon to win my third title,” said On Yee. “I did not have great expectations coming into the tournament as I was coughing and sick so just tried to play every game, every ball. But looking back now I think that this took a lot of pressure off me and I started to play a little better.

“When I saw the knockout draw I thought that was a tough draw, playing Wendy Jans in the first knockout match, but I just tried to focus and to enjoy the games. I would like to say thank you to all of my team, including family and friends, as well as my coaches at the Hong Kong Sports Institute who have supported me even late at night.”

And having enjoyed her time at the tournament in Malta, the Asian star now turns her attention to Sheffield where she will compete at the professional World Championship qualifiers following her latest triumph.

“It has been great to be here in Malta for the first time with very nice weather, a beautiful ocean view for breakfast in the morning and to be surrounded by nice people.

“As well as the title, the most important thing for me is that I have now qualified to player at the professional World Championship in Sheffield which I am really looking forward to.

“The first time there when I played Peter Lines [in 2016] I was so nervous about the atmosphere that I did not play well. Last year against Nigel Bond I had more expectations, but I still didn’t play well, so hopefully this year I can just enjoy the match.”

(source: )

Rebecca Kenna, who lost to On Yee in the SF, could be excused if she came into that match a bit jaded… Indeed she needed nearly six hours to defeat Yee Ting Cheung from Hong Kong in a true Selbyesque performance: she came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3. She was back on the table almost right away, this time facing the very dangerous Waratthanun Sukritthanes from Thailand who was seed n°2 after the knock-out stages. Again she trailed 2-0 before winning 4-2, past 1 am on the Finals day.

Maria Catalano played really well to defeat Reanne Evans by 4-3 in the semi finals. The match went on the last pink. For Maria this is a very important win because she had lost so many times to Reanne over the years that it must have been difficult for her to come into this match with the belief that she could win. But she did! It probably took a lot out of her though as she clearly had nothing left when facing On Yee Ng later that afternoon. Not taking anything from On Yee’s performance – she was the better player all week – but there wasn’t really a match, which, I’m sure, neither player liked.

Figueiredo Wins WSF Seniors Championship

  • 18th March 2018

Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo became the first winner of the WSF Seniors Championship on Saturday after he came from behind to defeat Welshman Darren Morgan 5-3 in the final.

The 40-year-old former professional from Rio de Janeiro reached the final following victory against Ireland’s Michael Judge earlier in the day, while Morgan held off UAE star Mohamed Shehab to book his place in the showpiece match.

It was in fact former world professional number eight Morgan who made the stronger start to the match, racing out of the blocks with a break of 116 in the opening frame on his way to a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.

Back came Figueiredo however, winning four consecutive frames with a top run of 66 to claim the title and write his name in the record books as the first-ever winner of this prestigious new event.

The Brazilian most recently competed on tour during the 2016/2017 season, notably reaching the last 16 stage of both the Welsh Open and Gibraltar Open tournaments.

Both players will be back in action tomorrow in another historic new event, the mixed gender WSF Championships looking to emerge victorious from a 90-strong field containing many of the world’s finest amateur players.

(source: )

Both Darren and Igor would be great additions to the World Seniors Tour, if  things come to that!

Here are the images taken during the knock-out stages:

16 March 2018

17 March 2018

WSF Championships 2018 in Malta – Women and Seniors Groups round-up

Those who don’t follow me on Facebook or twitter might wonder why I haven’t posted anything in days… well I’m at the Dolmen Hotel in Malta, at the inaugural World Snooker Federation Championships, taking pictures.

And, no, despite the ones above, it’s not exactly holidays!

Over the last two days, the group stages of the World Women’s Snooker Championship and the WSF Seniors Championship have been played to a conclusion and you can find all the information you need here:



That includes live scores on all tables, and a streaming on table 4.

The World Women’s Snooker Championship is now at the last 16 stage with,  the four players who topped the groups, seeded right in the QF

The WSF Seniors Championship is at the last 28 stage, with the four top players seeded in the last 16.

This will be followed by a mixed event, starting on Sunday, men and women, seniors and under-40, and the semi finals of the Women and Seniors event qualifying for the mixed event.

The winners of the Women and Seniors event will be invited to play in the qualifiers of the World Championship in Sheffield come April. The winner of the mixed event will get a main tour card. You can read more about this here .

You can have a look at the pictures I took so far here (those are Facebook links, but they are open to all)

The Opening Ceremony

Day 1 – 14 March 2018

WSF Championships 2018 – 15 March 2018

And I want to apologise to every player I didn’t manage to photograph… the tables at the back of the two rooms in use at the venue are not accessible without risking to disturb the matches in progress on adjacent tables. This means that I could only take pictures of eight  tables out of the 14 in use.

I’m NOT following the Romanian Masters at all, haven’t seen a single ball of it – too busy here – si I won’t post anything about that one!

Players Championship 2018 – Draw and Format

Now confirmed by Worldsnooker

The full line up of snooker’s top stars for next week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship has now been confirmed.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The race to qualify for the tournament in Llandudno, North Wales, began at the start of the season and finished with the Gibraltar Open last weekend. Only the leading 16 players on the one-year ranking listnow go through to Venue Cymru for the £380,000 world ranking event which runs from March 19 to 25.

Green baize kings including Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Mark Selby and defending champion Judd Trump are now set to battle for the £125,000 top prize.

The first round matches are:

Monday March 19

Shaun Murphy v Kyren Wilson
Ding Junhui v Mark Allen

Tuesday March 20

Mark Selby v Ryan Day
Mark Williams v Yan Bingtao

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Graeme Dott
Luca Brecel v Neil Robertson

Wednesday March 21
John Higgins v Anthony McGill
Judd Trump v Stephen Maguire

It’s a fantastic chance for fans to see the sport’s biggest names competing for a coveted title. Tickets, starting at just £15, are still available although certain sessions are expected to sell out fast now the format has been released. For details call 01492 872 000 or CLICK HERE

Players Championship 2018 – Latest

So, after the completion of the Gibraltar Open, the line-up for the Players Championship 2018 is known and here is how it pans out (source Worldsnooker)

The line up of 16 stars for the Ladbrokes Players Championship is now complete, following the conclusion of the Gibraltar Open.

These 16 go through to Venue Cymru in Llandudno for the world ranking event which runs from March 19 to 25. The top eight have already had their matches scheduled, for details click here. The full draw and format will be released shortly. Tickets for tournament are still on sale – for details click here.

Ronnie O’Sullivan
Mark Williams
John Higgins
Judd Trump
Luca Brecel
Shaun Murphy
Mark Selby
Ding Junhui
Mark Allen
Ryan Day
Kyren Wilson
Neil Robertson
Stephen Maguire
Anthony McGill
Yan Bingtao
Graeme Dott

Which means that currently the draw looks like this:

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Graeme Dott (16)

Ding Junhui (8) v Mark Allen (9)

Luca Brecel (5) v Neil Robertson (12)

Judd Trump (4) v Stephen Maguire (13)


John Higgins (3) v Anthony McGill (14)

Shaun Murphy (6) v Kyren Wilson (11)

Mark Selby (7) v Ryan Day (10)

Mark Williams (2) v Yan Bingtao (15)

However there could be another twist as Shaun Murphy, suffering neck and back injuries, cast doubts over his participation (source Worldsnooker)

Shaun Murphy has admitted that he faces a race against the clock to overcome back and neck problems ahead of next week’s Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno.

The world number seven was unable to compete and defend his title at the ManBetX Gibraltar Open at the weekend after the recurring problems flared up. He has also pulled out of the upcoming Romanian Masters, which starts on Wednesday. Murphy is scheduled to play his first round match in Llandudno next Monday evening.

Murphy said: “It is really bad. I have had some physiotherapy treatment and have a session tonight, as well as another later on in the week. It needs to improve quite substantially if I am to make it to Llandudno.

“I have had this for years and normally the way it would go is if I had a warning sign then I would call up the physio and go for an appointment. However, If I am being totally honest I probably haven’t been to the physio as much as I should have recently. I am still trying to find out what the root cause of the problem is. It has been allowed to get out of control and create a bit of trouble. I thought I had staved it off. I haven’t and I’ve paid the price.

“I really wanted to go and defend my title in Gibraltar and not being able to do it was extremely frustrating. I self-punished myself by watching every ball at the weekend out of a self-loathing and annoyed perspective. I just have to get to the bottom of it and free it up. I am hoping to make it to Llandudno. However, if things don’t improve then I will find that very difficult.”

This isn’t the first time the 2005 World Champion has been an injury doubt due to the problem. Murphy’s 18-15 Crucible defeat to Stuart Bingham in 2015 was one of the best World Championship finals in recent years. However, the 35-year-old has admitted that he was very close to being unable to take to the baize.

“On the Sunday morning before the final I was lying on the floor of the practice room so my coach Chris Henry could walk on my back to get it right. I was unable to hit any balls that morning and thankfully through intense physio work and Chris walking on my back, sticking his elbow in key places, I got myself in a position to be able to play. While having breakfast that morning, I was contemplating becoming the first person to pull out of a world final.”

The Triple Crown winner is hopeful that treatment can cause the problem to subside and allow him to compete in what is a huge climax to the season with the China Open, which has become snooker’s second most lucrative tournament, and the World Championship to follow next week’s Players Championship.

“The primary goal for me now is to get through the next few days, get my cue out and try to get back to hitting some balls. The Players Championship is a fantastic tournament to be in. You work all season to get into the top 16 of the one-year list to be there. The China Open is now a massive event for our tour and then there is obviously the World Championship. This is the end of the season. This is where you want to be in good health. I’ve a bit of work to do.”

If Shaun has to withdraw, then the player ranked n°17 in the one year list is Martin Gould. I’m not sure if Martin would just replace Shaun in the draw, or if the draw would be “reworked” in which case it would look like this …

Ronnie O’Sullivan (1) v Martin Gould (17)

Mark Allen (8) v Ryan Day (9)

Luca Brecel (5) v  Stephen Maguire (12)

Judd Trump (4) v Anthony McGill (13)


John Higgins (3) v Yan Bingtao (14)

Mark Selby (6) v  Neil Robertson (11)

Ding Junhui (7) v  Kyren Wilson (10)

Mark Williams (2) v Graeme Dott (15)