Hong Kong Masters 2017 – the exhibition side

Aside  from the main competition, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and On Yee Ng were invited to play a “pot black” exhibition, taking place on the Finals day afternoon.

Read the report by the Cinese press on this event here

Ng On-yee humbled by crowd and two greats in Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White

She may be twice world champion but it was the first time the Hong Kong star had played in front of more than 3,000 fans

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 9:34pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 July, 2017, 10:52pm

Two-time reigning women’s world champion Ng was on Sunday night flying to the World Games in Poland, where she will take on male players and Belgium’s Wendy Jans – the only other female taking part.

There will be plenty for her to think about on the plane after losing to Jimmy “Whirlwind” White and Stephen Hendry at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium in an exhibition prior to the Hong Kong Masters final.

White is a six-time world championship finalist and Hendry a seven-time world champion. Neither are among the elite men’s players any more but were still too strong for Ng.

Ng was beaten by White 145-43 over two frames under the pot black rule while Hendry scored an overwhelming 151-49 win in the following game, including a 72 break in the second frame.

The strength of the crowd proved difficult for her to handle. The fickle weather meant the match was initially switched to being playing behind closed doors but then changed back to allow in the fans after a one-hour delay.

“I thought it was a big crowd when I last played at the Crucible for the men’s world championship qualifiers with a crowd of 300, but today it was more than 3,000,” she said. “I could not find my rhythm from the first moment, maybe it’s the first time I played in front of so many home fans in a big venue and seemed not to be able to control my muscles.

“But you don’t have too many opportunities like this. It’s a great experience of playing two great players and you gain experience match by match. Although it’s not a good performance, I did my best and hope the fans enjoy the game.”

Even her father, Ng Yam-shui who came to support his daughter, said she failed to play her best.

“She was too tensed. I can tell,” he said. “Maybe her performance was affected by the big home crowds. She should have taken it easy as the two were all-time great players.”

White also comforted his opponent, saying Ng could do much better even against men’s players in future if she could cope with the atmosphere.

“She needs to get a bit more used to the conditions like this,” said White, who has been given a wild card to play in the professional tour for next two seasons. “Today was the first time she played in front of a big crowd and when me and Steven played in front of a big crowd the first time, it was nerve wracking. She played well in the matches and just a bit nervous. She just keeps practising under her coach Wayne Griffiths and carries on as she is.”

At 55, White still enjoys snooker and is still keen to play in the tour.

“The season just started and I’ll go home tomorrow and get ready for it,” said White, who beat Hendry 109-74 in their exhibition match. “I plan to play in every tournament in the new season. Basically I want to stay with tour as I enjoy practising. While I still enjoy practising, I will carry on competing.”

And watch it here …

The format was: round robin, matches in 2 frames, aggregated points.

Hong Kong Masters 2017 – Neil Robertson is the Champion

Neil Robertson played superbly to beat Ronnie by 6-3 in the Final of the Hong Kong Masters 2017. Congratulations Neil.

The match though was a bit closer than the score suggests: Ronnie narrowly lost frames 6 and 7; in frame 7 Neil needed one snooker, laid a good one on the yellow, which Ronnie escaped, but, doing so was unlucky to pocket the green, giving Neil the penalty points he needed, and leaving the yellow over a middle pocket as well.

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

Sunday 23 Jul 2017 03:57PM

Neil Robertson put on a sublime display to see off five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 and lift the Hong Kong Masters title.

The Thunder was faced with three of the biggest names in the sport this week, but he managed to overcome World Champion Mark Selby, local hero Marco Fu and 28-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan to claim the crown. The Australian takes the top prize of £100,000. It’s the third invitational title of his career following victories at the 2012 Masters and 2015 Champion of Champions.

O’Sullivan came from behind in his opening two matches against John Higgins and Judd Trump, to force deciders which he won. However, he was unable to repeat his heroics this evening.

The Rocket took the opening frame, before Robertson responded with breaks of 73 and 80 to take the lead. Both players made contributions of 67 in the fourth frame, but it was O’Sullivan who deposited the final black to restore parity at 2-2.

The Englishman then produced a spellbinding run of 143 to take fifth frame and lead 3-2. However, from that point on Robertson took control. The 12-time ranking winner won four frames on the bounce, finishing with breaks of 68 and 82, to lift the title.

A joyous Robertson remarked: “This event had the best eight players in the world. The draw I had was incredible. Mark Selby, Marco Fu and Ronnie O’Sullivan. It doesn’t get any harder than that. To do it in front of three thousand people was amazing. That was the best playing experience of my career.

“Last season was really bad by my standards and I think I needed that to happen to know what to do going forward. This was the first big tournament of the campaign and my preparation was fantastic. I’ve worked really hard and I just have to do this for the rest of my career. I need to play this aggressive as well. I didn’t let Ronnie dictate the pace of the match.

“I’m not going to target certain events. I just need to practise from start to finish. Mark Selby has really inspired me. Seeing how hard he works. Usually I don’t do much practising during events. But I have done a little bit extra during this week and it showed.”

O’Sullivan was in reflective mood after the defeat, but admitted he needs to make a change with his cue.

If at the start of the week you told me I would be in the final I would have taken it,” said O’Sullivan. “I don’t make excuses but I will be getting rid of my cue after this week, it’s finished. There were certain shots I couldn’t play as it has lost it’s feel. I just have to take the positives out of this week.

I wrote in a previous post that Ronnie had some repair work done on his cue. It seems unfortunately that the cue is damaged beyond rescue…

Here are some images courtesy of Tai Chengzhe. Thanks Tai!

Ronnie though didn’t have an all bad day in Hong Kong … before the match, other than practicing, he also played a bit of table tennis and had lunch with Django Fung and his family. Django is Ronnie’s former manager and they are close friends.

Here is the final:

Ronnie made a 143, the HB of the tournament in frame 5, and frame 4 saw both players score a 67 break, before Ronnie took it on the re-spotted black.

Hong Kong Masters 2017 – Day 3

It was semi finals day in Hong Kong and it was full of drama!

Neil Robertson must be the most hated man in Hong Kong at the moment as he beat the local hero, Marco Fu by 6-4 in the afternoon match.

You can read the report on Worldsnooker here.HKMastersFuvRobertsonSF

pictures shared by Worldsnooker on weibo

In the evening match, Ronnie beat Judd Trump in an absolute thriller!

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Saturday 22 Jul 2017 04:13PM

Ronnie O’Sullivan sealed a dramatic 6-5 win over Judd Trump on the final black to reach the final of the Hong Kong Masters.

A pulsating clash between two snooker titans eventually went the Rocket’s way when he made a winning clearance in the deciding frame, having needed a snooker. He goes through to Sunday’s final at the invitation event to battle Neil Robertson for the trophy and £100,000 top prize.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan took the opening frame on the colours then rattled in breaks of 128 and 85 to lead 3-0. Back came Trump with a spell of four frames in a row, highlighted by runs of 136 and 76, to go 4-3 ahead.

O’Sullivan’s 87 restored parity then Trump regained the lead with a 54. The high scoring continued as O’Sullivan’s 126 made it 5-5.

Both players had chances in the decider and Trump looked sure to win until he missed the penultimate red when leading by 46 points. O’Sullivan took red and black then trapped his opponent in a tough snooker. Trump missed the last red and left a free ball, and O’Sullivan punished him by clearing with 39 to clinch victory.

“It was a crazy match and I thought I had lost,” said 42-year-old O’Sullivan, chasing his first title since the Masters in January. “I was going to concede when he went 46 ahead in the last frame, but I decided to give it a go and then got a good snooker which made it difficult for him. I made a good clearance because it’s never easy under pressure. I was really pleased that I held myself together. You have to try to let instinct take over in that situation.

I was making some silly mistakes and handed frames to Judd, but I tried to stay positive and the crowd were behind me which helped. I was pleased to give them a reason to cheer. I’ve had two really hard matches here against John Higgins and Judd and I’ll be giving it my best shot in the final.”

Trump said: “I should have won, I had a chance in the last frame and I should have made sure of the second-last red. But then he got me in a good snooker and then the balls were perfect for him. From 3-0 down I was in control. Overall this has been a very good tournament and I’d be happy to come back.

In fact, the balls were not exactly perfect: the green was stuck on the baulk cushion and not very close to the pocket either. That was going to be a difficult shot at the best of times, not to mention under the pressure of a deciding frame in a semi final! Also Ronnie had cleverly played for the pink from the free ball black: it was close to the brown (on its spot) and pink to black would have been difficult if it had stayed there.

And some images, courtesy of Tai Chengzhe. Thanks Tai!  

Last 5 frames of the match, in decent quality:

Another version thanks to krdlr, with the first two frames, and most of what happened after the MSI

And the highlights on Viu TV, better quality, but of course just highlights

I want to stress that the guys who brought that to us did an awsome job. The stream was awfull yesterday. Thank you guys!

Another interview with Ronnie

This time by the Yorkshire Post

Nothing really new, but still nice.

Weekend Interview: Cue king Ronnie O’Sullivan at peace on and off table

By Richard Hercock

Saturday 22 July 2017

Ronnie O’Sullivan is widely regarded as the most talented man to ever hold a snooker cue in his mercurial hands. Even before he turned professional in 1992, he was tipped for stardom, the child prodigy banging in his first century break aged 10, and his first maximum 147 at 15.

It was arguably a little slower than the world record five minutes and 20 seconds it took O’Sullivan to clear the table at the 1997 World Championship in Sheffield. But the evidence was clear, emerging from an era when Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry had dominated, this young hopeful from Essex was destined for greatness. Five world titles, seven Masters and five UK Championships – the first came when he was aged just 17 – hardly do his talent service. Just as comfortable playing left-handed as he is right-handed, his rapid playing style and adventure around the table quickly attracted an army of supporters.

While Davis and Hendry grafted for their titles, the genius that is O’Sullivan seemed to breeze along on natural talent in the early years. Off-table issues, dealing with depression, saw O’Sullivan work on his mental approach to snooker as he worked closely with sports psychiatrist Steve Peters. Now, though, O’Sullivan is in a good place in his life, trimming down his hectic schedule on the World Snooker tour and looking forward to life when he finally hangs up his cue. He has written his first novel, the excellent Framed, with a sequel coming out later this year called Double Kiss.

And he is often seen as a pundit on Eurosport, delivering his expert opinion on the game. But what else occupies O’Sullivan’s days, when his waistcoat and dickie bow are hanging in the wardrobe? “I’m into my fitness and running, love a bit of boxing too,” O’Sullivan told The Yorkshire Post. “I like cooking and eating out with friends and when I get real time off some track days are fun too.”

Ronnie Portrait

When writing Framed, O’Sullivan drew on personal experiences, on life growing up in snooker halls. The main character is called Frankie James, who runs a family snooker club in Soho, after his mother disappears when he was 16 and his father is in jail for armed robbery. Set against the backdrop of London gangsters, and the battle to save his younger brother, it is fast-moving and you can almost inhale the smoke with its well-penned narrative. So is writing something he enjoys, and can we expect more books in the future? “Definitely and I have got the second one in the Framed series coming out in November, it’s called Double Kiss. “Framed is all about a snooker player really, its based around me and my childhood.” O’Sullivan’s battles with depression throughout his life are well-documented. Over the years he appears to have lost games to the demons in his head, rather than his opponent sat across the table. He revealed that he spent several days in a London hospital last year, after having a breakdown during the World Championship in Sheffield. That emotional rollercoaster is hard to imagine, but O’Sullivan has learned how to cope with the highs, and the lows. “I love a breakdown,” he joked in an interview with BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire. “I’m so used to dragging myself up from a low. I’ve done it all my life. “Sometimes I know that once I get to the bottom I’m just going to fly up again. “I’ve managed to even myself out. “The low doesn’t bother me, because I’ve been so low I know I can come out of it. I don’t worry so much. “It’s just the chance to respond or what not. “It’s always been the way with me, so I don’t worry about it like some people would.” O’Sullivan returns to Sheffield, the scene of his five world titles, on October 7 for an evening show, called A Sporting Life Story, with Ronnie O’Sullivan. Swapping the Crucible for Bramall Lane, O’Sullivan will recall the highs and lows in his glittering career, with footage on giant screens of some of his magical moments. Then fans will get the chance to hold a Q&A with the Rocket – whose 1993 UK Championship win, aged 17 years and 358 days makes him the youngest player ever to win a ranking tournament – before a meet and greet with guests. “I am really looking forward to the event in Sheffield,” said O’Sullivan. “It’s going to be a great night.” O’Sullivan holds numerous records: the most competitive century breaks with 863, the most ratified maximum breaks in professional competition (13) and for the three fastest competitive maximum breaks, the quickest of which was compiled in five minutes and 20 seconds. So does he think that last one will be bettered? “I don’t know,” he pondered. “Eventually all records get broken so I’m sure it will, but let’s hope it’s not too soon!” Sheffield holds plenty of great memories for O’Sullivan, and is a city he enjoys spending time in. But after 25 years of making the trek up the M1 from Essex, what is his stand-out moment at the Crucible? “Probably 2012, winning with little Ronnie there on the back of a poor season,” he said. O’Sullivan – then 36 – was joined on the main stage by his son, Ronnie Jr, after beating Ali Carter 18-11 in the final. Along the way he had seen off the challenge of Peter Ebdon, Mark Williams and Neil Robertson. “It was the best I’ve played at the world champs for sure.” On that special moment between father and son, O’Sullivan explained at the time: “It was the best. I didn’t think I’d ever get the opportunity to share those moments with him so it was so nice to have him here. “I got a bit emotional before the match was over, it felt like just me and him in the whole arena. “There was just this massive connection between me and him, the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life.” While O’Sullivan will be back in Sheffield in October, he will not be a stranger to Yorkshire. The English Open is being held for the first time in Barnsley in October, before the UK Championship returns to York the following month. Then the big one, the World Championship at the Crucible next April as O’Sullivan looks to add to his five world titles. Davis has six, while Hendry has seven, so can O’Sullivan – he will be 42 when he returns to the Crucible – match or even better the Scot’s record haul. “That’s a big ask, 17 days in Sheffield is a long time to survive,” he admitted. “There’s lots of good players about now but I’ll give it a go for sure.” For a player who has never been afraid of anything put before him on a snooker table, you would expect no less. A Sporting Life Story, with Ronnie O’Sullivan is on October 7 at Bramall Lane. For further information go to http://www.rm-events.co.uk or by calling 07717502480

Hong Kong Masters 2017 – Day 2

Day 2 in Hong Kong saw wins for Judd Trump over Shaun Murphy, by 5-3, and  for Ronnie over John Higgins by 5-4 from 4-2 down.

Judd’s win was rather straightforward, he never looked really in danger. Read the report on Worldsnooker.

and watch the highlights:


Photo shared by Django Fung on twitter

The Ronnie v Higgins match was something different entirely. Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Friday 21 Jul 2017 04:51PM

Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 4-2 down to beat John Higgins 5-4 and reach the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Masters.

O’Sullivan will now meet Judd Trump in another showpiece clash at the eight-man invitation tournament.Higgins came from 2-0 down to lead 4-2, firing breaks of 87, 72, 61 and 81. But a packed crowd was treated to an exciting conclusion as the two players with nine world titles between them battled to the end.O’Sullivan made a 65 in winning the seventh frame then came from 20-0 down to take the eighth with a top run of 42. Higgins had two clear chances in the decider but could only make 16 and 24, and O’Sullivan eventually took it 80-40.

i felt I got away with that one, I was 4-2 down and John was playing solid,” said O’Sullivan. “I won a good frame to go 4-3 and that put the match in the balance. You should never give in until it’s over. For my first match since the World Championship I felt pretty good. I enjoyed the occasion, it was a great crowd and you have to look forward to playing in an atmosphere like that.

Higgins said: “I had a few chances and didn’t take them and that came back to bite me. We missed a few easy balls between us tonight. All the players are a bit rusty and my technique was all over the place in some frames. but the atmosphere was incredible. The hospitality here in Hong Kong has been fantastic, I can’t thank the people here enough and I would love to come back here for more tournaments.

Ronnie  had only one break over 50, but there are still plenty that really pleased me.

  • He applied himself from start to finish, never giving up. John Higgins is a player who has a very good winning record against Ronnie, paricularly in recent years,and, at times, it feels as if Ronnie has a bit of a mental block when playing him. Not today.
  • He actually won the frames that went tactical against one of the best ever tacticians.
  • Ronnie is not playing with a new cue (yet), but his cue had repair work done on it and I reckon that the feeling and  behaviour aren’t exactly as before. So it probably needs some getting used to.
  • It was the best match of the QF round, because it was the most competitive and the closest.

There was an official opening ceremony before the evening match, featuring officials, Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins, Marco Fu, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White, On Yee  Ng, two cues, two white balls and a number of reds, everyone taking selfies. Don’t ask what they said, I have no clue!


Photo shared by Worldsnooker on weibo

The match was streamed,  legally,  on the CBSA web page, and  shared on facebook by about a  zillion people.

Here is  one of these shares, thank to krdltr

And for those just wanting the best parts, the highlights:

Plus a few images, thanks to Tai Chengzhe!

And finally, here is tomorrow’s SF line-up:


Photo shared by Worldsnooker on weibo

Hong Kong Masters 2017 – Day 1

Day  1 in Hong Kong saw the first two quarter finals played in front of a huge enthusiast crowd. The setup is very impressive. Judge by yourself by watching this short video posted by Barry hawkins on twitter . Barry recorded it when re-entering the arena after the MSI.

Marco Fu beat Barry Hawkins by 5-3, from 3-1 down. Marco of course has all the expectations on his shoulders, being the local hero. The tension showed a bit before the  MSI, but as the match unfolded, he played better and  better, finishing with a 132 TC.

Neil Robertson beat Mark Selby by 5-3 as well, and was always in front and in control. It was Mark Selby first outing since he suffered a foot injury and he was understandably a bit rusty.

The event is streamed on the CBSA official page

As for Ronnie, he practiced by playing an exhibition match against Jimmy White.

He also gave an interview, saying that the event is a great success, that the best players in the World are there to enjoy the occasion and delight the fans. Asked about his chances to win it, he said that he doesn’t know, really, that everyone there has their chances, but that it’s a great opportunity to entertain the fans with quality matches and very rewarding.