Farewell to Billy O’Connor

Today, the snooker world took farewell of Billy O’Connor, a talented young snooker player, but more importantly a very nice, selfless and ever brave person.

Worldsnooker pays tribute to Billy

Tuesday 22 Dec 2015 01:28PM

billy o'connorFriends and family of Billy O’Connor gathered in Dagenham today for the funeral of the former England junior captain who sadly died this month at the age of 18.

Snooker players including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stuart Bingham, Judd Trump, Jack Lisowski, Oliver Lines and Sean O’Sullivan were there to remember Billy, whose brave three-year battle with cancer ended on December 9th.

Billy first played snooker at the age of three and first represented England in 2009. He went on to captain the under-16 team when they won the Home Internationals title in 2012.

billy o'connorLast year he organised an 24-hour snooker marathon at Upton Park Snooker Club which raised £11,000 – for more details click here.

He continued to play snooker in between his treatment for illness, and as recently as September reached the last 16 of an EASB Premier Tour event.

Our deepest sympathies go to Billy’s parents Debbie and Barry and all of his family and friends at this sad time.

To read more about him click here

Ronnie, reigning World Champion Stuart Bingham, Sean O’Sullivan, Jack Lisowski and Django Fung were amongst the pall-bearers.

Mark King should have been there as well, as Billy’s family had asked him to be one of the pall-bearers. Mark was playing in the Senior World Championship qualifiers and did ask Worldsnooker if it would be possible to play his last match early so that he could be back in Essex in time to honour Billy. Unfortunately this couldn’t be arranged (and poor Mark lost his last match as well).

The local press also published this moving tribute to Billy


Ronnie speaks to Desmond Kane (Eurosport) after his defeat yesterday

In his latest Eurosport blog with Desmond Kane, Ronnie reflects on yesterday’s defeat and on his game.

Ronnie O’Sullivan return: Getting thumped a few times might be best thing for me

By Ronnie O’Sullivan

Ronnie O’Sullivan made his return to competitive snooker after an eight-month absence over the weekend. He beat Hamza Akbar 5-1 before losing 5-3 to world number 62 Stuart Carrington in the second round of qualifying for the German Masters on Sunday. Here the five-times world champion tells Desmond Kane what he thinks he needs to do to improve ahead of next month’s Masters at Alexandra Palace.

My first match back wasn’t great I must admit, but it is not all bad. I lost 5-3 to Stuart Carrington in the German Masters qualifiers when he played some good solid stuff. What was pleasing to me is that before meeting and working with (sports psychiatrist) Dr Steve Peters, I would have been savage on myself over a performance like that. I can play poorly these days and not get angry with myself. I’m good at playing badly, and putting the bad shots behind me.

That is something I’m really proud about and never thought possible. It has taken a massive shift in my thought process, and something I would like to pursue in helping other people achieve what they want from the game.
It’s the best thing I have done, and overcome in my life. Everyone knows how hard I used to be on myself, and I’m sure everyone has seen the difference In my attitude towards the game and myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fierce competitor, but I’m able to see the bigger picture. Having looked back on the game, I can see where I’m not match tight. I looked too relaxed, and not taking enough care over my shot. I suppose that is a combination of no matches, and a lot exhibition stuff. I actually played better than I thought I would. I knew I wasn’t sharp, but had to do the best with what I had. I managed to hang on until the interval then Stuart made two great frame-winning breaks to go 4-2 up. I managed to nick a frame to go 4-3 behind, but lost in the end. In saying that, I feel much better for having had two matches under tournament conditions.

I feel like I have something to build on so it is going to be a nice Christmas off now, and I’m really looking forward to the Champions League event at Crondon Park early in the New Year before the Masters. I have to say this is probably one of my favourite events. It is pure snooker, three short matches in one day, and just what I need at the moment. I’ll probably get my a*** smacked by the other guys, but that’s what I need at the moment – a few tough matches. I’m not too disappointed at losing. I’m sure playing a few matches in tournaments will increase my level of performance, which in turn will make me play better in the exhibition matches I have coming up.

Every time I play a competition, I play with the intention of raising my levels to the highest level I can reach. Practice doesn’t give you that edge you need to play well. Only competitions do that. This loss again goes to show that it’s been over a year since I last won anything, my performances have not been great since winning the 2014 Welsh Open.

I’m kind of thinking that my regular winning days are probably behind me. Results don’t lie, and my results have not been great in the past 12 months. If I have another 12 months like this, I will be out of the top sixteen. I really do think the standard has either risen or mine’s got worse – I’m not sure which is the case. I hope I’m not deluding myself into thinking I’m better than I actually am. If I am, I would want someone to tell me.

In his final blog of the year on Tuesday, Ronnie will ahead to 2016, and what he expects from his main rivals.

Ronnie will not play in Berlin come February 2016

Indeed, tonight, he lost by 5-3 to Stuart Carrington in the last 64 of the German Masters. Here is the report by Worldsnooker.

Ronnie O’Sullivan failed to qualify for the final stages of the 918.com German Masters as he lost 5-3 to world number 62 Stuart Carrington in Wigan.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan beat Hamza Akbar 5-1 in his first competitive match of the season on Saturday, but defeat against Grimsby’s Carrington means he will not be one of the 32 players heading to the world ranking event in Berlin in February.

After losing the first frame, O’Sullivan made breaks of 126, 51 and 64 in taking a 2-1 lead. But Carrington dominated the fourth then compiled runs of 72 and 87 to lead 4-2. O’Sullivan pulled one back with a 94 but his opponent sealed victory in the next frame.

Carrington, age 25, qualified for the Crucible for the first time last season but has never been beyond the last 32 of a ranking event.

It was actually a good match, and Stuart Carrington was really excellent and deserved the win. Ronnie looked a bit in a hurry at times – it’s quite obvious that he, like most top players, doesn’t like this kind of setup. But I disagree with those who say that he played slap-dash snooker. He did what he usually does: he played an attacking game, trying to take the chances when he saw them, no matter the risks. Hendry in his days was no different. Simply after 8 months without competition he wasn’t quite sharp enough to beat someone playing as well as Carrington did tonight.

You can watch the match (again) here

2016 German Masters: Ronnie O’Sullivan – Stuart Carrington.

And here are the match stats

Scores (Carrington first): Scores: 62-25; 0-126(126); 0-115(51,64); 93-1; 73(72)-39; 87(87)-0; 6-94(94); 70-15
Centuries: Ronnie 126
Referee: Tatiana Woollaston

German Masters 2016 – Last 128 – Ronnie returns with a win

Ronnie played, and won, his first match of the season in Wigan today. Like every player he needs to win two matches, here in the UK, to book his place in the German Masters 2016 proper that will be played in Berlin early February.

He beat Hamza Akbar from Pakistan by 5-1.
Scores: 113(52,61)-0; 77-24; 49-59; 66-37; 81(58)-24; 64(51)-32

It wasn’t Ronnie at his best, but it was good matchplay and he showed full respect to his opponent.

2016 German Masters: Ronnie O’Sullivan – Hamza Akbar from LOV 866 on Vimeo.

He will face Stuart Carrington in the last 64 tomorrow evening.

Ronnie wins on tour return (report by Worldsnooker)

Ronnie O’Sullivan made a successful return to the professional tour by beating Hamza Akbar 5-1 in the first round of the 918.com German Masters qualifers in Wigan.

O’Sullivan had not previously played a competitive match since losing to Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals of last season’s World Championship.

The five-time World Champion won the opening frame against Pakistan’s Akbar with breaks of 61 and 52. The next two scrappy frames were shared then O’Sullivan took the fourth on the colours to lead 3-1 at the interval. And runs of 58 and 51 helped him win the next two frames to complete the scoreline.

O’Sullivan now meets Jamie Cope or Stuart Carrington on Sunday, with the winner to go through to the final stages of the world ranking event in Berlin in February.


Ronnie will play in the Championship League Snooker in January 2016

As he explained in his radio show on PhoenixFM, Ronnie has entered the Championship League Snooker and will play in Group 1, starting on January 4, 2016. This is part of his preparation for the Masters.

The fixtures for Group 1 are now available on the event’s site, as well as the rules and all general information relevant to the 2016 Championship League

As it often happens, the early groups are quite strong, because players with the highest ranking have priority when invitations are sent. It will be a tough test.