Ronnie qualifies for the International Championship 2016

Ronnie has qualified for the International Championship in Daqing, China, by beating James Cahill by 6-4 in the last 128 round yesterday evening.

Here are the scores, Ronnie first (source Cuetracker)
Scores: 43-68; 105-62; 115(71)-10; 93(88)-0; 63-57; 75(74)-0; 8-73; 27-82; 4-73; 61-0

Ronnie lost the first frame, but then knocked five on the trot to lead 5-1. James then rallied, winning three frames in a row, before Ronnie clinched the thenth for victory.

Overall I was impressed by Ronnie’s attitude although there were a few signs of impatience especially in frame 8. Probably the prospect of facing a some 350 km drive to Heathrow after the match had something to do with it. At 5-4 many predicted a decider … which is the thing to expect when Brendan Moore is reffing. But even so, he kept playing the right shots and his safety was generally very good: there were a few gems in there. As usual he was quite reliable in the balls and didn’t miss many easy ones. The only sore point remains his long game. James played quite well actually especially from 5-1 down; sometimes a player who is far behind just relaxes and finds something. James is a good player, still young but he already claimed some scalps, notably beating John Higgins and Ding Junhui.

Here is Ronnie’s match if you wish to watch it (again)

Ronnie has already arrived in Bulgaria where he will play Mark Selby in two exhibition matches as part of the Eleven30 series.

Draw and Format available for the European Masters 2016 and the Evergrande 2016

Worldsnooker have yesterday published the draw and format for the European Masters 2016, that is held next week in Bucharest.

Thursday 29 Sep 2016 06:08PM

The draw and format for the new European Masters is now available.

click-here-for-the-draw

click-here-for-the-format

The tournament, televised by Eurosport, runs from October 3 to 9 at the Circul Globus in Bucharest and it will be the first ever professional snooker tournament in Romania.

Tickets are on sale now, for details CLICK HERE and fans should book their tickets fast.

The qualifying rounds took place in the UK this week and 34 players have made it through to Bucharest, including 11 of the world’s top 16. Ronnie O’Sullivan, World Champion Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson and John Higgins will be among the top stars competing for the 75,000 Euro top prize.

There will be two tables in the first round (last 32) but after that, it’s just one table which is great for the players and the fans. Mark Selby and Ronnie will play their last 64 match on the opening day in the evening. Expect a full house. Should he beat Daniel Wells on Monday, Ronnie will face David Gilbert on Tuesday evening in a rematch of the Crucible last 32 in April. The tie of the last 32 round for me though is the clash between John Higgins and Michael Holt.

Worldsnooker has also published the draw and format for the Evergrande, the new very lucrative tournament in China.

Thursday 29 Sep 2016 04:57PM

The draw and format for the new Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou is now available.

Marco Fu and Liang Wenbo have been selected by the China Billiards and Snooker Association as the two wild cards. The rest of the 16-man field is the top ten in the world rankings plus the next four players on the one year list.

The winner of the invitation event will receive £200,000, the biggest prize ever outside the UK.

click-here-for-the-draw

click-here-for-the-format

Given the nature of the tournament there are no easy matches but Ronnie has been handed a particularly tough draw: he will meet John Higgins in the last 16 on Wednesday 2 November 2016, with Judd Trump or Ali Carter awaiting should he win.

This one will please the purists, with matches being best of 11 up to the QF, SF being best of 17 and Final best of 19. Why on earth can’t they do the same for the UK Championship?

Laila Rouass about living with Ronnie and more …

In this lovely interview , reported by various media this morning, Laila Rouass speaks openly about what it is like to live with Ronnie

Laila Rouass on life with Ronnie O’Sullivan – he’s very open, it’s good that he talks about his depression

The former Strictly and Footballers Wives star met the snooker legend in 2012 when she was house-hunting and they’ve been engaged since 2013

snooker-player-ronnie-osullivan-poses-with-his-partner-laila-rouass

Snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan collects his OBE with Laila Rouass

When Laila Rouass went house-hunting a few years ago, she found herself in the frame for a totally different acquisition.

The actress never did sink the deal on the property in Chigwell, Essex, but she did end up engaged to one of the most controversial, colourful and talented snooker players this country has ever produced – Ronnie O’Sullivan .

She says: “It’s a bit bizarre, but you never know how you’re going to meet someone. It just happened so naturally.

“I can’t pinpoint exactly what it was about him, but he’s just a very generous, open person. That’s appealing to me.”

After finding fame on ITV’s Footballers’ Wives, it seems a little too much like real-life type-casting that she is set to marry one of Britain’s greatest sports stars.

The couple, who live with Laila’s ­nine-year-old daughter Inez, have been engaged since 2013 and are in no hurry to tie the knot.

The former Strictly Come Dancing star laughs: “Oh no, we have absolutely no wedding plans at the moment. I’m not in a rush to walk down the aisle.”

And with a history of alcohol and drug problems, and a struggle with depression, Laila’s well aware five-times world champ Ronnie comes with a lot of baggage. The multi-millionaire even took a sabbatical from snooker for a year in 2012, spending much of his time working on a pig farm.

But with Laila’s support, Ronnie, 40, bounced back and is competing in – and winning – tournaments again.

He’s previously stated his depression was intrinsically linked to the game, saying: “I think I suffered a depression to do with snooker and I just couldn’t handle it. I could go out and play, but take me out of there and I couldn’t do life.”

Laila, 43, says: “He calls it his snooker depression. But Ronnie is a very strong person. Everyone’s fragile, but he vocalises it. When somebody openly talks about having depression, it’s a very brave thing to do.

“It’s easy to support somebody when you know what they’re going through. You know what you should and shouldn’t say – it’s about creating that kind of security and safety-net around them.”

She adds: “He’s under an immense amount of pressure and we have to take that on board. There are probably a lot of people in similar positions who suffer from depression, but who don’t talk about it.”

Exercise is a huge stress-relief for Ronnie and running has been a big help.

Laila says: “Ronnie is really into his fitness. For him, running is almost like meditation. Playing a match is a long time to focus, so running helps with that.”

A high point for the couple came in May this year when Ronnie collected his OBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, accompanied by Laila and mum Maria.

“He said it was one of the best days of his life,” says Laila. “It really was fantastic. He was so shocked he got it, he never thought about receiving anything like that. We were really proud of him.”

Laila embraces being a step-mum to Ronnie’s children, Ronnie Jnr, eight, and Lily, seven, from his previous relationship with Jo Langley.

He also has another child, Taylor-Ann, from a two-year relationship with Sally Magnus, but admitted in a 2013 book he’s “never really been a part of Taylor’s life”.

Laila says: “His children are lovely and are only round the corner, so we see them quite often. Ronnie is away a lot, but when he does have his kids, they see Inez. And then I might be away, so he has to look after Inez. We support each other.”

Born in Tower Hamlets, East London, Laila was one of seven children and raised a Muslim, but says: “I’m wouldn’t say I am practising Muslim – I don’t go to the mosque or anything, but it’s part of my identity. We don’t really talk about religion at home. Ronnie isn’t into it either.”

Laila split with Inez’s father, business tycoon Nasir Khan, shortly after she was born in 2007. He was jailed for nine years in 2011 after being convicted of a £250million VAT fraud. From then on, Laila adapted to being a single mum, but she missed the support of a partner.

She says: “It was difficult, but I’m one of those people who is very practical and I get on with it and do it.

“My grandmother was a single parent, she was very strong, my mother was very strong. I come from a big family and I was never completely on my own.

“But you’ve got other aspects like financial and emotional support that you’re missing.”

Laila dated Scottish chef James Petrie for just over a year, but when they split in 2011, she said she was taking a break from dating and wanted to concentrate on her young daughter.

Then she met Ronnie unexpectedly in 2012 and knew he was different because of the bond that grew between him and Inez. “He’s a good male role model for Inez, She sees him in that way, but they’re also good friends. It’s nice they can have a laugh. It’s important they get on.”

But not everything is perfect in the Rouass-O’Sullivan household – when Laila bought the family a pet cat, the snooker champ wasn’t happy.

She says: “We used to have a cat and my daughter begged me for a pet. But Ronnie was like, ‘Oh it stinks, I’m not going to eat in the house.’

“He became like a kid, he refused to even have a cup of tea. I would ask him if he wanted tea, but he’d say ‘No, no, there’s hair everywhere’.

“So I had to give the cat away. But she went to a fantastic home.” It’s hard work balancing a successful acting career which, after Footballers’ Wives has taken in Primeval, Spooks and Holby City, with being a mum, but Laila is grateful she can “dip in and out” of working and being at home.

She says: “I did have to stop Holby City after two years. It was very long days filming and Inez was just starting school, so I really wanted to be there for her.

“I thought, ‘I’ve got to take a few years out and be with her.’ It’s easier now she’s older, but it’s always been about her.”

It wasn’t until her mid-20s that Laila discovered she had a talent for acting, but thankfully her late start never put her at a disadvantage.

She’s recently played the deputy Prime Minister in US drama The Royals, opposite Elizabeth Hurley’s Queen and Joan Collins as the Queen Mother, joking, “We’re the three b*tches from hell”.

This year, she starred in Ruth Jones’s Welsh sitcom Stella and in 2009 she waltzed her way to the quarter final in Strictly. Her latest role is as a pushy mother in Disney’s The Lodge, which has been hailed as the British High School Musical.

It follows the story of 15-year-old Skye, played by Sophie Simnett, as she moves from the city to her childhood country lodge following the death of her mother.

Laila says: “I play Olivia, who is ­ruthless and ambitious. She’s a beauty-pageant mum so living through her daughter Danielle. She’s a fun character to play, but probably not so good if you know someone like that.

“It was good fun doing a family programme. My daughter loves watching me on Strictly, so it was great to do something that will appeal to her age group. I’ve become the coolest mum in the school.”

Enjoy! 

 

 

European Masters 2016 – Last 64

Yesterday saw all the last 64 round matches of the European Masters played to conclusion except the two that are held-over. There were less shocks than in the previous round and, in the end, those are the top 16 players who will be in Bucharest next week: Mark Selby, Ronnie, Barry Hawkins, Ricky Walden, John Higgins, Marco Fu, Judd Trump, Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson, Mark Allen and Ali Carter. So that’s 11 of them.

All detailed results are on Cuetracker as usual

Probably the biggest surprise was Scot Donaldson beating Stuart Bingham 4-3 from 3-2 down. I have absolutely nothing against Stuart but I’m very pleased for young Scot and would really like to see him come to age this season.

The highlight of the day was Shaun Murphy’s 147, his 5th. It came in frame 2 of his match against Alan Taylor. Michael Holt, who is definitely playing very well at the moment, was also on course for one, but missed at 104.

You can watch Murphy’s 147 here

Both Ronnie and Mark Selby came on social media expressing their satisfaction to be Bucharest bound. This is what Ronnie said on Facebook:

Pleased to qualify for Romania, will be a great event out there. Great fans, great venue and great friends organising it

So having a day off, Ronnie took the opportunity to promote the Home Series on Eurosport. Himself and Jimmy White were interviewed. Again this is what Ronnie put on facebook:

Doing some promotion for the home nations series with jimbo this morning. Eurosport

ronjimhomeserieses

Regarding the Home Nations Series, Worldsnooker is taking the opportunity to honour some of the greatest players of the past: the English Open trophy will be named after Steve Davis, the Northern Ireland Trophy will honour Alex Higgins, and the Welsh Open Trophy will bear Ray Reardon‘s name. Ray of course was Ronnie’s coach and mentor when he won his 2004 World title and the two remain excellent friends.

Today will see the start of the last 128 qualifying round of the International Championship and Ronnie plays James Cahill tonight in a best of 11. It won’t be an easy match! The funny thing about the poster for this qualifying event is that it features three players who aren’t in it! Indeed Ding, Selby and Higgins all have their matches held over being China n°1, World Champion and Defending Champion respectively …

internationalch2016qualposter

Ronnie of course needs to play more this season as he will try to avoid to have to qualify for the Crucible. He’s taking this very seriously as those tweets by Jason Francis prove:

to help Ronnie concentrate on the tournaments our show in gosport on 4th Nov has been moved to Sunday 7th may. Gosport pool arena. Apologies

Also our show at Victoria snooker centre on Jan 13th has been moved to Saturday 6th may. Apologies for the change

But the Eleven30 matches against Mark Selby this week-end in Bulgaria are definitely on! Ronnie said in his last radio show a few weeks back that what he expected from these was good competitive snooker.

European Masters 2016 – Last 128

Initially the European Masters was supposed to have all 128 players at the venue, and to be staged in Cluj. But a rather disappointing audience at the Titan Trophy in Cluj prompted a change of plans: it was decided to go back to Bucharest, a bigger city with much better connections.  After a good deal of searching in vain  for a bigger suitable venue, it was also decided to hold the event in the Globus Circus, where the Snooker Titans exhibitions took place. This was good and bad news at the same time. Good news because this is a great venue, a bit similar to Goffs, a bear pit with guaranteed great atmosphere. Bad because it meant that bringing 128 in Bucharest was no more a possibility, it had to be 32. Well, in fact, it will be 34, because the promoters agreed with Worldsnooker that they would have two last 64 matches held over to the venue: Mak Selby’s, the World Champion, and Ronnie’s  the Romanian crowd’s favourite. And this is why we are having two qualifying rounds played in Preston this week …

Yesterday saw the completion of the last 128 round, and the good news for the fans and the promoters is that both Mark Selby and Ronnie won their opening match, both by 4-1, so they definitely will be in Bucharest next week: Mark will face Fergal O’Brien, and Ronnie will play Daniel Wells in the two last 64 held-over matches.

The promoters promised at least ten top 16 players in Bucharest … which was a bit of a gamble because there is no way they can guarantee that. But it’s still on track for now despite a few surprises in the last 128. First Ding had to withdraw, apparently because of visa issues. If this is true, it’s a real shame. Then, as often with the very short format, there were a few unexpected “casualties”:  Kyren Wilson, Joe Perry, Michael White, Martin Gould, Stephen Maguire, Matthew Selt, Robert Milkins and Mark Williams all lost their opening match. All the guys on the poster are still on course though, but Shaun Murphy’s match went to a deciding frame, as did Judd Trump’s one as well.

Today the last 64 round will be played to completion except for the two held-over matches.

Here is Ronnie’s last 128 match versus Lyu Chenwei

Ronnie lost the opening frame, but then scored 4 breaks over 50 to secure the win rather comfortably. Lyu had the highest break of the match, a 96.

After watching the match here are my thoughts. Ronnie’s attitude was excellent but his game is not up to scratch yet. Against a top player he would probably have been beaten soundly because Lyu had chances in every frame, except maybe the last, and the match was much, much closer than the score suggests. In particular Ronnie’s long game was almost non-existent, except in the last frame, and that meant that he had to rely on his opponent mistakes to get in. Players need a long game to create chances for themselves. His safety game however, despite not being at his best yet, was much better than in the match against Holt last week. In many ways this was probably exactly the type of match he needed. Lyu is very sound tactically and his long game is good too, so playing this type of opponent can only help Ronnie improve his game where it’s still wanting.

All detailed results are on cuetracker as usual.

Shanghai Masters 2016 – Ding is your champion!

Ding Junhui beat Mark Selby by 10 frames to 6, in the final of the 10th Shanghai Masters. This brings his tally of ranking victories to 12, same as Neil Robertson. This also makes him the firs man to win this particular title twice. He was very emotional at the end of the match, it was clear for all to see how much it meant to him out there.

Congratulations Ding Junhui!

proxy

The match itself was high quality, and followed a bit of a strange pattern: Mark lead 3-1 at the first MSI, only for Ding to win all five frames after that MSI, going to the inter-session leading 6-3. When they resumed, Ding looked a bit out of sorts and Mark won three frames on the bounce, to level the scores at 6-6. But crucially Ding won the last before the second MSI and never looked back. After the second MSI he won the three frames he needed for the win. Mark was restricted to score only 39 points in the last four frames, including at least 12 points in fouls…

Here is what Ding had to say after his win tonight:

Ding has apparently withdrawn from the European Masters. The qualifiers for that one start tomorrow so that’s understandable. Especially as he doesn’t need to play his qualifying match for the International Championship as it is held over to the venue because Ding is the Chinese n°1 player.

Shanghai Masters 2016 – Day 6 – Semi Finals

It’s down to one table in Shanghai Grand Stage for the semi finals and the final.

This afternoon (in China) Mark Selby beat Stuart Bingham by 6-5. Before the match the Eurosport commentators were discussing the players head to head and pointed out that they had played each other 16 times, winning 8 each. Although, of those 16 encounters, 6 had gone to a deciding frame, and of those 6, Mark Selby had won 5. So their prediction was that the match would be close and that, if it went to a decider, Mark would come out the winner. I’m not sure if they had a crystal ball but they certainly predicted it right!

The evening match saw Ding Junhui get the better of Stephen Maguire by 6 frames to 3. It was 2-2 at the MSI , then Stephen lead 3-2, but Ding won four frames on a raw to clinch it. The match had a bit of everything: great snooker, bad mistakes, scrap, twist and turns.

So tomorrow, we will have the World Champions versus the Chinese Hero. It can only be epic! No doubt,  the Chinese crowd will be vocal and partisan !!! And this time we will not have a new winner as both finalists are former winners.