International Championship 2016 – Last 16 – No third time lucky for Ronnie

Michael Holt beat Ronnie for the third time this year tonight in Daqing. In the last 16 of the International Championship, it was the “hitman” who came out the winner by 6-4. Michael is becoming Ronnie’s Nemesis.

Stephen Hendry put it on twitter:

Very impressive @hitmanholt #johnsonallen

As you probably know Mark Johnston Allen is a player who never won a tournament and who’s highest ranking ever was 31 but beat Hendry three times in three meetings… He’s the one who prompted Hendry to tell the press that he was losing to someone who shouldn’t even be in the same room as him. I leave it to you to understand that tweet as you see fit.

Now seriously, Michael is a much-improved player since he started working with Terry Griffiths: he’s currently 12th in the one year list for a reason. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he finished in the top 16 come the Crucible.

Here is how the match unfolded (source Cuetracker):

Michael Holt 6-4 Ronnie O’Sullivan
Scores(Michael Holt first): 59-44; 77(77)-0; 0-87(83); 69-58(50); 61(57)-73; 63-52; 0-96(96); 108(53)-9; 47-76(76); 76(70)-21

As you can see it was a high-quality match overall: both players had four breaks over 50, and ironically Ronnie scored the two highest breaks of the match:83 and 96.


There is no question that Michael deserved the win: he was the most consistent of the two, and his long potting was better than Ronnie’s, as was his safety, particularly before the MSI. Both players had their share of luck and bad luck. Ronnie had an outrageous fluke at one point, but the way he knocked the pink in-off a red into a pocket whilst splitting the pack in the last frame was quite unfortunate. In fact, after the MSI Ronnie was starting to find his game: he came from 3-1 down  5-4.

Ronnie looked very upset at the end of the match, which is a good sign IMO, a sign that he cares. And his attitude was excellent during the whole match despite the mistakes.

Watch the match here (again):

Here is the report on Worldsnooker:

Wednesday 26 Oct 2016 05:36PM

Michael Holt has secured his third win of 2016 against Ronnie O’Sullivan with a brilliant 6-4 victory at the International Championship in Daqing.

The Hitman had already accounted for O’Sullivan at the World Grand Prix and Shanghai Masters earlier this year. He knows that if he can win the event he will move into the world’s top 16, with the cut off for the Masters looming after next month’s UK Championship.

Holt controlled the opening mini-session, making breaks of 47 and 77, as he moved 2-0 ahead. The Rocket hit back with a break of 88 in the third. However, Holt restored his two frame advantage with a double on the final black to go 3-1 up.

With Holt leading 5-3 and on a run of 47, he looked set to secure the match before missing a straightforward ball to middle. That let O’Sullivan in to counter-clear with 76. The Nottingham potter regained his composure well and made a terrific break of 70 to secure the win.

“I think the main thing about facing Ronnie is not letting him effect how you play. If you can do that then you’ve got a great chance,” said Holt. “I’ve got Stuart Bingham next who will be tough as well. It doesn’t really bother me who I’m playing. I just have to go out there and play the balls, then hopefully I’ll win.”



7 thoughts on “International Championship 2016 – Last 16 – No third time lucky for Ronnie

  1. It’s true that Ronnie isn’t at his best now. But just a couple of weeks ago he played very well in Bucarest where he outplayed Neil Robertson in the semifinal and lost the final with Trump only in the decider. Then he began to struggle with his game at Manchester. His form doesn’t increase as many expected. Anyway his break-building is still very good. He hasn’t even the right confidence of his long shots and his safety sometimes is careless. And, as said Monique, every player has his ups and downs. For instance Ding didn’t win a tournament for almost two years and a lot of people thought he was finished. Now he’s playing wonderful! Snooker is overall a mental game. I’m sure that Ronnie will be back to play his sublime snooker very soon.

    • I often think that if Ronnie won Bucharest (after all, was very close to winning), then maybe now things would be different. But they say that in sport there is no subjunctive mood.
      There is still time to develop the game. The main thing is his desire and aspiration.

  2. This has happened before Adam, in 2010/11 he didn’t win a single match from end November to the Crucible, he even withdrew from the World Championship before changing his mind, that’s how bad he felt about his game. And he won the World Championship the next season. Williams and Higgins had similar lean spells and came back too. Give it time and let’s see what happens.

    • I think you seriously underestimate Holt since he’s working with Terry Griffiths. He’s always been a very dangerous player with a lot of ability but in the past he used to let nerves get the better of him in tense situations. No more so.

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