As the last 16 round gets underway, we are down to two tables in the York Barbican and here are a few pictures, posted by Worldsnooker on twitter, showing how nice a setup this is.
Ronnie was first in action against Matthew Stevens, and he won by 6-2, but it was a much closer match than the score suggests. Ronnie won a couple of frames he should have lost, with the sort of hard match play he’s capable of but not always willing to play. Frame 3 was probably key to the outcome of the match.
Here is the official report on Worldsnooker (excerpt):
Wednesday 30 Nov 2016 05:26PM
O’Sullivan saw off Matthew Stevens and has now lost just three frames in his four matches so far. The Rocket is chasing his sixth UK title and first piece of silverware since the Welsh Open last February, and in current form looks hard to stop.
He opened today with a break of 101, his sixth century of the tournament. Stevens levelled with a run of 74, and had chances in frame three but O’Sullivan took it by clearing from green to black. World number eight O’Sullivan then pulled away to lead 5-1 with top runs of 51 and 54. He had a chance to close out the match in frame seven but missed the final green when leading 42-37, allowing Welshman Stevens to pull one back. But it mattered little as O’Sullivan sealed the result in the next in three scoring visits.
“Matthew made it tough for me today,” said O’Sullivan. “He’s got that pedigree and that presence where at any minute he could click into gear and dominate the table. The match was closer than the scoreline suggested.”
And a few more pictures posted on social media by Worldsnooker and the BBC:
Of course, there was also some more to come after the match, in the BBC studio, as Ronnie gave his views about what he thinks the tour should be in order to attract more high profile sponsor and a better image. It’s been reported in the news by various media and here you can read the account by The National Scotland
Snooker: Top players need more classy events, says Ronnie O’Sullivan
RONNIE O’Sullivan claims the current format of 128-player tournaments is “anarchy” and preventing investment from China.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn rebuked the five-time world champion for recent comments in comparing the sport to a car boot sale and also suggesting it had lost respect in the public eye.
On Wednesday, O’Sullivan saw off Matthew Stevens 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals of the Betway UK Championship in York.
Afterwards the 40-year-old used his post-match interview in the BBC Sport studio to offer further insight into ways he felt snooker could move forwards and embrace lucrative overseas sponsorship deals.
“China is where it is at. The money is there, they are ready to pump it in to snooker, they just don’t want 128 players,” O’Sullivan told the BBC.
“It is anarchy when you go over there (to compete in a 128-player tournament), you watch it and it is just too many players, too many people. They want the cream of the cream – and that is the top 32.”
O’Sullivan feels a trimmed-down version of the tour focusing on the elite players is the way forward.
“I always believe in more quality over quantity. That has always been my philosophy in everything I do,” he said.
“I think we have a lot of quantity, but very few quality events, so maybe skim them down a bit and just make them all real proper set-ups.
“That is where I think snooker could be improved, with probably more prestigious events like the Masters, the one they have just had in Guangzhou (China Championship), a little bit like the tennis with the ATP (World Tour Finals), where you just have your top eight. My argument is there should be more for the top players.
“I am a top player, I am not going to be a top player forever, but I always believed the top players should be rewarded and have more classy events to play in and should be treated differently.
I’m not sure those comments will go down well with “The Boss”, but they certainly attracted a lot of positive feedback on social media!
Ronnie also spoke with Rob Walker after the match:
The match preview on ES and BBC:
MissingClip 2016 UK Champs: preview of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – Matthew Stevens match (Eurosport)
MissingClip 2016 UK Champs: preview of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – Matthew Stevens match (BBC)
The match itself:
2016 UK Champs: Ronnie O’Sullivan – Matthew Stevens
The after-match analysis by the ES and BBC pundits:
MissingClip 2016 UK Champs: review of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – Matthew Stevens match (Eurosport)
MissingClip 2016 UK Champs: review of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – Matthew Stevens match (BBC)
MissingClip 2016 UK Champs: short review of the Ronnie O’Sullivan – Matthew Stevens match (Eurosport)