Ronnie has safely arrived in Beijing

Just a short one as I’m traveling home today from Scunthorpe.

RonnieSuperStar

Super Star Online, the sponsor of the World Seniors Championship and also the sponsor of Ronnie in China, has put a short video on their weibo earlier this morning showing Ronnie in the car, en route to his hotel, and expressing his pleasure to be in China and saying he’s looking forward to the tournament and meeting the Chinese fans.

Good news!

An article about Ronnie on the CBSA website

The CBSA (Chinese Billiard and Snooker Association) has published this article about Ronnie on their official site.

In short, Ronnie is expected to arrive in Beijing on March 25, and will take part of an “Open Class” that will be streamed through the Superstar Online application. This is part of a project that Ronnie supports: the goal is to offer information and education, including streamed “live” classrooms and events,  interviews and articles about snooker through an online application. This of course makes a lot of sense in a country as vast as China.

I had a chat with Nancy, here in Scunthorpe, during the World Seniors WC, about this application. It’s only in early stages still but the idea is definitely interesting. Superstar online works with professionals and translators to make their app as interesting AND multilingual as possible. Right now however it’s only available in Chinese.

Here is the (google) translation of the article:

The Rockets will visit the CBSA Academy’s first star online detonated billiards live hot

China’s billiards association official website Beijing time on the afternoon of March 25, Beijing Gymnasium CBSA World Snooker Academy, here will become the focus of Taiwan’s attention. On the same day, snooker king of popularity, with the “rocket” reputation of Ronnie – O’Sullivan will be about to personally starred in his career the most open “big” – Superstar online APP public class live interactive.

O’Sullivan is recognized as the genius of the altar, can be said to be the top snooker representative, is the embodiment of the perfect snooker. On his personal achievements, in this no need to repeat, I believe that the vast majority of fans can say something about. This side also reflects its unique influence and great appeal.

O’Sullivan was heavily signed at the end of last year to become a spokesperson for Rebecca and superstar online image. The project officially launched on New Year’s Day this year. Up to now, there are more than one hundred players and industry elite to open an open class.

Although O’Sullivan has not seen any time, but he has always been closely concerned about the progress of the project, and the first direct broadcast of the matter with the working group to actively communicate, and ultimately scheduled for 25 this month debut debut. Considering that this is his first appearance in Beijing in five years, the premiere of the show is even more meaningful.

It is reported that O’Sullivan and his party will arrive at the Capital International Airport in the morning. After a short break to the hotel, he will arrive at the CBSA Academy on the stadium, about 20 o’clock to 21 o’clock.

In the live content, the superstar online working group ingenuity, carefully arranged. Performance skills is one of the important part of his partner is very much appreciate him and often hands-on guidance of the Chinese star Zhao Xin Tong.

The live offers a unique opportunity for fans who can not go to the scene – ask questions directly to O’Sullivan via the Star Online APP. As long as you participate, it is possible to become one of the lucky ones. In addition, O’Sullivan will also sign a small number of posters on-site, and through the star online APP to extract the lucky audience.

According to the agreement, one year, including O’Sullivan, including the star will be in the star online APP public classes played at least 50 hours (including 10 hours line activities). Snooker number one star show the success of the first show, indicating that the star online APP has been fully set sail. (CBSA Luo Liping)

A week-end of snooker and more

There was a lot of snooker going on this week-end!

First we had the conclusion of the Ladies World Championship 2017: the event was won by On Yee Ng and you can read the full report by Worldsnooker here:

Monday 20 Mar 2017 09:32AM

Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee won the Eden World Women’s Championship for the second time, beating India’s Vidya Pillai 6-5 in the final.

on-yee1

It was a dramatic concluding day at the Lagoon Billiard Room in Toa Payoh, Singapore as 26-year-old On Yee scored deciding frame victories in the semis and final to take the £5,000 top prize and regain the title she first won in 2015. Click here for all the results

In the semis she faced Reanne Evans, who beat On Yee in the 2014 and 2016 finals. This time On Yee trailed by 60 points in the last frame but made a break of 50 then cleared from green to pink to snatch a 5-4 win. Pillai, meanwhile, saw off England’s Rebecca Granger 5-1 to become the first Indian player to reach the final.

The first ever all-Asian final in this event saw On Yee take an early 2-0 lead before Pillai hit back to win four frames in a row. On Yee responded with three frames to go 5-4 ahead before her opponent forced the decider.

On Yee and Pillai shake hands before the final:

handshake

It came down to the last two balls and On Yee fouled the pink, leaving her opponent a free ball, with the black hanging over a corner pocket and the pink close to it. Pillai, trailing by four points, nominated the black, but mis-cued and hit the pink first. A relieved On Yee then potted the pink to win the frame 66-50 at 1.30am local time.

On Yee, who is coached by Wayne Griffiths at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, tweeted: “Thank you so much for everyone’s support! After 15 hrs of snooker, I’m looking forward to coming home. See you all soon.”

Following a recent restructure, which saw World Ladies Billiards & Snooker come under the governance of the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA), this was the first time in over 20 years that the most prestigious ranking event in women’s snooker was held outside of the UK.

Congratulations On Yee!

Then we had the Snooker Gala in Budapest:

PosterExhoBudapest

You can watch it here thanks to krdlr – big thanks to them!

I was there and took a lot of pictures from the snooker exhibition and from the beautiful city of Budapest. Follow the links above to see them.

Both Neil Robertson and Ali Carter were absolutely thrilled and impressed by the reception they got and the atmosphere in the arena. They got to play Hungarian opponents too. The young  Révész Bulcsú, who is only 10 years old, impressed Neil Robertson especially considering that Hungary is relatively new to the sport and doesn’t have the history or the structures UK offers. The tall young man with blond hair who played Ali is called Horvath Attila and is only 13 years old. I particularly appreciated the fact that although he had lost the match, he cleared the table for the crowd and showed that he can play! Fenyvesi Zsolt, who played both pros, is a five times and the reigning Hungarian Champion and, of the three, he seemed to be the one most intimidated by the circumstances, maybe because he had more expectations on him.

Finally Ronnie played in Lowestoft, against local amateurs on Saturday night. Not much transpired about it except that he had at least one century, and had a lot of time for everyone. Going by comments on twitter it was very enjoyable.

Lowestoft18.03.2017.jpg

But now we have the videos…

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Dave Sutton

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Kieran Cook

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Perry Bird

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Aidan Owens

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Brian Clemense

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Martin Soanes

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Robert Bird

Exhibition (18.03.2017.): Ronnie O’Sullivan – Scott Mckeeven

Next stop will be the Seniors World Championship 2017 starting on Wednesday …

No snooker? More snooker!

There is a two weeks “gap” in the main tour calendar … after 40 days non stop. Indeed the next WSA event is the China Open 2017 which will decide the final and definitive seeding for the Crucible. In fact only one player isn’t safe yet, current n°16 Ryan Day as you can read here.

Tuesday 14 Mar 2017 12:40PM

The China Open, which starts on March 27, will be the final opportunity for players currently outside the top 16 to earn a place among the elite, ahead of the seeding cut-off for the Betfred World Championship.

The top 16 after the China Open will enjoy an automatic place at the Crucible, while all other players will need to win three matches at Ponds Forge in Sheffield to earn a spot at the Theatre of Dreams.

Tickets for the qualifying rounds at Ponds Forge are on sale now and cost just £10 per day, for details click here

As is stands, 15 of the top 16 seeds are already safe, everyone down to Anthony McGill on this list . So the only players in danger of being knocked out is Ryan Day, and the fact that he has not qualified for Beijing will leave him hoping results go his way in the Far East.

There will be nine players at the China Open who have a chance to overtake Day:

Joe Perry and Martin Gould could earn a top 16 spot by reaching the semi-finals, if other results go their way

David Gilbert, Mark King and Ricky Walden must at least reach the final

Michael Holt, Mark Williams, Alan McManus and Stephen Maguire must win the £85,000 top prize to have a chance.

So it’s all to play for in China – for the draw and format click here

Of course even for those who are safe, a good or bad run can still change their seeding and therefore their draw. Speaking of that, Judd Trump’s victory at the Players Championship propelled him to n°2 in the rankings ahead of Stuart Bingham. It was Judd’s second ranking title of the season (and his 5th final). There is no doubt that he will be a very serious contender at the Crucible. Meanwhile congratulations to Judd, Players Championship 2017 Champion. I know that not everyone feels the same, but personally, I’m glad that Ronnie lost to the eventual winner, rather than against someone who would have a stinker in the next round…

For those who wonder where I have been, and why I didn’t cover the last days of the Players Championship, well,  no I wasn’t sulking, in fact I barely had the opportunity to watch any of it as  I was in this event, taking pictures!

WDBS Enjoys Successful Manchester Return

World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) enjoyed a successful return to Manchester with the staging of the J&S Trading Manchester Classic 2017 last weekend.

With a field over double in size compared to the inaugural competition at Q’s Sports Bar a year ago, players from across six categories including physical and learning disabilities enjoyed a mixture of competitive snooker and coaching across the three-day event.

The Group 1-2 wheelchair competition was won by Newport’s Craig Welsh, who successfully defended the title that he won a year ago with a dramatic 2-1 victory against Tony Southern. Having each progressed through to the overall final undefeated, the pair split the first two frames before their decider went all the way, with Welsh potting a re-spotted black to clinch the title.

Welsh, who has paraplegia, said: “It was tight all the way but I am delighted to retain my title here in Manchester. I would like to thank WDBS and all of the referees and helpers for yet another well run event in Manchester this weekend. The team do a great job and I would also like to thank Andy Rogers for his help and support this weekend which is much appreciated as always.”

In Group 3 there was a second WDBS title for Daniel Blunn, who won 12 of his 13 frames across the event culminating in a 2-0 success against Gary Sanderson to take the first prize. Blunn, who has been a regular at WDBS events since his victory at the first ever event in Gloucester back in 2015, finished as runner-up in Manchester a year ago to William Thomson, but this year went one better to join Craig Welsh, Graham Bonnell, Raja Subramanian and Paul Smith as a multiple WDBS champion. Blunn also claimed the high break prize from the weekend across all groups.

There was a new winner in the Group 4-5 competition as David Weller defeated David Church 2-0 to win the title. The category was won a year ago by Andy Johnson who made smooth progress through his group this weekend, but was shocked in the semi-finals by WDBS newcomer Church. Ultimately however it was Weller who took the title, also making the highest break of the category along the way.

As at previous tournaments, there was also a Challenge Cup competition held, won by Joe Hardstaff, who a year on from his tournament debut defeated Gavin Gormley over a single frame to take his first medal at a WDBS event.

Prior to the start of the two-day event for players with physical disabilities, Manchester also staged its first Learning Disability Day for Group 6 players, including opportunities for practice, coaching and a competitive Six Red competition. The event was won by Robert Kirby, one of a number of players in attendance from the Selby Gateway Leisure Mencap Society, who returned having enjoyed their first taste of WDBS snooker at the Hull Open last November.

The event was well supported by players, sponsors and also welcomed Coronation Street star Cherylee Houston, who has been diagnosed with the rare connective tissue disorder, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, to its Friday open day and Group 6 competition.

WDBS Chairman Nigel Mawer said: “I am delighted by the success of what has been our most active and engaging event held to date. The WDBS is now really starting to make its mark and I could not have been happier with the support that we have received from all of the players, helpers and sponsors without whom the event would not have been possible.

“In particular I would like to mention the backing received from title sponsor J&S Trading through Simon Berrisford, which has already pledged its support for future WDBS events including our return to Manchester in 2018. Together with the contributions that we have received from them and our other prize money sponsors including LITEtask and the PHMG Foundation, our events and organisation will only continue to grow.”

The next WDBS tournament will be the first ever 2017 Paul Hunter Disability Classic on 12-14 May 2017 at the Derby Cueball. The competition will be the third WDBS event open to players with sensory disabilities (Groups 7-8) and is currently accepting entries.

All the pictures are on my Facebook page:

Day 1 pictures

Day 2 pictures

Day 3 pictures

Also, currently under way is the Ladies World Championship 2017, in Singapore. There are many ways you can follow the tournament: the WLBS Facebook Page (with pictures!), live scores on MySnookerStats, results on snooker.org .

This week-end there is plenty happening too.

If you have the opportunity, go and support the The Bjorn Coenraad Kika tournament, a fantastic Charity event organised by Annet Van Riel and Jan Verhaas. 

Read here what it’s all about thanks to Ramona Dragomir

Fantastic prizes to be won and a great, great cause.

I wish I could be there but I already had committed to this:

PosterExhoBudapest

so pictures are coming your way this week-end as well, and not just snooker pictures…

And, of course, Ronnie also has a club night this week-end:

lowestoff18march2017

Finally, next week, we have the Super Stars Online World Seniors Championship 2017, in Scunthorpe, with an invitation to the World Championship for the winner.

Again, I will be there taking pictures and tweeting scores…

If you have an IOS device, you should be able to watch it using this app whilst if you are using an Android device this is the qr code you can use

c63nlndw0aa7ckc

The draw is available on snooker.org and results will be update throughout the tournament.

Hoping this post will help to ease any snooker withdrawal syndrome you might suffer …

About “those interviews”: Ronnie’s latest ES blog and Barry Hearn’s view

In his latest Eurosport blog with Desmond Kane, Ronnie once again explains why he’s done those strange interviews and tells us about life, snooker, the Crucible and his future.

In an interview with the BBC, Barry Hearn states that Ronnie isn’t breaking any rules, that himself finds the whole thing hilarious and that the game needs him.

Ronnie

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Wonderwall: There are many things I’d like to say to you, but I don’t know how

Ronnie O’Sullivan

In his latest blog, Ronnie O’Sullivan explains to Desmond Kane why singing Oasis songs, impersonating a robot and discussing weight loss with the media is better than landing a heavy fine by sharing his opinions on snooker ahead of next month’s World Championship in Sheffield.

‘HUGE DISTRACTION’

I’ll keep this brief on why I’ve continued to avoid getting involved in discussing snooker to the media. It is not to be awkward, have a laugh or make headlines. As I pointed out in my last blog, I’ve kept it deliberately short in my interviews due to the nature of the disciplinary letter I received via email from World Snooker before the German Masters in Berlin.

 It was a huge distraction, was poor in tone and timing, and it unquestionably had a negative effect on my performance/results at the World Grand Prix, German Masters and Welsh Open.

At the end of the day, I owe it to the fans of the sport to give my best on the table. Win or lose, the snooker public deserves the best from me at all times.

I gain nothing really from speaking from the heart in my press conferences after matches, but I do stand to lose a lot if I say something that brings the game into disrepute.

As I said in my previous blog, as soon as the topic goes onto snooker, it can land me in hot water with a heavy fine. So I’m giving that a swerve because I don’t need the stress. I have to attend press conferences as part of my duties, but why open up when it is not welcomed?

I felt it was important to explain my reasons for recent happenings so the snooker fans will understand why I’ve had some peculiar moments on TV, and in media conferences recently.

Or maybe people won’t understand. Either way, I’m being transparent about the whole situation which I believe is the best way to be.

The snooker fans deserve to know the truth, and understand I’m certainly not doing this to be awkward.

‘CRUCIBLE CAN BE GREATEST OR WORST’

On the whole, my season has been great. I’ve been in four finals and enjoyed a record seventh victory at the Masters in January. I’ll take that in this era.

I’m really looking forward to the World Championship next month. As we all know, it is the greatest snooker event on earth.

The Crucible in Sheffield can be the greatest place to play, but it can also be the worst if things aren’t going well for you. There is nowhere to hide in that venue.

I hear a lot about my performances not being as good as they used to be. Well, I tend to disagree. I think the standard in depth of the sport is as high as it’s ever been. I’m not too doing too badly if you take into consideration my age compared to others, and also my reputation.

I accept that will always be the case because sometimes a player will beat me then not reproduce the same level of form in the next round.

I know this happens to all the great players who have had great careers. You are there to be shot at.

In many ways, it is a compliment, but it doesn’t make it any easier to win matches.

‘FEARFUL, MOODY, NERVOUS AND ANXIOUS’

I’ve taken on other work that has probably helped in taking my eye off playing snooker. I don’t practice as much as I used to, but I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life.

I love doing my punditry, I love doing my books and I’ve loved doing my exhibitions. I loved doing my TV show American Hustle playing pool in the USA. I’ve loved doing my charity work. I’ve loved being able to give back to people who work selflessly to help others.

These are the things that have made me so happy, and my life feels fulfilling.

Snooker was always a self-indulgent pursuit. It was done with such tunnel vision, I never got to really do the things that really made me happy, and it’s only now that I’m realising that there is more to life than potting balls.

But I’m not resentful about that, I’m just regretful I didn’t do it earlier.

It feels as if my life has come alive, the only thing that makes me kind of unhappy is practice and playing in big snooker events.

For the simple reason I become out of touch with life and its joys. When I’m in snooker mode, I suffer from anxiety, I get fearful. I get nervous, I get moody and I isolate myself.

I can manage these emotions much better then I used to, but it still chips away at me.

‘LIFE A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER’

I read a great article about former track cyclist Victoria Pendleton last week.

She went through the same thought process as I did, and thanks to (sports psychiatrist) Doctor Steve Peters, we were both able to reach the heights we were capable of. I truly believe this, and I know that without him working to improve my mental attitude, I would never have been the player I have been over these past five years in winning the world title another few times.

I still feel I can compete on the table, and I will continue to compete for as long as I can. There’s a part of me that will always want the buzz from playing even though it comes with its stresses and anxieties.

I feel I owe it to the real snooker fans to continue. I don’t want to bail out early when I still feel I have something to offer to the public who enjoy the game.

What has become apparent, is that my snooker and my life in general is a thousand times better with all the variety I have.

When we do our punditry work for Eurosport, we have the best time. We have become like a family now. We all meet up at 8am in the morning and go for a 5-8k run which sets the day up nicely. I then get to watch snooker up close which is so much better than watching it on TV.

So the conclusion is that my game might not be as sharp as it could be, but I can still blag it and win a few matches to stay in the top 16.

Of course, losing still hurts, but not nearly as much as it used to. And even if I did drop out of the top 16, who cares? I can still play, and hit a few balls for fun.

‘ENOUGH TALKING’

Snooker is so much better when it’s played with a fun attitude. Some snooker is better than no snooker, that’s how I see it.

To be honest, does it really matter if it says five world titles on my gravestone as opposed to seven? History will judge you how it judges you.

I think life should be about having fun. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve even had fun when things have been bad for me. But when you hit your 40s, you realise it’s not everything in life.

Anyway, enough talking for now. I’m looking forward to Sheffield, the World Championship and all the mixed bag of pleasure it brings.

Speak to you again soon snooker fans.

Barry Hearn:

Ronnie O’Sullivan: Barry Hearn says interviews break no rules

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn says Ronnie O’Sullivan is doing nothing wrong with his unorthodox interviews.

O’Sullivan has talked in a robotic voice and sung an Oasis song in protest at being the subject of disciplinary hearings for several previous comments.

Hearn described the five-time world champion’s antics as “hilarious” but added: “I’m not sure he’s doing himself any favours.

“There’s a players’ contract and Ronnie O’Sullivan’s breaking no rules at all.”

O’Sullivan, 41, publicly criticised a referee and a photographer at the Masters in January, when he won a record seventh title, but his explanation was accepted and no action was taken.

“Ronnie never upsets me with what he says,” Hearn said. “Sometimes he goes too far, and when he goes too far, he’s reported to the disciplinary.

“There is no singling out of Ronnie O’Sullivan, for sure, because we need him in the game.

“Will I talk to him? I talk to him all the time. I am very happy to have a cup of tea, and I told him I think it’s hilarious.

“He’s operating under exactly the same rules as every other player. And he has every right to make any comment through the appropriate channels and they will be listened to. But the appropriate channels are not in the public media.”

More interesting than an interview?

This one may please Adam … maybe.

This video was shared on twitter by  Ronnie’s close friend Mike:

And Mike observed that Ronnie needs to start winning some more soon judging by the state of his shoes …

RonShoes11.03.2017

Need to win a few more tourneys   @ronnieo147 look at the daisies @Snookerlegends

Now seriously, Ronnie has been working hard on his game in recent weeks and months, and at some point it will click. Hopefully in time for the big one.

And 2 and 1/2 hours later …