Day 2 of the Bulgarian Tour 2017 started with a visit to the National stadium and a great lunch in Sofia, with friend Oleg Velinov and his family.
In the evening, things got serious as Ronnie and Hendry treated the fans to a great match. The venue was packed! It was Stephen Hendry who emerged the winner by 6-5.
Ronnie started well, with a century. But Stephen was determined to prove that he can still play, and prove it, he did! He won 4 frames on the trot to lead 4-1, with a 115 in frame 5 (it could have been a 142 TC). Ronnie responded with 69, to reduce his deficit, only for Stephen to restore his 3 frames advantage and lead 5-2. With his back against the wall, Ronnie produced and forced a decider. Ronnie was first in the decider, and lead by 64. He was on a maxi attempt (not for the first time that evening!). His only option to keep the break going at that stage was a tricky plant in a middle bag. He missed it. Stephen came to the table with 83 on and nothing really safe. He duly cleared with 78 to win.
This was by far the best Stephen has been playing for a very long time. It’s absolutely clear to me that his pride has been hurt by the poor performances he produced in the Seniors World Championship last season, and in exhibitions. I have no doubt that he is out to put things right! The competitive animal has woken up.
Ronnie on the other hand was clearly in exhibition mood. He went for I-don’t-know-how-many maxi attempts during the evening, at the expense of winning at all costs but to the delight of the crowd. He was also in a hurry … helping Desislava Boshilova to reset the balls between frames, and even taking the white gloves away from her and offering her his cue for the break-off. She left Stephen in an absolutely horrific situation! Both players signed autographs for the fans.
The probable reason for Ronnie’s “hurry” became clear to me when, after the match, his first word coming back to the player’s room was “food!”. More pictures of food can be found on Ronnie’s instagram, along with some funny/silly selfies with matching comments.
Here are the pictures I took on the evening:
The match was streamed on sportal.bg so maybe the videos will become available later today. Watch this space.
Today, we all head to Varna for another great night of snooker.