Northern Ireland Open 2018 – Draw and Format

Worldsnooker has today published the Draw and Format for the Northern Ireland Open 2018.

Top snooker stars including Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Judd Trump and local favourites Mark Allen and Joe Swail are in the line up for next month’s Northern Ireland Open.

Click here for the draw

Click here for the format

The world ranking event runs from November 12 to 18 at the Belfast Waterfront. In all there will be 128 players in the field, including 15 of the world’s top 16.

Allen faces China’s Niu Zhuang in the first round on the afternoon of the opening day, Monday November 12. Welshman Williams will be defending the title, having beaten Yan Bingtao 9-8 last year in a dramatic final at the Waterfront. He starts the defence of his title against Alfie Burden at 1pm on the Monday.

O’Sullivan takes on Iran’s Soheil Vahedi at 1pm on Tuesday November 13. World number one Selby plays Anthony Hamilton on the Tuesday afternoon while Judd Trump will be up against Matthew Selt on Tuesday at 7pm.

Ronnie Action

Televised by Eurosport and Quest, it’s the second of the season’s Home Nations series, after last week’s BetVictor English Open. That was won by Stuart Bingham, and if he can go on to win the events in Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff then he will scoop the massive £1 million bonus. The winner of the title in Belfast will bank £70,000 and receive the Alex Higgins Trophy.

As ever, the local support is sure to be behind Antrim’s Allen, the world number 12. Allen enjoyed the best moment of his career earlier this year when he won the Masters, one of snooker’s elite Triple Crown tournaments.

In the past he has struggled to produce his best form in the Northern Ireland Open, losing in the quarter-finals in 2016 and the last 64 in 2017.

“People from Northern Ireland support their own so I would love to give them something to cheer about,” said Allen. “I feel as if I’m playing well, my game is in good shape. I have to keep practising hard and waiting for the results.

“I can’t wait for the tournament. In the past I have put too much pressure on myself to do well there in front of my home crowd. This will be the third year for the event so hopefully I have got used to that feeling and I can cope with it a bit better this time. It would be a great time for my game to come together.”

Good to see Ronnie in it. His first round opponent, Soheil Vahedi, from Iran, is a quick player, playing an extremely open game. There shouldn’t be too many long safety battles in this match!

Baize news

There is plenty of snooker, and snooker news this week, although no main tour action

Ronnie’s management has confirmed that he will be at the Champion of Champions as we expected. They posted this on various social media:

Semi-final finish for Ronnie in the English Open, lots of positives and a 15th professional maximum break along the way.

On to the next one – Coventry in 2 weeks for the Champion of Champions 🚀


Some of the main tour potters play this weeek at the Macau Masters. This is what Worldsnooker published about this new event.

Next week’s D88 Sports Macau Masters will feature top stars including Mark Williams, Barry Hawkins and Marco Fu.

The tournament at the JW Marriott Hotel in Macau is on October 24 and 25. It starts with a team competition involving Williams, Hawkins, Fu, Joe Perry, Ryan Day, Zhou Yuelong, Zhao Xintong and Zhang Anda.

That will be followed by an individual six-red competition. This will start with a match between the two lowest ranked players, Zhao Xintong and Zhang Anda, with the winner going through to face the next-lowest, Zhou Yuelong. The sequence continues with the winner of the penultimate match to take on Crucible king Williams.

The 2018 Macau Masters is the first World Snooker sanctioned tournament to take place in Macau.

The commercial director of sponsor D88 Sports said: “We are very happy and excited to be involved in the world’s most gentlemanly and elegant sport. We are deeply in love with this sport and will spare no effort to promote the development of snooker and present a great tournament. We hope all of you will harvest success and joy in the game and we believe it will be a visual feast for all.”

A spokesman for World Snooker added: “We feel that the Macau Masters has the potential to grow into a regular event on the World Snooker Tour. We hope it will be a fantastic tournament for the players and fans.”

Somehow it is the successor of the UK v China Challenge held over the summer last season. You will be able to follow the event on

The Ladies are in Australia. More info on this one can be found on WPBSA 

Australian Women’s Snooker Open 2018

  • 9th July 2018

World Ladies Billiards and Snooker (WLBS) and the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC) are today delighted to jointly announce that a World Women’s Snooker Tour event will be staged in Australia for the first time ever later this year.

The Australian Women’s Snooker Open will take place from 25-28 October at the Mt Pritchard District and Community Club, known as “Mounties” in the western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The tournament will become the third event of the upcoming season and be open to women from across the globe. The event will carry full ranking status, ensuring that it will immediately become a highly sought-after title on the tour.

Mounties is a community club offering full facilities such as four eateries, licensed bars, ten full-size snooker tables and much more. The tournament will be sponsored by Mounties and will carry a total prize fund of AUD$9000.00, with AUD$8000 to be won in the main event, including a top prize of AUD$3000 for the champion. A further AUD$1000 is allocated for the Challenge Cup event for players who do not qualify for the knockout rounds of the main competition.

Australia has a strong history on the women’s tour, with Lesley McIllrath one of just two non-UK winners of the World Women’s Snooker Championship (alongside current champion Ng On Yee) following her title triumph back in 1980. In more recent years Jessica Woods has also enjoyed success both at home and abroad, recently claiming her fifth national women’s championship winning 21 of the 24 frames that she played.

Mandy Fisher, WLBS President said: “It has always been an ambition of mine to see a World Women’s Snooker Tour event take place in Australia and therefore I could not be happier with today’s announcement. This is an important milestone in our history as we continue our global expansion as a body and I would like to thank both Frank Dewens and World Snooker Federation Treasurer Mike Peachey who have both contributed significantly to helping make this prestigious new event happen.”

Frank Dewens, ABSC President said: “It is indeed a great pleasure in opening up our Women’s Australian Open Snooker Championship to the world. We are looking forward to seeing the best women players in the world competing against Australia’s best.”

Further information, including full entry details will be released in due course.

The draw is available on, as will be the results when they become available.

And Finally, the Credit Risks Solutions Seniors UK Championship will start tomorrow in Hull. Again the draw is on as will be the results.

I’m in Hull, and I will be taking pictures, at the gala dinner tonight, and at the event in the coming two days. You will find my pictures and reports on my seniors snooker tour blog

This event will be broadcasted by, s, at least in the UK fans will be able to watch it on TV and/or on Internet.

Jimmy White is the Defending Champion.

Meanwhile, here are some pictures I took yesterday around Hull…

More are available here on my Facebook page. You don’t need to be on Facebook to browse through the album.


English Open 2018 – Stuart Bingham is your Champion

Congratulations to Stuart Bingham, 2018 English Open Champion!


Stuart Bingham defeated Mark Davis by 9-7, to win his fifth ranking title and become the first player to win two of the Home Nations tournaments. Congratulations to him!

This was an excellent final, once it got going, after a slow first mini session, and it takes two to make a good match. Mark Davis was playing in his first-ever ranking final and he acquitted himself extremely well. He will probably feel disappointed tonight, but he should be proud. He has proven to all, and to himself, that he is good enough to be a ranking event winner, and, personally, I hope he will become one soon.

Thanks to both players for an excellent match, played in great spirit.

Here is the report on Worldsnooker

Stuart Bingham won the fifth ranking title of his career by beating Mark Davis 9-7 in the final of the BetVictor English Open in Crawley.

In a hard-fought final, there was never more than one frame in it, until Bingham stepped up a gear from 7-6 down to win the last three frames. The 42-year-old received the Steve Davis Trophy and top prize of £70,000, and is now the only man who can win the £1 million bonus on offer for taking all four Home Nations titles. He will go to next month’s Northern Ireland Open in Belfast to pursue that quest.

It’s Bingham’s first ranking title since the 2017 Welsh Open and also his first since returning from a three-month ban for breaching betting rules. The Basildon player broke down in tears in the arena during the post-match interviews as he reflected on the turmoil he has been through and his return to the winner’s circle.

He becomes one of only 18 players in snooker history to have won five or more ranking titles, and jumps from 15th to 11th in the world. Bingham also earns a place in the Champion of Champions tournament in Coventry next month.

Davis missed out on his first ranking title, having reached his first final 27 years after turning professional. The 46-year-old from Hastings must be commended for a fine piece of sportsmanship in the tenth frame when, leading 5-4, he touched the white ball with his cue and called a foul on himself. That proved a key turning point in the match as he failed to become the oldest winner of a ranking event since Doug Mountjoy in 1989. A runner-up prize of £30,000 sees Davis climb from 45th in the world to 34th.

After sharing the first session 4-4, Davis took the lead in the opening frame tonight with a 94 clearance. He made 40 in the next before accidentally feathering the cue ball and owning up to the foul, allowing Bingham to clear with 78. In frame 11, Bingham made 73 to edge 6-5 ahead, before Davis got the better of a scrappy 12th to leave them all square at the interval.

Bingham led 48-23 in the 13th when he missed a tricky red to a centre pocket, and his opponent punished him with a 65 clearance. Back came Bingham with superb breaks of 82 and 102 to lead 8-7. A run of 41 gave Bingham control of frame 16 and he later led by 38 points with one red left. Davis battled gamely for the snooker he needed, but when Bingham potted the red his chance was gone.

“At 5-4 down I was thinking the worst,” admitted 2015 World Champion Bingham. “Fair play to Mark for owning up to the foul because I didn’t see it and the referee didn’t either. If he had gone 6-4 he could have stream-rollered me, the way he did against Ronnie (O’Sullivan) in the semi-finals. That got me back in the match. In the last three frames I scored very well. I’m over the moon to get my hands on the trophy.

“It was a very even match and I just got among the balls first in the last few frames and scored well. I felt nervous all day, I was trying too hard and couldn’t let myself go. But compared to the pressure of winning the world title, everything else seems easy so I have that experience to fall back on.

“I was driving up with my manager this morning and told him that if I get my hands on the trophy I’ll probably end up crying.  There was a lot of emotion and I have proved people wrong. It’s special and no one can take it off me.”

Davis said: “I’m disappointed, it has taken me 27 years to get to a final, and I wanted to win. If it takes me 27 years to get to another one then there’s something wrong.

“It has been one of the best weeks of my snooker career, to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins in the same week is unbelievable. I ran Stuart close today but he was the better player. I was 7-6 up then he showed his class in the last three frames. I had a chance to go 6-4 up and we’ll never know what would have happened if I had taken it. But he made a good clearance.

“I have really enjoyed the week, it’s a great venue and I’m not just saying that because it’s near where I live! The crowds and conditions have been very good and I hope the tournament stays here.”


2018 English Open: Preview of the Stuart Bingham – Mark Davis match (Session1)

2018 English Open: MSI of the Stuart Bingham – Mark Davis match (Session1)

2018 English Open: Review of the Stuart Bingham – Mark Davis match (Session1)

2018 English Open: Preview of the Stuart Bingham – Mark Davis match (Session2)

2018 English Open: MSI of the Stuart Bingham – Mark Davis match (Session2)

And here is the trophy ceremony and aftermatch review

2018 English Open: the Stuart Bingham – Mark Davis match Trophy ceremony and review

Ronnie was in the studio all day and in the commentary box with David Hendon as well during the first session. The tandem works really well. Ronnie giving a very interesting insight into the how and why of the players shot selections, David keeping him on earth with us poor “normal” fans…


English Open 2018 – Semi Finals day as Ronnie’s defence comes to an end.

It will be Stuart Bingham vs Mark Davis in the Final today and here is how we came to this:

Stuart Bingham beat Stephen Maguire by 6-3 (Worldsnooker report)

Stuart Bingham reached his ninth career ranking final by beating Stephen Maguire 6-3 at the BetVictor English Open.

Basildon’s Bingham came from 3-2 down to win the last four frames against Glasgow’s Maguire to reach his first ranking final since the 2017 European Masters. He is chasing his fifth career ranking title and first since the Welsh Open in February 2017.

The 42-year-old will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Davis over 17 frames at K2 Crawley on Sunday, with the winner to collect the Steve Davis Trophy and a top prize of £70,000.

Maguire made breaks of 69 and 72 to lead 2-1 then world number 15 Bingham levelled with a run of 76. After the interval, Maguire regained the lead with a 93 before Bingham squared the match again with a 72.

A tight seventh frame went the way of 2015 World Champion Bingham as he went ahead at 4-3. In frame eight, Maguire trailed 33-56 when he missed a tough pot on the final green along the side cushion. Bingham slotted in the green to extend his lead.

World number 16 Maguire looked set to win frame nine but missed the penultimate red to a top corner at 55-35. Bingham made a cool 36 clearance to book his final place.

“I don’t feel as if I played that well, I missed a lot of easy balls,” said Bingham after reaching his first ranking final since returning from a three-month ban for breaching betting rules. “I felt a bit of pressure out there and the scoreline flattered me.  When I looked at my half of the draw at the start of the week I could see it was very tough, so I’m happy to get to the final. I don’t care who I play. If it’s Ronnie it will be a big occasion but it would also be great to play Mark because he’s a mate.”

Maguire said: “I missed too many balls, I had loads of chances. If you miss those kind of balls you deserve to lose. The table had been re-covered and I couldn’t get used to it. My positional play was like a 12-year-old’s. I knew after the first frame I was all over the place. I thought I would get used to it, but I didn’t. You can’t win if you can’t control the white.

“The most important thing this week is that my sciatica has been a lot better. I will get some work done on it next week and hopefully I’ll be ok to go to the International Championship in China.”

Neither player was at his best in this match, and Maguire in particular looked out of sorts.

Mark Davis beat Ronnie by 6-1 (Worldsnooker report)

Mark Davis reached the final of a ranking event for the first time, 27 years after turning professional, with a shock 6-1 hammering of Ronnie O’Sullivan at the BetVictor English Open.

Having lost in five previous ranking semi-finals, 46-year-old Davis could have been forgiven for thinking he might never make it to a final. But he produced one of the best performances of his career to send defending champion O’Sullivan crashing out.

Davis has travelled the world since 1991, playing in over 100 ranking tournaments across the planet, and has now reached his first final in Crawley, just 45 minutes away from his home in Hastings. He will face Stuart Bingham over 17 frames on Sunday for the Steve Davis Trophy and a top prize of £70,000. Victory would make Davis the oldest winner of a ranking event since Doug Mountjoy won the 1989 Classic.

EnglishOpen2018-ROSSF-1O’Sullivan made errors throughout the contest as he slipped to his first defeat of the season, having won four matches to take the Shanghai Masters title last month and five more to reach the semi-finals this week.

World number 45 Davis dominated the opening frame, then O’Sullivan made it 1-1 with a break of 56, which turned out to be his highest of the match. Runs of 102, 93, 84 and 65 gave Davis four frames in a row as he surged 5-1 ahead. He trailed by 27 points in frame seven, but made 52 before playing safe, and he later trapped O’Sullivan in a tough snooker which created the chance to seal the result.

“It’s amazing to get to my first final, I can’t believe it,” said Davis, who was watched by son Jack and daughter Millie. “A few weeks ago I was struggling with my game. I was practising with Jimmy Robertson and I just said ‘I can’t play any more’ and walked out of the club. I never usually do that but it wasn’t good. But I have kept working at it and my game has turned around.

“Perhaps subconsciously it has given me a lift, playing in front of friends and family this week. I had a lot of support out there tonight. I have had a tough draw this week but if I play well I can give anyone a game. I’ll just try to keep the same thoughts and enjoy the match tomorrow. It would mean everything to win it, but that is still a million miles away.”

O’Sullivan said: “He played well and I didn’t put up much of a fight, I was lucky to get a frame. I was outplayed.”

Ronnie’s defense came to an end in the Semi-Finals yesterday with very poor performance and it’s legitimate to ask one-self how much the foul incident in the QF match did affect his state of mind. Since working with Steve Peters Ronnie has been able to manage his emotions far better but that does not mean he’s immune to them and all reports I got stated that he was really mortified after what happened.

There were inevitably people talking about “cheating” but lots of players, and  WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson himself, came on social media clearly stating that Ronnie’s integrity was absolutely not questioned. He’s never been anything but totally honest. But Ronnie himself felt very bad and probably the thought entered his head that he didn’t deserve to be in the semi-finals.

That said Mark Davis played extremely well, as he had all week. We shouldn’t forget that he had beaten John Higgins and Neil Robertson to come to that stage. He might well have won this match even if Ronnie had not been as out of sorts as he obviously was. It’s sad that Ronnie’s run had to end this way, not the fact that he lost – that’s sport – but how he lost, and the circumstances around the match.

Preview of the Bingham v Maguire match, including the discussion about the foul:

The match preview:

The MSI analysis:

The match:

The match review:

As you can hear, in the after-match, Neil Foulds did question Ronnie’s decision to tinker with his game, and his sighting. I tend to agree with him. Of course, it’s only commendable that even after so many years and so many titles, Ronnie still wants to improve. But there is also a risk that it could destroy his game too. I hope he sits back, discusses it with people who have been at his side for a long time, and, maybe, reconsiders. I’m not convinced Sightright is working for him (which does not mean it doesn’t work for others, it clearly did for Willo, but everyone is different)

I have met Mark Davis many times on the tour, and at SWSA, and he really is a lovely man. I will be supporting him today. After 27 years of hard graft as a pro, this is his first final, close to his home, with his family watching. It would be fantastic – and totally deserved – for him to lift the trophy tonight.

People on social media call him “Dark Mavis”, but many fellow pros use another nickname: “The Smiler”. That says a lot. Good luck, Mark!

And on a lighter note…

English Open 2018 – Quarter Finals Day


Those are the results from the quarter-finals played yesterday in Crawley. Stephen Maguire at 37 is the “baby” in this line-up, proving once again that the Hearn system isn’t favouring the young players’ development. Of course, there are young players coming through, Noppon Saengkham and Luo Honghao proved that yesterday, but they come from Asian countries where there is active support to grassroots snooker.

Here are Worldsnooker reports on yesterday’s action

Afternoon session

Local favourite Mark Davis reached the semi-finals of the BetVictor English Open in Crawley with a 5-1 thrashing of Ryan Day, while Stuart Bingham scored a 5-2 victory over Ali Carter.

Hastings ace Davis is through to the sixth ranking event semi-final of his career and is aiming to reach his first final. The 46-year-old admitted before the tournament that his career will feel incomplete if he never win a ranking title, and he is now just two matches away from achieving that lifetime ambition. World number 45 Davis will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Luo Honghao in the semi-finals on Saturday.

He went 2-0 up on Day with breaks of 66 and 95. Welshman Day pulled one back with a run of 85 before Davis took the fourth for 3-1. World number 13 Day was playing with a damaged cue tip and decided to change it for a new tip during the interval. But there was no stopping Davis as he won the last two frames with runs of 92 and 48.

I felt really good and enjoyed the match,” said Davis. “It was a good atmosphere. I have tried to speed up my game this season rather than getting bogged down, and I played fluently today. It gives less time for negative thoughts to come in. Ryan didn’t play well today, I don’t know whether his tip was on his mind. He has been so good over the last year so I didn’t expect him to play like that.

“If I do play Ronnie next it will be a great occasion, probably the biggest match of my career. I have beaten him in the past a couple of times, but he can be unplayable. He beat me 5-1 once and I only played three bad shots.

Bingham reached his first ranking semi-final since the 2017 European Masters and is targeting his fifth career ranking title. His next opponent will be Stephen Maguire or Noppon Saengkham.

World number 15 Bingham was off to a superb start as a 138 total clearance gave him the opening frame. The second came down to the colours, and both players missed chances at the pink before Carter potted it for 1-1. Bingham regained the lead with a 70 clearance, then world number 21 Carter replied with a run of 80 for 2-2.

Former World Champion Bingham took the fifth on the colours to lead for the third time. Carter looked set to square the match again but missed a tough red to a baulk corner on 69 in the sixth, and his opponent punished him with a clinical 70 clearance. That proved the crucial moment as Bingham wrapped up the result with a 52 in the next.

That was probably the worst I have played all week, though I still played pretty well,” said 42-year-old Bingham. “The fifth and sixth frames were massive. Ali would have been hurting to lose those.

“Ali is a class player, you don’t get to two world finals otherwise. We have had our differences over the years but we have out that behind us, he is a good lad. If he had won today I would have wished him well.

“Hopefully I can go a step or two further. It would mean everything to me to win another title.

Evening session

Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 3-2 down to beat rising star Luo Honghao 5-3 and reach the semi-finals of the BetVictor English Open.


China’s 18-year-old tour rookie Luo was in with a chance of causing a massive shock when he led 3-2, but he missed chances in the closing frames as defending champion O’Sullivan took control. The Rocket goes through to face Mark Davis in Crawley on Saturday at 7pm for a place in the final. It will be his 70th ranking event semi-final and he has converted 33 of the previous 69 into titles.

World number three O’Sullivan started strongly with breaks of 118 and 90 to go 2-0 ahead. Luo showed his class as he fought back with 90, 67 and 136 to take the lead. He was 21 points ahead in frame six but O’Sullivan made a 73 clearance which proved the turning point. Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan trailed 56-0 in frame seven but cleared with 83, and he sealed victory in the next with 31 and 41.


I was second best out there all night, he is a great talent, a special player,” said 42-year-old O’Sullivan. “This is his first year on tour, imagine what he will be like in a few years. He is dangerous and I think the best young player from China out there. I got away with that one.

O’Sullivan was asked about an incident in the sixth frame when he brushed a red with his cue tip as he pulled it away after potting a red with the rest.

I am devastated,” said the Essex cueman, having been shown a replay of the incident after the match. “I was only aware when they showed me in the TV studio. It’s not in me to not call a foul if I know I have done it. I feel gutted.

“It was one of those things, sometimes when you are holding the rest you are watching the white. If there are people saying stuff on social media, what can I do? Most have watched my career and 99% would know that I have owned up to fouls even when there hasn’t been a foul. And I don’t blame the referee either, she is like me, watching the white.

Luo said: “I didn’t see it – and anyway now the match is gone and it is over.

Stephen Maguire reached his second ranking semi-final of the season by beating Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 5-3. Glasgow’s Maguire will now face Stuart Bingham on Saturday at 1pm.

The first six frames were shared, Maguire making breaks of 94 and 102 while Saengkham knocked in 68, 71 and 100. World number 16 Maguire then took the last two with 58 and 75.

It’s a great result, I rate Noppon highly, he has beaten me a few times,” said Maguire. “I haven’t played a top 16 player yet this week but tonight was a test because it was a high quality match. For the last two months I have had back trouble so I have been struggling to play and my results have shown that. But this week the sciatica has gone away so I can play with my own stance.”

Here are all the action and interviews with Ronnie.

One interesting point raised by Ronnie is that working with Sightright, at this point, means that he has to “think” about his sighting, rather than to rely on his instincts and it’s somehow disrupting his fluency. Of course, it’s only with practice, practice, and more practice that automatisms are created. So for the time being he, and we as fans, have to accept, that there will be trials and errors. Patience is key and only time will tell if Sightright works for him. However, yesterday, from 3-2 down, Ronnie decided to just trust his instincts and see what happens, and this works.

As for Luo, he’s an outstanding player, and for all, I can see and read, really a very nice, good-natured, lad too. Ronnie couldn’t stop praising him, and rightly so. Just like Chang Bingyu, who will turn pro next season, Luo is a pupil of Roger Leighton in his academy, i20 Snooker Academy in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, in Hong Kong. Roger is from originally Australia. He’s a former pro, a coach and at a point moved to Britain, in Horwich, where he practiced with Tony Knowles.  The fact that he eventually opened his successful academy in Hong Kong, after trying Brazil, Denmark and Serbia is telling about the state of grassroots snooker in the Western.



Frames 1-4

MSI analysis

Frames 5-8


And the controversial moment:

And again, big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these 



Bad day for the big guns at the 2018 English Open, but Ronnie is through to the QFs

Well, well … after yesterday’s action, none of the poster boys are still in the competition.

We had two rounds played to completion, the last 32 and the last 16.

Here is the last 16 report on Worldsnooker:

Defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson were among the winners in the last 32 of the BetVictor English Open. The last 16 takes place at K2 Crawley on Thursday evening.

However World Champion Mark Williams was the biggest casualty of the round as he lost 4-3 to China’s Zhou Yuelong.

O’Sullivan scored a 4-1 win over Matthew Stevens to move a step closer to a 34th career ranking title. He took the opening frame with a break of 75, then Stevens responded with a run of 90 for 1-1. Welshman Stevens scored just five points in the last three frames as O’Sullivan took them with a top break of 60. He now meets Eden Sharav, who reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time with a 4-0 win over Craig Steadman

Higgins compiled breaks of 98 and 105 in a 4-1 win over Martin Gould while Neil Robertson top scored with 102 in a 4-1 win over Alan McManus.

Stuart Bingham made a 131 as he edged out Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-3. Trump came from 2-0 down to beat Jack Lisowski 4-2 with a top break of 107.

World number eight Shaun Murphy slipped to a 4-1 defeat against Robert Milkins while China’s promising teenager Luo Honghao saw off Anthony McGill 4-2. Daniel Wells came from 3-1 down to beat Barry Hawkins 4-3 with top breaks of 80 and 78.

Tonight’s last 16 line up:
Ronnie O’Sullivan v Eden Sharav
Neil Robertson v Luo Honghao
Judd Trump v Ryan Day
Mark Davis v John Higgins
Ricky Walden v Stuart Bingham
Ali Carter v Daniel Wells
Robert Milkins v Noppon Saengkham
Stephen Maguire v Zhou Yuelong

The World Champion was beaten by Zhou Yuelong who held himself together quite well in the latest parts of the match where neither played outstandingly well. I didn’t see anything from the Murphy v Milkins match, but Murphy hasn’t been in top form for quite some time and Milkins is a very heavy scorer on his day. So, no real surprise there.

As for Ronnie, his match against Matthew Stevens was quite entertaining and played in good spirit. Those two know each other since juniors days, Matthew being only a couple of years younger than Ronnie. There were a lot of smiles on both sides throughout. Ronnie was more optimistic after the match, saying that he felt more in control as compared to the previous matches.

Preview with Ronnie’s interview pre-match:

The match:


Also thanks to Tai Chengzhe for those images!

The evening session delivered something else altogether, with a lot of matches going against the seeding/ranking.

Here is Worldsnooker report on the last 16:

China’s latest young snooker talent Luo Honghao beat Neil Robertson 4-2 at the BetVictor English Open to earn a quarter-final with his idol Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Tour rookie Luo, age 18, has earned the nickname The Virtuoso as he is a highly accomplished piano player and could have pursued a career in music. He chose snooker instead and won the WSF Championship this year to secure a tour card. He is now proving his ability on the baize and has knocked out Adam Duffy, Stuart Carrington, Anthony McGill and Robertson this week in Crawley to reach the last eight of a ranking event for the first time.

After losing the first frame against Robertson, world number 105 Luo took four of the next five with top breaks of 69, 56 and 74.

It’s my biggest win,” said Luo, who comes from Nanchong in China’s Sichuan province. “I enjoyed being out there in front of a lot of people. Ronnie has been my idol since I started playing snooker. I am so excited about playing him and I hope I can pot at least one ball. I’m not sure if I can beat him but anything can happen. I will try my best and enjoy it. I can’t believe I have the chance to play him – I’m so happy.

Defending champion O’Sullivan eased to a 4-1 win over Eden Sharav with top breaks of 76, 72, 59 and 72.

Eden is a good player and a tough competitor so I knew I needed to play decent stuff,” said world number three O’Sullivan. “I am working on my sighting at the moment so every match is a chance to get more comfortable and take my game to a higher level. I was watching Luo on the next table and he is a proper talent. He is the real deal.

Mark Davis continued his hoodoo over John Higgins, beating the four-time World Champion for the seventh time in their last eight meetings. Sussex cueman Davis came from 2-1 down to take the last three frames and win 4-2.

Davis now faces Ryan Day, who played the best snooker of the night to beat Judd Trump 4-2. Welshman Day fired in runs of 52, 83, 136 and 132.

Stuart Bingham top scored with 82 in a 4-0 win over Ricky Walden. He now meets Ali Carter who edged out Daniel Wells 4-3 with a top run of 116.

Stephen Maguire beat Zhou Yuelong 4-0 with a top break of 83. His next opponent is Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham, who made a 52 in the decider to edge out Robert Milkins 4-3.

Friday’s quarter-final line up:

Stuart Bingham v Ali Carter
Not before 2pm

Mark Davis v Ryan Day

Ronnie O’Sullivan v Luo Honghao

Noppon Saengkham v Stephen Maguire

Mark Davis leads John Higgins by 10-5 in their head-to-head, so this is no fluke, even if it’s a bit surprising. After the heights of beating the World Champion, Zhou Yuelong must have suffered a kind of anti-climax effect playing Maguire on a side table. It’s quite common in fact and, of course, Maguire is a top player. I’m not surprised that Maguire won, just that it went 4-0. Ryan Day played incredibly well against Judd Trump and, if he can sustain that level, he’s the favorite to lift the trophy come Sunday. He was awesome to watch.

As for Ronnie, he played well himself in beating Eden Sharav. After the match, he explained that Sightright has changed the way he’s sighting the ball and that he’s still adjusting to the changes. He also spoke about the changes in his break-off.


The match :


Whatever happens for Ronnie from now one there’s already a lot of positives to be taken. He’s playing an “unknown quantity” tonight. Luo is quality, no doubts, and playing Ronnie on television can either intimidate him or having him relax completely knowing he’s the underdog, with no expectations on him. I think the latter scenario is the more likely and the pressure will be on Ronnie.

This is what Ronnie said about his young opponent:

“I was watching Luo on the other table, he is a real talent – a proper player. I heard he is also a great piano player so a genius really, to be that good at two things.”



Dublin agency recruits Ronnie O’Sullivan as snooker mentor

At the time of writing, Ronnie has just won his last 16 match against Eden Sharav, and his waiting for either Neil Robertson or Luo Honghao to join him in the quarters tomorrow, where it becomes best of 9. I will cover that later, tonight or tomorrow morning.

But meanwhile, Ronnie’s management, Unify, has shared this news:

Dublin agency recruits Ronnie O’Sullivan as snooker mentor

Five-time world champion has teamed up with Unify, which was set up earlier this year

Ronnie O’Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday that he would take up a mentoring role with Unify Sports Management.

Ronnie O’Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday that he would take up a mentoring role with Unify Sports Management.

Snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan has linked up with a Dublin-based sports agency to find and mentor the stars of the future.

The five-time world champion (42) was in the headlines this week for making a maximum break at the English Open, just two days after describing the K2 Leisure Centre in Crawley, which is hosting the event, as a “hellhole”.

O’Sullivan said in a statement on Thursday that he would take up a mentoring role with Unify Sports Management, which has been representing him for the past season. Of his move into mentoring, O’Sullivan said sport was “stressful at times”.

“The highs of winning are great, but the lows are very tough,” he said. “The lads at Unify have been a massive help to me; they just let me focus on getting in the zone and playing.

“I have an opportunity to link up with Unify and together we know we can help the future stars of sport by giving them the advice and support to fulfil their potential.

“I truly love competing, so I’m delighted to have found a way to stay involved in sport when I do eventually hang up my cue. I’m looking forward to helping source raw talent with Unify and giving them guidance from all my experiences at the top of my game.”

Unify Sports Management was launched earlier this year by co-founders Conor O’Boyle and Shane O’Hara. It offers a full-scale service specialising in the commercial and media side of the sports industry.

O’Boyle was alongside O’Sullivan in China last month as the Englishman landed the Shanghai Masters title.

“Conor supported me in Asia and there were moments when I was struggling but he said the right things to get me back where I needed to be,” said O’Sullivan. “He understands the game which really helps too.”

Unify co-founder O’Boyle said: “Shane and I have been involved in sport our whole lives and we are both aware that Ronnie is undeniably one of the most talented sportspeople of all time.

“Asking him to help mentor our athletes was a no-brainer. Speaking with him about competing is fascinating. He has been there and done it all for 25 years and we are hugely grateful for his generosity in being prepared to share his expertise with us.”

It’s good to see Ronnie giving back to his sport by embracing activities that will help young players to achieve their dreams.