Tour Championship 2019 – Ronnie is your champion!


Ronnie won the Tour Championship 2019, beating Neil Robertson by 13-11 in the Final. This win brings him on 36 ranking titles, a joint-record with Stephen Hendry. It also put Ronnie back on top of the rankings: he’s the World n°1 again, for the first time since 2010. This victory also means that he’s won the inaugural Coral Cup.

Congratulations Ronnie!

Here are the match scores (

Tour Champs 2019 Match scores

And some great pictures to celebrate, thanks to Tai Chengzhe! 

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker on yesterday’s action:

Afternoon session – Neil Robertson comes back at 8-8

Neil Robertson dug deep to move level with Ronnie O’Sullivan at 8-8 and set up an enticing final session at the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

The Australian trailed 5-3 after yesterday evening’s action, but rallied this afternoon to restore parity and take the momentum heading into tonight’s conclusion. They will play the best of 25 encounter to a conclusion from 7pm, with the winner taking home the £150,000 top prize.

If O’Sullivan wins this evening he will equal Stephen Hendry’s record of 36 ranking titles, while 15-time ranking event winner Robertson is aiming to move into sixth position alone in the all-time ranking event winner’s list.

The Rocket, who will move to world number one if he lifts the trophy this evening, claimed the opening frame with a century run of 100 as he looked to shake off his opponent. However, Robertson stubbornly battled to keep himself in touch.

O’Sullivan had looked to be set to move four ahead, but missed the final pink with the rest after landing in an awkward position. Robertson deposited the pink and the black to make it 6-4. He followed that up with a century break of 106 to move within a frame. O’Sullivan then claimed the next to head into the mid-session 7-5 in front.

They traded frames as five-time World Champion O’Sullivan went 8-6 up. However, it was Robertson who secured the final two frames of the session to set up a mouth watering finale.

There were mistakes from both in that session, but towards the end, Neil clearly took the upper hand as Ronnie looked a bit tired and struggling for concentration.

Evening session – Ronnie wins by 13-11

Ronnie O’Sullivan secured the 36thranking title of his career to equal Stephen Hendry’s record, after defeating Neil Robertson 13-11 in the final of the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

Hendry has topped the all-time ranking event winner’s list for over 21 years since his win at the 1997 Thailand Masters. O’Sullivan now joins the legendary Scot at the top of the pile after claiming his third ranking victory of the season.

The historic moment follows on from another momentous landmark at the recent Coral Players Championship, where he made the 1000th century of his career in the decisive frame to clinch the title. O’Sullivan has also secured the inaugural Coral Cup, having accumulated the most prize money across the three Coral Series events.

By earning the £150,000 top prize, O’Sullivan has moved to world number one for the first time since May 2010. He has displaced Mark Selby and ends a four-year reign, which extends back to February 2015. At the age of 43, O’Sullivan becomes the oldest world number one since Ray Reardon in 1983.

Overall this is O’Sullivan’s fifth victory of the season, having won invitational titles at the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions. He has now earned over £900,000 in prize money for the campaign.

Robertson leaves Llandudno with £60,000 for making the final and has now reached three consecutive ranking event showpieces. He won the Welsh Open and was runner-up to O’Sullivan at the Coral Players Championship.

The Australian produced a strong showing session in the afternoon session to set up this evening’s blockbuster finale, with the score finely poised at 8-8.

O’Sullivan got tonight’s play underway in spectacular fashion, firing in a break of 129 to take the opener. There was then an extended safety battle on the final yellow in the following frame, which Robertson won to restore parity once more. They continued to trade frames and went into the mid-session locked together at 10-10.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan took two on the bounce when they returned to move one from victory at 12-10. However, Robertson showed great character to keep in the match by producing a gutsy run of 56 to draw within a frame.

Robertson had an opportunity to force a decider, but missed a black off the spot on a break of 28. That was ruthlessly pounced upon by O’Sullivan who produced a fine contribution of 89 to take home the title. He will now turn his attentions to aiming for a sixth world title when he takes centre stage at the Crucible Theatre next month for the World Championship.

“There are certain records that mean a lot and the amount of ranking titles is one of them. It is about longevity and consistency and that is a true test of any player. It comes over time and is about the amount of titles you can win. That is quite a good one,” said O’Sullivan. “To be world number one is crazy really. I have only played in half of the events that everyone has played in. I don’t know how that has happened.

“When players like Neil and Judd Trump you are never going to have it easy. You are going to have to play supersonic snooker to get through. It was always going to be tough but I was pleased to get through.”

Robertson was left to rue missing his opportunity to take the match to a decider, but was keen to take the positives on another strong showing this week.

Robertson said: “The black I missed is pretty fresh in the memory. The most disappointing thing is that I didn’t even twitch on it. I was caught in two minds on whether to make another canon on the reds or play for the loose ones in the middle. With such a great chance to make it 12-12, who knows what could have happened. The most disappointing thing is how hard I had to fight to stay in the match. He looked like pulling away a couple of times, but I kept hanging on and I am proud of how I managed to do that.”

Ronnie’s interview in the Pressroom

And Ronnie came on twitter shortly after the match, with this

Crazy! Not a bad day at the office 😎🥇Thanks to all my fans for the continued support

If you missed what happened on Saturday evening follow this link.

Tour Championship 2019 Final – Ronnie leads 5-3 after the first session


The first session of the Tour Championship 2019 final was played yesterday evening and it was a good session. Neil had the better start et went to lead 2-0, despite the fact that Ronnie had a 100% long pot success at that stage and had been in first in both frames. Ronnie then won five frames on the trot, aided by some excellent safeties, very clever and creative break building when in the balls when faced with an unpromising table, and a remarkable clearance to steal frame seven. Neil Robertson took the last. At that stage, my feeling was that Ronnie’s concentration had just dropped a little bit, which would be understandable given the level he had sustained over the last five frames, but all credits to Neil who had been shut out for a long time and had just lost the previous frame that he probably should have won.

So Ronnie goes into the second session this afternoon with a two-frame advantage, which is good but in no way decisive in such a long match.

Here is the report by Worldsnooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan leads Neil Robertson 5-3 after the opening session of their Coral Tour Championship final in Llandudno.

The pair are contesting their second consecutive Coral Series final. They faced each other at the Coral Players Championship in Preston, where O’Sullivan came out on top. Whoever claims victory tomorrow will take home the Coral Cup, which is awarded to whoever earns the most prize money across the three Coral Series events.

The best of 25 encounter will be concluded over two sessions tomorrow, with the winner receiving a top prize of £150,000.

If O’Sullivan can convert his advantage tomorrow, he will equal Stephen Hendry’s record of 36 ranking event wins. While Robertson, who has 15 ranking titles to his name, can move clear of Mark Selby and go sixth alone in the all-time ranking event winner’s list with victory.

It was Robertson who made the fastest start this evening, claiming the opening two frames to secure an early 2-0 lead. O’Sullivan immediately responded with breaks of 74 and 97 to level things at the mid-session.

When they came back out five-time World Champion O’Sullivan moved further ahead with runs of 71 and 67 to make it 5-2 with five frames in a row. However, a crucial run of 48 helped Robertson to take the final frame of the evening and stay in touch at 5-3. They will return tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.

Tour Championship 2019 – Neil Robertson joins Ronnie in the Final

So we have a “repeat” of the Players Championship Final … the same two guys, only it’s over 25 frames and three sessions this time.

The second semi final didn’t provide the same intensity and tension as the first. Neil Robertson played very well towards the end, and – it has to be said – he also had luck on his side. Or rather Mark Allen had a lot of bad run of the balls. It was obvious that he grew very frustrated as the match unfolded. Nothing worked for him. It all exploded in the last frame where, after Neil Robertson had given him an unexpected chance, and it looked for all the world that he was going to make it 9-7, Mark Allen snookered himself on the last red. Anger got the better of him and he sent the white around the table at meteoritic speed … it was his last shot.

Here are the accounts by Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session:

Neil Robertson will take a 5-3 advantage over Mark Allen heading into the concluding session of their semi-final clash at the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

Australia’s Robertson requires five more frames when they return at 7pm to play the remainder of this best of 19 encounter. The winner will go on to face Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final over three sessions for the £150,000 top prize.

Both Robertson and Allen are enjoying strong seasons, having won two ranking titles apiece. 15-time ranking event winner Robertson was victorious at the campaign opening Riga Masters and the Welsh Open. While former Masters winner Allen, who tops the one-year list, secured titles at the International Championship and the Scottish Open.

The opening exchanges proved to be fragmented as Allen took a 44-minute opening frame. He then doubled his lead with a break of 78 to move 2-0 up. The third frame contained further drawn out exchanges, but it was Robertson who pivotally came out on top to cut his arrears in half.

Robertson capitalised on his momentum by compiling a century break of 106 to go into the mid-session at 2-2. Further contributions of 101, 61 and 69 helped him to make it five on the bounce, as he led 5-2. Allen then stopped the rot with a break of 77 to make it 5-3 and set up an intriguing evening to come.

Evening session:

Neil Robertson completed a 10-6 defeat of Mark Allen to earn a place in the Coral Tour Championship final in Llandudno.

The win sees Australia’s Robertson reach his third straight ranking final and the 25th of his career. He will take on Ronnie O’Sullivan for the £150,000 top prize. The best of 25-frame clash will take place over three sessions on Saturday and Sunday. The winner will be guaranteed to take home the Coral Cup, which is awarded to the player who earns the most money across the three Coral Series events.

Robertson will be hoping to cap a memorable week with silverware on Sunday evening. He celebrated the birth of his second child with fiancee Mille last weekend, a girl called Penelope.

The Thunder from Down Under has now ended a four-game losing streak against Allen, which included defeat in this season’s International Championship final. Robertson now leads the Northern Irishman 10-7 in their head-to-head record.

Robertson, who has claimed titles at the Welsh Open and Riga Masters this season, grasped the early initiative this afternoon by emerging from the session 5-3 ahead.

The match turned back in the direction of Allen as the action recommenced this evening. He took the opening frame with a break of 77. Robertson responded to make it 6-3, but it was Allen who forced his way back to parity at the mid-session. The Pistol fired in breaks of 82 and 103 on his way to claiming three frames in a row and making it 6-6.

When they returned the pendulum swung once more and Robertson assumed control of proceedings. This time it was a match winning streak, as he took four frames in a row with breaks 106, 87 and 52 to progress and book another final with O’Sullivan. He will be hoping to fare better this time after suffering defeat at the hands of the Rocket in the  Coral Players Championship final.

“I really got motoring to have a good lead going into tonight. I won the first frame this evening then I just lost my focus,” said Robertson. “I had to tell myself to concentrate harder. I was still playing well and I felt really good. It was just maintaining my focus when I got in the balls.

“This is my fifth final this season and I’ve never done that before. Ronnie got the better of me last time. Hopefully I can improve my efforts and get the better of him in a best out of 25 frame match, which will be very exciting to play in.

“Ronnie is the best player ever, there is no question about that. You need to apply the pressure when you get the chances. Everyone gives you chances, but it is when you take them and how you take them which is very important.”

Whoever wins on Sunday night will also take the Coral Cup and this trophy.



Before the match they showed a short interview with Ronnie following his win on the previous night.


Honestly it’s hard to call a winner here. Ronnie had a day off, and should be more rested, but I’m not sure that he will be able to muster the same intensity against Neil – who is a good mate – than against Judd. Not that Judd is an “enemy”, but their rivalry at the table is intense and Ronnie was on the back of two final defeats. Also it would be better if he could take the facts that a win would bring him on par with Stephen Hendry regarding ranking titles, and get him back on n°1 in the rankings, out of his mind. But I doubt that the media will allow him to forget that. That said Ronnie looked determined all week. He could do with finding back his long potting though… Neil on the other hand will want to take revenge on the 10-4 drubbing he was inflicted in Preston. If he plays the way he did at the end of the match yesterday, he will be hard to beat. However, yesterday, my feeling was that he was playing with freedom: he sensed how frustrated Mark Allen was, he knew he “had him”. Against Ronnie, he will know that he can’t let his guard down at any time.

Tour Championship 2019 – Ronnie fights back to beat Judd Trump in the semi-finals


Ronnie came from 6-2 and 8-5 behind to beat Judd Trump by 10-9 – on the last black – in the first semi-final in Llandudno yesterday. 

It was quite an extraordinary match and one that took us fans on a rollercoaster!

Here are the match scores thanks to

Session 1:
41-69 (54), 65-27 (64), 27-73, 47-74 (66)
0-62, 100-0 (100), 4-74 (69), 0-74 (50)

Session 2:
82-0 (82), 91-31 (50), 20-94, 65-45
44-67, 130-0 (130), 134-0 (134), 63-44
4-80 (61), 64-39, 62-60

The first session ended with Ronnie trailing by 6-2, and I was glad that the match was played over 8 + 11 (possibly) because had it been 9 +10, I feared it would have gone 7-2. It wasn’t exactly a repeat of the Masters in January, Ronnie was playing better than he had then, but his long potting failed him and this meant that he was not able to create his own chances. Judd played confidently – he had beaten Ronnie in their last two finals – and he was dominating the match.

Here is the report of the afternoon session (Worldsnooker:


Judd Trump has opened up a 6-2 advantage against Ronnie O’Sullivan in their semi-final clash at the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

The Ace in the Pack held all the cards this afternoon and requires just four more frames for victory, with O’Sullivan needing eight of the remaining 11 to be played. Last time the pair met was the Masters final in January, when Trump opened up a 7-1 first session lead and went on to claim a 10-4 victory. He will be hoping for a similar outcome this evening.

Trump and O’Sullivan jointly occupy the top of the Coral Cup Standings on £130,000, where the winner is derived from who earns the most prize money from the three Coral Series events. They hold the first two tournaments between them, with Trump having won the Coral World Grand Prix and O’Sullivan claiming the Coral Players Championship title.

With Trump holding a 2-1 advantage this afternoon, he compiled a crucial 66 break to come from 46-8 down in the fourth frame and move 3-1 ahead at the mid-session. A further run of 55 helped him into a 4-1 lead when they returned.

O’Sullivan responded with a century break of 100 to make it 4-2. However, it was Trump who claimed the remaining frames to secure his 6-2 lead going into tonight. The remainder of the best of 19 clash will be played out this evening at 7pm.


One difference with the Masters final though was that Ronnie looked up for it, even at 6-2 down. I expected him to come back in the evening fighting. However, winning looked highly unlikely. I was thinking “If he can make the score honourable, come back to 10-7 maybe, I’ll be happy”. When he won the first two frames after they resumed, I thought, OK, he might have a mini chance here … just.

So here is the report on what happened in the evening session (Worldsnooker):

Ronnie O’Sullivan completed a sensational fightback by downing Judd Trump on the last black to win 10-9 and reach the final of the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

The deciding frame was packed with drama, as both players had opportunities to seal the match. Masters champion Trump was first in with a break of 50, before breaking down and allowing O’Sullivan back into the frame.

Eventually it all came down to the colours, where Trump spurned a match ball yellow to the top right pocket. O’Sullivan then potted a sensational yellow and proceeded to clear and steal the match. He clinched it with a tough black along the bottom cushion, punching the air with delight after it dropped. The Rocket was never ahead until that very last ball.

Victory means that O’Sullivan now edges in front in their head-to-head record, leading 11-10. It’s his first win of the season over Trump, who had defeated him in finals at the Northern Ireland Open and the Masters.

The result now leaves O’Sullivan potentially just one match away from equalling Stephen Hendry’s record of 36 ranking event titles. If the five-time World Champion seals the trophy on Sunday, it would also see him move to world number one and end Mark Selby’s four-year reign at the top of the rankings.

O’Sullivan and Trump came into today’s clash tied at the top of the Coral Cup standings on £130,000, which are derived from earns the most money from the three Coral Series events. Defeat this evening now forces Bristol’s Trump out of the running for top spot.

The Ace in the Pack had led 6-2 after a sparkling first session of snooker this afternoon, but he was soon reeled in as the Rocket surged back into the tie.

Breaks of 82 and 50 allowed O’Sullivan to immediately move back withing two at 6-4. There were then three consecutive frames which lasted over 30 minutes, as the game moved into a tactical phase. Trump emerged with an 8-5 advantage.

The resilience of O’Sullivan then came to the fore as he claimed three on the bounce, including back-to-back century breaks of 130 and 134, to make it 8-8. Trump was first to move one from victory thanks to a contribution of 61, before O’Sullivan levelled to set up the thrilling finale in which he clinched the tie.

I went out there with a different mindset tonight and I just felt relaxed. I was enjoying it and playing each frame and each ball as it came,” said O’Sullivan. “I didn’t even feel the drama. I know everyone was saying what a great match it was, but I didn’t really feel nervous at all. I just enjoyed it and once I got my mind right and played the balls on the table it was a different game from this afternoon.

“I’m not driven by records and I’m glad I’m not. You take the beauty out of the game if you do that, then it all becomes about statistics. I’d trade every ranking point that I have made and every bit of prize money for the experiences and the highs I have had from playing this game since I was a kid. There are very few people that have been the best in the world and the greatest at what they do. I feel like I am in that bracket. There are 8 billion people on this planet. How many can say they are the greatest at what they do? For me I have had the ultimate experience of being the king of my sport and I am still fighting and still punching, I’m proud of that.





The action:

Ronnie’s reaction at the end of the match says it all. How much it mattered, how determined he is. Yesterday he was a picture of resilience, he was the big fighter. This defeat will hurt Judd Trump. Winning on Sunday would put Ronnie on top of the rankings again, and he would go to the Crucible as world n°1 unless Mark Selby wins the China Open early April. This would be quite extraordinary considering that Ronnie has skipped a lot of events this season, including all of the very lucrative Chinese ranking ones.

A huge thanks to Tai Chengzhe again for some great images:

Here is Ronnie talking to the press, and to Phil Seymour:


Today we will know who will join him in the final. Based on what I saw, I favour Neil Robertson slightly. At least this one I can watch from the point of view of a neutral…

Should Mark Allen win tonight, Ronnie is guaranteed to go home with the Coral Cup on Sunday, whatever the outcome of the final. Neil Robertson can still overcome him if he wins on Sunday.

Tour Championship 2019 – Day 2

All four top seeds are through after day 2 in Llanduno. Three of the matches were very close – we had two deciders – and one was one-sided. Here are the reports by worldsnooker:

Afternoon session:

Judd Trump battled back from 8-5 down to defeat World Champion Mark Williams 9-8 and book his place in the semi-finals of the Coral Tour Championship.

Masters champion Trump, who was victorious at the series opening Coral World Grand Prix, will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Stuart Bingham in tomorrow’s first semi-final. Both Trump and Coral Players Champion O’Sullivan are tied at the top of the standings for the Coral Cup, which will be awarded to the player who accumulates the most prize money across the three-event series.

Defeat will be tough to take for World Champion Williams after he had assumed control of proceedings this afternoon. He will now head out to Beijing for the China Open, before turning his attentions to defending his Crucible crown in Sheffield next month.

The pair were locked together at 4-4 coming into this afternoon and it was Williams who seized the early initiative. The Welshman composed an impressive century run of 103 in the opening frame. Further breaks of 52 and 54 helped him to hold a two-frame lead at 7-5 going into the mid-session.

Williams then pulled off an astonishing clearance of 61 from 57-0 down to move one from victory at 8-5. However, Trump summoned a late charge to reignite his hopes. Breaks of 68 and 61 saw him move within a frame at 8-7, before a contribution of 59 from the Ace in the Pack took the match to a deciding frame.

There were twists and turns with both players spurning opportunities, but it was Trump who eventually came through to book his last four spot.

Trump said: “I’m over the moon to win that one. I was never really involved in the game so it was a bit of a get out of jail free card. I knew I had a potential line up with Ronnie O’Sullivan in the next round, he looks like he has a good lead there so that would be another exciting game for me to be involved with.

“I wasn’t that positive going into the interval. At 7-5 down, every time I played safe I was knocking balls over the pocket. I just relied on the fact Mark hasn’t played his brilliant best over the last six months so that was what I was holding that thought in my head, hoping he might miss a few. Fortunately that was what happened.”

Mark Allen has taken a commanding 6-2 lead over Kyren Wilson heading into their concluding session this evening at 7pm.

Allen has enjoyed a superb season and currently tops the one-year ranking on £394,000, having won silverware at the International Championship and the Scottish Open.

The Northern Irishman took control of today’s encounter with breaks of 53, 87, 55 and 105.

Mark Williams defeat from 8-5 up really surprised me because, as Judd Trump himself acknowledged, he actually did lose that match, as opposed to his opponent winning it. What I mean is that very uncharacteristically from 8-5 up, Williams looked vulnerable under pressure and started to make mistakes that you wouldn’t expect from a player with his experience and records. I’m not sure what happened there, but, for me, this is a bit of a concern for Mark’s fans ahead of the Crucible.

Evening session:

Ronnie O’Sullivan swept to a convincing 9-3 defeat of Stuart Bingham to set up a blockbuster semi-final clash with Judd Trump at the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

The Rocket’s mouth watering meeting with Masters champion Trump will be played tomorrow over two sessions. The pair have already met in two finals so far this season, with Trump winning on both occasions at the Northern Ireland Open and the Masters.

O’Sullivan and Trump are level at the top of the Coral Cup standings on £130,000, the winner is derived from who earns the most prize money across all three of the Coral Series events. They hold the first two tournaments between them, with Trump having won the Coral World Grand Prix and O’Sullivan claiming the Coral Players Championship title.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan can also equal Stephen Hendry’s record of 36 ranking event wins with victory this weekend and would become world number one if he were to claim the title.

Bingham leaves Llandudno with the consolation of £20,000 for qualifying for this week’s elite eight man event and will now turn his attention to the upcoming China Open in Beijing and the World Championship in Sheffield.

They came into this evening with O’Sullivan leading 6-2 and he continued to push for the finish line when the action got back underway by taking the opening frame.

There was then a marathon tenth frame which lasted 49 minutes, including a 20 minute spell without a pot. The balls fell awkwardly as reds nestled around the blue, which was covering the bottom left pocket. Eventually O’Sullivan negotiated the situation and secured an 8-2 advantage.

Bingham pulled one back, but it was too little too late as 35-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan came through a 9-3 winner.

“I’m playing alright. I very rarely play badly. I have a certain level I always play to,” said O’Sullivan. “I always seem to have good matches with Judd. Over the years there have been some close ones. We have had a few good finals. We both play a similar type of the game. He probably plays a bit more aggressively than me but I will try and be as aggressive as I can, because that is the name of the game.”

Mark Allen survived a fightback charge from Kyren Wilson to edge through a 9-7 victor and set up a semi-final meeting with Neil Robertson.

The Pistol is enjoying one of his best seasons on tour and currently tops this season’s one-year list having won silverware at the International Championship and the Scottish Open.

Wilson had trailed 6-2 after this afternoon’s session, but he significantly upped his game this evening and turned the clash into a thrilling contest.

However, when play got underway it was Allen who continued to press on with a fine century run of 123 to move 7-2 in front. Following that Wilson claimed two frames on the bounce, before a contribution of 83 helped him to close the gap to 7-5.

Former Masters champion Allen then showed great character to counter from 54-0 down in the following frame with a break of 69 to move three frames in front and one from victory. Contributions of 56 and 45 then helped Wilson to close within a frame at 8-7.

Wilson had looked to be in position to force a decider, before breaking down on a break of 58. From there Allen crafted a gutsy run of 71 to come through a narrow 9-7 winner.

I very much doubt that Ronnie enjoyed this session, despite winning it 3-1. That very lengthy frame, featuring a long battle around a cluster of reds, with the blue blocking a top corner pocket, isn’t the kind of fluent stuff he likes to play. But he stayed very, very patient.

I saw very little from the Mark Allen v Kyren Wilson match, only the last two frames or so. Mark Allen was 7-2 up at one point I think and was pegged back to 8-7. Yet, when Kyren Wilson missed that red in the green pocket, Allen came back to the table, looking determined and calm. The balls weren’t particularly well situated, but he made no mistake. This was in stark contrast with what I had seen from Mark Williams earlier. Mark Allen is back working with Terry Griffiths and, IMO, he will be a real contender at the Crucible.

Here are some more images taken by Tai Chengzhe – Tank you Tai!

And the coverage (ROS-Bingham second session):

MissingClip (preview)

Ronnie hinted that he might consider playing on the Seniors Tour next season. Here he is quoted in the press:

“Maybe I should join the Seniors tour, I have spoken to them, it is exciting – and so this could be my last World Championship, as you can’t play both tours.

“It is a big decision for me but maybe I will have more longevity on that tour. It would be nice to play both, but they probably won’t allow that.

“I am a senior, that tour is already good and if I join it presumably that will improve it with maybe the likes of John Higgins and Mark Williams to join in the future.

Well, I have my doubts about this. I don’t think that this tour would give Ronnie the challenges he needs and likes, even if he is tired of them at times. And it would not be good for the Seniors Tour either: as Alan McManus said he would likely win everything or about, which would actually “kill” most of the interest in that tour. But we are not there just yet…

Today, Ronnie and Judd will battle it out over 19 frames. Judd has won their last two finals, but Ronnie is playing better than he was in Belfast and, unless he has a very, very bad day in office, I doubt that it will be one-sided as was the Masters final.

Regarding the Coral Cup standings, Mark Allen can’t win it, but all other three are still at the races. Whoever wins today could still be overcome by Neil Robertson tomorrow if the Aussie (the real one) wins the final.

Tour Championship 2019 – Day 1

First, un short word on the poster: it has already “lost” two of its posters boys! actually, that’s untrue, because John Higgins was never there, he didn’t qualify. By tonight it will lose another one at least, because Judd Trump and Mark Williams are playing each other. And why isn’t Mark Allen on it? He’s been on top of the one year list for ages.

It’s a great arena, and a great venue in general, situated in a beautiful area.

The players have a good practice area, with two tables. The fans can enjoy the cuezone. There is a nice, quiet players room, and, at least when I was there, decent meals being served in a separate restaurant/cafeteria. The last thing players want before an important match is to be hunted for autographs and selfies.

That how ALL tournaments should be.

Here are the reports by Worldsnooker:

Afternoon session:

Mark Selby produced a sublime session of snooker to establish a 6-2 advantage against Neil Robertson at the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

World number one Selby is battling to keep his place at the top of the rankings with Ronnie O’Sullivan hot on his heels. Selby has topped the world rankings since February 2015, however if O’Sullivan were to win the title this week he would overtake the Leicester potter.

Robertson celebrated the birth of his second child with fiancee Mille, a girl called Penelope, on Saturday. It has been an eventful few weeks for the Australian who also won his 15th ranking title at last month’s Welsh Open.

Both players looked to be in red hot form this afternoon as the match got underway. Robertson fired in breaks of 88 and 110 to take a 2-0 advantage. Selby responded immediately with back-to-back century runs of 103 and 117 to make it 2-2 at the mid-session.

When they returned it was three-time Crucible king Selby who took a stranglehold on proceedings. Further breaks of 58, 93, 65 and 123 saw him end the session 6-2 in front. The remainder of the best of 17 clash will be played out this evening at 7pm.

Judd Trump and Mark Williams couldn’t be separated sharing the frames to end this afternoon’s session all-square at 4-4.

The clash between Masters champion Trump and Crucible king Williams lived up to its mouth watering pre-match billing, with a break over fifty in six out of the eight frames. There was never more than a frame between the pair, as they jostled for pole position heading into tomorrow afternoon’s final session. With Williams leading 4-3, Trump fired in an important break of 79 to emerge from the session with parity.

Evening session:

Neil Robertson produced a phenomenal fightback to down world number one Mark Selby 9-8 on the final black and reach the semi-finals of the Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno.

Selby had built a commanding 6-2 advantage after a fine performance in this afternoon’s opening session. However, it was Australia’s Robertson who reeled the Englishman in and eventually forced a dramatic and gruelling decider.

With colours and reds glued to the cushion, the final frame lasted one hour and five minutes, coming down to the very last ball. Following missed chances by both players on the black, Selby afforded Robertson an opportunity after he jawed a double to the middle. 2010 World Champion Robertson sunk his chance to the same middle pocket and clinched the frame and the match.

The clash came just days after Robertson and his fiancée Mille celebrated the birth of their second child, a girl called Penelope. The world number eight now plans to return home to Cambridge and be with his family for a couple of days, before contesting his semi-final on Friday against either Mark Allen or Kyren Wilson.

World number one Selby must now wait to see if he will hold on to his place at the summit of the world rankings beyond this week. The Leicester potter has occupied top spot since February 2015, however if Ronnie O’Sullivan wins the title he will overtake him.

Following Selby’s dominant performance this afternoon, Robertson came out firing to apply the pressure this evening. He took the first three frames, with breaks of 90 and 71 along the way, to pull within one at 6-5. Three-time Crucible winner Selby then missed the final pink in the 12th frame to stop the rot, allowing Robertson to deposit the last two balls and draw level at 6-6 going into the mid-session.

Robertson took the lead for the first time since the fourth frame at 7-6. Despite losing five frames on the bounce, Selby dug deep to restore parity, coming from three snookers behind to clinch the 14th frame on the black. The Englishman then moved one from victory at 8-7, after a fine break of 53 with the balls in awkward positions. However, Robertson forced the decider with a century run of 135 and sealed the match in the nerve-shredding last frame.

“I certainly didn’t look like winning at 6-2 down. I just had to come out fighting tonight,” said Robertson. “Mille gave birth a couple of days ago, so my mind was elsewhere many times today. I just thought if I got beat it would be alright and I could go home and get ready for the China Open. However, I have always got that belief in me.

“It was very pleasing that I went toe to toe with him in the safety department. That is what you have to do if you encounter players like Mark or John Higgins. You can’t win every frame in one visit and that gives me a lot of confidence going forward as well.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan opened up a 6-2 lead over Stuart Bingham to move into pole position in their quarter-final clash.

The encounter could have had a different outlook after the opening session, with Bingham spurning blacks off the spot in three of the frames he lost.

One of those misses came in the opening frame and was a mistake which O’Sullivan punished to the full. The Rocket made his 1000th career century in the decisive frame of his recent Coral Players Championship victory and he picked up where he left off today, compiling a run of 111 to move 1-0 up.

O’Sullivan then edged further in front, before breaks of 55 and 90 helped Bingham to make it 2-2 at the mid-session.

The Rocket was electric when they returned, he swept up the remaining frames with breaks of 113, 121 and 89 to secure a commanding 6-2 lead.

Stuart Bingham looked tired at the start of the match and missed a few unexpected ones. But he won the last two frames of the first mini-session and started looking very sharp. However, after the MSI, Ronnie stepped up a gear; his safeties, in particular, got better; he didn’t leave his opponent many chances,  and certainly not many easy ones. That made the difference. At 6-2 up he looks a serious favourite to get to the semi-finals.

But so looked Mark Selby after the first session of his match against Neil Robertson…

Big thanks to Tai Chengzhe for these great pictures!



For Mark Selby, those are worrying times. For the full of two seasons, he’s not been consistent, and it’s very unlike the “granite” Selby to lose a match from such a big lead, even against someone as good as Neil Robertson. As Neil Foulds said, this will hurt. His confidence must be low. Here is the decider:

Today will see Mark Allen take on Kyren Wilson and it’s hard to call because neither has been consistently in top form over the last months. Mark Williams and Judd Trump will play to a conclusion and it’s impossible to call a winner there. My feeling is that Mark Williams was marginally stronger yesterday and that, if it goes to the wire, he’s the one likely to keep his head cool. And, in the evening, Ronnie and Stuart will play to a finish too.


A day without snooker?

Yes, there is no snooker today. How weird. So it’s a good time to look back at what happened over the last few days.

Martin Gould has won the Championship League Snooker for the second time.

Martin Gould won the Championship League for the second time by beating Jack Lisowski 3-1 in the final in Barnsley.

Gould was the only player not ranked among the world’s top 16 in the Winners’ Group, but saw off the challenge of Judd Trump, Mark Selby, John Higgins, Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and Lisowski to take the trophy. He earns a place in the prestigious Champion of Champions event in Coventry in November.

London’s 37-year-old Gould has otherwise had a disappointing season, reaching the last 16 of just one ranking event and slipping to 27th in the world. But he now has another professional title to add to his tally, to go alongside the 2013 Shoot Out, 2013 Championship League and 2016 German Masters.

A break of 115 gave Gould the opening frame of the final then Lisowski, who was aiming to win his maiden pro title, levelled with a run of 63. A scrappy 38-minute third frame went Gould’s way, and when he potted green and brown in the fourth to go 30 points ahead, the handshake followed.

“It’s nice to win again – there’s a lot riding on this. You get a Champion of Champions spot which is massive,” said Gould. “I felt relaxed and I really enjoy this event. I take it as a bit of fun – you’re getting paid to practise and it’s match practice that you could never get anywhere else.

“To win this event with the players that were in this group is a great confidence booster for me. And hopefully I can take it forward to the World Championship qualifiers as that’s all that is left for me this season.”

Earlier in the semi-finals, Gould scored a 3-0 win over Higgins, who had been aiming to win the event for the third year in a row. Runs of 105, 55 and 57 put Gould into the final. Lisowski saw off Robertson 3-0 with top runs of 91 and 80.

Robertson and Gould had topped the round robin table with four wins each out of six, while Higgins and Lisowski each scored three wins.

This guarantees him a spot in the Champion of Champions next season.

Stuart Bingham has won the Gibraltar Open 2019

Stuart Bingham claimed the sixth ranking title of his career after a 4-1 victory against defending champion Ryan Day in the final of the Betway Gibraltar Open.

Bingham was in sublime form all weekend, firing in nine centuries on his way to the title. The 2015 World Champion was competing in his third ranking final of the season, having won the English Open earlier in the campaign and been runner-up at last month’s Welsh Open.

The victory, and the £25,000 top prize, also helped Bingham to secure his place at next week’s lucrative Tour Championship in Llandundo. The event plays host to the top eight players on the one-year money list. Bingham held off David Gilbert to claim his spot and will face Ronnie O’Sullivan in the opening round in North Wales.

Day’s valiant attempt to defend his title fell just short, but he leaves Gibraltar with a welcome £12,000, which boosts his chances of edging into the world’s top 16 and qualifying for next month’s World Championship. The Welshman finds himself in 17th position in the latest provisional seedings and will head to Beijing for the upcoming China Open hoping for a strong showing to clinch a Crucible spot.

This evening’s high quality encounter got off to a fast paced start as Bingham embarked on a 147 attempt in the opening frame. However, the 42-year-old broke down on 48 after missing a difficult red to the middle. Day punished him with a superb contribution of 83 to move 1-0 up.

The high scoring pattern continued as Bingham responded by composing breaks of 100 and 84, before a further run of 103 saw him move one from the win at 3-1. There was then an edgy fifth frame, which came down to the colours, as both players spurned opportunities. However, it was Bingham who eventually found a way to secure the frame and take home the title.

“I’m over the moon. I played well from the off, so it was great to keep it going all the way through the weekend,” said Bingham. “My main goal this week was to get into the Tour Championship. Once I got that, I relaxed a bit and had my eyes on the title.

“To get in the Tour Championship was something I looked at achieving at the start of the campaign. I knew I needed something special to qualify for the World Championship this season and now having qualified for next week, I am virtually into the Crucible as well.

“I have had my wife, my manager and his wife over this weekend and it has been great. That has made it special and I topped the weekend off with a great win.”

Except for Kyren Wilson, Stuart Bingham and David Gilbert who were battling for a spot in the Tour Championship, top players didn’t appear to be extra motivated for this event. And not just top players. Mike Dunn came on twitter blaming young players not taking the opportunity this event offered seriously and getting drunk. Some young Chinese players DID take the opportunity though, 18 years old Yuan Sijun and Lu Ning getting to the SF. And some amateurs did well too, notably David Grace.

This means that the draw for the Tour Championship 2019, starting tomorrow is known:

Mark Allen vs Kyren Wilson
Neil Robertson vs Mark Selby
Judd Trump vs Mark Williams
Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Stuart Bingham

Stuart played really well in Gibraltar and he’s certainly no easy opponent for Ronnie in the first round. That said, if Ronnie plays the way he did in Preston, he has nobody to fear. Ronnie came on twitter, calling interested top 32 players to contact him for some match practices in preparation for this event, so he’s taking it seriously.