But it wasn’t straightforward and, to be honnest, very strange at times…
Here are the scores:
Before the match, Jimmy White in the ES studio had said that Ronnie, when coming back to York to do punditry hadn’t taken his cue with him and therefore hadn’t practiced at all. He was not sure how Ronnie would play…
In the first frame Ronnie didn’t pot a ball, despite getting a number of occasions from distance. He was going for everything, attempted long pots and missed them all. In the second frame, he managed to get in, but made only 43 from it. He missed a pink in a top corner pocket. I may have had a kick going by the sound of the contact. In the third he managed a break of 80 to reduce his deficit to 2-1, but that 80 could easily have been a century, if Ronnie hadn’t decided to play a shot before the referee, Alex Crisan, was able to respot the previous colour. Ronnie was behind in the next, stringed some very difficult shots together to comeback, and, needing the last black to win the frame, elected to play it so hard that it jumped off the table… As a result he found himself 3-1 behind. It was really hard to watch!
And, then, all of a sudden, he refocused – maybe angry at himself – and started to play really well. The long ones started to get in, the break building was excellent, the positional play accurate… and he won three on the bounce, and the match.
Later, in the studio, he admitted that he had come to the tournament without practicing since his defeat in York, but stated that he enjoyed the match and felt good in his game. He also explained why he had played the black the way he had in frame four, but I’m not sure I got it… it was something about a banana 🍌
Anyway … here it is:
and some great photos by Tai Chengzhe – thank you Tai!
Rocket Downs the Spaceman
Ronnie O’Sullivan recovered from 3-1 down to beat Dominic Dale 4-3 and set up an intriguing second round clash with James Cahill.
It will be the first meeting between O’Sullivan and Cahill since the World Championship back in May. On that occasion Cahill, playing as an amateur, defeated five-time Crucible king O’Sullivan 10-8 in one of snooker’s greatest ever shocks.
Today Welshman Dale pushed O’Sullivan onto the back foot in the early stages, claiming the opening two frames. O’Sullivan then responded with a break of 81 to make it 2-1.
The 36-time ranking event winner had then looked set to restore parity, before trying to power in a final black to the left middle. He missed the pot and caused the white to fly from the table, handing Dale the frame and trail 3-1.
It was at that point that 44-year-old O’Sullivan burst into life. Runs of 64, 80 and 83 saw him take three on the bounce to win 4-3 and progress.
Here is the afternoon session reviews by ES with both Ding and Ronnie.
Ronnie will now face James Cahill who is a bit of a bogey player for him.