The big 2014 story was Mark Selby’s victory at the Crucible. He beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final by 18-14, having trailed 10-5. It was an amazing achievement.
Ronnie largely dominated the first day. The match basically turned on one ball. Leading by 10-5, Ronnie missed a black off the spot early in frame 16 and Mark took full advantage. Mark then won the next frame as well, finishing the session “only” 10-7 behind. It was obvious right away that Ronnie was very annoyed with himself because of this miss.
The next day, Mark came back fighting – as he does – and put Ronnie in all sorts of trouble. Ronnie chose to try and continue to attack. It didn’t work. He was outplayed on that day. He was criticised for not changing his approach to the match, but I think that’s unfair. He wasn’t going to beat Selby at Selby’s game. On another day, things might have clicked together at some point, that day it didn’t happen.
In that match, Ronnie had 9 breaks over 50, including 3 centuries. Mark had just one century, but he still won with a bit in hand.
Mark deserves a lot of credit for never giving up, and keeping the belief that he could still win. He showed a lot of heart and determination and was a worthy winner.
Mark had a very difficult childhood and youth. His mother abandonned him and his brother when they were only kids. His father took care of them, but died from cancer when Mark was only 16. His brother and himself lost their house.
Mark’s father loved his snooker. When his father became critically ill, Mark made him the promise to become World Champion one day. He kept his promise. It’s an inspiring story that was told in this moving documentary:
Mark Selby Life Story Documentary
The World Championship was the only full ranking event that Mark won that year, a year during which he had won 52 matches, out of 74 (70%)
The man he had beaten at the World Championship, Ronnie, had a much more succesful year overall. He had won 34 of the 40 matches he had played (85%).
He had won the 2014 Masters at the start of the year. He did beat Mark Selby by 10-4 on that occasion.
The Masters 2014 Photo Gallery
He then won the 2014 Welsh Open, the last one to be played in Newport, beating Ding Junhui by 9-3, and finishing the match with a 147.
The Welsh Open 2014 Photo Gallery
And here is Ronnie’s 147 to win the Final. It was his farewell gift to the Newport crowd.
He came to the 2014 World Championship as defending Champion and reached the final.
In the autumn 2014, he defended his Champion of Champions title.
The Champion of Champions 2014 Photo Gallery
And he finished the year, by winning the 2014 UK Championship, beating Judd Trump by 10-9 in an epic final. He played the whole tournament with a broken ankle. In the last 16, he made another 147, in the last frame of his match against Matthew Selt.
The UK Championship 2014 Photo Gallery
Ronnie’s 147 to finish off Matt Selt in the last 16
But all that didn’t really matter. Mark Selby was the World Champion and that defeat did hurt. Ronnie downplayed his disappointment in his postmatch interview, but he couldn’t bear to stay in Sheffield even for one more night. He took his car and drove back home, in the night and the rain. He had a car accident. Fortunately, neither him, nor his young son who was with him were hurt. But he shouldn’t have been driving that night, and, if he wasn’t thinking clearly enough to realise that, someone should have stopped him. Also, he’s never been past the QF at the Crucible since this defeat, and my feeling is that he’s apprehensive and low on confidence going there. That defeat left scars.
2014 was also the year when Ronnie started working wit Eurosport.
The “other story” of 2014 was about Neil Robertson “century of centuries”.
Neil managed an incredible 103 centuries over the 2013/2014 season, and the 100th one came in 2014, at the Crucible, during his Quarter Final match against Judd Trump. Neil was “helped” by the fact that he played in four different groups at the Championship League Snooker, but even so it was a truly remarkable achievement that Neil celebrated quite quite wildly…
Neil Robertson 100th century of the 2013/2014 season, came in the 2014 World Championship Quarter Finals against Judd Trump … who duly appreciated his opponent’s achievement.
2 thoughts on “Reflecting on the decade: the year 2014”
Among other things, I think that Ronnie’s loss in the 2014 WC final has made him doubt that it’s worth investing again the necessary effort and emotional energy required to win the event. The worst possible outcome for Ronnie in snooker (if not in life) is to spend 2+ weeks at the Crucible, make it all the way to the final, and then lose. That feels like a complete waste to Ronnie, and one that makes him feel worse rather than better.
I think the negative experience of losing the final is greater in magnitude for Ronnie than the positive experience of winning, which makes it difficult for him to risk fully-committing himself to trying to win. As he has said many times, he would rather lose early and get it over with than lose late in the tournament…
It is interesting, last year he attributed Higgins’s struggles to losing three SWC finals, he said something about it being really demoralizing to go all the way and still not having the title. He also said how he wanted to lose there early if he had to lose – well, he’s been doing a good job of it lately…
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