2021 Nothern Ireland Open – Ronnie wins his last 64 match

Ronnie booked his plsce in the last 32 round yesterday evening by beating Andy Hicks by 4-1. Here are the frames scores:

2021 NI Open - L64 - ROS v Hicks Scores

And the report by WST:

2021 NI Open - L65 - ROS v Hicks - 3World number three Ronnie O’Sullivan eased to a 4-1 defeat of former Crucible semi-finalist Andy Hicks.

It was six-time World Champion O’Sullivan who imposed himself on the tie from the off. He fired in a fine break of 76 to take the opener.

Devon’s Hicks responded by snatching the second frame on the black with a break of 55. However, from that moment the Rocket took charge. Runs of 54, 65 and 90 allowed O’Sullivan to take three on the trot and get over the line. Next up he faces Alfie Burden.

I wouldn’t say that Ronnie “eased” through that match. It was a very professional performance from both. It’s easy to forget what a fine player Andy Hicks was in the 90th. Andye actually reached the semi-fimals of all four BBC events back then – the Grand Prix was a BBC event at the time and one of the majors – and he was ranked as high as number 17 in 1995/96.

Ronnie struggled at te start of the match, making a lot of mistakes during the first ten minutes. But he kept his patience and his focus. He never surrendered to frustration. As usual he was good in the balls, he put a lot of thoughts in his shot selection and didn’t do anything reckless. His long game wasn’t the best though.

Both players appeared to struggle with the conditions a bit. From what I saw they must have been quite heavy. Ronnie was “hitting” the ball a lot, rather than stroking it.

Wathing the match, I reflected that the younger players would benefit a lot from playing the likes of Andy. They would learn a “professional” side of the game that they rarely experience in junior events.

I have to say that the postmatch reported by Eurosport surprised me a bit:


“I kind of struggled with the table and I struggled with the atmosphere – there was really no atmosphere out there,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport. “I was really not enjoying the atmosphere and wasn’t really bothered if I won or lost, to be honest with you. That’s not a good attitude to have, so I tried to talk myself out of it, but it is what it is, you know.”


Ronnie O’Sullivan has admitted that he was “very bored” during his win over Andy Hicks at the Northern Ireland Open, and he was less than happy with the atmosphere in Belfast.

The Rocket was a 4-1 winner in the first-round match, but he revealed to Eurosport in his studio interview that he was not overly impressed with the conditions and “struggled” to get up for the occasion.

I kind of struggled with the table and I struggled with the atmosphere – there was really no atmosphere out there,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.

I’m playing alright, so normally I can generate the atmosphere but, I don’t know… it felt like years ago, every time we played a tournament, every match felt like a big night, like a Champions League night, whereas out there, it was poor… it was hard.

I don’t know, you’ve got all these games going on, you’ve got people walking about, you know… I struggled. It’s the atmosphere. These flat draws, you’ve just got to hope you get through to the quarters and click into a spark.

It was very flat out there. I was very bored out there… I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible, to be honest with you. I was thinking, ‘please, just don’t let this go long, two-three hours’.


That’s not a good attitude to have, so I tried to talk myself out of it, but it is what it is, you know.”

Looking ahead to his second-round match, O’Sullivan added: “Hopefully the atmosphere is a little bit better than it was tonight. Yeah, listen, it is what it is, you know… it’s paid practice for me.

I come here and hit a few balls… it’s all a bit of a bonus, you know, so I’m not really too bothered either way really, just, yeah.

O’Sullivan, who has lost in the final of the tournament for the last three years in succession, was not at his very best at any stage but still made four half-century breaks and only conceded a solitary frame.

The Rocket will next take on Alfie Burden, who was a 4-2 winner against Yuan Sijun, in the second round in Belfast.

Ronnie didn’t look overly happy out there, but never looked like he doesn’t care either. The interview however confirms my feelings about the conditions.

Here is the interview:

4 thoughts on “2021 Nothern Ireland Open – Ronnie wins his last 64 match

  1. I didn’t have the feeling he did not care, but I really-really wish he did not say such things…

    • I have found and shared both ES interviews, and, as usual, it sounds differently to the written account. Less dramatic, more balanced.

      • Idk if it is more balanced but its nevertheless interesting, because he rather criticises himself there for not generating the atmosphere too and not so much the venue. Its easy to forget that Ronnie not just wants to win, but entertain as well.

  2. I have to say I am in an agreement here. Im always angry about so much people walking around. 10 or more years earlier that didnt seem a big problem at the more ‘bigger’ events, at most events I believe. Why did World Snooker let slip the ‘dont come in between sessions’ – rule so much?

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