The 2021 Scottish Open – Ronnie beats Dominic Dale in the last 128

Ronnie won his held-over first round match at the 2021 Scottish Open, in Llandudno (North Wales). It was a bizarre match. Ronnie looked completely out-of-touch for four frames and a half, he was missing all sorts and his concentration was all over the place. Then, from 55 behind in frame five, he produced a great 77 “exhibition” clearance, to go 3-2 up, and finished the match with a perfectly composed 132.

Here are the scores:


Here is the report by WST:

Ronnie O’Sullivan secured his second round spot with an entertaining 4-2 defeat of Dominic Dale.

The Rocket is seeking his first silverware since winning a sixth Crucible crown at the 2020 World Championship. He’s been runner-up in his last five ranking final appearances.

The match was finely poised at 2-2, when Dale led the fifth frame 56-0. However, O’Sullivan fired in an extraordinary clearance of 77 to edge ahead. He then hammered home his advantage with a break of 132 to seal the win. Next up O’Sullivan faces Michael Georgiou.

Eurosport produced a slightly more detailed account


O’Sullivan rarely found fluency at the table in the early exchanges in Llandudno, but an error in frame five from his experienced Welsh opponent afforded him an opportunity to knock in a fine cut red to the corner and seal the frame. A scintillating final clearance of 132 sealed victory for “The Rocket”, who admitted afterwards that he had struggled to “get anything going”.

Ronnie O’Sullivan survived a sloppy start to beat Dominic Dale and progress to the second round of the 2021 Scottish Championship.

The experienced Welshman at times looked in control of the early exchanges, but a crucial error when in frame-winning position in the fifth allowed O’Sullivan the chance to move a frame away from victory.

By now playing with a degree of freedom, O’Sullivan compiled a delightful clearance of 132, the only century of the match, to seal a 4-2 win.

“It’s like a nine-to-five job now,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport after his victory. “You try and win your first match and get your expenses paid. He just wasn’t able to put me away. I did [enjoy it], even if I didn’t get anything going.

“I just thought it was so bad, instead of trying to play to carefully, just go for it, go for broke. Sometimes they go in – happy days!”

Dale took the opening frame with a tidy break of 68, but “The Rocket” was able to level despite a lack of early fluency in Llandudno.

O’Sullivan edged ahead by winning a back-and-forth third frame though looked some way short of his best, and missed an ambitious red to allow Dale to square the encounter up at two frames apiece.

The Welshman appeared in a winning position in frame five, but a missed three-ball plant ended a promising break in the fifties, and O’Sullivan pounced, producing somewhere near his best cueing for the first time in the match.

Starting with an exceptional cut red to the corner and fine positional shot on the brown, O’Sullivan knocked in the last red in outstanding fashion along the cushion before leaving only the black on the table to take a 3-2 lead.

It was a frame that ignited O’Sullivan, who sealed victory with a magnificent clearance of 132.

A beaten finalist at this event last year, O’Sullivan, who celebrated his 46th birthday on Sunday, will face Michael Georgiou in the second round.

I’m enjoying it,” said O’Sullivan of an event he has won only once (2000). “Maybe I’ll go and run the Snowdonia mountains while I’m here. I’m just going to try and enjoy it a bit.”

It was all a bit strange and unusual. At one point, between frames, Dominic went to stand by Ronnie and the two were having a chat and a laugh whilst the referee was replacing the balls.

In the studio, with Rachel and Reanne Evans, Ronnie was relaxed. His all attitude yesterday was completely different to what we have seen in York. I’m not expecting anything from this week but that might change if he gets to the latter stages of the tournament. As it is, his spot in the 2021 World Grand Prix, next week, is safe and this is the kind of event he loves and where he will certainly try his best.

The best part of the studio conversation was about Zhao Xintong:

Speaking after his opening-round win over Dominic Dale at the Scottish Open, O’Sullivan suggested that he thinks Zhao will win many more titles in his career.

It will be interesting to see if he can go on and do what his potential suggests he can, let’s hope it’s not a flash in the pan.

Let’s hope he keeps going because he is like a throwback player in some ways, a lot of the modern players have a lot of players and split balls open, whereas he was just picking balls off and there was some beautiful stuff out there, it was quite inspiring to watch.

Luca made Kyren [Wilson] look second best [in the semi-finals] and Zhao made Luca look second best. It says a lot for Zhao but if he kicks on, let’s hope he does, then they are all in trouble.”

O’Sullivan also said he thinks Zhao could be a future world No 1, if he improves his safety game.

I think he will get better from the matches but in some ways you could fastrack him a bit. It just needs to learn to contain, not necessarily safe, watch a bit of Mark Selby for a bit. Don’t go as far as Selby but watch how he will put balls awkwardly and leave you horrible shots.

He won’t change, you can’t change that, what he has got is beautiful. You keep that and all the good bits but add a few little bits. He will probably learn as he goes alone. He has to be dedicated and apply himself and if he does he could be No 1 in a few years, if he gets his head down.

O’Sullivan was not at his very best as he beat Dale 4-2 to reach the second round of the Scottish Open.

Asked if was there for the taking, O’Sullivan said: “Probably, but he wasn’t able to put me away. It’s a bit of fun out there, pot a few balls, miss a few balls. Even though I didn’t get anything going I was still enjoying it.

I just want to enjoy the week and see what happens.”

Ronnie plays again this evening

5 thoughts on “The 2021 Scottish Open – Ronnie beats Dominic Dale in the last 128

  1. why is Reanne Evans in the studio? she is not a good player by objective standards, she knows nothing about the pro tour as she’s hardly ever won a match…what’s more, she’s not even a very good speaker…no idea why anybody would care about her “insight”

    • Same as you don’t need to be a top player to be a good coach – Lee Walker is Mark William’s coach for many years for instance – you don’t need to be a top player to be a good commentator/pundit. Reanne is good in the studio.

      • Usually, the other pundits have actually done something in the professional game, though. Lee Walker might be a good coach, but they don’t use players like him as pundits, do they? Reanne has done nothing of note on the main tour. Why is she a pundit? Her insight is very shallow, compared to Jimmy White, Alan McManus, Neal Foulds, etc.

      • exactly! she is as boring and shallow as you can get…just compare her to a Hendry or a McManus…perfect example of a diversity hire

      • equisde says it is a perfect example of diversity hire. It is. And it will ensure that we have quality female pundits in the future that might make girls take up a man-dominated sport. Reanne will only get better every time she is in front of the camera.

        I’m not being radical. I’m just Scandinavian.

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