The 2021 Scottish Open – Ronnie beats Liang Wenbo in the last 32

Ronnie booked his place inthe last 16 by beating his close friens Liang Wenbo by 4-3 yesterday evening in a high quality match.

Here are the scores (not sure about frame 4 there… Ronnie made a 95 in that frame) :


And the report by WST:

Ronnie O’Sullivan booked his place in the last 16 with a thrilling 4-3 win over China’s Liang Wenbo to make the last 16 and book an encounter with Jamie Jones tomorrow evening.

The Rocket extends his head-to-head advantage over former English Open winner Liang to 9-1. Liang’s only ever win over 37-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan came back in 2013.

It was Liang who opened up a 2-1 lead early on in this encounter, before breaks of 95 and 131 saw O’Sullivan blitz to a 3-2 advantage. Liang restored parity with a sublime break of 128 and had the first opportunity in the decider. He broke down on 39 and 46-year-old O’Sullivan ruthlessly stepped up to fire in a match winning break of 90.

And a much more detailed one by Eurosport:


Ronnie O’Sullivan may have blitzed past Michael Georgiou in the previous round, but he had to work hard to overcome his Chinese opponent and was forced into a decider. A steely break of 90 in the final frame sealed O’Sullivan victory

Ronnie O’Sullivan is through to the last 16 of the Scottish Open after beating Liang Wenbo 4-3.

Liang has now only beaten O’Sullivan once in ten attempts after losing the best-of-seven clash in 90 minutes.

O’Sullivan will play either Jamie Jones or Sam Craigie in the next round.

I enjoyed the match,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport afterwards.

I feel like I’m struggling to win matches. Missing silly balls and I just don’t feel on top as much as I maybe have done in the past. I just have to keep plugging away
I feel like I’m playing alright but I could have been out. Pleased to be in but it’s just fine lines sometimes.

I just play, turn up, have a bit of fun. If you win brilliant if you lose you’ve got another one Monday morning. You don’t have time to dwell if you win good or bad.

It’s like a 9-5 job. Some weeks you do well with a little bonus. Some weeks you just have an average week. Monday morning you pitch up and it’s another tournament. You could play every day.

I call it the continuous tournament. It never really stops. You don’t get too upbeat or too down.

The Chinese 34-year-old got off to a bright start, winning the opening frame 68-9. But O’Sullivan fought back in the second frame with a smooth break of 86 to level up.

Wenbo would not fold though and produced a nerveless 62 in the third frame after O’Sullivan went 53 up. Wenbo cleared up the remaining reds with colours before seeing off the pink to steal the frame.

O’Sullivan levelled the tie again to make it 2-2 with an emphatic break of 95. He got to 35 with a delicate cut into the bottom right using the cue extensions, and then to 42 with an excellent deadweight black to the bottom right. It was not to be a century for The Rocket, though, as he missed a tough black off its spot.

Momentum was with the six-time world champion O’Sullivan and he secured the 1126th ton of his career with a superb 131 to move within a frame of victory. But Liang was not done.

Liang tagged in frame ball red, followed by a brown that ensures the argument in frame six was settled. Liang converted the break into a superb total dish of 128 to send the match to a decider.

O’Sullivan hits the front in the frame by cutting the blue into the right middle, cannoning into the final four clustered reds and splitting them perfectly. The final four reds went, and the black off the last one took the break to 70 and Liang needed a snooker. But it was game over as O’Sullivan sealed with a break of 90, and set up a meeting with Jamie Jones.

Ronnie’s comments about the situation of the lower-ranked players and why he wouldn’t want his son to take on snooker were heavily criticized by John Higgins who branded them “a disgrace”.  Higgins got a lot of support on social media.

As a result Ronnie has no vowed to stay silent… (until next time probably 😉)


After O’Sullivan thrashed Michael Georgiou in 37 minutes he said: “If I had a son I would not let him play snooker so maybe there is a good thing there isn’t the opportunity for him to play snooker.” He also suggested the top players give a cut of their prize money to those lower down on the tour. But following backlash to what he said, O’Sullivan says he will keep quiet from now on.

Ronnie O’Sullivan says he is “not having any opinions” following the backlash to his comments on Tuesday that he would not allow his son to be a snooker player given the current state of the snooker tour.

John Higgins called O’Sullivan’s comments “a disgrace” while Elliot Slessor publicly backed The Rocket’s suggestion by urging snooker chiefs to pay player expenses or cut back the size of the sport’s professional tour.

After beating Liang Wenbo 4-3 in a thrilling encounter on Wednesday night, O’Sullivan said he will be keeping his opinions to himself from now on.

I’m not having any opinions,” he told Eurosport after the match.

I gave my opinion yesterday and I wish I hadn’t. I’m not saying nothing. I don’t want to get involved.

I’m really not interested. I’m really detached and when I say something I wonder ‘why do I bother?

I’d rather not. Let the players get their little players union together. They have to stick together and if they want changes then they have to do it in unison. Count me out.

Those days are gone for me. Count me out. I’d rather sit on the fence and enjoy the moments of playing and every part of it.


Now at the risk of being hanged and quartered on social media, I will repeat my own opinion on it: Ronnie was RIGHT in his assessment of the situation and RIGHT to say it. Being a parent myself, I would never encourage a kid to embrace a profession that will almost certainly not provide them a decent life. Snooker is a fantastic sport, and I would encourage my kids (and grand-kids) to play it, as they can learn a lot from it, but as long as the structure of the “Tour” and the prize money stays what it is, I wouldn’t encourage them to become a professional snooker player. It’s all well and good to “chase your dreams” and to say that sport should be about titles and records rather than money, at the end of the day we all need to eat, have a roof on our heads and pay our bills. It’s not a very poetic view on life, but it’s the reality.

Someone came up with “Federer” would never say that. He wouldn’t indeed … and here is why:

This is the profile of the nr 64 player in the tennis rankings, Benjamin Benzi

This guy has played 9 matches in singles, won 2, lost 7 and has earned $414678 in 2021, that’s about £315000. The current number 64 in snooker is Sunny Akani, last season earned £41,500, playing 35 matches ans winning 20.  Only three players on the main tour haver earned more that Benjamin Benzi last season: Mark Selby, Judd Trump and Neil Robertson.

Think about it …



9 thoughts on “The 2021 Scottish Open – Ronnie beats Liang Wenbo in the last 32

  1. After what happened 10 years ago J H needs to ponder about using the word disgrace…. one would have thought.

  2. It’s one thing to enjoy playing snooker, another thing to consider it as a career. If Ronnie is saying he would forbid a child to play because of his own anxieties, that sounds a bit self-serving. Let the kids enjoy what they want. If any child shows talent, then they might consider doing it as a career, but that comes later, and it depends on what other career opportunities appear feasible.

    But yes, the finances are precarious. Many players go through considerable hardship. Even some ‘professionals’ have to supplement their income. Conversely, some ‘amateurs’ benefit from sponsorship or family support, allowing them to play full-time. Perhaps snooker will become a sport for the rich?

    But let’s not be distracted by comparisons to tennis or golf. There are many tennis juniors in Eastern Europe who suffer financial hardship – they may make it or they may fail. Snooker is at a different stage of development, and isn’t a global game, despite WST’s purported ambitions. Ultimately, snooker could expand enough to be lucrative to many more players. But there will always be many more impoverished hopefuls than successful professionals.

    Is the tour too large? Not when players ranked 100 can play as well as some can. The tour needs to be big enough to include just enough young players who could become the next generation of top players. But any judgement about that needs to be backed up by detailed analysis of results. Mere ‘gut feeling’ is insufficient.

    • I agree with you Lewis. Ronnie in that same interview said that more should be invested at grassroots level. That only makes sense if he actually wants to see snooker to better but believes it’s not great as a profession currently. Ronnie didn’t say that the tour is too large, it’s Williams who said that a few weeks ago. His point was that the tour should only be as big as it can provide for all its members.
      I know that the tennis tour is much bigger of course, but what surprised me here is the discrepamcy when you look at the number of matches played and the win ratio…

      • No, if the tour can comfortably provide for all it’s members, then that’s probably a sign it’s too small. Mark Williams said it’s too large (although I’m sure he’s happy Jackson Page is there), Barry Pinches said it’s too small (he has a son with professional ambitions). No opinion is ever free of self-interest. As I said, what’s needed is analysis, not just opinion.

      • You are certainly right about opinions. That said, it’s also about what we mean by “provide”. To me minimum income should be guaranteed. On the other hand, if “minimum” performance/number of wins isn’t achieved, I would be in favour to not allow them to requalify right after being relegated BUT with the current UK centric structure that would be unfair as overseas players have a lot of challenges to face.

  3. Totally agree (again!) Monique

    My only question would be is how do tennis/golf pay the real bottom end players? The number 64 comparison is a bit unfair because there are simply more players on their tours… How do the bottom 32 snooker players’ pay differ to the bottom 32 tennis players (think the rankings run into the 000’s?).

    Ronnie’s comments still hold true – a keen youngster is unlikely to earn enough to make a living, probably even having to go into debt to stay on the tour – think Elliot Slessor had to borrow money off his Grandad in his first couple of seasons, for example. If all ‘tour’ players in snooker were guaranteed a base income then it would be ok for my son to “have a go” if he has enough talent to get on the tour in the first place, but at the moment unless he was a once in a generation type player, there would be no point, could earn more money in a call centre.

    • Mind you, Mark King had to borrow from his father to be able to play in the 2016 Northern Ireland Open. He said that after winning what remains his only ranking title to-date.

    • As a comparison, first-round losers at Wimbledon (i.e. last 128) received £48000. But yes, it is a ridiculous comparison in 2021! In tennis, it’s necessary to have coaches, fitness trainers, practice partners and a host of complex expenses. For me, if snooker were to develop to its full potential, players would at least need a full-time coach. That era would see coaching and training methods improve considerably, resulting in a higher standard of play than we have seen. But we are unlikely to get there unless WST really embrace globalisation.

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