Two “Seven Times” chat over a practice session … and it’s wonderfully honest and seriously interesting

Stephen Hendry may not have put the efforts many of his fans expected into his “comeback” but he still loves his snooker, still wants to be involved and help grow it.

Six months ago , he set up a YouTube channel named Hendry’s Cue Tips. Really, it’s a “must subscribe” for any serious snooker fan. Hendry may no more be the player he was, but his knowledge and understanding of the game at its highest level is immense. His conversations with fellow top players are always interesting and, at times, challenging.

Yesterday he published his latest “cue tips” instalment and his guest was Ronnie…

One of the topics they touched is, of course, the “*the 8th World Title” and – by chance or by design – Phil Haigh also published a piece yesterday where he reports the interview Ronnie did on BBC Radio 4 and that same topic was on the menu as well.

Ronnie O’Sullivan warns rivals he’s ‘coming back a different player’ after World Championship disappointment

Phil Haigh Sunday 28 May 2023 4:50 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan sounds highly motivated ahead of next season (Picture: Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan was left ‘really gutted’ by how he played at the Crucible this year and intends to ‘come back a different player’ next season.

The Rocket was looking good at the World Championship this year, beating Pang Junxu in the opening round before thrashing Hossein Vafaei in the last 16.

The seven-time world champion was still looking strong at 10-6 ahead against Luca Brecel in the quarter-finals, before the Belgian reeled off seven frames on the spin to win the match and continue his incredible run all the way to the title.

While it was brilliance from the Belgian Bullet in that final session, O’Sullivan certainly played poorly and he admits that his performance hurt him in the aftermath of the sport’s biggest event.

The 47-year-old believes he still has a significant amount of time at the top of snooker, if he is prepared to dedicate his life to the sport, something he intends to do next season as he warns his rivals that he intends to put his recent Crucible performance right.

I think, if I want it, I’ve got three really good years,’ O’Sullivan told the BBC’s Desert Island Discs. ‘But that depends on whether I’m fully devoted to it and say snooker’s all I’m going to do for three years, which I can do but it’s hard if you want to do some days with Jimmy White as a pundit, a few exhibitions, because they’re fun.

I can still perform, still be a top eight player doing that. But to really give yourself the best opportunity it’s about being totally on it and it’s whether I’m prepared to do that and I think I will this year.

The last World Championships wasn’t a good tournament for me. I was really gutted with how I played. I wasn’t disappointed I lost, you lose you know, but the way I played, I wasn’t happy with that.

I want to try and put that right and try and come back a different player next year.

Still world number one, O’Sullivan has no doubt he can still perform at the very highest level, saying he is probably a better player now than he has ever been due to constantly developing a more rounded game over the years.

For me, it’s always been about being open to learn and becoming a better player,’ he said. ‘I think now I’m a better player than I’ve ever been, because I don’t rely on one thing, I’ve got three or four different options of surviving within a game and at any point I can switch.

It’s taken time, because I was never really the best at anything, I wasn’t the best long-potter, I wasn’t the best safety player.

I was always good at making breaks and scoring quickly, which is an amazing asset to have, but without the other stuff it became a bit one-dimensional.

Over the years I’ve had to improve in a lot of them areas and now I can call upon them. But I always know at the back of my mind I need to be firing on all cylinders, which is scoring breaks at a rapid speed. When I’m doing that I’m a dangerous opponent.

It’s learning, leaning to be a better player. That’s what excites me. I spent a lot of time struggling, trying to work it out. I’m at the point now that I’ve improved, but how long can I keep it going for now? I’ve worked so hard to get there and now I want to make as much hay as I can and [get] enjoyment. Because I suffered a lot with it and I’ve learned to not suffer. It’s about more pleasure now.

Ronnie on BBC Desert Island Discs – 28.05.2023

Ronnie was today on BBC Radio 4 Desert Island Discs program

You can listen to the show here.

These are his choices …

There is also an interview

Seven things we learned from Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Desert Island Discs

Ronnie O’Sullivan is arguably the greatest player in the history of snooker. At 19, he became the youngest winner of the Masters while last year, at 46, he became the oldest winner of the World Championships, a title he’s won seven times. He’s currently ranked number one in the world. He’s also made headlines away from the snooker table, with accounts of his depression and struggles with alcohol and drugs. Less well known is that he loves running, which he says plays a huge part in maintaining his mental health. He’s also a keen amateur artist.

1. The right frame of mind is vital for success at the snooker table

If I’m playing in a room with a friend or just on my own, there’s no pressure,” says Ronnie. “It doesn’t matter if I’m having a bad day not hitting the ball quite so well. No one’s watching.”

The guy that had won the tournament, I wanted to be him

But when you’re pitted against another really good player, a top class player in a venue – let’s take the World Championships because that is the one and only tournament which really, really stands alone, for the atmosphere, for the intensity, for the nerves that it brings out in you.

The build-up can play tricks with your mind and it can make you go from good form to bad form. If you overthink or you freeze, it just gets the better of you. It’s not a normal situation to go and do your work [in]. So that becomes really difficult and something that I don’t enjoy really.”

2. Ronnie has held a world record for 26 years – but he doesn’t value it

Back in the 1997 World Championships, playing against Mick Price, Ronnie scored the maximum break of 147 [potting all the reds, each followed by the black and then clearing the remaining balls] in a record time of five minutes and eight seconds, spending on average less than nine seconds on each shot. The record still stands, more than a quarter of a century later.

So how does he feel about it now?

I don’t watch that one back,” says Ronnie, “because that reminds me of when my game wasn’t in a good shape. Although I made the 147, I wasn’t really playing good enough snooker or consistently enough to win the World Championship.”

He backs this up by adding: “It’s not an important record though… In the snooker world, what is more impressive than anything is just consistency. It’s about being able to churn it out, ball after ball, match after match, becoming this rock – and at that time I was anything but a rock. But I could do moments of magic, but I didn’t want to be known for moments of magic.”

The guy that had won the tournament, I wanted to be him. I didn’t want to be the guy collecting the nice big cheque that they give you for the 147 [£147,000 in prize money for the maximum]. I’d give all that up just to get my hands on that trophy… I need to be where he is.

3. When he was 12 he experienced a moment of revelation

Ronnie was given his first snooker cue by his dad, Ronnie senior, at the age of seven but it took five years before he felt that he could make something of the game.

I’m a better player than I ever have been because I don’t rely on just one thing

“The first time I thought ‘I’m good at this game’ was when I was 12,” says Ronnie, “and I won a tournament at Barking, which was my home club, and it was a pro-am tournament and all of a sudden my game just clicked.”

I was playing this guy and I just felt like I couldn’t miss. For the first time in my life I thought: ‘I’m going to clear this table.’”

And it was like ‘Bang!’ Long red, 80… ‘Bang!’ Long red, 100. And I’m in the quarters [quarter finals] now but I feel a different player and I thought if I can keep this going, you never know.”

I got a cheque for £600 and I got a trophy. It was half-ten, 11 o’clock at night and I’m thinking, ‘This is unbelievable.’ That’s the first time in my life where I thought, ‘You know what? I can play this game.’”

4. He impressed his school friends by turning £5 into £20 in 20 minutes

Ronnie didn’t enjoy school and despite his talent at snooker, he didn’t really attract a great deal of attention from the other pupils who were much more interested in who was good at football.

The only time people got a bit excited when I said to my mates: ‘Shall we have fish and chips then?’ They went, ‘Yeah, we’d love that.’ I said, ‘How much money you got?’ And they went, ‘Got a pound for lunch.’”

So we get a fiver – we all had a pound each. I went, ‘Right, I’m going down the snooker club.’ I said, ‘I’ll turn it into £20 no problem.’ I said, ‘You up for it?’ And they went, ‘Yeah, yeah.’”

So schoolboy Ronnie would enter the club and challenge someone to play him for a £20 prize: “‘You want a game of snooker?’ [They] went, ‘Yeah.’ I had 20 minutes to get this done and I went, ‘Bang, bang, bang!’ I got the £20 and I went, ‘Right, let’s go and have fish and chips!’

Ronnie also admits that fish wasn’t always his first choice back then: “I was partial to a saveloy!

5. Away from the snooker table, he faced many challenges as a young adult

When Ronnie was 16, his father received a life sentence for murder, and four years later his mother was imprisoned for tax fraud. With both parents jailed, Ronnie was responsible for his sister who was only eight.

That was the point where it just went from zero to 100 overnight,” says Ronnie about the time. “Once my mum had gone away, I had no one to be accountable to, because she was another one that I knew would be so disappointed in me if I’d come back drunk or I started smoking.

When my dad went away, she was the next person that I didn’t want to let down. I wanted to be there for her and make sure that we both got through it – together we were stronger. That was my mindset.”

[With] her going away, it left me on my own. And then by the time she came out, it was too late. The damage… I was already off and running. There was no stopping me.”

I tried, I tried [to look after sister Danielle] but I couldn’t deal with it. I was already then drinking and partying. Just hanging around with people that weren’t really good for me, really.”

6. One of his close friends is a leading British artist

Nowadays Ronnie takes his physical and mental health much more seriously. He finds a run in the morning sets him up for the day. He has also taken up painting and has a friendship with Damien Hirst, who burst onto the British art scene in the 1990s, with numerous eye-catching works, including a preserved dead shark, a diamond-encrusted skull and large spot paintings.

I can’t draw to save my life,” says Ronnie. “But what Damien gets me doing is he does a lot of dots… He has these massive canvases. And he [said], you can do this. And I was like, ‘I ain’t got a room big enough to put a canvas like that!’”

No, he said, ‘Just get a little piece of paper. You just get smaller pens and you just do it on a different scale.’”

Ronnie feels that the experience of creating art alongside Damien is therapeutic: “This is really good for me… This is getting me in a nice place. I’m with my friend. I’m here with him. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I feel safe.”

7. He’s learned how to stay at the very top of his game – and now wants to enjoy it

Ronnie is the currently ranked number one in the world, and says this is the result of the work he continues to put in: “[I’ve] always been open to learn and becoming a better player. I think I’m a better player than I ever have been because I don’t rely on just one thing. I’ve got three or four different options of surviving within a game and at any point I can switch, which just took time because I was never really the best at anything.”

I wasn’t the best long potter. I wasn’t the best safety player. I was always good at making breaks and scoring quickly, which is an amazing asset to have, but without the other stuff, it became a bit one dimensional.“

Over the years I’ve had to learn to improve in a lot of areas and now I can call upon them. But I will always know that in the back of my mind that to get the job done, I need to be firing on all cylinders, which is scoring breaks at a quick rapid speed.

Now I’ve got to the point where I’ve improved, but it’s… how long can I keep it going for? I’ve worked so hard to get there and it’s like now I just want to make as much hay as I can and enjoy it because I suffered a lot of it, you know, and I’ve learned to not suffer, so it’s about more pleasure now.

Not much new but a nice interview all the same…

2023 Q-School Event 1 – Day 2 + Snooker News

Here is WST report on what happened yesterday at the Q-School as the first round concluded.

Bai Reaches Round Two With Crucial Break

Bai Yulu made a vital break of 78 in the deciding frame to beat Muhammad Aurangzaib 4-3 and reach the second round of Q School event one in Leicester.

China’s 19-year-old Bai, playing in Q School for the first time, will now face Craig Steadman on Monday morning. She has shown her potential on the World Women’s Tour in recent weeks, reaching the final of the World Championship and winning the British Open, and admits that earning a place on the professional tour is now her biggest goal.

After losing the opening frame against England’s Aurangzaib, she levelled with a run of 62. Bai lost the third but then made a 33 clearance to snatch the fourth, and a break of 49 put her 3-2 ahead. Aurangzaib forced a decider, but Bai’s excellent 78 secured her progress.

Former Shoot Out champion Robin Hull was smoking hot in a 4-0 win over Richard Pipe, compiling breaks of 114, 58 and 66. Joshua Cooper made a 132, the highest break of the event so far, during a 4-0 success over Abdul Raheem.

Gerard Greene, a former Players Championship finalist, eased to a 4-0 win over James Burrett. Liam Pullen, runner-up to Stan Moody in the WSF Junior Championship, came from 2-1 down to beat Mark Lloyd 4-2.

All the results are on

There was clearly a lot of interest about Bai’s match yesterday. She will have learned a lot from that match yesterday. She had no previous experience to play in professional conditions. Also, it’s unlikely that the young Chinese lads she plays regularly in China have the type of game Muhammad Aurangzaib plays. He’s 51 and probably plays a more conservative game than the younger players. Bai coped with that. She handled the pressure well. She must have known that her match would followed by many. Craig Steadman will probably have too much for her, but, as she stated, she’s here to learn.

The deciding frame is on YouTube

There weren’t any big surprises yesterday.

That said, I thought that the 4-0 win by 19 years old Antoni Kowalski from Poland deserved a mention. Here is Antoni’s 2022/23 page on Cuetracker. Antoni won 49 of the 60 matches he played this season so far (counting yesterday win) and at 19 is the reigning Polish National champion.

Also worth mentioning is France’s Nicolas Mortreux win. Nicolas, who is only 20, has played a lot of good matches this season as his 2022/23 Cuetracker page shows. including on the Q-Tour. He’s shown serious dedication, traveling a lot to play, gain experience and improve. Nicolas will play Lee Shanker next. They have never played each other (according to Cuetracker) but I think that it’s a winnable match for Nicolas despite the superior experience of his opponent.

Snooker News shared by WST

Ding Steps Down

It has today been announced that Ding Junhui is to step down from his position on the WPBSA Players Board of Directors as of 31 May 2023.

Ding was elected as a founding director of WPBSA Players in December 2020, following the formation of the organisation as part of a major constitutional review of the WPBSA.

Following a season which has seen the former world number one lift the 6-Red World Championship title for a second time and notably reach a fourth UK Championship final, the 36-year-old has taken the decision to step down from the board of WPBSA Players to focus on his playing career at this time.

Ken Doherty, Chairman of WPBSA Players said: “Ding has made a positive contribution to the WPBSA Players Board over the past two and a half years. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank him for his input and wish him well for the future.”

I’m glad to read that Ding wants to focus more on his career again. He’s too good, and, at 36, too young to partially retire and if he feels that his duties as a member of the board are taking too much of his time and energy, then, this is surely the right decision for him. I can’t help though to wonder if there might be additional motives as well. It’s obvious that the image of Chinese snooker has been tarnished by the latest match-fixing scandal and many of the players involved were training at Ding’s academy. Maybe Ding feels that he now has a responsibility to try and restore a positive image of the state snooker in China and there is no better way than doing it on the table.

Huge Offer From Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation

The Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation will pledge £25,000 to Jessie May Children’s Hospital at Home IF Rob Walker can reach the same target during his Absent Friends Tour in June.

Our Master of Ceremonies is cycling 1,000 miles from John O’Groats to Land’s End next month in order to raise money for WST’s official charity Jessie May, as well as the Brain Tumour Charity.

CLICK HERE for Rob’s Just Giving page where you can donate

And if the Jessie May tally reaches £25,000 then Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation will double it to a massive £50,000.

WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson, a trustee of the foundation, said: “This is an incredible challenge for Rob and we know how much it means to him personally. We’re delighted that he has chosen Jessie May as one of the charities who will benefit as these kind on donations are what keep them going. If Rob can complete the challenge and reach the £25,000 target then we will be thrilled to match it.”

The Matchroom Sport Charitable Foundation was created to centralise the benevolent efforts of Matchroom Sport, the global sports promotion company headed by Barry Hearn. For over 30 years, Matchroom Sport has donated millions of pounds to a wide-range of charities throughout its many sporting activities, including sports and community charities, and a number of hospices for both children and adults.

Jessie May Nurses provide vital respite and palliative care for terminally ill children, and their families across the South West. For more information visit

2023 Q-School Event 1 – Day 1

The first Q-School started yesterday in Leicester and here is WST report about the day’s outcome:

Heathcote Off To Strong Start

Louis Heathcote got his bid for a return to the professional ranks off to the perfect start with a 4-0 win over Marc Shaw on day one of Q School Event One at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

Heathcote is aiming to bounce straight back from the disappointment of relegation from the World Snooker Tour last month. His four year run as a professional came to an end with a 10-7 loss against Andrew Higginson at World Championship qualifying.

The Leicester cueman, who is playing on home turf this week, narrowly avoided relegation two years ago. He made it to Judgement Day at 2021 World Championship qualifying to retain his tour card, but this time it wasn’t to be.

Heathcote wasted little time securing the win this afternoon, taking just over an hour. He crafted breaks of 112 and 53 en route to victory. Next up Heathcote faces Alex Clenshaw.

“You have to go in the mindset that you belong on the tour. We all want to be top 16 and world number one. This is just part of the journey for me. I’m not saying I’m going to get on straight away, but that is the approach you have to come in with,” said 25-year-old Heathcote.

I was gutted. Falling off tour is one of the worst feelings you can ever imagine. I had two weeks off then straight back on the practice table. I have been practising really hard and also making time for a bit of golf as well!

Havant’s Jamie Wilson beat Latvia’s Rodion Judin 4-1, averaging just 16.8 seconds a shot, to earn a place in round two.

Wilson came through Q School in 2020 at the age of just 16 and topped the average shot time standings during his first season on the circuit. Having since dropped off, he is now 19 years old and is aiming for a return to the World Snooker Tour. His round two opponent is Alfie Davies.

Luke Pinches, son of recently relegated professional Barry Pinches, beat Stephen Kershaw 4-2. Talented 18-year-old Paul Deaville, who made the last 16 of the 2021 English Open, whitewashed Heather Clare 4-0.

English Amateur champion Deaville said: “I didn’t play in the last two Q Schools because I didn’t think I was ready. I wanted to give it a go this time but I’m trying to stay relaxed and I’ll just see how it goes. I am going to university, to study sports business and management, so snooker is still going to be part time for me, and that takes pressure off. I just try to enjoy it.

All the results are also available (and will remain available) on

As you would expect WST report is only about UK players, and actually here English players.

Sixteen years old Bulcsú Révész from Hungary also won his first match beating Alfie Lee, Stephen Lee’s son and a young player rated highly by many. Alfie lead 2-0.

Another player who won yesterday is Vladislav Gradinari from Moldova. Vladislav is only 14 and made a name for himself earlier this year by winning two matches at the Shoot-out.

Also coming through yesterday is Darryl Hill from the Isle of Man. Darryl is now 27. He turned pro some eleven years ago and didn’t get much success. When he gave up professional snooker, he said that this was it, he wouldn’t try to come back as a professional again. He didn’t enjoy it. But here he is giving it a go …

One player who I expected to do well and was beaten yesterday in the first round is Robbie McGuigan, who only last week-end had won the the Northern Ireland Snooker Championship for a third time in a row. The result surprised me all the more because I had never heard about his opponent Tom Maxfield, a 29 years old amateur from England. From what I found on, Maxfield was quite active as a junior and young amateur, took about 10 years off amateur competitions but came back playing in 2022/23.

And finally … Paul Deaville is a brilliant young amateur but frankly his win yesterday was the most predictable result ever. His opponent, Heather Clare, has been playing in the Q-Schools for a long time and has never won even one frame. Why she forks a rather high amount of money to play in those events is a complete mystery to me especially as she doesn’t even play on the women’s tour.

Some sort of news about the current match fixing affair

Martyn Ziegler, writing in Times Sport, published some news about the match fixing affair involving 10 Chinese players, including Zhao Xintong and Yan Bingtao. Here is the link

.Unfortunately, to read the full piece, a subscription is needed and I’m not interested to subscribe to a publication that will maybe publish a couple of pieces that interest me over a year.

This is the part that comes for “free”

Chinese snooker players set for long bans over match-fixing offences

Thursday May 25 2023, 4.00pm BST,

Zhao, the winner of the 2021 Uk Championship, was among the players chargedVCG VIA GETTY IMAGES

The biggest match-fixing scandal in snooker is set to lead to lengthy bans for some of the ten Chinese players who have appeared before a disciplinary commission.

Insiders say that an announcement of the sanctions is imminent and multiyear bans for some players — who have all been suspended since being charged in January — are expected. Snooker has imposed hefty bans for fixing before, including 12 years for Stephen Lee in 2012 and eight years for Quinten Hann in 2006.

Those charged in the latest scandal included the 2021 UK Championship winner Zhao Xintong, 26, who remained in Britain for last month’s disciplinary hearings while the other nine returned to China.

One of the younger players involved in the scandal told investigators that he …

Continue reading

It’s not much and nothing unexpected but at least it seems that the conclusion is not far away.

If any of the readers of this blog have access to Times Sport, more information shared in comments would be highly appreciated.

Professional Ambitions – 23 May 2023

Bai Yulu has impressed many in recent weeks. She played on the WWS tour for the first time during the 2023 Women’s Snooker World Championship and reached the final. Weeks later she entered only her second event on the WWS tour – the 2023 Women’s British Open – and won it. Now she’s preparing for the 2023 Q-School.

She was interviewed by WST:

Bai Determined To Earn Tour Card

Fresh from her victory at the recent women’s British Open, Bai Yulu is full of confidence as she looks ahead to her first appearance in Q School, which starts on Friday this week.

China’s 19-year-old Bai has quickly established herself as a promising talent, reaching the final of the World Women’s Championship in March as well as making the highest break in the history of that event with a 127. She finished runner-up to Baipat Siripaporn, but then went one step further at the British Open this month, beating Reanne Evans in the final to capture her first silverware. Bai has also impressed at mixed-gender amateur events in China, notably making a 142 total clearance during victory over former pro Gao Yang at a CBSA tournament in April.

Bai, who has been based in Sheffield for the past few weeks where she has been practising to sharpen her game, now looks ahead to Q School which runs from May 26 to June 6 in Leicester.

Click here for event one draw

Click here for event two draw

Click here for the match schedule

She faces England’s Muhammad Aurangzaib in her opening match on Saturday, with the winner of that tie to face Craig Steadman in the second round on Monday.

Bai said: “I want to get a tour card and play as a professional as soon as possible. I watch a lot of WST matches and I want to compete in the same arena badly. I think I will improve a lot if I get to play some of the professional events.

I’m not thinking about making it all the way at Q School, I’m not making it a goal anyway, because I know it will be very tough. However I will be competing with confidence, and I won’t put too much pressure to myself.

I’m very glad to have played in the women’s ranking events. I’ve been practising in Sheffield for a while now. It’s a superb place and I am surrounded by proper players who are all dedicated. It helps me to concentrate.”

In all there will be 208 players at Q School, battling for eight tour cards. There will be two tournaments, with the four semi-finalists in each to receive a spot on the pro circuit for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons.

Bai, who is only 19, comes across as very mature. She’s ambitious but realistic. She knows that she will need to work hard and improve. She’s not all “I’ll show them” like some other promising juniors… who were given the harshest reality check when they got on the main tour. I like that. She has an incredibly hard draw in both events. Should she win her first round matches, she would meet Craig Steadman in event 1, Andrew Pagett in event 2, both professionals for many years and only just relegated from the main tour.

I would particularly love it if Bai managed to beat Pagett who once again showed an incredible level of ignorance and/or stupidity today on social media by claiming that he would like to call himself Andrea, enter the women’s tour and get £25000 guaranteed. He is the tweet … thanks Snookerpro

… First, I’m not sure where this amount comes from, next all pros get £20000 as it is, and it’s not just a matter of changing your name either. Jamie Hunter has spoken about the strict conditions she had, and still has, to meet to be allowed on the women’s tour. I’m not sure Paggy would like to get himself through what a transition requires… nor that his wife would be overjoyed. Anyway…

The same Paggy also took exception to the fact that On Yee entered the Asian Q-School, arguing that there should be just one Q-School … in the UK of course. Obviously the UK centric nature of the WORLD tour (*) is no problem for him because he’s living in the UK, he’s been privileged because of that situation for years and that’s all that matters to him. Also, he wasn’t happy that he can’t enter the “easier” Asian Q-School whilst Asian based players can enter the UK Q-School. Would he fancy his chances and fork the huge amount of money needed for visas and travel, considering that he will probably play jet-lagged? Does he believe that the opposition over there will be that weak? If so, he might be in for a surprise.

One man who will be at the Asian Q-School is Thor from Malaysia who just won the gold medal at the SEA games

SEA Games: Thor dedicates snooker gold to Malaysia

PHNOM PENH, May 15 — National cueist Thor Chuan Leong has dedicated his 2023 SEA Games gold medal to Malaysia for giving him a second chance to compete in the biennial Games.

The 35-year-old former professional player said that although his form had suffered a dip, the National Sports Council (NSC) and the Malaysian Snooker and Billiards Federation (MSBF) still had faith in him to bring glory to the country.

He explained that he faced really difficult times when he turned professional and played in the United Kingdom (UK), which saw his performance suddenly take a nosedive, adding that it took him a long time to regain his touch.

My game was horrible when I played in the UK. In Asia, I can be considered a great player, but in the UK I was playing like a novice.

So, I returned (to Malaysia). It has taken me four to five years to get back to my previous level and that’s why many of you have not heard my name for so long. Now, everything is beginning to look up,” he said when met here.

Yesterday, Chuan Leong, who is more popularly called Thor in the sporting fraternity, clinched the men’s singles snooker gold medal, thus repeating the feat he achieved in the 2015 edition in Singapore.

His victory also ensured that the MSBF’s two-gold target has been achieved.

Thor now has a total of five SEA Games gold medals to his name, having come out tops in the men’s doubles snooker event in the 2011 edition in Palembang, Indonesia; singles and doubles gold medals in Singapore (2015); and the 6-Red individual gold in Myanmar (2013). 

Thor, however, is still determined to turn professional again for the continuity of his career.

Of course, I want to get back to being a professional because, sorry to say, this sport is not very popular in Malaysia… I mean it’s difficult to make a living. So, my plan after this is to go and play in championships in Thailand and join the Q School in June. If I can make the final, I will be able to be a professional cueist again,” he said. — Bernama

Thor, like many, found it difficult to live as an expat in the UK and his level dropped. But he’s a quality player and if he manages to get back on tour and find a “home” in one of the big academies he’s certainly more than capable to do some damage!

(*) Speaking of the UK centric nature of the main tour … I was recently invited to participate in a survey. One question was about the “region” the person taking part in this survey is from. There was a a zillion options… North of England, South of England, East of England, West of England, every corner of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland … and … “Other Region”. I’m from Belgium, like the reigning World Champion , but that’s the option I had to tick... Seriously??? Seriously!!! That’s preposterous for an organism calling itself WORLD Snooker. That’s actually scandalous.

“Unbreakable” – a personal review

I just finished reading “Unbreakable” , Ronnie’s latest book, and I loved it.

I wasn’t sure what to expect TBH. I was afraid that there would be a lot in there that we, the fans who followed Ronnie’s career for years, already know. And, in a way there is, but the book still surprised me, agreeably.

In fact, this is not a sequel to the two previous autobiographies, it’s not an autobiography at all actually. It will not take you through what happened to Ronnie over the last ten years, nor will it it tell you what he won during the last decade, when or who he beat. It’s not that kind of book at all.

The book has 13 chapters, not counting the prologue and epilogue. Each chapter has a distinctive theme and, actually, you can read them independently, in no particular order. Each is about one subject that is important to Ronnie, as a person and or as a snooker player. I each, Ronnie reflects – in a very personal way – on why and how this particular theme is important to him, how it has impacted his life and changed him as a person. Here are some of the themes he reflects on: The Crucible (the venue, no the event), Snooker and his love for it, Being a child prodigy, Practice, his “Lost Years”, Accepting his addictions, Anxiety, what it takes to be a Winner, Family, Relationship with his children (with regrets and pride), his first and his latest World Championships …

It’s a – at times emotional – narration/reflection written at the first person. It’s easy to read and, at the same time, I often found myself thinking “Wait … I may want to read this again, tomorrow”. It’s a habit of mine, a few hours after reading something, to try and gather/structure my thoughts about what I did read and if I find it difficult, it’s usually a sign that I didn’t fully “absorb” all the layers of the story or message.

The part about the 2022 World final really touched me. A friend of mine, who is a psychologist, told me this right after Ronnie’s 2022 World Championship win: “Now we can’t ask anything more from Ronnie.”. And that’s exactly how Ronnie felt as well in that moment: that he had given it absolutely everything he had in him and that he didn’t feel able to do it ever again.

The book is dedicated to Laila, but if you hope to read anything about their relationship or their private life … you won’t find it in there.

A few day ago, this was shared on TikTok.

A day in the life of Ronnie …

And it’s exactly what you’d expect from the man who wrote that book … an ordinary bloke, both blessed and cursed with an exceptional talent that made him a star… a star who just wants to enjoy an ordinary life and simple pleasures.