Farewell Marius …

Yesterday we got the sad news that Marius Ancuta has left us … he was only fifty I think, far too soon. Marius was the voice of snooker in Romania. He was to Romania what Rolf Kalb is to Germany. Marius loved snooker with a passion and had been commentating on Eurosport since the early 2000s. He also commentated on numerous exhibitions, featuring top players like Ronnie, Jimmy White, Mark Williams, Stuart Bingham… too many for me to remember.He introduced thousand of new fans to the sport. He was enthusiast, sensible and very knowledgeable.

More importantly yet, he was a good warmhearted person, a lovely bloke without one ounce of vanity. Thank you for everything Marius, I feel privileged to have known you. Rest in peace … and, in moments like these, the non-believer I am wants to dream that maybe, only maybe, there is some place, somewhere, where you are now sitting, whispering commentary next to a table, with Paul Hunter and Joe Davis doing battle.

Farewell Marius … 


Marius (right) in Bucharest with Alex Crisan, Ronnie and Mark Williams

The Importance of being Fit … bis

In this interview, reported by the Daily Star, Ronnie reveals more plans to restore health and fitness in the UK… He might have to clone himself soon if that becomes reality!

THE NEW MR MOTIVATOR: Ronnie cues up fitness trainer career

SNOOKER ace Ronnie O’Sullivan is set to be a Mr Motivator style fitness guru.

By Ed Gleave, Exclusive /

The sporting legend plans to host well-being weekends where fans can undergo training sessions with him.

Ronnie, 42, who has already penned a book on nutrition, told the Daily Star Sunday: “Health and fitness is my passion.

“I want to reach out to people who have busy lives. I want to show it’s possible to still be healthy.

“I’m on the go all the time and I travel a lot so I take boxes of food.

“I’ll be doing weekends where people can come and do exercise and learn to cook.”

SNOOKER STAR: ‘Health and fitness is my passion’ says RonnieGETTYSNOOKER STAR: ‘Health and fitness is my passion’ says Ronnie

The five-time world champ added: “I’ll teach them some recipes and go on a run with them.“And I’ll talk about how I’ve changed my lifestyle.

“I also want to set up my own eight-mile assault course. I’ve done a few of those challenges in the past and won.

“The guys from the Army saw me and thought ‘he’s a snooker player, he won’t be any good’, but then I did well and won it.”

Ronnie wants to spread the word about health and fitness after overhauling his lifestyle and shedding more than a stone.

NEW GURU: Ronnie reckons his new fitness empire is just what Britain needsSHUTTERSTOCKNEW GURU: Ronnie reckons his new fitness empire is just what Britain needs

“I feel better than I have ever felt and that’s down to a combination of fitness and nutrition”


He said: “A while back I had injuries that meant I couldn’t run. I piled on the weight.

“So I went to see a nutritionist and since then I’ve lost about a stone and a half.

“I feel better than I have ever felt and that’s down to a combination of fitness and nutrition. I’m much healthier.

“When I get to 50, 60, 70 I want to look well.

“I don’t want to have a heart attack and end up sitting there with tubes hanging out of me. I don’t want to look a state in front of my grandkids.”

One of snooker’s greatest ever players declared: “I want to be active and live as long as I can. I want to live to a hundred and I don’t want those years to be s***.”

Ronnie reckons his new fitness empire is just what Britain needs.

He added: “As a nation we are unhealthy. There’s a tendency to eat the wrong foods.”

Ronnie is also carving out a career as a novelist. His new title Double Kiss is already a hit.


The Importance of being Fit …

By Worldsnooker http://www.worldsnooker.com/fit-for-the-table/

Snooker players may not need the same level of physical fitness as footballers or marathon runners, but as the global circuit grows, so does the importance of keeping healthy.

The World Snooker Tour now incorporates nearly 30 tournaments around the globe. Players are busier than ever, often competing in events for seven or eight weeks in a row before they can take a break.

The notion of “burn-out” – unthinkable ten years ago when there were no more than eight tournaments in a season – is now commonly mentioned. Several players have suffered from physical injuries, particularly to the lower back and neck, partly as a result of the demands placed on their bodies by regular playing, practising and travel.

We spoke to a range of experts to find out how improved fitness, flexibility and nutrition can help any snooker player maintain a healthy body.

Taylor Wilson knows, better than most, the ways in which physical conditioning can benefit a snooker player’s career. A fully qualified personal trainer, he is also the younger brother of world number nine Kyren Wilson, a quarter-finalist at the Crucible in 2016 and 2017 and a semi-finalist this year.

“I have worked with Kyren for a while, he has become fitter, stronger and lost over a stone in weight,” said 22-year-old Taylor. “That has helped him become more consistent and it prepares him for the long matches, especially at the Crucible. I look at him like a Formula One car – if he wants to perform, he has to look after his body and make sure it gets the right treatment and fuel.”

Taylor believes that physical fitness and flexibility are the two key elements. “When I meet someone for the first time I’ll start off with a functional movement screen which tests mobility,” he said. “Then I’ll do a fitness test which might be sixty seconds of non-stop press ups or squats. It’s important to find out a person’s limitations to start with and build gradually into the correct program, because everyone is different. If you start off with a tough gym program you might quickly get muscle injuries. The body has to prepare in phases.

“When I started working with Kyren I got him to stand straight against the wall, and then slide his arms up. It was clear that he had an issue with shoulder mobility so we designed exercises to help that. With another player it might be tight hamstrings, strain on the neck or lower back, or core stability weakness – it’s always a question of hitting the reset button and deciding how to move forward.

“Kyren plays football twice a week so that’s his cardio sessions covered. With anyone I’d encourage a combination of cardio work with mobility exercises.”

Michael Holt, who reached the last 16 at the Crucible two years ago, qualified as a fitness instructor in 2002, partly to give himself back-up in case his snooker career didn’t work out, and partly to help fulfil his own potential on the green baize. “I have learned a lot about it over the years,” said the 2016 Riga Masters finalist. “There are lots of different ways of training and getting fit, but in all of them you have to get outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s weights, running, calisthenics or whatever a person prefers, it’s going to hurt, but in the end you will feel the rewards.

“I lift weights because that’s what I enjoy. That might entail an hour a day of resistance training. It is cardiovascular so it exercises your heart and lungs, and it helps the way I look and feel. My wife Amy is into the same kind of thing which helps – in fact she was training four days before she gave birth!

“I have tried running and done a couple of half marathons, but I didn’t enjoy it. It’s all about personal preference. But I believe that being in good shape will help anyone and give them more confidence in everything they do. The best player in the world is Ronnie O’Sullivan and he’s also one of the fittest – that’s not coincidence.”

Shaun Murphy, Mark Selby, Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham are among those to have suffered from neck and back pain in recent years while in the past the likes of Chris Small, Martin Clark and Ian McCulloch have been forced into early retirement by issues relating to the spine and neck.

Orlaith Buckley is Consultant Physiotherapist to European Senior Tour golf, a sport where players experience similar injuries. “If a snooker player has back or neck pain, they should first assess their training and technique,” she said. “If they have a considerable increase in hours spent practising or playing, then it may be they are fatigued or not fit enough to endure that volume of training. Discomfort is the body’s way of telling us to move or change position. Modifying practice into blocks of time, with breaks in between, may be all it takes to resolve the issue.

“Getting stronger in the off-season will also help with endurance. Being fit for purpose allows the snooker player to perform for longer and keep their focus on the game. Any player will benefit from an assessment and a suitable training program.  The program could be improved flexibility for one, and more strengthening for another. An individual program is always a benefit.”

You are what you eat

Eating nutritious food and avoiding excess drinking, smoking and sugary snacks are, of course, crucial elements of staying healthy. As Holt put it: “Nutrition is so important because if you don’t eat well, you won’t get the benefits of the training you are doing. I generally cook my own food and I know how to follow a balanced diet. It’s not always easy when we travel to tournaments, but you’ve still often got a choice between something like burger and chips or chicken and rice, so it’s about making the right choices in those moments.”

Ronnie O’Sullivan produced arguably the best form of his career last season at the age of 42, winning five ranking titles. As well as regular running and gym sessions, he works with renowned nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert on making sure his diet helps him to perform effectively at tournaments.

Lambert said: “Snooker requires a lot of concentration. When you don’t eat enough nutrient-rich foods, your body may lack essential vitamins and minerals thus having a negative effect on your energy, mood and brain function. I believe nutrition is important in every aspect of life, including sport. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can have a positive impact on your mood and sense of wellbeing.”

The Crucible in particular places demands on a player’s stamina and energy as he can be on his feet in the arena for up to ten hours in a day.

“Pre and post-match fuel is crucial to the body’s physical performance,” Lambert added. “Without the right fuel, you are less likely to get the most out of your exercise regime. Pre-match food should ideally include some sort of complex carbohydrate that will provide the body with slow releasing energy to keep your stamina high. Something like baked sweet potato with homemade beans and mixed salad, or porridge cooked in milk topped with nuts and berries.”

Have cue, will travel

A successful player on the pro tour might spend 150 days a year away from home, including at least half a dozen long haul flights overseas. This presents the challenge of maintaining a fitness and diet regime which might be easy to follow at home, but less so in foreign locations or while travelling.

But Wilson insists where there’s a will, there’s a way. “The hotel you are in might not have a gym, but that doesn’t stop you going for a jog or doing some shoulder rolls,” he said. “Exercise helps the mind as well because it takes a player’s mind off his next match, in a location where boredom might be an issue.

“In terms of travel, on long haul flights I recommend regular walking and stretching on the plane to keep the circulation flowing. And stay as hydrated as possible by drinking a lot of water.”

Buckley concurred: “If you eat well, stay hydrated and sleep well, you give yourself the best chance to perform. Fatigue has an effect on both mental and physical fitness, so training good habits around travel is vital.”

And Lambert insists that being away from home should not be an excuse to submit to junk food. “When you’re on the go and don’t have food prepared, it is up to you to make smart food choices,” she said. “Opting for foods that include essential fats, protein, complex carbs and a good amount of fruit and vegetables is a great place to start. For long days of travel, I would recommend building a lunch box with things like wholegrain avocado and chicken sandwiches, packs of hummus and vegetable sticks and fruit and yoghurt.”

Jet-lag can also be a factor, as it affects performance. World Champion Mark Selby has had plenty of success in the Far East in recent years, winning three ranking events in China within the past 14 months. He stresses the importance of travelling well in advance of the start of the tournament in order to give the body time to acclimatise.

“I usually fly to Hong Kong four or five days before a tournament in China starts,” said Selby. “I feel that gives me an advantage because the jet lag always affects you for the first two or three days, so you don’t want that problem while you are playing.”

So snooker players of all levels, follow the advice above and you’ll soon start seeing better results – on and off the table.

Thanks to:
– Orlaith Buckley (follow @ylmsportscience)
– Taylor Wilson (New Evolution Personal Training – see http://www.newevolutionpt.co.uk)
– Rhiannon Lambert (See http://www.Rhitrition.com and follow @Rhitrition. RE-NOURISH: A Simple Way to Eat Well by Rhiannon Lambert is available now from Amazon for £18.99)

Ten years ago, when Ronnie was getting up for a run as early as 5 am on the morning of the 2008 World Final, most people were thinking that he’s a weirdo. Now most young players are into fitness in a way or another. Now, Ronnie is actively promoting a healthier way of eating without promoting restrictive diets and I’m sure the message is spreading as well.

Vegan Power?

Not really although Ronnie was thinking about Neil Robertson whilst cooking this one.

Ronnie and Rhiannon were at it again today on social media, cooking one of the receipts that will feature in their book to come “Top of your game”. So for those who aren’t on FB here it is … with some interesting bits of conversation.

From the Palace … to the kitchen

Ronnie was this morning in his kitchen and live on Facebook, cooking a healthy breakfast with his nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert. Clearly she wouldn’t want him to feel weak because inadequate nutrition …

Just enjoy

I must say I’m envious, such a nice kitchen! I love my cooking and I’m not too bad at it either, this would be a dream. BTW I’ve tried one of Rhiannon recipes and it was really tasty, filling yet light on the stomach and pleasing to the eyes as well!

And, something different entirely, Eurosport recorded this, and shared it on twitter, surely as a combined promo of the snooker and the tennis.

Now … just to hit the ball at that speed, never mind send it back into the court, requires good eye / hand coordination and a fast eyesight. It’s brutal. And… Ronnie isn’t very tall, but he certainly isn’t short  either, just over 1,80 m and he looks tiny as compared to that tennis player!

Happy New Year 2018


And so, this is the last day of 2017 … a year that in many ways has been a rollercoaster on the baize, with a terrific last three months for Ronnie’s fans.

For this blogger however, as some may know, it has been a very dark and difficult year on personal level. When certain things happen, affecting people you love, taking them away from you, you realise how futile most of the spats and fallouts are, be it on social media or in “real life”. So here is my first and most important wish for all who read this blog.

In 2018, and in every day in your life, I’m wishing you health and happiness. I’m wishing you to love and being loved. I’m wishing you to enjoy the little things that brighten everyday life: a good meal with friends, a lovely walk in the woods, the first flower in your garden, the smile on your child’s face, the hug of your partner … even the grumbling of your elderly parent. Don’t take things too seriously. Be yourself. Don’t worry about opinions, don’t try to please everyone, it’s just impossible. Be true, be kind, be forgiving … 

I mean it, every word of it. Now onto more snooker drivel… snooker wishes and stuff!

Selby's prayers

picture shared by Worldsnooker on twitter
  • Ronnie to win World title n°6 … yes, I know, yesterday on twitter Ronnie said, again, that he “might” (might, not will) give the World Championship a miss but he’s got nearly four months to think about it and change his mind a 100 times, something he’s quite prone to do. As a fan I’d love to see him do himself justice and equal Steve Davis record. However, in the spirit of what I wrote above, if he really does skip this year’s Crucible, I won’t go mad. We should never forget that it’s his life, his career, his well-being, his happiness. He owes us nothing. He’s not Worldsnooker employee either, he’s self-employed. He said that the World Championship isn’t his favourite tournament; I can understand that, the pressure and demands he gets there every year, since 25 years, are unreal. The fact that the press immediately jumped on those tweets is testimony enough of the expectations people put on him all the time. But, yes, I still dream and hope for n°6.
  • A big “non betting” company/business to start to support and sponsor snooker … I have expressed my concerns about snooker’s reliance on the betting industry , and the ambiguity of their relationship, often enough, so I won’t repeat myself here. But yes, this is something I’d dearly want to see. It’s never healthy to rely on just one source of sponsoring, it’s even more risky when that source is an industry that is known to generate addictions as well as social and sometimes legal issues. Tobacco and alcohol sponsoring were clamped on. To me it’s only a matter of time before betting sponsoring is strongly “regulated” too.
  • The Seniors Tour to succeed and flourish… Every sportsperson, even the very best, one day finds themself in that position: they still love it, they aren’t quite good enough anymore to compete on the biggest scene. What then? Jason Francis, from Snooker Legends, is trying to develop a “Seniors” tour, giving both 40+ and retired pros a circuit where they can play, entertain, compete, dream and … win! This January there is one qualifying event in Beijing that attracted 80+ players. Such is the demand. This is a big financial risk that Jason took, he’s now got the support of WPBSA, but there is still so much to do. Please, go and attend one of their events. You won’t regret it!


Yes, I know, Mark Selby probably won’t pray for my wish n°1 to come true, but I couldn’t resist the picture. And for all the fans who love to hate him … here is what Ronnie got to say about Mark in one of the last Worldsnooker features

Ronnie O’Sullivan

Sport thrives on great rivalries: Jack Nicklaus collided with Arnold Palmer, Bjorn Borg was pitted against John McEnroe and Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are frequently the main contenders for football’s Ballon D’or.

Selby and O’Sullivan is snooker’s modern day version of the clash of the titans. The pair met in an epic UK Championship final in 2016 which produced some of the most captivating snooker ever witnessed at the York Barbican, Selby eventually coming through as the 10-7 victor.

They have now contested finals in each of snooker’s Triple Crown events, with Selby having won three of the five showpiece meetings. However, he has some way to go to reach O’Sullivan’s tally of 18 Triple Crown titles and 31 ranking wins – currently holding 8 and 13 respectively.

The Rocket had previously referred to Selby as the ‘torturer’, but in recent times has come to relish his meetings with the world number one.

O’Sullivan said: “I like playing Mark now. We get on really well. I wouldn’t say we are best mates because I don’t want to be his best friend as we are still rivals. I’d rather keep it that way so when we get on the table there is an element of wanting to beat each other. I like his mindset and he is a winner.

“I see a lot of Stephen Hendry and a lot of me in him. I’ve learnt that his style of play isn’t just based on playing against me. He plays like that against everybody. That’s his game. If he brings that game to the table, you just have to try and break it down.”

Happy New Year 2018!