Snooker News and Pictures – 05.03.2023

2023 Magyar Gala

Ronnie and Mark Allen played in the Magyar Gala in Budapest, yesterday and today. This is an exhibition event and they played three sessions. Jason Francis sent me a short report … thanks Jason.

The event was played in great spirit. It was very entertaining, the atmosphere was excellent, there were a lot of teasing, joking and laugher. The pros played shoot-out frames against local players, there were little snooker challenges and one match between Ronnie and Mark in each of the three sessions. Mark won them all: 4-3, 5-1, 5-0. That’s not very encouraging for us Ronnie fans, but maybe not that surprising given Mark’s form in recent months, and Ronnie’s struggles. Also Ronnie is probably not fully comfortable with his repaired/modified cue.

Ronnie did some filming for Eurosport as well, and both players spoke to the local press.

Ronnie will now head to Thailand where he is due to play on Tuesday. It’s a good thing that he has this non ranking event to play in given his recent woes with his cue.


Here are some pictures and videos, shared by Jason Francis on twitter

Red Carpet for the players at the 2023 6-reds Championship

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, the players involved in the 2023 6-reds World Championship got the red-carpet treatment

Ronnie and Mark are Hungary bound and Ronnie is Thailand bound…

As the 2023 “traditional” Championship League is in its last day, Ronnie and Mark Allen prepare themselves for two days of exhibitions in Budapest. Phil Haigh reports on the coming Magyar Gala

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Allen attract huge crowds as they head to Hungary for exhibition

Phil Haigh Wednesday 1 Mar 2023 4:12 pm

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Allen are on their travels this weekend (Pictures: Getty)

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Allen will be delighting Hungarian snooker fans this weekend when they face off at a giant sold out exhibition in Budapest.

The Hungarian Snooker Gala is back for another instalment after starting in 2017 and has hosted a number of the top names in the game, including Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Williams, John Higgins, Steve Davis and Jimmy White.

The Rocket and the Pistol will be making their first trips to Hungary, though, and unsurprisingly the world champion has attracted big crowds.

The exhibition event is played over three sessions at the Gerevich Aladar National Sports Hall in Budapest, which has a capacity of 1,500.

The event sold out within 24 hours of tickets going on sale, so there is no shortage of interest in snooker in the Hungarian capital, with 4,500 set to enjoy the event.

O’Sullivan and Allen will play each other in shoot out frames and against local players, with the two top players then playing a longer match against each other later on.

There have been five editions of the event since 2017, but for three years, meaning organisers are thrilled for the gala to return with the sport’s biggest draw.

The organisers explain: ‘The event series started in March 2017 and was created by three dedicated snooker fans, Gábor Wéber, Balázs Csurgó and Gábor Buzás. 

From the very beginning, the intention of the organizers was to promote the sport of snooker and to present Hungarian talents.’

Ali Carter and Neil Robertson played in the first event in Hungary (Picture: Magyar Snooker Gala)

It is a jet-setting for days for the Rocket who will head to Thailand after Hungary to play in the Six Red World Championship in Thailand, with his campaign there starting on 7 March against Jimmy Robertson.

Also in O’Sullivan’s group are Thai legend James Wattana and rising star Stan Moody.

I have been at three of the previous instalments of the Magyar Gala, including the first one, and it’s always a great, well organised and well attended event. Amongst the “Hungarian talents” I witnessed was a then very young Bulcsú Révész. He was about 11 years old and very small…

If you intend to go, the old Ghetto of Budapest is a great place to stay, and the Spinoza Cafe is a place to visit. If you’re lucky, you may even enjoy/discover the Klezmer music. Anyway…

That the event was sold out within 24 hours doesn’t surprise me. Snooker is well appreciated in mainland Europe, and Ronnie in particular is “big” amongst the fans. This is a market that is waiting to be further developed if only WST were ready to “depart” from their UK centric model. Yes, they do organise events in mainland Europe, but, other than the former PTCs, those events don’t feature the full “field”. Qualifiers are held in the UK. That and the structure of the ranking system, force mainland Europe young talents to go and live in the UK, as ex-pats, or to travel back and forth all the time. It’s not a level playing field. A true “European leg” of the tour, early rounds included, would certainly help. The interest is there.

Ronnie’s withdrawal from the Championship League may be because it would have been quite a hectic schedule with those two events to follow and he’s qualified for next season Champion of Champions already, having won the tournament this season. Mark Allen withdrew from the 6-reds event.

Ronnie and Jimmy Snooker Exhibitions in Sofia and Plovdiv – 25&26.11.2022

25 November 2022 – Sofia

Ronnie and Jimmy entertained a huge crowd yesterday evening in Sofia. Today they will do another one in Plovdiv. Those events are organised by Oleg Velinov and he does a sterling job. Everything ran smoothly yesterday.

It started with the players signing goods and programs in the arena itself.

The match itself was a best-of-9 with a twits or two…

The first frame was in fact played as a “Scotch Doubles”. Each of the pros was paired with a local amateur. Sorry, I don’t know their name. Jimmy’s yesterday’s partner is a really good player. Ronnie played with a young lad, who, maybe, was a bit overawed by the occasion. Anyway, “Team Jimmy” won that frame convincingly. and it counted as 1-0 to Jimmy in the match…

The rest of the match was a rather close and very entertaining affair, Ronnie emerging a 5-4 winner. Both players scored one century. They didn’t refuse many shots as you might imagine 😉

Two of the frames Jimmy won involved very unorthodox shots. In both occasions the white had come to rest touching, or nearly touching, the colour he intended to play. There was not way he could play it without playing a push shot. What to do? Jimmy’s “solution” was to put his cue down, “cut the white” with his hand … and send the colour in a pocket as a result. Under the Bulgarian Exhibition circumstances, this was deemed a legal shot much to the delight of the crowd.

The first part of the match was refereed by Proletina Velichkova, the second part by a young lady whose name I couldn’t get (my hearing is not the best and it was a bit noisy out there before the match!). Both did a great job.

There was a crew filming the match, but I’m not sure if it was for television, probably not given how the players contract works, but there was a big screen in the arena itself and the images have to come from somewhere…

It was a really good night.

Those exhibitions are doing a lot for snooker. Maxime Cassis, the president of the EBSA attended the event and he had brought the president of the Serbian billiards and snooker federation with him. This is how to grow the sport at amateur levels.

Here is a short video shared by Jason

As you can see, there was an impressive crowd.

Here are the pictures I took on the night:

26 November 2022 – Plovdiv

Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the Plovdiv exhibition.

Ronnie won again, this time by 5-3.

Snooker News – 18 July, 2022

2022 Irish Masters

Ronnie, Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and Ken Doherty were in Goffs this week-end for the Irish Masters organised by Snooker Legends. This was the third event of the “Masters” series, all played in iconic venues. Ronnie won them all … greedy lad!

On Staturday afternoon, Jimmy beat Ken by 6-0. A bit surprising but Jimmy always plays well in exhibitions, away from the pressure of the pro tour. In the evening, Ronnie beat Stephen by 6-2. A harsh score but, according to Jason Francis, this was the best Stephen played in a long time.

On Sunday afternoon, Stephen beat Ken by 4-0! Not sure what happened to Ken this week-end. I hope he’s OK. Ronnie beat Jimmy by 6-4 in the evening.

2022 World Games

The 2022 World Games in Alabama, USA, featured a “snooker” discipline.

All the results are on

All matches were best of 5, including the final. The Gold medal was won by Cheung Ka Wai from Hong Kong, whilst Darren Morgan took the Bronze medal. Darren was representing Great Britain. Although this is such a short format that results might be a bit “random”, Cheung’s win might prove very important for the future of snooker in Hong Kong. Indeed the sport is set to lose its “Elite Sport” status and with it, its funding by the state. Wins like this might help reverse that decision.

2022 Ranking CLS

The event is back today with the fourth and final week of stage one. The field for some groups of stage two is already completed and Ronnie’s Group A is one of them:

Screenshot 2022-07-16 at 11.48.40

This is a very, very though group. Probably the thoughest this year at that stage.




More Singapore pictures and David Grace’s take on Ronnie and Zhao collaboration

Phil Haigh and Nick Metcalfe are back with their podcasts after a short summer break. The last one features David Grace, one of the nicest and most interesting character on the tour. The link to the podacast is in the article blelow.

The article itself reports on David’s opinion on Ronnie and Zhao’s collaboration and what he expects of Zhao in the near future.

Ronnie himself said that he can work with Zhao because they are similar, he wouldn’t be able to help players who are too different from himself.

This is what David thinks about Ronnie’s work with Zhao and the possible outcome of such collaboration:

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Zhao Xintong a ‘match made in heaven,’ reckons David Grace

Ronnie O'Sullivan and Zhao Xintong
Ronnie O’Sullivan is continuing to work with Zhao Xintong (Pictures: Getty/Zhai Zheng)

Ronnie O’Sullivan and Zhao Xintong seem like a match made in heaven, believes David Grace, as the Rocket continues to help the Cyclone develop his game.

The world number one was working with the UK champion last season, giving him general advice on the game and looking to impart some wisdom on shot selection and tactics.

The seven-time world champion thinks very highly of the 25-year-old, saying he has the talent to become the greatest player ever and wants to help him fulfil his potential.

With the greatest player in the game’s history in the corner of one of the most talented young stars in the sport, it is an exciting prospect and one that world number 55, Grace, reckons will work for all parties involved.

‘Seems like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? I think Ronnie could only work with players as talented as Zhao,’ Grace told the Talking Snooker podcast.

He couldn’t come along and turn me into a heavy scorer or a 16 seconds-a-shot merchant, could he, let’s be honest.

He needs to be working with that level of player and that’s what will excite him. I think Ronnie will really enjoy it as well.’

Zhao began fulfilling his immense potential last season when he won the UK Championship and German Masters – his first two ranking events.

Much will be expected of him this campaign, but Grace has urged some caution and feels it will be a good season if the world number six can go deep in tournaments more consistently.

‘If he consolidates being a top 16 player and gets to the business end of a few tournaments, I think that’s fine for him,’ said the Yorkshireman.

He’s suddenly gone from where he was to winning two tournaments in such a short space of time, it’ll be difficult for him to do that again, I can’t see that happening again.

But you never know, that might be the breakthrough that he needed and he might go on to achieve things that people didn’t think he was capable of.

Betfred World Championship 2017 - Day 1
David Grace reckons expectations should be limited on Zhao Xintong this season (Picture: Getty Images)

O’Sullivan and Zhao’s great relationship has continued over the summer, with the Chinese star going with the world champion to Singapore to play exhibitions at the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy.

The 46-year-old is a big fan of the Cyclone on and off the table and wants to do for Zhao what the legendary Ray Reardon did for him earlier in his career.

He could be the greatest of all time with his talent, his ability,’ said O’Sullivan ahead of the 2022 World Snooker Championship. ‘I always say he’s Roger Federer with a snooker cue in his hands. But he’s got to develop and learn, and he will learn. He’s like me, he’s a quick learner and he’s shown that he’s on it.

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been with Zhao Xintong in Singapore as they launch the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (Picture: Getty Images)

A bit like what Reardon done with me, he showed me how to defend better. Xintong attacks but it’s sometimes attacking because he’s forced to attack. I said to him, “If you do this better, you’ll always have the upper hand, the more you’ve got the upper hand the more you will feel comfortable. You don’t want to play snooker from desperation.

That’s what I used to do, play from desperation. Attack because I don’t know how to get out of trouble and pot my way out of it. Let’s not do that, get the odds in our favour, but you need to go about it in a certain way for that to happen.

Meanwhile, the pair is still in Singapore.

Some more pictures – well, a lot of more pictures actually – were shared on RoSSA facebook page. This series is about the official opening ceremony.

Here goes…


Ronnie, Mink, Zhao and a 147 in Singapore

Ronnie, Mink and Zhao’s visit to RoSSA brought a magic moment when Ronnie made a 147 against Mink. What a way to officially open an Academy!

Here you can watch it, recorded from two differerent perspectives…

And here, as well, a short interview at the opening ceremony. Ronnie wants to develop the sport in Asia. In another part of the interview, he explained again why, as a parent, he wouldn’t want his children to take on snoooker professionally, whilst insisting that he loves his sport. I can relate to what he says. One of my children is a very talented artist, but she can’t make money from her art and you don’t live out of thin air…  In snooker, whatever WST claims, unless you are at the very top, you will struggle.

Reigning and seven-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan launched his inaugural academy in Singapore on Saturday (11 June), and hopes to launch many more in the region to nurture talents in Asia. The Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (RoSSA) is housed in a 16,000 square-foot venue at The Grandstand, with 12 snooker and 16 pool tables. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong graced the opening ceremony with O’Sullivan. Widely-regarded as one of the greatest snooker players of all time, O’Sullivan’s seven world titles is a modern-day record he jointly holds with Stephen Hendry. The 46-year-old also believed the future of the sport lies in Asia with China likely to produce the continent’s first world champion. O’Sullivan also spoke about the difficulties in developing the sport back in the United Kingdom and, citing his own troubles in finding a venue to play the sport.

On the second day, the pros played against members of the public, and Ronnie answer some questions from the fans. That’s about what transpired… but with loads of pictures on social media, mainly thanks to Gappa Gappa …

Ronnie, Mink and Zhao in Singapore

Ronnie, Mink and Zhao Xintong are in Singapore, for the Great Opening of RoSSA, the Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy, as well as some exhibitions. Ronnie will be there for a few days.

I didn’t find much about what exactly happened yesterday, but I did find a lot of pictures, a video and reports in the press

Here is one interview for the Singapore press

Snooker: World champion O’Sullivan aims to revolutionise sport in Asia through Singapore academy

Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan’s visit to Singapore looks set to be a major boost for the sport.

The seven-time world champion and world No. 1 is in town to launch his first Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (Rossa) at The Grandstand in Bukit Timah and play some exhibition matches with China’s world No. 6 Zhao Xintong, women’s world champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai, Singapore’s Jaden Ong and members of the public.

He will have a hand in developing Rossa’s training curriculum and make more appearances at the academy in the future.

Hoping to leave a legacy and revolutionise and revitalise the sport in Asia, where an estimated 100 million people play it, O’Sullivan said: “I’ve taken enough from the sport. It’s time I give a bit back.”

After having his senses stimulated by a lion dance performance at Rossa on Saturday (June 11), the 46-year-old told The Straits Times how his affection for Asia came about: “Asian players respond to me more. In the UK, everyone just does their own thing and maybe they are a bit shy to share and ask for help.

But when I go to China, a lot of the Chinese players make me eat with them. We build relationships and I feel like a part of them. We play snooker together and I start to want to show them a few things and it just became closer relationships.

London-based O’Sullivan is known to be kind and generous with Asian players on the snooker tour and sometimes drops by Victoria’s Snooker Academy in Sheffield to give pointers to players like Zhao, whom he dubbed the “Roger Federer of snooker” and tipped to be a future world champion for his accuracy and smoothness.

Said the 25-year-old, who has two ranking titles: “It’s amazing how I’m now getting tips from my childhood hero, and how he will show up to help us in times of need, even when it comes to issues with travel documents.

He is a great guy and a great inspiration and I really want to repay his kindness by doing as well as I can.”

Such stories are also why Rossa CEO Gary Tan decided to start the academy with O’Sullivan, and build a professional ecosystem that starts with house rules such as no slippers, no singlets, and no gambling on the premises.

He said: “Discipline, commitment, respect and focus are paramount for us. We want to do the right things, and to do things right. To be the best like Ronnie, you need to have the right approach to the game. Instilling the right values will help create the right culture so players from our academy can have the desired focus and drive to succeed.

Rossa plans to nurture a base of quality young players and provide them competition opportunities at an Asian amateur circuit and then a professional tour. It also aims to open branches in Thailand and China to build a strong base of players to start an Asian circuit.

Despite feeling a little tired after arriving on Thursday, O’Sullivan proved to be a people’s champion, mingling freely and entertaining all wefie requests, helping to respot balls during a friendly between Zhao and Nutcharut, and giving a quick snooker tutorial to the guest-of-honour, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong.

Mr Tong noted how Rossa is playing a part to take Singapore cuesports to a new level, as it made national pool player Sharik Sayed its first scholar, awarding him free access to practice facilities, a monthly stipend, coaching and mentorship, and sponsoring his overseas tournament participation.

He added: “The opening of Rossa is a vivid example of how private enterprise can contribute to the promotion and development of sport in Singapore.

Private academies and institutions are key stakeholders that the government will continue to work and partner with to build a strong and vibrant sporting culture in Singapore.

And this one in Yahoo News:

Snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan opens academy in Singapore

Chia Han Keong – Editor

Snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan (left) imparting a few snooker tips to Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth. (PHOTO: Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy)

SINGAPORE — Seven-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan launched his inaugural academy in Singapore on Saturday (11 June), and hopes to launch many more in the region to nurture talents in Asia.

The Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy (RoSSA) is housed in a 16,000 square-foot venue at The Grandstand, with 12 snooker and 16 pool tables. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong graced the opening ceremony with O’Sullivan.

“Rather than start our academy in the United Kingdom, where snooker is already well-established, we feel Asia is the future of the sport,” said the 46-year-old Englishman.

“Singapore, with its strong links to the rest of Asia and its reputation as a global city for events, will serve as a strong springboard for us to launch our plans.”

Widely-regarded as one of the greatest snooker players of all time, O’Sullivan’s seven world titles is a modern-day record he jointly holds with Stephen Hendry.

His accolades do not end there though, as he also holds the records for most career ranking titles (39), maximum breaks (15), century breaks (1,169; no-one else has more than 900), and consecutive World Championship main-draw appearances (30).

Academy to develop strong base, organise competitions

RoSSA will seek to develop a strong base of snooker players, and organise competitions where young talents can hone their skills before taking a stab on the professional circuit. It is planning to hold 23 ranking events in 2022, and another 30 mini-tournaments.

It is also working with Cuesports Singapore (CS) to be recognised as one of the national sports association’s Centres of Excellence (COEs). Currently, the Cuesports Academy at Katong Shopping Centre is the only COE, where young players aged 7 to 16 have been training.

There are many young talents playing in snooker halls around the region. But many of them find it hard to sustain a living while playing in domestic amateur tournaments,” said RoSSA chief executive officer Gary Tan.

One of the key targets of RoSSA is to establish a regional amateur circuit which will both provide opportunities for these talents to compete as well as provide a sizeable prize pool for promising players to continue their development.”

To enable promising players to train while they work, RoSSA has provided scholarships to former national snooker player Jaden Ong, 32, and national pool player Sharik Sayed, 34, who is ranked 48th in the world.

RoSSA is hopeful of expanding into the region within the next year, with Thailand the likely next stop for the academy before it looks to expand to China.

(From left) Snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong and academy CEO Gary Tan opening the academy at The Grandstand. (PHOTO: Ronnie O’Sullivan Snooker Academy)

O’Sullivan to take part in snooker tournament

As part of the academy’s launch, O’Sullivan will take part in a four-player snooker tournament featuring China’s Zhao “The Cyclone” Xintong, Thailand’s reigning women’s world champion Nutcharut Wongharuthai, and Ong on 18 June.

RoSSA members and the public may also get a chance to take on O’Sullivan in exhibition matches next week.

Here is the video, shared by RoSSA on their Facebook page:

And here another video of Ronnie in action shared by Gappa Gappa

And the pictures I found on social media, mainly Facebook, and mainly shared by RoSSA and the High End Snooker Wanghin and Gappa Gappa who is with Mink in Singapore.

And here is the schedule for the 4 men’s tournament om 18th of June (shared by RoSSA)

Here’s the schedule for the tournament on the 18th of June!
Session 1: Semi-finals, starting from 12pm
Round 1 (Best of 5) – Zhao Xintong vs Mink
Round 2 (Best of 5) – Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Jaden Ong
Third Place Playoff (Best of 3) – Loser of Round 1 vs Loser of Round 2
Session 2: Final, starting from 5pm
Winner of Round 1 vs Winner of Round 2 (Best of 7)
Who will emerge as Champion? Join us to find out!