Ronnie returns to Lincoln next February

Lincoln10-11Feb2018

And once again, he will support WDBS, World Disability Billiard and Snooker as you can read in the local press.

Ronnie O’Sullivan to return to Lincoln – how you can see the ‘The Rocket’ in action

The five-time world champion hit a 147 during his previous appearance in the city

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Nigel Coton is a – very good  disabled player himself and a regular at WDBS events.

Circumstances permitting, I will be there taking pictures both days.

The Bulgarian Tour 2017 – Burgas

Ronnie won the fourth and last leg of the Bulgarian Tour 2017, beating Stephen Hendry by 6-4. He wins the series by 3-1.

I was due back to Greece, and I missed the action. So there will be no pictures from me this time. Judging by images shared by Jason Francis on twitter, they had a hard day of preparation:

The match was played outdoor, which must have been nice in the Bulgarian weather, but very unusual. It has to be said, playing under the lights, when the outside temperature is near 30°C isn’t that great. On the previous days, both players came out of the arena totally wet through with sweat.

I haven’t seen the match (yet) obviously but if Jason Francis’ report on twitter is anything to go by, it was another high quality affair:

  • Outdoors tonight in Burgas, first time for everything

BulgariaTourDay4Setup-4

  • 57 from Ronnie 1-0
  • Hendry 116 to go 1-1. Playing like a dream in the balls
  • Ros century 104 leads 2/1
  • 87 from Hendry and its 2-2 at the break. Great standard
  • Hendry goes 3-2 up but Ronnie 50 up in frame 6
  • 3/3 here in Burgas
  • Another century from 125 to lead 4-3

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  • 87 from Ronnie 4-4 now. Ridiculous standard here. Maybe outdoors is the future 😎
  • Ronnie 5-4
  • Ronnie wins 6-4 and takes the series 3/1

And some more pictures of the setup shared by Stephen Hendry on Instagram

And of the action, shared on twitter by fans

And here is the match:

I’m very happy that the series wasn’t one-sided. It would have been if Stephen had played like he did last season in Scunthorpe. But it’s obvious that he’s been working hard on his game and he will be a handful for everybody on the Seniors tour this season. It’s also great to see him enjoying the game again.

The Bulgarian Tour 2017 – Varna

BulgariaTourDay3Varna

The Bulgarian Tour hit the beautiful city of Varna (picture shared by Jason Francis).

In the third leg, Ronnie beat Stephen Hendry by 6-4. The boys went serious last night as for each of them there was only one goal: to win. The result? A high quality encounter that got tense towards the end, Ronnie had two centuries, 107 and 100, Stephen hit breaks of 90 and 97.  They went for 3 maximum attempts between them too.  Ronnie built a 3-1 lead before the interval, but was pegged back to 4-4; he looked set to go 5-3 ahead when he potted the final black, only to go in-off and hand the frame to his opponent. Both made probably more mistakes in the last 2 frames than in the first 8, but it was Ronnie who prevailed eventually by 6-4.

Here are the pictures I took on the night:

Stephen Hendry played really well in Sofia and in Varna. He’s a totally different player now than he was last spring in Scunthorpe. He said on twitter last night that he enjoyed playing despite the defeat. That said, we shouldn’t expect a return to the main tour. Stephen was interviewed before the match yesterday and asked the question. The answer was immediate: a unequivocial NO. But he might play in the odd event if offered the opportunity.

Here is the match:

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/WIKpXUyd9HA?rel=0

The first part of the first frame is missing. Stephen was on a maxi attempt after knocking in a long red.

Tonight they will be in Burgas for the final leg. It will be either 2-2, in which case Oleg Velinov, the promoter might request a decider, or 3-1 to Ronnie. Your pick?

But before that, yesterday evening, it was time to relax…

The Bulgarian Tour 2017 – Sofia

Day 2 of the Bulgarian Tour 2017 started with a visit to the National stadium and a great lunch in Sofia, with friend Oleg Velinov and his family.

In the evening, things got serious as Ronnie and Hendry treated the fans to a great match. The venue was packed! It was Stephen Hendry who emerged the winner by 6-5.

Ronnie started well, with a century. But Stephen was determined to prove that he can still play, and prove it, he did! He won 4 frames on the trot to lead 4-1, with a 115 in frame 5 (it could have been a 142 TC). Ronnie responded with 69, to reduce his deficit, only for Stephen to restore his 3 frames advantage and lead 5-2. With his back against the wall, Ronnie produced and forced a decider. Ronnie was first in the decider, and lead by 64. He was on a maxi attempt (not for the first time that evening!). His only option to keep the break going at that stage was a tricky plant in a middle bag. He missed it. Stephen came to the table with 83 on and nothing really safe. He duly cleared with 78 to win.

This was by far the best Stephen has been playing for a very long time. It’s absolutely clear to me that his pride has been hurt by the poor performances he produced in the Seniors World Championship last season, and in exhibitions. I have no doubt that he is out to put things right! The competitive animal has woken up.

Ronnie on the other hand was clearly in exhibition mood. He went for I-don’t-know-how-many maxi attempts during the evening, at the expense of winning at all costs but to the delight of the crowd. He was also in a hurry … helping Desislava Boshilova to reset the balls between frames, and even taking the white gloves away from her and offering her his cue for the break-off. She left Stephen in an absolutely horrific situation! Both players signed autographs for the fans.

The probable reason for Ronnie’s “hurry” became clear to me when, after the match, his first word coming back to the player’s room was “food!”.  More pictures of food can be found on Ronnie’s instagram, along with some funny/silly selfies with matching comments.

Here are the pictures I took on the evening:

The match was streamed on sportal.bg so maybe the videos will become available later today. Watch this space.

Today, we all head to Varna for another great night of snooker.

The Bulgaria Tour 2017 – Plovdiv

Ronnie and Stephen Hendry arrived in Bulgaria yesterday for a 4 days tour.

Eleven30BulgariaPosterSept2017

They landed in Sofia, where they were made very welcome, before heading to Plovdiv for the first of four matches, played under the Eleven30 format (best of 11, 30 seconds shot-clock). Ronnie won by 6-1 but the players agreed to play some extra for the crowd.

Here are a few pictures taken at their arrival in Sofia and shared by Jason on Facebook.

There were about 1000 persons watching, more than in a packed Crucible, but they were seated in a 4000 capacity venue so it didn’t feel like a big crowd which is a bit of a pity.

The highlight of the evening was a 138 by Ronnie (well, a 131 in fact, as he went in-off). You can watch the second half of this break in this video shared by Jason on Facebook.

Ronnie had a 89 in frame 6 as well.

And, of course, the ref on duty was Bulgaria’s very own Proletina Velichova (pictures shared by Jacklina Simova)

 

Please check the comments section: great finds by krdlr! Thank you!

Exhibition in Pot Black – Clacton-on-Sea, 15 July 2017

Ronnie took on 8 local amateurs yesterday evening in the Pot Black club in Clacton-on-Sea. He won all 8 frames and had a 113, but Aidan Owens, the club owner ran him, very, very close. Indeed the frame was decided on the last pink. Aidan narrowly lost to Stephen Hendry last season in the Seniors World Championship: it went to a re-spotted black in the deciding frame!. So he’s a very useful player.

Ronnie signed LOADS of goods, and had any numbers of selfies with fans. Great fun!

John Virgo provided running commentary and put some fans to work!

If was packed as you can imagine! Thanks to Snooker Legends for offering the fans with this great entertainment.

 

And Clacton-on-Sea is quite funny in itself. Judge by yourself by looking at these pictures.

 

Money raised for Disability Snooker

I had hinted at the fact that the Lincoln Exhibition last Friday would raise money for Disability Snooker. Here is the report by Matt Huart on the WDBS site. 

Money Raised For WDBS

Over £1,000 was raised for World Disability Billiards and Snooker (WDBS) last Friday an exhibition event held in Lincoln by Snooker Legends.

Featuring five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and BBC commentator John Virgo, the event was organised by former WDBS event winner Nigel Coton and saw the Rocket in top form as he made seven century breaks from nine frames, including a maximum 147 during the evening.

As had been agreed prior to the event, surplus funds raised will be donated to the WDBS. The money, totalling £1,147 will be incorporated into the overall prize fund for the inaugural WDBS Welsh Open, to be held at Redz Snooker Club on 30 June – 2 July 2017.

On hand to receive the donation on behalf of the WDBS were regular players Daniel Blunn and Joe Hardstaff, both of whom had the opportunity to meet and have photographs with O’Sullivan.

Well done to all!