Trump – Judd not Donald – gives his opinion on Ronnie …

Worldsnooker has published this interview with Judd Trump 

Judd Trump believes Ronnie’s O’Sullivan’s remaining goals in snooker are to break all of the major records he doesn’t currently own.

O’Sullivan has had one of the best seasons of his career, winning five ranking titles, earning £824,500 and making 70 centuries.

He already holds the records for most career centuries (944), most 147s (14) and is tied with Stephen Hendry on 18 Triple Crown titles. However O’Sullivan still lags two behind behind Hendry’s record of seven World Championship crowns, and three behind the Scot’s mark of 36 ranking titles.

Chigwell’s 42-year-old O’Sullivan has repeatedly insisted that he is not motivated by eclipsing Hendry. But world number three Trump is convinced that the Rocket is determined to achieve more.

“Ronnie wants to break every record and over the next three or four years I think he’s likely to get them, the way he is playing,” said Trump. “He’s getting a bit older and he wants to target those records and beat them before he retires. He says he’s not really bothered, but I think that’s the only aim he has left in snooker. If he does get to seven or eight world titles, that will be enough for him.”

Trump, who lost 6-5 when the pair met in the semi-finals of the Players Championship last month, feels that O’Sullivan will be hard to stop in this year’s Betfred World Championship, which runs from April 21 to May 7 in Sheffield.

He added: “Ronnie has been on a different level to anyone else this season. A lot of players have collapsed against him. With the way he’s playing, the confidence he has and the mood he is in, he will be massive favourite at the Crucible, even more so than any other year.

“There is an aura around Ronnie which means that only a few players can beat him. He is keeping himself fit and not a lot of other players are doing that so it’s a way for him to get one up on the rest of them. He knows he is the most talented player and if he works hard he’ll put himself in a good position.

“He’ll need to have his head right because if he comes up against one of the slow players and goes behind he’ll need to stick with it. If you come up against him you have to hope to catch him on a bad day.”

Hum…

Obviously you don’t become a great champion unless you are very competitive, and Ronnie is a great champion. However it takes a great deal of bravery … or naIvety … to claim to understand what Ronnie thinks and wants . Himself doesn’t always know from one day to the other!

It’s this time of the season again, and we will see mind games everywhere. Last year Judd Trump came at the Crucible claiming that “this was going to be his year”, only to collapse to Rory McLeod  in the first round. So, maybe, it’s good tactic this time to keep the focus and put the pressure on someone else.

Now, of course, I would be delighted if Ronnie did beat all those records before he retires, but it’s not that important.

Snooker rules changes under discussion

The woman or man in the middle, the referee, has a very important role in sport, and their task can be extremely difficult at times. It’s no different in snooker.

A few weeks back I was sitting at a bar, late at night, with a couple of referees, who I won’t name for obvious reasons, and we were discussing rules. Probably aided by a few pints, they revealed that there were discussions under way to change some rules in snooker in order to make the game fairer and cut out “luck”. They said that the initiative was taken after the authorities had been flooded with complaints from fans, and one in particular, a certain Daniel if they remembered well (their memory might have been a bit foggy at the time TBF) or something like that.

I though that today is as good a day as any to share this information and ask you, as fans, what you think of it. So here it is.

  1. The “hit and hope” to escape from a snooker is no proper shot: it’s relying on pure luck to “solve” a tricky situation. It’s usually played at speed too, and, should the white makes contact with a ball other than a ball on, or the shot results in any sort of foul, it usually sends several balls flying around but doesn’t necessarily leave an easy  ball on. In that case, it’s not uncommon that the balls have to be replaced and it’s a nightmare for the referees. Under the new rules, it’s the offending player who will have to replace the balls, under supervision from both the referee and their opponent, until both are satisfied.
  2. Flukes of course are a plague, they are unfair retribution for missing. Over the course of long matches, usually luck switches from one player to the other and things even themselves naturally. But in short matches, a single fluke can be crucial. Same in a deciding frame. Therefore, in best of seven or shorter matches, and in deciding frames, whatever the length of the match, after a fluke pot, the ball will be taken out of the pocket and any ball that moved as a consequence of the fluke shot will be replaced by the offending player. There will be no penalty though.
  3. Similarly, in order to cut out carelessness, if balls move because a player dropped an implement on the table, or brushed a ball with their clothes, the offending player will have to replace the balls to the satisfaction of the referee and their  opponent.
  4. Finally, in the Shootout only, in case of a foul, the referee or the offending player, depending on who has to replace the balls according to the new rules, will no more be allowed to ask the marker for help. Instead they will be encouraged to ask for the fans help. This is to increase the viewing public participation and involvement in the match.

What do you guys think of the new ideas? Have your say!

Ronnie has arrived in China

ChinaOpen2018Poster

The China Open 2018 starts on Monday, with Ronnie, Mark Selby, Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo all in action, playing their last 128 match, held over to the venue.

WSS Services have been hard at work to get the venue ready

Ronnie is already in China, and did an exhibition in Zhangjiagang city. This was reported on weibo, and, if I understand the post correctly he was in high scoring mood but didn’t make a 147; 140 was the HB on the day!

Photos shared on weibo

WSF Championships 2018 – Wins for On Yee Ng and Igor Figueiredo

The World Women’s Snooker Championship 2018 and the WSF Seniors Championship 2018 concluded yesterday evening with wins from On Yee Ng and Igor Figueiredo.

Here are the reports on WPBSA

On Yee Wins Third World Women’s Title

  • 17th March 2018

Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee has defeated Maria Catalano 5-0 to complete the successful defence of her WLBS World Women’s Snooker Championship title and claim her third world crown overall on Saturday.

On Yee completed a dominant week in Malta with a convincing victory against world number four Catalano, who earlier in the day had stunned 11-time world champion Reanne Evans with a 4-3 win to progress to her fifth world final and first since 2013.

It was also a fifth final for On Yee, who last month became world number one for the first time in her career and following previous victories against Belgium’s Wendy Jans and third ranked Rebecca Kenna, routed Catalano to seal the title without the loss of a single frame.

The success sees On Yee become only the third player ever to win the title on three or more occasions, joining an elite group comprising Reanne Evans (11), Allison Fisher (7), Kelly Fisher (5) and Karen Corr (3).

The 27-year-old will also extend her lead at the top of the WLBS rankings when they are revised next week, while beaten finalist Catalano will rise one place to number three following her run.

A delighted On Yee later revealed that she came into the tournament carrying an illness, but that this could have actually worked to her advantage.

“I am absolutely over the moon to win my third title,” said On Yee. “I did not have great expectations coming into the tournament as I was coughing and sick so just tried to play every game, every ball. But looking back now I think that this took a lot of pressure off me and I started to play a little better.

“When I saw the knockout draw I thought that was a tough draw, playing Wendy Jans in the first knockout match, but I just tried to focus and to enjoy the games. I would like to say thank you to all of my team, including family and friends, as well as my coaches at the Hong Kong Sports Institute who have supported me even late at night.”

And having enjoyed her time at the tournament in Malta, the Asian star now turns her attention to Sheffield where she will compete at the professional World Championship qualifiers following her latest triumph.

“It has been great to be here in Malta for the first time with very nice weather, a beautiful ocean view for breakfast in the morning and to be surrounded by nice people.

“As well as the title, the most important thing for me is that I have now qualified to player at the professional World Championship in Sheffield which I am really looking forward to.

“The first time there when I played Peter Lines [in 2016] I was so nervous about the atmosphere that I did not play well. Last year against Nigel Bond I had more expectations, but I still didn’t play well, so hopefully this year I can just enjoy the match.”

(source: https://www.wpbsa.com/on-yee-wins-third-world-womens-title/ )

Rebecca Kenna, who lost to On Yee in the SF, could be excused if she came into that match a bit jaded… Indeed she needed nearly six hours to defeat Yee Ting Cheung from Hong Kong in a true Selbyesque performance: she came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3. She was back on the table almost right away, this time facing the very dangerous Waratthanun Sukritthanes from Thailand who was seed n°2 after the knock-out stages. Again she trailed 2-0 before winning 4-2, past 1 am on the Finals day.

Maria Catalano played really well to defeat Reanne Evans by 4-3 in the semi finals. The match went on the last pink. For Maria this is a very important win because she had lost so many times to Reanne over the years that it must have been difficult for her to come into this match with the belief that she could win. But she did! It probably took a lot out of her though as she clearly had nothing left when facing On Yee Ng later that afternoon. Not taking anything from On Yee’s performance – she was the better player all week – but there wasn’t really a match, which, I’m sure, neither player liked.

Figueiredo Wins WSF Seniors Championship

  • 18th March 2018

Brazil’s Igor Figueiredo became the first winner of the WSF Seniors Championship on Saturday after he came from behind to defeat Welshman Darren Morgan 5-3 in the final.

The 40-year-old former professional from Rio de Janeiro reached the final following victory against Ireland’s Michael Judge earlier in the day, while Morgan held off UAE star Mohamed Shehab to book his place in the showpiece match.

It was in fact former world professional number eight Morgan who made the stronger start to the match, racing out of the blocks with a break of 116 in the opening frame on his way to a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.

Back came Figueiredo however, winning four consecutive frames with a top run of 66 to claim the title and write his name in the record books as the first-ever winner of this prestigious new event.

The Brazilian most recently competed on tour during the 2016/2017 season, notably reaching the last 16 stage of both the Welsh Open and Gibraltar Open tournaments.

Both players will be back in action tomorrow in another historic new event, the mixed gender WSF Championships looking to emerge victorious from a 90-strong field containing many of the world’s finest amateur players.

(source: https://www.wpbsa.com/figueiredo-wins-wsf-seniors-championship/ )

Both Darren and Igor would be great additions to the World Seniors Tour, if  things come to that!

Here are the images taken during the knock-out stages:

16 March 2018

17 March 2018

An article by Desmond Kane (Eurosport) about the “class of 92”

Eurosport

Rejuvenated class of ’92 inspire snooker’s greatest era: O’Sullivan, Higgins and Williams

37 minutes ago

Updated 15 minutes ago

Forget the 1980s, we are living in snooker’s golden age with three giants of the sport – Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams – performing at their very best, writes Desmond Kane.

From the golden generation, comes a golden era. The curious narrative of the green baize has become a sort of Benjamin Button with snooker balls courtesy of its glistening potting triumvirate.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, John Higgins and Mark Williams, the world’s top three this year, have a combined age of 126, but a collective snooker brain of about half that.

The older they get, the younger they get. Weird, but also wonderful for those of you out there who rage against the dying of the light. If the 1980s was snooker’s heyday in the UK, snooker is at its zenith in 2018.

O’Sullivan, Higgins and Williams, three blokes 21 years short of making up a combined age of 147, have never performed better encased by some sort of time-defying emollient and a genuine desire to improve.

Eight out of the season’s 16 ranking tournaments have been gobbled up by WHO at 42? It is not melodramatic to suggest the ongoing class of ’92 – the year when they started out as professionals – are holding up better at the table than Paul Newman as ‘Fast Eddie’ Felson. And he was fictional.

O’Sullivan is officially enjoying his best season collecting a career-best haul of four titles at the English Open, Shanghai Masters, UK Championship and World Grand Prix.

Snooker's top 10 this season.

No country for young men? O’Sullivan is targeting two more world titles in his 40s to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven.

“Perhaps 40 is the new 25,” he has commented.

After a seemingly terminal decline since his peak of world titles in 2000 and 2003, Williams is blooming like a Welsh daffodil. He ended a seven-year drought to win the Northern Ireland Open with a 9-8 win over Yan Bingtao in November before waltzing to his 20th career title with a 9-1 victory over Graeme Dott at the German Masters last month.

VIDEO – O’Sullivan: I’d like to win two more world titles before I’m 50

Higgins usurped Barry Hawkins 9-7 to earn a fifth Welsh Open and 30th ranking title on Sunday night, 23 years after he first reached the final of the event. He has also lifted the Indian Masters title less than a year after becoming the oldest World Championship finalist aged 41 since Ray Reardon in 1982.

Higgins attributes the expanded snooker tour for saving and extending his career because he is no longer having to isolate himself for practice sessions when he is playing so much. When you study six-times world champion Steve Davis aged 39 winning the Masters in 1997 for his final major victory or Hendry’s toil in his 30s before retiring at age of 43 in 2012, it is remarkable to witness snooker become a game for true greats.

VIDEO – Higgins seals victory over Hawkins in Welsh Open Final

Higgins told me back in 2009 a day after lifting the third of his four world crowns, that “when you get to your late 30, early 40s, it will naturally become more difficult with the amount of talent pushing through”. Yet he continues to compete at the highest levels due to a technique made in Scotland from girders.

A holy timeless trilogy with 11 world titles between them are rewriting the record books on what can be achieved beyond the previously slippery slope of 40 with a load of balls and a snooker cue as Chas & Dave sung back in its 1980s pomp.

VIDEO – The Rocket Files: John Higgins

The world might have been going snooker loopy back in those days of mullets, shoulder pads and shell suits, but the game of snooker has never been more credible.

Out of the top 30 heaviest century makers in the history of the sport, only Hendry, Davis and John Parrott have retired.

With a golden generation growing golder in their third decade, snooker boasts genuine forces of nature in world champion Mark Selby, Judd Trump, Ding Junhui, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen and Neil Robertson. None of them are in the first flush of youth.

There is also a supporting cast that includes serious rising Chinese talent led by Bingtao as the sport suddenly houses serious prize money.

VIDEO – Stunning pot sets up Williams for German Masters glory

If O’Sullivan wins a sixth world title in May, he snares £425,000 and becomes the first man to earn £1m on the table in a season. But Higgins and Williams carrying off the old pot would not be a surprise given how this season is unravelling.

It is a glorious sight indeed in any sport to witness maturing talent make good on their late promise

Life begins at 40? In snooker, life begins beyond 40. And the final frame, the final black is some way off being sunk for the perpetual potters.

Desmond Kane

Follow this link to read the original article and watch the videos.

Sit down … here’s a little story

Lincoln10.02.2018-1039

Wondering about this? Here is the little story behind it, thanks to Nigel Coton for sharing it!

Nigel Coton used to watch Snooker on TV with his ole man Tom Coton who loved his snooker and introduced him to it. He used to love listening to JV and said JV is NOT a potato head, he is NOT a cheap potato in fact he is like a King Edward, the King of the Crop and so much more than a just a “common-tater !”

I must admit that i didn’t get it at first… Belgium, my country, is rather famous for its potatoes: we have countless varieties for all tastes and dishes: Bintjes, Rosa, Nicola, Aurora, Francine, Doré, Cornes de Gate, Charlotte, Bildstar … We have yellow ones, brown ones, red ones… even blue ones. But I had never heard about King Edward. Now I have to try and taste those!

Happy New Year 2018

Happy2018-2018

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!