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Still LIVING the dream…

“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” Vince Lombardi.

 

Warrior Kyren Wilson appeared in his first maiden World Championship final over the weekend, as the 2020 BetFred World Championship came to an end.

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Wilson has now appeared in two major finals. The Masters and the World Championship final.

It had been 17 days of tears, sweat, and joy as 32 players battled on the baize with no crowds, apart from day one and days 16 and 17, but it still gave us some dramatic moments.

For 28-year-old Kyren, reaching his maiden World final was a significant achievement as the semi-final against Scotland’s Anthony McGill was a draining and tense affair.

That match turned out to be a Crucible classic with a deciding last frame that saw both McGill and Wilson make mistakes and, according to McGill at the end, the snooker gods had stolen it from him.

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up to 300 lucky souls got to see Ronnie O’Sullivan lift his sixth World title and 37th ranking title at The Crucible.

Going into the final, Wilson was up against the best player to ever hold a cue in Ronnie O’Sullivan. He was on for his sixth World Championship title to equal Steve Davis and Ray Reardon.

The first session saw the 44-year-old Rocket race into a 6 – 2 lead but in the second session, as both men looked tired and drained from their epic semi-final matches. Ronnie looked the more tired as the Warrior battled in the second session to reduce his arrears to just three frames to a 10 – 7 overnight trail.

But in the third session, it appeared both men had had good night rests and O’Sullivan, who had been complaining he couldn’t get a cue action, seemed to up the gears as he won the session 7 – 1, to go 17 – 8 needing just one to become World Champion for the sixth time.

A break of 96 in the evening session for the Rocket sealed the deal for the win.

O’Sullivan said after:  “I was happy to get one world title at one stage. Once I got to four I knew I could call myself one of the greats, because that’s how many times John Higgins had won it. Anything above that and you are in fantastic company.

 

One thing I have got is longevity. I go in and out of form and my mind can wander sometimes. Then I get a bit of a taste for it again and want to see if I’ve still got it, so I try to have a go at it as I have done in this tournament.

 

When you practice for five or six hours a day it’s because you want to know whether you are hitting it straight enough to stand up under pressure.”

O’Sullivan said Kyren is a top top player and he will be standing here at some point as a winner. He also said he was ahead of his generation of players.

He added: “Not to put too much pressure on him.”

For 27 years, O’Sullivan has been entertaining and dazzling audiences with his incredible skills on a snooker table and 1997 is still a memorable year for fans who watched him compile the fastest maximum break in snooker history at 5 mins 20 seconds (now revised to 5 mins 8 second).

In 2001 he won his first and now, 19 years after, he’s won his sixth. An incredible feat of longevity at 44.

Pundits such as Steve Davis, whom Ronnie now has the same amount of titles as said it was now possible for Ronnie to go on – if he so wants to and win a seventh World title to equal Stephen Hendry.

Last season, he made more by being the first player to achieve 1000 centuries.

Wilson said after it was a dream come true, and added: “I’m not going to beat myself up too much. It was a dream come true to play Ronnie in the final. I really struggled in the first session yesterday. We both had a bit of a hangover from the semi-finals. I’m a fighter. I tried to just relax, let the shackles off and go for it.”

O’Sullivan pocketed 500K and is now back to World no 2.

2019 World Champion Judd Trump, who was knocked out by Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals is still World no 1.

But for Wilson, he can take heed of this…

As the song by Chumbawumba says: “I get knocked down, but I get up again. you are never going to keep me down.”

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Hairy Times for Ronnie O’Sullivan…

Back in the day…

Ronnie O’Sullivan has sported many revamps, image-wise.

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O’Sullivan breezed through the group with some fine play…

He’s had shaved heads.

Overlong hair.

Parted styles.

Beards.

Now, he’s sporting a Gaucho-style moustache in tribute to Maximum man Willie Thorne, who is suffering from cancer.

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O’Sullivan’s moustache had many fans commenting on the new look…

He told WST: “I haven’t played since February,” said O’Sullivan. “I played the semi-finals of the Welsh Open and you can’t really count the Shoot-Out as it’s only a frame. I did two exhibitions but other than that I’ve only played for about four or five hours last week but it just shows you probably don’t need the practice!

“The moustache is in homage to Willie Thorne; Willie had the moustache but no hair, I’ve got the moustache but no hair.”

But some things of the 44-year-old Rocket don’t change.

His genius.

He strode into the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes and from the off racked a ton in the first frame.

It was to be the start of a comfortable evening for the five-time World Champion as he comfortably won all three matches quickly and in style. He was impressive in his last match with Chris Wakelin, as he made breaks of 93 and 97 to see himself into the last 16.

Ford motored to a group win…

Leicester’s Tom Ford also had a belter in the other group played, and also joins O’Sullivan next week into the remaining matches of the CL.

Ford also told WST: “I played well today. People had chances against me because we are all a bit rusty. I came into it not expecting to do well because I’ve not been practising that much, but we are all in the same boat. But when you don’t have too much pressure on you to play well you can play a bit better than you think.”

He added: “I got in the balls earlier in the first two frames against Rob. It was going to be a difficult match anyway because he’s a good player, and he had played the previous match whereas I was a bit cold coming on. Fortunately, Rob missed a ball – he said because his tie got in the way – and I was glad to get over the line.”

“The venue, the hotel, the staff, the organisers, everybody has been brilliant. It is better than I expected it was going to be. I expected it to be good and very professional but it has exceeded.”

Bingham in the box…

Stuart Bingham will play in the Saturday group of the Championship League as the 2015 World Champion has been dabbling in a spot of commentary with the ITV4 team this week with David Hendon and Phil Yates, along with other players Dominic Dale and Joe Perry.

The coverage starts at 3PM on ITV4.

And, more good news.

Tour Championship to return this month…

Snooker’s coverage on ITV4 continues in June as it leads the way with The Tour Championship coming back after it was postponed in March due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and lockdown. It will be played at the Marshall Arena behind closed doors from the 20th – 26th June.

WST boss Barry Hearn trumped the announcement and said: “We have proved that despite the many challenges associated with running events in the current conditions, it can be done. There is no sport which can meet the required regulations on isolation, sanitisation and social distancing as rigorously as snooker can, and that is why we have set an example for other sports to follow.”

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How does this snooker phenomenon keep doing it?

Ronnie O’Sullivan…

Is to snooker what Elvis is to music.

Snooker fans will wonder which Ronnie will turn up when snooker can restart again once the Pandemic has calmed down…

Whether you love him, hate him, or are indifferent, the likelihood is you will have heard of him. The sport is not renowned for its high-profile superstars or personalities, but the one man that does fit this mould is ‘The Rocket’ himself. He shot onto the scene at an early age (17) and has been entertaining us with his rock-and-roll style ever since.

Ronnie the Record-breaker…

He is still going strong at the ripe old age of 44 and although he plays fewer tournaments than he once did, he still exudes the same brand of high-octane snooker. How does he do it? And how long can we realistically expect him to do it?

Most sports people have a limited shelf life.

Watch a previous interview with Ronnie about being the best.

Career spirals…

Towards the mid to late thirties, early forties, most professionals duck out or give way to the next wave of players. If they continue, then their ranking tends to slip and you will see previously top ten ranked competitors scrapping their way through qualification to the big tournaments. This is not the case with Ronnie.

A Maverick…

At 44, he is still ranked in the top-ten and is still picking up silverware regularly. As a maverick character, a lot of Ronnie’s success depends on how he feels and what mindset he is in when he is competing. There were always questions about how far he could go, as it was apparent he had the unique talent the game has ever seen, but also a temperamental side and a tendency to lose focus..

Which Ronnie will turn up when the snooker restarts?

Ronnie O’Sullivan is like a Tiger. Hungry and on the prowl for more wins to win 37 ranking titles. Photo by Stone Wang on Unsplash

For all the questions on mental approach we still find Ronnie one of the most talked-about players in the game, one of the most successful and still the biggest draw to fans around the world. He is still at the top and deserves all the credit he gets.

How does he keep the hunger and passion for the sport and how can someone maintain the standards he does, for as long as he has? Experts in SBO wonder if he will continue breaking records?

Ronnie has channeled his obsessions for the greater good…

It is well known that Ronnie is a keen runner and is obsessive about keeping fit in his free time. He has, by his own admission, an addictive personality and has found that channeling this into something beneficial for the body has complemented his game and improved his quality of life.

Ronnie’s book Running explains the theory behind the passion…

Food for thought…

Another important part of the Rocket’s preparation is his diet. In 2017 he met Rhiannon Lambert, a nutritionist and diet expert and, since then, she has helped him revolutionize his diet and totally overturn his old eating habits. He is now carefully planning his meals in order to get the most energy and nutrition available. He has not only changed what he eats but how often he eats. Everything is planned, right down to the quantity. He swears by his diet and claims that his recent resurgence in form and success is down to this. The diet has re-energized him as a player.

Ronnie is still hungry for more at 44…

Mentally, Ronnie is still hungry and said himself that if he still has a chance of winning tournaments, he could continue for 5, 10 or even 15 years. It remains to be seen for how long he can pose a threat, but for now he is looking as strong as ever. If he remains fit and healthy and keeps a positive state of mind, then it will take skill and effort for any opponents to move him out of the way.

If Ronnie can get his diet in order, then so can you. This book has simple and easy to do recipes for those eager to get their diet in order. Pick up a copy and try some now…

How long will the Prince of snooker Judd Trump rule?

Judd Trump

The new generation are coming through strongly and the mercurial form of the Ronnie-esque Judd Trump is providing the biggest challenge. The likes of the ever-consistent Neil Robertson and the intelligent and determined Mark Selby will pose a challenge and the busy schedule of tournaments always throws up various obstacles. Ronnie has been playing a limited number of tournaments of late, although he is toying with the idea of playing more.

When the season restarts it remains to be seen which Ronnie we see, but be sure of one thing, he will entertain us, it will take something special to topple the king!

>>This is a sponsored post by Florence Marceau<<

 

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Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Surprise Break Off: What it teaches you…

So, you want to try a new break-off shot, because you’re bored with the conservative break-off and want to surprise your opponent, but not sure what to do?

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In the Northern Ireland Open on Tuesday, five-times World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan showed us another alternative way you can break-off to start a frame.

It’s a useful shot to have in your knowledge base in the ways you can break-off from the break-off.

There’s loads of ways you can break off in snooker.

1) There’s the conservative break-off which is the traditional way of starting a frame of snooker.

2) There’s an attacking break-off which is a slight twist on the conservative one, where you strike the middle to second last red and the balls should open up a bit more. That’s an attacking safety.

3) There’s also slipping the cue ball between the blue and hitting the opposite red on the other side of the triangle and that’s not done often in professional snooker. It can be risky.

This is Ronnie’s one. WATCH NOW…

In Nic Barrow’s snookergym training, he goes through the ways to break off plus offers some useful tips for maximising your break-off shot.

The secret to a good break-off is getting that cue ball tight on the baulk cushion and making it as difficult for your opponent as possible.

WATCH NIC’s VIDEO BELOW NOW…

So, what does Ronnie O’Sullivan’s break-off shot last night tell us in the bigger picture of snooker.

The break-off shot is one of the underrated shots in snooker and should be practiced as much as potting, break building, and safety.

It is in fact, the first safety shot you play on the table so it helps to get it right!

It also can become an interesting mind trick for your opponent.

Why not try mixing up your break-off shots a little and leave your opponent guessing what break-off you might do the next time it’s your turn to start the frame?

There are many ways you can play little mind tricks on your opponent without them even knowing.

The more you play with people, the more you will notice these little “tricks” in frames.

It’s also useful to watch as much TV pro snooker as you can and you can spot little “tricks” professionals are doing.

Snooker is ONE BIG MIND GAME…

It does not just apply to the break-off!

Watch Nic’s part two of his break-off secrets below…

PS: Ronnie’s break off in the Northern Ireland Open also appears in John Virgo’s Trickshots DVD where he plays Alex Higgins in an exhibition frame.

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O’Sullivan Rockets to a Record Seventh UK Title

Ronnie O’Sullivan has claimed a seventh UK Championship crown – and now has bagged 19 major titles, bettering the records of Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry. 

The Rocket comfortably eased past Mark Allen in the final 10 – 6, after doing much of the damage in the first session by leading 6 – 2 at the afternoon’s session going into the evening.

The incredible feat puts him on…

  • 7 UK Championship titles
  • 5 World titles (still two away from equalling Hendry’s tally.)
  • 7 Masters titles

The Rocket, now 43, who won the UK title, his first ranking title at the tender age of 17, now has 34 ranking titles to his name – and, is two away from Stephen Hendry’s 36, making him second in the all-time list.

After the win he paraded around the Barbican in York like a jubilant teenager, a far cry from the humbled teenager overwhelmed by the win all those years ago in 1993.

Other soon to come feats from the rejuvenated snooker player, who has been having a spell of good form under coach Stephen Feeney and SightRight, which, he commented earlier on in the week as “an amazing piece of science” include…

  • Breaking the 1000 tons barrier, which could come in 2019, depending on how many events the Rocket plays.

The Rocket said after the UK win he was just enjoying his snooker again and that the coaching of SightRight had refocused him.

He’s already double qualified for the Champion of Champions 2019, after winning a third CofC title back in November at the Ricoh Arena. This is his first ranking title of the 2018/19 season.

Along with the title, he picked up 170K first prize. Mark Allen bagged a modest 70K for his efforts on getting to the final. Allen played some great snooker throughout the tournament even beating Neil Robertson on course from 5 – 4 behind.

Worryingly, O’Sullivan is cleaning up on the snooker circuit, and, unless someone steps up, SnookerZone can see this being the result for a few seasons to come.

His other records include:

  • fastest 147 break in 5 mins 20 seconds
  • 15 maximum breaks

So far, in this 2018/19 campaign, O’Sullivan has earnt just over half a million pounds in prize money! And the season has still plenty of snooker to come!

 

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Judd Trump Silences Critics – For Now

 

Embed from Getty Images

Judd Trump has silenced his critics after successfully claiming the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast over the weekend.

The 29-year-old Juddernaut had not won a tournament since his European Masters triumph over a year ago as he edged Ronnie O’Sullivan 9 – 7 in a gripping final at the Waterfront.

It was nip and tuck for most of the match but Judd towards the end took advantage of some rare O’Sullivan mistakes to see it out and pocket the 70K first prize and lift the Alex Higgins trophy.

O’Sullivan said after he was enjoying his snooker, but glad he didn’t have to get up at 10AM the next morning to fly to another event.

Trump said the win was one of his best so far, and it meant a lot to be able to shut up some of his critics who have been questioning how far he can go in the game.

So far, Trump has won nine ranking titles – but has yet, despite all his talent not managed to push on with the World Championship to which he was a finalist in 2011.

However, he said during the week-long event that he’s upped his practice to six to seven hours a day and had hired his brother Jack to help him out on the tour and give him support.

He added coming into the event that he knew he would win one at some point, saying he felt confident with his game.

In finals, O’Sullivan and Trump have played eight times, with Trump winning five of them!

O’Sullivan will head off to the UK Championship in York to defend his title he won last year and he won his first ranking title in the UK at the age of 17.

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O’Sullivan Got Lucky to Scrape Third Champion of Champions title

 

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN scraped victory to win the 2018 Champion of Champions over the weekend narrowly defeating Kyren Wilson in a thrilling match that went down to the wire at the Ricoh Arena Coventry.

O’Sullivan, 42, was 5 – 1 up at one point in the first session – but then Wilson managed to pull his socks up and get stuck in in the final session and start piling on the pressure on O’Sullivan at 8 – 6.

The Rocket was not in vintage form, but at 9 – 8 as the roles were reversed and Kyren was on the up, lady luck saw Ronnie fluke a snooker with a wild rest shot which ended with Ronnie forcing a decider.

Eventually, O’Sullivan knocked in a ton in the final frame to dash Wilson’s dreams of a big major win over the Rocket, who had also given him a drubbing in the 2017 English Open.

Wilson said after the match he had played terrible and added it was his own fault when he could have seen out the match but missed a crucial red on a 61 break in a frame which he could have won the match.

Both O’Sullivan and Wilson admitted they had not played great in the best of 19 encounter.

The Rocket’s 100K win is his third Champion of Champions title and he has qualified for the 2019 edition next year.

This week sees the ranking event the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast as part of the Home Nations series which saw Stuart Bingham lift the English Open in Crawley.

Watch O’Sullivan’s interview, below…