JUDD TRUMP has already written himself into the snooker legend books.
The 31-year-old made even more history over the weekend by scooping his third Northern Ireland Open on the bounce and become the second player to win three ranking events three years running to the same player and, by the same scoreline – 9 – 7.
It was to be another epic meeting with the six-times World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, turning 45 next month, who was looking to upset the Trump order, but a below-par Ronnie in the first four frames went 3 – 1 down at the mid-session interval in the afternoon.
However, when they came out after for the final four frames, the play improved as both ended the session with back-to-back centuries. Ronnie knocked in a 130 to end, trailing by two – 5 – 3.
The evening session…
Trump motored on in the evening with an 89 and a 55 to go 7 – 3 up and it was looking like a cruise for the defending champion.
But the Rocket dug deep and won the next two. But a 115 from Trump saw him go 8 – 5 with just one needed to claim a historic moment in the Trump history book.
O’Sullivan, who had not been firing all day, then went to the well and found some of his best form and fired in a 93 and 74.
It was looking like it might be an 8 – 8 decider, but a not so decent break-off, Trump was in to fire off a steely 93 in the last to claim his second Home Nations title this season. He had done similar in the English Open weeks earlier when he knocked in a ton against Neil Robertson in the last frame.
Talking after, Trump said he was enjoying the challenge of playing Ronnie and said: “The more I win now, the more I want to win.”
He added he was just happy to learn as much as he can from playing him and to keep winning and hopefully play him in the next big event again in the final of the UK.
When asked what he thought of Barry Hearn’s decision to remove the £1 million bonus from the Home Nations event for the player who wins all four, Trump joked…
“Give me my million.”
A Rocket Bonus…
O’Sullivan said after he was enjoying his snooker now and wished he had enjoyed it more during the early part of his career.
He said the reason why he was playing on in frames when he was 70 points down was because he wasn’t getting much practice at home and he said the match table plays lovely, so you might as well just knock a few balls here when you can.
He told WST after: “I’m not disappointed. I’ve had a great week and a fantastic time. I played some good snooker and enjoyed it. I’d have taken quarter-finals all day long. This is a bonus.”
He added: “I just play for a hobby now. I don’t have to play for a living. If I had to play this game for a living, I would be miserable as hell. I just play for fun and do my business off the table. I obviously would like to win. It is a tough school.”