By ANDREW DILLON
Published: 27 Apr 2009
MARK ALLEN claimed snooker can do without The Rocket — just as the World Championship hit snail pace.
Plodding potters Mark King and Stephen Maguire ground out the longest frame in Crucible history with a mind-numbing 75-MINUTE marathon.
And this was 24 hours after Allen set the Betfred.com tournament alight by sending defending champ and world No 1 Ronnie O’Sullivan crashing out in one of the biggest upsets for years.
The super-confident Northern Ireland star, 23, then blasted O’Sullivan over claims snooker is dying.
Allen rapped: “I don’t believe any of it and take what Ronnie says with a pinch of salt.
“Sometimes he says things he doesn’t think about and they do more damage to the game than he thinks.
“I think Ronnie made a comment that he’s carrying the game on his shoulders and I don’t see it that way.
“And if Ronnie believes that, he should walk away. Maybe they do need to try new things to get the popularity back but you don’t want loads of people drinking and shouting like the darts. It’s a gentleman’s sport.
“There are more than enough players to take the mantle over from Ronnie. The game has ever been in better health player-wise. In any sport there should never be one player who runs it and over the last few years it does seem Ronnie has.
“He seems to get away with things other players wouldn’t.”
And Allen even reckons referees at The Crucible are running scared of rocking the boat and upsetting The Rocket and his noisy entourage.
Allen has 20 pals over from Antrim to cheer him into his first quarter-final and a best-of-25 frames match with Ryan Day tomorrow.
He said: “It did seem like against Ronnie, every time people shouted for him nothing was said and every time someone shouted for me the referee would look up and say ‘That’s enough’.
“I potted the black for 119 and someone shouted out and they got thrown out.
“I think it’s because there are so many Ronnie fans you can’t single anyone out.
“I’ve beaten Ronnie so there’s no reason why I can’t win it. I’m scared of no one.
“I’m here to do a job but I know people are paying good money to come and watch.
“Times are tough and it’s my duty to entertain. Some players are ‘win at all costs’ but that can be boring.”
We do need players like Ronnie,i like to be entertained,its like watching paint dry without him.
Mark Allen won't win this year. Any player left in the tournament would have beaten Ronnie the form he showed in that match. Maybe in a few years though.
RONNIES A ROCK STAR PLAYER LIKE ALEX HIGGINS THERE THE ONES WE LIKE AND WHO WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED.SNOOKER IS DYING I HAVENT WATCHED IT IN A LONG TIME.PRETTY BORING.
Of course we need "The Rocket".
It's great having someone who says what's on their mind and actually has some emotion about the sport. Rather than all those that just tow the PR line and say what they think we want to hear.
Snooker does not need Ronnie. Snooker needs more stars like Ebden and McGuire playing out a fascinating tactical frame lasting 78 minutes. Playing out each possible shot in the mind before executing it wrongly on the table. That is pure drama not the 5 min 147s Ronnie gets. By the way I'd take the drinking, shouting and jeering at the darts over snooker any day of the week. Darts is more exciting, skilled, and glamorous than snooker can ever be. with or without Ronnie.
Snooker was more popular before Ronnie arrived... when people like Davis and Hendry dominated the game that was exciting.
Ronnie is the type of guy who you pay money to see and you don't know if hes gonna turn up.
I also don't agree that hes the most gifted player ever because i don't see him winning world title 5+ years in a row.
what a complete load of trash. Ronnie is the only reason that snooker is surving with his skill and speed. The popularity of the game is dwindling fast and millions are watching something else now. Stick to watching that fantastic team Doncaster you muppet hahaha
Ronnie cannot save snooker. he keeps losing. snooker is going down the pan. even ronnie is bored of it. players like ronnie are being replaced by bores like allen, ebden selby etc. i'd rather watch boring everton who cannot score than snooker. and doncaster are the best.
Snooker needs Ronnie desperately.
Over here in Switzerland Snooker is slowly getting bigger.
Those who follow the sport almost only know Ronnie O'Sullivan.
He's so entertaining, so heartbreaking, so gifted, and so passionate.
I wish there was a new Ronnie in sight.
Over here we love him, and it's why we even know about Snooker.
The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Need a hotel? Visit Yorkshire South Tourism’s special offers for this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0871 700 0121
Saturday 18 April
Match 1 – Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham (Michaela Tabb) - 6-3
Match 15 – Mark King v Rory McLeod (Eirian Williams) - 3-3
Match 7 – Graeme Dott v Barry Hawkins (Pete Williamson) - 4-5
Match 12 – Stephen Hendry v Mark Williams (Alan Chamberlain) - 4-5
Match 1* - Ronnie O’Sullivan v Stuart Bingham (Michaela Tabb) - 10-5 :-)
Match 13 – Allister Carter v Gerard Greene (Colin Humphries) - 6-3
Sunday 19 April
Match 2 – Mark Allen v Martin Gould (Terry Camilleri) - 7-2
Match 15* - Mark King v Rory McLeod (Eirian Williams) - 10-6
Match 8 – Mark Selby v Ricky Walden (Jan Verhaas) - 6-3
Match 13* - Allister Carter v Gerard Greene (Colin Humphries) - 10-5
Match 7* - Graeme Dott v Barry Hawkins (Peter Williamson) - 10-8
Match 12* - Stephen Hendry v Mark Williams (Alain Chamberlain) - 10-7
Monday 20 April
Match 2*- Mark Allen v Martin Gould (Terry Camilleri) - 10-6
Match 10 – Marco Fu v Joe Swail (Brendan Moore) - 5-4
Match 8*- Mark Selby v Ricky Walden (Jan Verhaas) - 10-6
Match 11- Ding Junhui v Liang Wenbo (Eirian Williams) - 5-4
Match 6- Joe Perry v Jamie Cope (Alan Chamberlain) - 5-4
Match 10*- Marco Fu v Joe Swail (Brendan Moore) - 10-4
Tuesday 21 April
Match 3 - Peter Ebdon v Nigel Bond (Jan Verhaas) - 3-5
Match 11* - Ding Junhui v Liang Wenbo (Eirian Williams) - 10-8
Match 6*- Joe Perry v Jamie Cope (Alan Chamberlain) - 6-10
Match 9 - Shaun Murphy v Andrew Higginson (Terry Camilleri) - 5-4
Match 3*-Peter Ebdon v Nigel Bond (Jan Verhaas) - 5-10
Match 14-Neil Robertson v Steve Davis (Colin Humphries) - 7-2
Wednesday 22 April
Match 4 - Ryan Day v Stephen Lee (Brendan Moore) - 6-3
Match 9* - Shaun Murphy v Andrew Higginson (Terry Camilleri) - 10-8
Match 5- John Higgins v Michael Holt (Michaela Tabb) - 5-4
Match 14*- Neil Robertson v Steve Davis (Colin Humphries) - 10-2
Match 4*-Ryan Day v Stephen Lee (Brendon Moore) - 10-4
Match 16- Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett (Pete Williamson) - 6-3
Thursday 23 April
Match 5*-John Higgins v Michael Holt (Michaela Tabb) - 10-5
Match 22 - Ding Junhui v Stephen Hendry (Brendan Moore) - 4-4
Match 17- Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mark Allen (Terry Camilleri) - 4-4
Match 16*-Stephen Maguire v Jamie Burnett (Pete Williamson) - 10-5
Friday 24 April
Match 18- Nigel Bond v Ryan Day (Colin Humphries) - 2-6
Match 22 - Ding Junhui v Stephen Hendry (Brendan Moore) - 8-8
Match 17- Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mark Allen (Terry Camilleri) - 9-7
Match 21- Shaun Murphy v Marco Fu (Michaela Tabb) - 7-1
Match 18- Nigel Bond v Ryan Day (Colin Humphries) - 4-11
Match 22* - Ding Junhui v Stephen Hendry (Brendan Moore) - 10-13
Saturday 25 April
Match 17* – Ronnie O'Sullivan v Mark Allen (Terry Camilleri) - 11-13 :-(
Match 21- Shaun Murphy v Marco Fu (Michaela Tabb) - 13-3
Match 18*- Nigel Bond v Ryan Day (Colin Humphries) - 5-13
Match 23- Ali Carter v Neil Robertson (Jan Verhaas) - 3-5
Match 19 - John Higgins v Jamie Cope (Eirian Williams) - 4-4
Match 21*- Shaun Murphy v Marco Fu (Michaela Tabb) - finished in the second session - 13-3
Sunday 26 April
Match 20- Graeme Dott v Mark Selby (Alan Chamberlain) - 2-6
Match 24- Mark King v Stephen Maguire (Pete Willamson) - 4-4
Match 19 - John Higgins v Jamie Cope (Eirian Williams) - 8-8
Match 23- Ali Carter v Neil Robertson (Jan Verhaas) - 7-9
Monday 27 April
Match 20 - Graeme Dott v Mark Selby (Alan Chamberlain) - 6-10
Match 24 – Mark King v Stephen Maguire (Pete Willamson) - 6-10
Match 19*- John Higgins v Jamie Cope (Eirian Williams) - 13-12
Match 23*- Ali Carter v Neil Robertson (Jan Verhaas) - 8-13
Match 20*- Graeme Dott v Mark Selby (Alan Chamberlain) - 10-13
Match 24* - Mark King v Stephen Maguire (Pete Willamson) - 6-13
Tuesday 28 April
Match QF1- Mark Allen v Ryan Day (Brendan Moore) - 5-3
Match QF3- Shaun Murphy v Stephen Hendry (Terry Camilleri) - 3-5 (Hendry - the 9th 147)
Match QF2- John Higgins v Mark Selby (Colin Humphries) - 4-4
Match QF4- Neil Robertson v Stephen Maguire (Michaela Tabb) - 5-3
Match QF1- Mark Allen v Ryan Day (Brendan Moore) - 9-7
Match QF3- Shaun Murphy v Stephen Hendry (Terry Camilleri) - 9-7
Wednesday 29 April
Match QF2- John Higgins v Mark Selby (Colin Humphries) - 8-8
Match QF3*- Shaun Murphy v Stephen Hendry (Terry Camilleri) - 13-11
Match QF1*- Mark Allen v Ryan Day (Brendan Moore) - 13-11
Match QF4 - Neil Robertson v Stephen Maguire (Michaela Tabb) - 8-6
Match QF2*- John Higgins v Mark Selby (Colin Humphries) - 13-12
Match QF4*- Neil Robertson v Stephen Maguire (Michaela Tabb) - 13-8
Thursday 30 April
Match SF1- Mark Allen v John Higgins (Jan Verhaas) - 2-6
Match SF2- Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson (Eirian Williams) - 4-4
Friday 1 May
Match SF1- Mark Allen v John Higgins (Jan Verhaas) - 3-13
Match SF2- Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson (Eirian Williams) - 9-7
Match SF1- Mark Allen v John Higgins (Jan Verhaas) - 9-15
Saturday 2 May
Match SF2- Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson (Eirian Williams) - 14-10
Match SF1*- Mark Allen v John Higgins (Jan Verhaas) - 13-17
Match SF2*- Shaun Murphy v Neil Robertson (Eirian Williams) - 17-14
Sunday 3 May
Final- John Higgins v Shaun Murphy (Michaela Tabb) - 4-4
Final- John Higgins v Shaun Murphy (Michaela Tabb) - 11-5
Monday 4 May
Final- John Higgins v Shaun Murphy (Michaela Tabb) - 16-8
Final*- John Higgins v Shaun Murphy (Michaela Tabb) - 18-9
Shaun Murphy hardly endeared himself to the neutrals by refusing to allow Neil Robertson leave to get his extension from his dressing room during frame five tonight.
It was hard to hear in commentary, but I'm told by someone who was in the arena that when the referee, Eirian Williams, asked Murphy if he minded if Robertson went to retrieve the equipment, the 2005 world champion replied with a fair amount of sarcasm: "Why don't we go out for a cup of tea as well?" [note: this is second hand, I didn't hear him say it myself]
That said, it was Neil's own fault for not bringing it back into the arena after the interval.
(note of webmaster - Murphy really knows how to gain more "friends" in tour, first Maguire and his chalk and now Robertson and his extension - what do you think about it? awaiting your opinion at Discussion forum)
28 April 2009
Well you can’t fault the players for the drama they served up yesterday. It was another thrilling day’s snooker that has set up one of the best quarter-final line-ups we’ve ever had at the Crucible.
The John Higgins-Jamie Cope match was pulsating all the way through and climaxed with the twice former champion showing his class to win from 12-10 down in the first decider of the championship.
I felt sorry for Cope, though, who had his bid for victory derailed through no fault of his own.
In frame 24, he attempted to trickle the cue ball up to the yellow but it quite clearly rolled off. It may have caught the join between the slates but, whatever, it was most unfortunate and obviously got to Jamie as his next shot was slapdash and he barely got a chance in the decider.
It’s very warm in the Crucible arena and the heat may have played a part in two spectators – now thankfully OK – being taken ill and thus holding up play.
Both times Higgins returned from these unscheduled breaks with tough pots; both times he knocked them in.
He now plays Mark Selby, who has had the upper hand over him ever since their Crucible final two years ago.
Selby won another dramatic battle last night, 13-10 against the ever determined Graeme Dott.
This match included a bizarre incident during the morning session where both players were fouled for the same shot.
Dott played a shot and saw the cue ball running towards the green pocket. Quite often in such a situation the player will catch the white but he put his fist in the pocket. This was interpreted by referee Alan Chamberlain as interfering with a ball in play.
So Selby should have played from where it came to rest. However, he was – understandably – unaware and picked it up to place it in the ‘D’ whereupon he was also fouled.
Ultimately, it had no bearing on that frame or the match. Also, under the letter of the law Chamberlain was correct.
But here’s a question: what’s to stop players doing what Dott did so as to gain an advantage by not allowing their opponents to have the white in hand?
Stephen Maguire battled through a generally unattractive match against Mark King and will now take on Aussie Neil Robertson, who he has beaten seven times out of eight.
Robertson was one of a number of players seen fist-pumping and roaring into cameras.
This from a sport we are constantly told has ‘no characters.’
Personally, I’m all for it. There’s nothing wrong with some emotion as long as it doesn’t spill over into gamesmanship.
So, a great day and a great finish to the tournament to come. And then you open The Guardian and are confronted with a stream of drivel from Simon Hattenstone, who I have long suspected has an obsession with Ronnie O’Sullivan that borders on the unhealthy. (article below)
His column is a predictable mishmash of clichés and in any case contradictory – he says the championship is no good without O’Sullivan having already stated he regards snooker as the most boring sport.
Fine, Simon. Don’t watch.
But those who do tune in are likely to witness one of the best conclusions to any World Championship you could wish for.
by Simon Hattenstone Monday 27 April 2009
Ronnie O'Sullivan's Crucible defeat means the one possible reason for watching the dullest sport on earth has gone
Poor BBC. Poor Betfred. And most of all, poor bloody viewers. With Ronnie O'Sullivan knocked out of snooker's world championship in the second round, the one possible reason for watching the dullest sport on earth has gone.
I must declare an interest here – I ghostwrote Ronnie's book. But not that much of an interest (before Ronnie, I only watched the snooker to keep pace with my dad, who was convinced that every year was going to be Jimmy White's turn). BBC executives must have gone crazy when Ronnie lost. They wait a year for another 17-day O'Sullivan orgy, and then he flumps out to a 23-year-old known as the Pistol from Antrim Town.
Never has one man dominated a sport like Ronnie has done snooker. Yes, Tiger Woods is far and away the world's best golfer but the sport can still grip in his absence or when he's not quite on his game (think of the recent US Masters, as Argentina's Angel Cabrera beat Kenny Perry in a sudden-death play-off). Although Federer and Nadal dominate tennis, a Murray–Djokovic final is a pretty exciting prospect. But snooker – if Ronnie's not there, you might as well turn off the telly. As so many of us have done.
The game is such an unfortunate sport. It requires a ludicrous degree of skill, stamina and mental strength to succeed and yet unless it's played by an ambidextrous genius with a penchant for flipping in public and a family life as exotic as Tony Soprano's, it's still deadly. Ronnie recently suggested snooker needed Simon Cowell to give the game a revamp and the sport has introduced a new short-format version to keep us awake. But Simon Cowell and shorter games are not enough to ensure the future of the sport. What we need is players we give a damn about.
When we watch Ronnie, we're not simply watching snooker (though he does play the game with astonishing vision and grace) – we're engrossed in an open-ended epic drama. Will he play with left or right hand, hands or feet? Will he bite his tip off in frustration? Will he shave his head mid-session, throw in the white hanky and announce he's quitting the game to dedicate his life to marathon running and the mosque? All real possibilities.
Whereas your choices post-Ronnie are somewhat more limited. Will Shaun Murphy beat Stephen Hendry while doing a passable impression of a lump of lard? Will Allen end up as lardy as Murphy? Will Mark Selby, aka the Jester from Leicester, ever do anything worthy of his nickname?
In truth, snooker personalities were always the exception rather than the rule. Steve "Interesting" Davis only showed that he was genuinely interesting after he retired. Stephen Hendry is yet to do so.
The game's few characters played fast and lived fast, and were feted for their flaws (apologies for the alliteration, it's a snooker thang) – such as Rocket Ronnie, Whirlwind White and Hurricane Higgins, who were interesting because they were combustible. Would White blow yet another world final, would Higgins hit the ref in an alcohol-fuelled fury?
Turn to the snooker website for the 2009 world championship and the only tab worth clicking on (forget Scores, Century Breaks, Draw, BBC Coverage) is the one that says: "O'Sullivan Out".
The fact that Ronnie has lost and might be watched by his dad at the Crucible next year is infinitely more interesting than knowing Hendry is through to another quarter-final and could win a record-breaking eighth world title. For the desperate truth is that there's only one significant question left in this tournament. Will anybody be able to beat Mark King and Stephen Maguire's record for the longest and most boring frame ever, set yesterday (75 minutes, seeing you weren't asking)?
Mark Allen registered one of the biggest Crucible shocks in recent years by beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 13-11 at the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship.
A year ago, Allen was left in tears after an agonising 10-9 defeat to Stephen Hendry in the first round. Today, his emotions are at the other end of the scale as he scored the best win of his life by knocking out defending champion and world No 1 O'Sullivan.
A player of massive ability, Allen came of age today as he showed that he has the nerve so beat the best on the biggest stage. Possessing a fiery temperament, he let his passion spill over on several occasions during the match, notably at the end of the crucial 19th frame when he held his fist aloft for several seconds. But he managed to remain calm in winning the last two frames to reach the quarter-finals at Sheffield for the first time.
With his attacking style and speed around the table, 23-year-old Ulsterman Allen seems the natural successor to O'Sullivan as snooker's most exciting player to watch. The left-hander is likely to face Ryan Day next, and though Day may hold the edge in terms of experience and all-round match play, if Allen is able to carry on with the explosive long-potting and break-building he showed against O'Sullivan, he will be a handful for anyone.
Joe Swail, who knows Allen's game perhaps better than anyone, predicted before the match that the Antrim potter was one of only three players (John Higgins and Stephen Maguire being the others) who could stop O'Sullivan from becoming the first player since 1996 to retain the title. The Rocket himself would beg to differ, insisting after today's match that his game is currently at such a low standard that if he hadn't lost today, he would probably have lost in the next round.
Though O'Sullivan showed flashes on his genius among the balls - including the best attempt at a 147 in the event so far - he missed too many pots and his long game was as poor as it had been in his opening match against Stuart Bingham. In retrospect, the 33-year-old from Chigwell may regret the impulsive decision he took just before the Masters to snap the cue which gave him arguably the best season of his career in 2007/08. Though he won the Wembley tournament in a bubble of renewed focus, his game has since been patchy and he failed to reach the quarter-finals of any of the season's last three ranking events.
Trailing 9-7 overnight, Antrim's Allen got straight back on to level terms by winning the first two frames today with breaks of 59 and 69. O'Sullivan led 65-1 in the next but could not close out the frame and Allen battled back to force a respotted black. Both players narrowly missed difficult attempts before Allen slotted in a superb long pot to take the lead at 10-9 for the first time since 4-3.
Three-times champion O'Sullivan hit back in frame 20 by potting 14 reds and 13 blacks, just failing on a thin cut on the 14th black, attempting to dislodge the last red from a side cushion.
After the mid-session interval, Allen regained the lead thanks to runs of 46 and 36, then was unlucky to go in-off in potting a red early in the next, O'Sullivan capitalising with 67. On a run of 31 in frame 23, O'Sullivan looked to have the measure of his opponent, but surprisingly missed a black off its spot. Allen knocked in a brilliant 80 clearance, the best break of the match, to go 12-11 ahead.
The final frame saw Allen edge ahead with a run of 34. O'Sullivan had two chances at long reds, but missed his target on both occasions, and on the second gave Allen the chance to add 46 to complete his landmark victory.
Mark Allen comments
The quick start today was a boost, I put Ronnie under a bit of pressure. And considering Ronnie didn't play that badly, I’m delighted to have got through.
In the second session, Ronnie threw the kitchen sink at you, but you replied fighting fire with fire, matching him every step of the way. It must have made him think 'I’ve got a real match on hands here'?
That’s the quality that Ronnie has, he can just reel off frame after frame. Sometimes it can become silly. I just needed to dig in because I knew the chances would come. Coming out of the second session only 9-7 down, may have demoralised him because he played so well, but still couldn't pull clear. So I had to go out there today and keep him under perssure.
You potted some fabulous balls today, frankly too many to recall, on the whole you were terrific.
It’s strange really, I didn’t feel that I played that well today. I played ok but I also know I can play better. But all things considered, playing Ronnie under all that pressure, here at the Crucible...maybe not.
Having got over the huge hurdle of knocking out the hot favourite, the defending champion, some people say the greatest of all time, is there a danger of big comedown after a win of that magnitude ?
I don't think I’ll let that happen, at the end of the day everyone left in the tournament can win the title. I‘m obviously delighted to have got through against Ronnie, and I'll be on a high for the next day, but it’s just about winding down. I be spending some time with my partner, friends and family and building myself up the next match, because it’s a marathon here at the Crucible.
A few punches in the air out there this morning , you were really pumped up today.
I loved every minute of it, just being out there with Ronnie, as you say probably the most talented player the game has ever seen. So to play one of your heroes at the world championship, it’s a dream come true. But where a lot of players may have crumbled, it inspired me. Even when Ronnie was making breaks, I was thinking, I’ll get you the next frame. That's why you play this game, to play the best players in the world and on the best stage in the world.
Ronnie O'Sullivan comments
He played brilliant, and if he plays like that he's got a great chance to win the tournament. He's better than me.
I half expected it (to lose), I didn't expect to win my first round match. I'm not surprised, anyone would have beaten me playing on that type of form. I can't imagine that he'll be jumping around doing cartwheels because I was very poor. That's the way it goes.
I've not felt good all tournament. If I'd been 11-5 up I would have still felt quite negative because I wasn't producing or playing any good. I've been 16-8 up in the final but still felt I was going to lose, because my form can get that bad sometimes you (journalists) could have beaten me.
I'm playing badly in practice and in tournaments. Even if I had got through that one, that match wasn't the problem - it would have been the next one or the next one. Sometimes that's how it is.
I might watch a bit of it (the rest of the tournament) on TV. I'll go go home and see my kids and have some fun. I've got my dad coming home so I've got that to look forward to. I've got a lot of time now to spend with my dad, he's been a long time away, so I'm excited about that.
20 April 2009
By John Skilbeck
Ronnie O'Sullivan claims he will need a break from the World Championship if he is to keep his head together.
The Betfred.com-sponsored tournament began on Saturday and concludes on May 4.
And O'Sullivan fears he would lose his mind if he stayed around the Crucible for the duration.
The 33-year-old began his campaign with a 10-5 victory over Stuart Bingham, and is seeking to defend his trophy and win the world title for a fourth time.
"It's a long tournament at 17 days," O'Sullivan said.
"I think it's too long to be at a tournament. It's longer than the Olympics. Being here for 17 days, I'd be demented."
Last year's summer Olympics in Beijing spanned 16 days, excluding the opening ceremony and the preliminary football matches, so O'Sullivan has his facts straight.
However, tournament organisers would contend that the World Championship is the ultimate test for players, with the longer matches challenging their durability and excluding the possibility of a fluke winner.
The eventual winner must have fought to earn the tag of world champion, as O'Sullivan did in 2001, 2004 and 2008.
He must wait until Thursday for his second-round match to start, which is a source of frustration to O'Sullivan.
"I might go home or go and stay at my friend's house, just to break it up a little bit," he said.
"Being somewhere for 17 days is a long time. I get bored after three days on holiday."
O'Sullivan will certainly practice between now and Thursday, having detected room for improvement in his performance against Bingham.
His break-building was as impressive as ever, as three centuries and two breaks of 90-plus demonstrated.
However, O'Sullivan's safety play was not always perfect, nor was his long-potting which he cursed after the match.
If he passes the second round, Peter Ebdon could await in the quarter-finals, in a repeat of their classic 2005 meeting at the same stage, which O'Sullivan lost. Then John Higgins in the semi-finals.
"I know what I'm capable of and I know I can play decent stuff," said O'Sullivan.
Ronnie O'Sullivan fired in three centuries and six more breaks over 60 as he strolled to a 10-5 defeat of Stuart Bingham at the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship.
Bingham was a potential banana skin for the world No 1 - an expectional break-builder who shocked Stephen Hendry in the first round when the Scot was defending the title in 2000.
But O'Sullivan looked focused and confident throughout as he cruised into the last 16 where he will face Mark Allen or Martin Goould.
Aiming to become the first player to retain the Crucible crown since Hendry dominated the event from 1992 to 96, O'Sullivan will take some stopping if he continues in this free scoring mood.
He took his tally of Crucible centuries to 91, and his career total to 565, as he reached the second round at Sheffield for the 14th time in 16 years.
After coming from 3-2 down to lead 6-3 at the end of the first session, O'Sullivan stretched his lead in the opening frame tonight with a break of 78. Basildon's Bingham was determined to make a match of it and fought back to 7-5 with 80 and 100.
But Chigwell's O'Sullivan finished a high-quality contest in style by rattling through the last three frames with runs of 94, 103 and 97. He returns to the arena on Thursday evening.
Meanwhile, O'Sullivan's victim in last year's final, Ali Carter, edged towards the second round by taking a 6-3 lead over Gerard Greene.
Tiptree's Carter led 3-1 at the interval despite a top break of just 45, but then got his cue arm going with runs of 89, 91 and 53 to go 6-1 ahead. Greene kept his hopes alive by winning the last two with 62 and 55.
Post match reaction
How do you rate your performance out of 10?
About 5. There is a bit of improvement required in my game, so it should get better than that. My scoring was good but I never really have trouble amongst the balls. It was my long game where the problem was, so I just need to try and get some consistency in some areas of my game which will make me tougher and probably more professional and complete as a player.
There were times out there when I felt that I was losing interest because I was missing some balls by such a long way, which does make you question your game and that's when doubts creep in. You can start beating yourself, so sometimes it is a fine line that you tread.
You had another great reception when you entered the arena.
Yes, it’s great but I think it is because of the way that I play the game, I’ve always tried to be attacking and score big breaks and never been the type of player to slow things down. That's why the public loved to watch Jimmy White and Alex Higgins. There are players out there with better records than myself, Jimmy and Alex but don't really get the fans totally behind them. But I would rather be popular for the way I play and not what I win. If you were to compare the achievements of Bobby Moore to George Best in football, I would rather be George Best.
How would you view your own performance ?
It could have been better. I would have to say that I produced my C-game out there. I had opportunities, but the problem you have when playing Ronnie is that you must take them all. If you fail to capitalise on the chances he gives you, he scores so heavily and efficiently among the balls.
Obviously being drawn against Ronnie, you were up against it anyway.
Yes, it was always going to be an uphill struggle, but this is my fourth appearance at the Crucible and I’ve always told myself to enjoy it out there. If you can enjoy it, there is a better chance of playing well. I played well today in spells, it’s probably my best performance this year because by my own standards, this year I have not played that well. But playing the world No 1 and defending champion, it was always going to be tough.
Were you suprised by the long balls that Ronnie was missing ?
Yes, he normally knocks those shots in for fun, especially when we practise together. I did have trouble with my break off shots today and kept leaving Ronnie those long pots. But he did surprise me because every time I left one for him, I was saying to myself, “well thats another frame gone” but he missed most of them and let me in. You must take your chances against him, but sadly I didn't take mine to the full.
By John Skilbeck, PA Sport
Ali Carter has predicted red-hot favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan will fail to last the distance at the Betfred.com World Championship.
Carter suffered a crushing 18-8 defeat at the hands of his fellow Essex cueman in last May's final at the Crucible and is determined to go one better this time.
But, if Carter reaches the final again, he would be surprised if O'Sullivan is the player waiting for him there, because he fancies either John Higgins or Peter Ebdon to kill off the 33-year-old's bid for back-to-back titles.
Ebdon is a potential quarter-final opponent and memorably knocked out O'Sullivan at that stage three years ago when an extraordinary comeback at go-slow pace befuddled his fancied opponent.
Higgins, who defeated 'the Rocket' at the recent Bank of Beijing China Open and the World Championship in 2007, could lie in wait in the semi-finals.
Stephen Hendry was the last player to win successive World Championships, when he won his fifth in a row in 1996, and Carter expects that statistic to stay intact.
"I don't think Ronnie will be in the final this year," Carter said today.
"I think he'll get beaten in the mid rounds.
"I think John Higgins is a good bet and Peter Ebdon at 33-1 is who my money would be on.
"He's won it before, he's come back to a bit of form and he won the China Open.
"(O'Sullivan) has got a tough half of the draw and John Higgins beat him the last time he lost here, and John Higgins beat him in China. John Higgins is not scared of playing Ronnie."
Carter, 29, features in the bottom half of the draw and is thankful for that, given O'Sullivan, Higgins and Ebdon are in a top section that is set to be fiercely competitive.
"Ronnie will be fighting to win this like anything, he'll be trying his hardest," Carter said.
"But it's hard, it's such a long tournament. Anything can go wrong and, when you're playing world-class players like John Higgins in your half, it's not a guarantee for him to get there."
Carter takes issue with O'Sullivan's opinion the sport is losing its lustre.
O'Sullivan claimed at the start of the year snooker was "dying" but Carter suggests that is not the case and is baffled why the world number one would make such a statement.
"I don't see what he gets out of saying the game is dying," Carter said.
"He loves the game more than anyone in the world, he's played it since he was eight years old and deep down it's not dying at all.
"He'd be gutted if it was dead, like we all would."
Although O'Sullivan has won three world titles this century, Carter cannot imagine any player dominating the sport in the way seven-time champion Hendry bossed the 1990s, while six-time winner Steve Davis proved almost unbeatable in the previous decade.
"I don't think that's possible now," Carter said.
"The standard is so high I think it's impossible to get domination like Davis and Hendry did. Ronnie obviously is winning more than his fair share but he's not dominating by any means.
"That just goes to show how hard it is."
Carter launches his bid for glory when he takes on qualifier Gerard Greene at the weekend. Their match begins on Saturday evening, when O'Sullivan will be completing his opener against Stuart Bingham, and concludes on Sunday afternoon.
Carter will not be taking Greene lightly but he should not be overly troubled.
"He's a good player, a good natural, attacking player," Carter said.
"I'm going to have to be on top of my game to beat him."
When he reached last year's final, Carter had scarcely any time to recover from his draining 17-15 semi-final victory over Joe Perry before going straight into the biggest match of his life.
"I learned how hard it was to get to the final, never mind to win it," he continued.
"Mentally I had to be a lot fitter and I wasn't ready to win it last year.
"It was very hard in the final.I was very tired and Ronnie didn't make it easy for me.
"He was very good and his safety play was superb.
"You learn a lot about yourself when you're in that position and it's hardened me up for this season, definitely.
"I didn't have anything left in the tank. It's the world final and you're supposed to go out there and play really well and make loads of centuries but in reality it wasn't like that.
"I had such a hard ride. I won 10-9 in the first round, 13-9 in the quarters and 17-15 in the semis and I was up late that night and the final started the next day.
"I didn't have time to come down off a semi-final, let alone prepare for a final.
"I'm ready to play well this year and I'll take whatever that brings at the end of the two weeks."
The Rocket's father will be out of prison and watching on TV as his son aims for a fourth world title
The Guardian, Tuesday 14 April 2009
The Rocket fizzes down the hushed corridors of the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall in London, a controlled explosion that induces shock and awe among the venerable members. "Hello, mate," Ronnie O'Sullivan grins while defying the club's supposedly impregnable dress code of "suit-and-tie" in jeans, grey T-shirt, black leather jacket and matching stubble.
It is hard to resist, especially when the most distinctive feature of O'Sullivan's charming but fragile character is that you do not need to waste time with small talk. A simple response – "How are you, Ronnie?" – launches the first missile of truth. "I'm OK," he smiles, "but I definitely still have difficult thoughts. They've been coming again recently."
O'Sullivan, at the RAC to publicise the start of his world championship defence in Sheffield on Saturday, laughs when asked if those thoughts represent his old "demons" – as if the very word nuzzles his vulnerabilities. "Yeah, them demons," he says, as he remembers a past that had taken him from depression and drink to the Priory and Prozac, from a father still in prison 17 years after murdering a bodyguard of the Kray twins to his own majesty with a cue being overshadowed by controversy.
"It's to do with how I am," he says of his enduring battle with the black moods that still engulf him. "When I can't play the bread-and-butter shots that make the game simple, I lose my rhythm and think, 'This ain't good.' All season I've been struggling with them feelings. I become nervous inside because I'm not sure what I'm going to produce next."
He hesitates as he ponders a more debilitating inertia. "I lie there some mornings and think what's the point of even getting out of bed? I end up lying there until one in the afternoon. I'll struggle up, have a cup of tea and that's pretty much it. Those are the days you just lose."
Such raw honesty is unusual in conventional sportsmen – but O'Sullivan shows hope. "I'm a little better," he says thoughtfully, " because, in the past, I used to drown my sorrows. Now I don't. I face them front on. I'm ready for them."
O'Sullivan is a fanatical runner and its impact on helping him cope with depression is profound. "Running clears my mind, and gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Once I've had a run I can hit some balls for a couple of hours and by then it's the afternoon and I think, 'Yeah, it's been a positive day, really.'"
His face lights up when he describes meeting Tirunesh Dibaba, the great Ethiopian who won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Beijing Olympics. "I had all my questions written down and I showed her my running programme. She was shocked. She couldn't believe my mileage."
Did Dibaba know much about him? "She wasn't too up on her snooker but her brother was. He's big into pool. And she's invited me to stay in Ethiopia with her. I'd love to do that."
Out of wide-eyed respect O'Sullivan did not explain to Dibabe how running helps him pyschologically. But he is clearly feeling fitter in mind as well as body.
"And I haven't had a drink for over a year now. Since I went to the Priory in 2000 I've had a few slips along the way but, this time, I think I'm staying off the drink for good. I'm also off the Prozac. Fuck that. I got rid of 'em. I'm not saying they're bad, and they did help me, but I'd rather not rely on some pills to get me through the day."
Beyond his family problems and character, O'Sullivan's intensely ambivalent relationship towards snooker has always unsettled him.
He is almost certainly the most talented snooker player in history. At the 1996 world championship he racked up a maximum 147 in a record 5min 20sec, sinking a ball every nine seconds. At the same tournament he lived up to his claim that he could beat the Canadian Alain Robidoux left-handed – and won with his wrong hand. He is also infamously volatile, whether assaulting Mike Ganley, world snooker's current tournament director, again in 1996 at the Crucible, or smashing his cue to smithereens at the Masters earlier this year.
He gazes around our gloomy surroundings in the bowels of the RAC. "Here's my problem," he says, staring at the randomly scattered balls and green baize. "Snooker can be very isolating. Imagine spending your day in a room like this?"
O'Sullivan looks sad for a moment and it is obvious why the three-times world champion has long been British sport's most fascinating but troubled star. He has always exuded poignance as much as the kind of rollicking charisma which meant that, an hour earlier, the confused doormen's urge to bar him entry for not wearing the requisite club uniform had been drowned out by echoing cries from the new world championship sponsors, betfred.com. "Ronnie's here!" Grown men had shouted huskily when they saw our dishevelled hero. "Ronnie's here!"
The Rocket seems oblivious to it all. He is too busy exploring why snooker sometimes threatens to unravel him. But then he brightens. "There are positives too," he smiles. "Snooker's not a job. It's not like I have to go through the London rush-hour every day. That would drive me fucking mad. I couldn't cope with that."
He shrugs wryly when asked what he would like to have done, had he not been so gifted. "I'd like to have been Fred [Done]," he says of Britain's richest independent bookmaker, the ageing owner of 250 betting shops and the founder of betfred.com whom O'Sullivan hailed as the new saviour of snooker.
"I ask Fred: 'What makes you get out of bed in the morning?' He says it's the buzz. It's always a new day for Fred – with new problems to solve. Snooker ain't like that. It's the same thing over and over again. That's why I'd love to be Fred – or Alan Sugar. They'd throw me off if I went on The Apprentice, wouldn't they? But I like Sugar. He sees things other people can't. My dad's another one of them visionaries."
Even when his minders can be held back no longer, having failed to divert him by glowering at their watches every five minutes, O'Sullivan can surprise. He has already dodged the rest of the media upstairs and his getaway car is waiting for him outside but he still lingers. "That was lovely," he says. "Let's talk more tomorrow."
World snooker's publicist sounds doubtful. "Ronnie often says that," he warns. "Don't bank on it."
But the next evening, at home in Chigwell, the man they call The Essex Exocet reflects on another good day. There is also exhilaration in his voice. "My dad's having week releases. He comes home from prison for a week and then goes back inside for 28 days. It'll be like that until he gets out for good next April.
"His first release, two months ago, was weird. Sometimes I'm at an airport and I think, 'Bloody hell, this is hectic!' Imagine how strange the world must seem after 17 years inside. So it was a bit awkward the first time. I didn't know what to expect and I was worried. I was thinking, 'How's he going to adapt?' But once I realised he was going to be all right, well, mate, it's just fantastic."
O'Sullivan suddenly looks younger than 33. "We're in each other's pocket when he's on release and I'm so happy. My mum's Italian and she's always in the kitchen, doing the food thing, dah-di-dah, and when my dad came back and we had our first meal together it reminded me of when I was seven and we always had huge bowls of pasta and salad and bread. It's good them days are coming back."
Can they discuss his depression? "I've always had those conversations with him. And it's great he can see I'm moving forward. He came and watched me run and said, 'Fucking hell, Ron, I didn't realise you could run like that. I'm proud of you.' He thinks, 'Well, my son has his down days but he's an athlete as well.' My relationship with him has reformed and the bond with my kids is there. Lily is three and little Ronnie is nearly two. For my dad to give his grandson a cuddle is great. He's a strong man and he's come through it so well. But he's always been on top of things. When he was inside years ago he was the one who said, 'Ron, this internet thing is gonna happen! Get involved in it. Trust me, go with the times.' He has that vision."
His dad might be an internet visionary but I still steer O'Sullivan to the now mildly passé Myspace website and, specifically, to an obscure group of Polish jazz and hip-hop musicians. Northern Star People claim, while advertising downloads of their album, View From A Pocket, to be "inspired by the genius of Ronnie O'Sullivan".
The Rocket is amazed. "My dad will get a kick out of that. It's like I was in the Czech Republic and I met a famous pop star out there. He's mad about snooker. And I get loads of Russians following me at tournaments. It's great."
With fans stretching from Ethiopia to eastern Europe, O'Sullivan grins again. "It's global, mate. That's a new word for my dad, innit – global?"
As The Rocket aims to blitz his way towards a fourth world championship he will relish another burst of freedom for his father. "He's coming home for a week this month. The terms of his release mean he can't come to Sheffield but he can watch me on telly at home. That's going to help me because snooker gets in your head and there's nothing you can do when your opponent is at the table. That's the frustration. You have to sit in that chair and pretend you're interested. But I just want to jump up and play."
It is dark outside in Chigwell but O'Sullivan sounds as happy as he is serious. "I want to win this one for my dad. I ain't playing as well as when winning it last year but I'm determined. And next April it'll be even better. My dad will be there, at the Crucible, hopefully watching me defend my title in person. Wouldn't that be lovely?"
Saturday April 11,2009
By Hector Nunns
Ronnie O’Sullivan insists he remains the maverick free spirit that has driven almost as many spin doctors to tears as demoralised opponents.
But the Rocket, now 33, still bitterly resents the fact that his particular brand of shooting from the lip continues to see him portrayed as the bad boy of snooker.
Defending champion and world No1 O’Sullivan starts his Betfred.com world championship campaign against Essex practice partner Stuart Bingham next Saturday. And few would bet against the three-times winner stirring up another storm during this year’s sojourn at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre.
His outspoken views have frequently upset the authorities, notably in the past year an obscene outburst in China and a savage attack on how his sport is run in January during the Masters. Various “Peter Mandelson” types have attempted to tame O’Sullivan in the past and steer him in the direction of gentle platitudes – to no avail.
Speaking at the Grove Snooker Centre in Romford, he said: “I don’t do anything that bad. I might not be politically correct and say all the right things, and be how it seems you’re supposed to be, but I can’t change my ways.
“Even Barack Obama slipped up recently on TV and got into trouble.
“If someone like that can do that, from a law or PR background, I haven’t got the background and knowledge that he has.
“I say what’s on my mind and sometimes get punished. You are supposed to behave in a certain way and speak in a certain way.
“I have had PR companies sit me down and say, ‘Do this, say this, talk about this charity’…and I don’t need someone to make everything I say sound right.
“I’ve got a good heart, that’s all that matters and manufacturing me will never work, it never has. I’d rather be stacking shelves in Tesco than that.
“People just want a good guy and a bad guy. They seem to need it. And no matter how much I’ve tried to be a good guy for 10 years, I am portrayed as the bad guy.”
O’Sullivan is targeting a fourth title that would bring him closer to his own benchmark of five that heralds “greatness”, a mark passed by Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ray Reardon.
And if he is to achieve that before packing away his cue, it will be done his way, with flair and spontaneity to the fore.
O’Sullivan said: “My game is based on instinct, reactions and responding well to situations. I’m not the typical Davis, Hendry or John Higgins player. They are very methodical and disciplined, reliable like the Germans.
“If you were staking your house on someone, you’d want to be on someone like that. Me, I’m more like your Italian and can be very difficult to predict.”
The championships begin boosted by the late acquisition of a new £2.5million title sponsor, but with one unwelcome cloud of suspicion still hanging over the sport.
An official probe into a 9-3 defeat of Jamie Burnett by Stephen Maguire at the UK in December, prompted by unusual betting patterns on the final score, remains open and unresolved after four months.
Both players vigorously deny any wrongdoing, but on the general and wider issue of anyone fixing matches or scores for money, O’Sullivan – as if to prove his point that he will never be muzzled – has some forthright views.
He said: “I would never and could never do it, but if someone else really needed to do it, I’m not going to start preaching. We all make mistakes and do things we shouldn’t do, no one is an angel.
“Hedge funders are at it all the time all day long, the banks have been ripping people off and lying and cheating. It comes in all different forms and disguises.
“If a player is absolutely skint and thinks he can make £20,000 by throwing a match, it’s probably going to happen. You ain’t going to stop it, it happens elsewhere.”
O’Sullivan remains so far clear at the top of the world rankings that it would require him to lose in the first round and No2 Maguire to win the title for the first time for him to be toppled.
That is down to a campaign that has been solid, if not spectacular – the exception being his triumph at the Wembley Masters with a brand new cue, something O’Sullivan described as his “greatest achievement”. He said: “It has been all right, I’ve won three tournaments and been in another final.
“I’ve had a good season and if I win the world championship, it will have been a great one. That’s the way I see it.
“I haven’t really looked too hard at the draw. It’s dangerous for me to do that because I end up beating myself most of the time.
“It is very rare that I come off the table and say, ‘OK, I played decent, but I got beat’. Very rarely that happens to me.
“A lot of the times I’ve lost at the Crucible I’ve been so poor anyone would have beaten me. But if I find my form, I know I can come through even a tough draw.”
Ronnie O’Sullivan will start the defence of his World Snooker Championship title against Stuart Bingham on April 18.
The Rocket, who beat Ali Carter 18-8 in last year’s final to land his third Crucible crown, was paired with fellow Essex cueman Bingham when the random draw for the last 32 was made on BBC Radio Sheffield this morning.
World No 21 Bingham beat Stephen Hendry in the first round in 2000 and hopes he can register another shock. “It’s obviously a very tough draw, but maybe the first round is the best time to play Ronnie,” said the 32-year-old from Basildon.
“It will be one of the highlights of my career to play Ronnie at the Crucible. I’ve played Hendry there, and last year I beat Steve Davis and said that I wanted to play the best players at the best venues. The atmosphere will be fantastic.
“I play Ronnie twice a week in practice – he wins more often then not but I tend to hold my own. I’m just relieved to have made it to Sheffield and happy to be in the draw,” added Bingham, who beat Alan McManus 10-6 in the final qualifying round on Sunday.
In arguably the tie of the first round, former champions Mark Williams and Stephen Hendry will go head to head. They met in the final in 1999 when Hendry won the last of his seven titles. Twice-champion Williams has since dropped out of the top 16 but made it through the qualifiers by beating Tom Ford 10-5.
Young Chinese stars Ding Junhui and Liang Wenbo will meet for the first time in professional competition. Ding has won three ranking titles but has never been past the second round at the Crucible, while Liang enjoyed a memorable run to the quarter-finals on his debut last year. Both are based at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield.
Legend Steve Davis, who came from 5-0 down to beat Lee Spick 10-8 in the qualifiers last night, is rewarded with a tie against Australia’s Neil Robertson.
John Higgins, the 1998 and 2007 Champion, faces a tough test against Michael Holt in the opening round, while Shaun Murphy plays debutant Andrew Higginson. Another debutant, Roewe Shanghai Masters champion Ricky Walden, is up against former Masters winner Mark Selby.
The draw for the first round of the World Championship will be broadcast live by BBC Radio Sheffield next Wednesday at 9.45am.
The top 16 will be paired against the 16 qualifiers.
The draw has suffered from, well, let's say a few problems over the last few years.
In 2006, Michael Holt was drawn out twice live on BBC Radio 5 Live.
The following year the draw was recorded the day before it was broadcast. Ronnie O'Sullivan drew Ding Junhui and claimed it was 'fixed.'
However, last year's draw was a great success as it was streamed live on the internet from the Crucible.
World Snooker Championship 2009 Qualifiers Stage One and Stage Two draw and playing format details now available.
Stage One (members not on The Tour)
Qualifying Format 25 February 2009
Badminton Hall, EIS, Sheffield
Wednesday 25 February 2009
Match 1 – Bill Kelly v David Singh - 1-5
Match 2 - Neil Selman v Paul Cavney - 5-3
Match 3 – Barry Stark v Les Dodd - 5-3
Match 4 – Stephen Ormerod v Christopher Flight - 5-0
Match 5 – Del Smith v Adam Osbourne - 5-0
Match 6 – Phil Seaton v Philip Minchin - 5-2
Match 7 – Ali Bassiri v Tony Knowles - 1-5
Match 8 – Colin Mitchell v David Singh - 5-1
Match 9 – Neil Selman v Barry Stark - 5-1
Match 10 – Stephen Ormerod v Del Smith - 1-5
Match 11 – Phil Seaton v Tony Knowles - 2-5
All matches are the best of 9 frames
Four qualifiers go through to Stage Two
Stage Two (Tour players seeded 33-96)
Qualifying Format 26 February – 4 March 2009
Badminton Hall, EIS, Sheffield
Thursday 26 February 2009
Match 1 – Li Hang v Colin Mitchell - 10-2
Match 2 – Declan Hughes v Neil Selman - W/O
March 3 – Chris McBreen v Del Smith - 10-8
Match 4 – Stefan Mazrocis v Tony Knowles - 9-10
Match 1* – Li Hang v Colin Mitchell - 10-2
Match 2* – Declan Hughes v Neil Selman - W/O
March 3* – Chris McBreen v Del Smith - 10-8
Match 4* – Stefan Mazrocis v Tony Knowles - 9-10
Friday 27 February 2009
Match 5 – Matthew Couch v Michael Georgiou - 10-8
Match 6 – Lee Spick v Stephen Craigie - 10-5
Match 7 – Jimmy White v Vincent Muldoon - 10-8
Match 8 – Daniel Wells v Li Hang - 10-9
Match 9 – Supoj Saenla v Liu Chuang - 10-5
Match 10 – Scott MacKenzie v Wayne Cooper - 9-10
Match 11 – Patrick Wallace v Neil Selman - 10-2
March 12 – Matthew Selt v Robert Stephen - 10-3
Match 13 – James McBain v Chris McBreen - 10-2
Match 14 – Simon Bedford v David Grace - 7-2
Match 5* – Matthew Couch v Michael Georgiou - 10-8
Match 6* – Lee Spick v Stephen Craigie - 10-5
Match 7* – Jimmy White v Vincent Muldoon - 10-8
Match 8* – Daniel Wells v Li Hang - 10-9
Match 9* – Supoj Saenla v Liu Chuang - 10-5
Match 10* – Scott MacKenzie v Wayne Cooper - 9-10
Saturday 28 February 2009
Match 15 – Jamie Jones v Atthasit Mahitthi - 4-5
Match 16 – Lewis Roberts v Aditya Mehta - 4-4
Match 17 – Kuldesh Johal v Jin Long - 2-7
Match 18 – Peter Lines v Andy Lee - 6-3
Match 19 – Paul S Davison v Andrew Pagett - 2-7
Match 20 – Rodney Goggins v Tony Knowles - 6-3
Match 11* – Patrick Wallace v Neil Selman - 10-2
March 12* – Matthew Selt v Robert Stephen - 10-3
Match 13* – James McBain v Chris McBreen - 10-2
Match 14* – Simon Bedford v David Grace - 10-6
Match 15* – Jamie Jones v Atthasit Mahitthi - 10-9
Match 16* – Lewis Roberts v Aditya Mehta - 10-8
Match 17* – Kuldesh Johal v Jin Long - 8-10
Match 18* – Peter Lines v Andy Lee - 10-8
Match 19* – Paul S Davison v Andrew Pagett - 5-10
Match 20* – Rodney Goggins v Tony Knowles - 10-4
Sunday 1 March 2009
Match 21 – Andrew Norman v Matthew Couch - 4-4
Match 22 – Barry Pinches v Lee Spick - 2-6
Match 23 – Andy Hicks v Jimmy White - 5-4
Match 24 – Ian Preece v Daniel Wells - 4-5
Match 25 – Liu Song v Supoj Saenla - 5-4
Match 26 – Joe Delaney v Wayne Cooper - 5-4
Match 31 – Robert Milkins v Jamie Jones - 3-6
Match 32 – Paul Davies v Lewis Roberts - 4-4
Match 33 – David Gray v Jon Long - 5-4
Match 34 – Mark Davis v Peter Lines - 5-3
Match 21* – Andrew Norman v Matthew Couch - 4-10
Match 22* – Barry Pinches v Lee Spick - 5-10
Match 23* – Andy Hicks v Jimmy White - 10-8
Match 24* – Ian Preece v Daniel Wells - 9-10
Match 25* – Liu Song v Supoj Saenla - 10-9
Match 26* – Joe Delaney v Wayne Cooper - 10-8
Monday 2 March 2009
Match 27 – Mark Joyce v Patrick Wallace - 2-6
Match 28 – Rod Lawler v Matthew Selt - 5-3
Match 29 – David Morris v James McBain - 8-1
Match 30 – David Roe v Simon Bedford - 5-2
Match 35 – Stuart Pettman v Andrew Pagett - 7-2
Match 36 – Martin Gould v Rodney Goggins - 7-2
Match 31* – Robert Milkins v Jamie Jones - 7-10
Match 32* – Paul Davies v Lewis Roberts - 10-7
Match 33* – David Gray v Jin Long - 8-10
Match 34* – Mark Davis v Peter Lines - 10-6
Match 27* – Mark Joyce v Patrick Wallace - 6-10
Match 28* – Rod Lawler v Matthew Selt - 10-4
Match 29* – David Morris v James McBain - 10-3
Match 30* – David Roe v Simon Bedford - 7-10
Match 35* – Stuart Pettman v Andrew Pagett - 10-3
Match 36* – Martin Gould v Rodney Goggins - 10-7
Tuesday 3 March 2009
March 39 – Rory McLeod v Andy Hicks - 5-4
Match 40 – Marcus Campbell v Daniel Wells - 5-4
Match 41 – Gerard Greene v Liu Song - 6-3
Match 42 – Judd Trump v Joe Delaney - 8-1
Match 43 – Tom Ford v Patrick Wallace - 4-5
Match 44 – Ricky Walden v Rod Lawler - 8-1
Match 37 – John Parrott v Matthew Couch - 1-7
Match 38 – Adrian Gunnell v Lee Spick - 2-6
Match 51 – Alan McManus v Stuart Pettman - 4-4
Match 52 – Dave Gilbert v Martin Gould - 3-6
March 39* – Rory McLeod v Andy Hicks - 10-8
Match 40* – Marcus Campbell v Daniel Wells - 9-10
Match 41* – Gerard Greene v Liu Song - 10-6
Match 42* – Judd Trump v Joe Delaney - 10-1
Match 43* – Tom Ford v Patrick Wallace - 10-8
Match 44* – Ricky Walden v Rod Lawler - 10-1
Wednesday 4 March 2009
Match 45 – Liang Wenbo v Mark Davis - 4-5
Match 46 – Jamie Burnett v Simon Bedford - 6-3
Match 47 – Andrew Higginson v Jamie Jones - 4-5
Match 48 – Jimmy Michie v Paul Davies - 4-5
Match 49 – Mike Dunn v Jin Long - 4-5
Match 50 – Michael Holt v Mark Davis - 4-5
Match 37* – John Parrott v Matthew Couch - 3-10
Match 38* – Adrian Gunnell v Lee Spick - 2-10
Match 51* – Alan McManus v Stuart Pettman - 10-8
Match 52* – Dave Gilbert v Martin Gould - 8-10
Match 45* – Liang Wenbo v Mark Davis - 10-8
Match 46* – Jamie Burnett v Simon Bedford - 10-8
Match 47* – Andrew Higginson v Jamie Jones - 10-8
Match 48* – Jimmy Michie v Paul Davies - 6-10
Match 49* – Mike Dunn v Jin Long - 10-7
Match 50* – Michael Holt v Mark Davis - 10-9
All matches are the best of 19 frames (9/10)
* denotes final session of match
Sixteen qualifiers go through to Stage Three (8-10 March 2009).
World Snooker Championship 2009 Qualifiers Stage Three draw and playing format details now available.
Stage Three (Tour players seeded 17-32)
Qualifying Format 8-10 March 2009
Badminton Hall, EIS, Sheffield
Sunday 8 March 2009
Match 11 – Michael Judge v Andrew Higginson - 3-6
Match 12 – Jamie Cope v Paul Davies - 6-3
Match 13 – Nigel Bond v Mike Dunn - 4-5
Match 14 – Dominic Dale v Michael Holt - 5-4
Match 15 – Stuart Bingham v Alan McManus - 5-4
Match 16 – Matthew Stevens v Martin Gould - 3-6
Match 11* – Michael Judge v Andrew Higginson - 4-10
Match 12* – Jamie Cope v Paul Davies - 10-5
Match 13* – Nigel Bond v Mike Dunn - 10-7
Match 14* – Dominic Dale v Michael Holt - 7-10
Match 15* – Stuart Bingham v Alan McManus - 10-6
Match 16* – Matthew Stevens v Martin Gould - 4-10
Monday 9 March 2009
Match 6 – Stephen Lee v Judd Trump - 3-6
Match 7 – Mark Williams v Tom Ford - 7-2
Match 8 – Anthony Hamilton v Ricky Walden - 3-6
Match 9 – Dave Harold v Liang Wenbo - 3-6
Match 10 – Fergal O’Brien v Jamie Burnett - 6-3
Match 6* – Stephen Lee v Judd Trump - 10-8
Match 7* – Mark Williams v Tom Ford - 10-5
Match 8* – Anthony Hamilton v Ricky Walden - 5-10
Match 9* – Dave Harold v Liang Wenbo - 3-10
Match 10* – Fergal O’Brien v Jamie Burnett - 6-10
Tuesday 10 March 2009
Match 1 – Joe Swail v Matthew Couch - 8-1
Match 2 – Steve Davis v Lee Spick - 4-5
Match 3 – Ian McCulloch v Rory McLeod - 3-6
Match 4 – Barry Hawkins v Daniel Wells - 6-3
Match 5 – Ken Doherty v Gerard Greene - 3-6
Match 1* – Joe Swail v Matthew Couch - 10-1
Match 2* – Steve Davis v Lee Spick - 10-8
Match 3* – Ian McCulloch v Rory McLeod - 7-10
Match 4* – Barry Hawkins v Daniel Wells - 10-9
Match 5* – Ken Doherty v Gerard Greene - 5-10
All matches are the best of 19 frames (9/10)
* denotes final session of match
Sixteen qualifiers go through to Stage Four at The Crucible against the Top 16 seeded players. Draw details to be confirmed.