28.10.08

WHY O'SULLIVAN IS PLAYER OF THE DECADE

There is only one World Championship to come in this 00s decade and so it is safe to state that Ronnie O’Sullivan has been the outstanding player of this period.

A reader, Sam Hinton, has sent me some research he has done taking in ranking points earned over the last ten seasons.

They are based on around 70 ranking tournaments and help paint a picture as to which players have found success - although of course some did not come to the fore until later in the decade.

Here is the top ten from 1998-2008:

1) Ronnie O’Sullivan 215,901 (total points)
2) Mark Williams 203,409
3) John Higgins 198,173
4) Stephen Hendry 196,720
5) Ken Doherty 166,702
6) Peter Ebdon 163,732
7) Stephen Lee 153,318
8) Matthew Stevens 146,604
9) Graeme Dott 133,327
10) Alan McManus 120,938

Points earned in the 1998/99 season counted towards ranking positions at the start of the decade.

In terms of ranking titles won this decade (starting in 2000), the top ten reads as follows:

1) Ronnie O’Sullivan 15
2) Mark Williams 9
3) John Higgins 7
4) Peter Ebdon 5
5) Ken Doherty, Stephen Hendry, Stephen Maguire 4
8) Ding Junhui, Stephen Lee 3
10) Graeme Dott, Paul Hunter, Shaun Murphy, Neil Robertson 2

O’Sullivan has not dominated the decade in the way Steve Davis did the 1980s and Stephen Hendry the 1990s but has still been the leading player of what has been a very competitive era.

He has compiled more centuries and more maximums than any other player in the last ten years.

Mark Williams and John Higgins, who turned professional with him as teenagers in 1992, are second and third respectively.

In the case of Williams, it is a reminder of how good he has been. Some may have forgotten this after his struggles of the last couple of years.

Notice Hendry fourth in terms of ranking points won – more than creditable for a player now late into his 30s.

Of course, had we examined the period 1995-2005 we would have got different results, so I don't present this as anything other than a fun and interesting analysis.

In a year’s time we will be gearing up to welcome a new decade.

Who will be the dominant force?

Ding Junhui?

Judd Trump?

Shaun Murphy, Stephen Maguire or Mark Selby?

Or what about O’Sullivan, who will end it as the age of 43?

We’ll only know with 2020 vision.

11 comments:

James Bielby said...

At the 2004 UK championship various commentators were asked by BBC TV who would be in the top 10 in 5/10 years, I forget which. Can you remember the feature and do you have a record of the lists?

Dave H said...

I do remember it James as I was one of those asked for an opinion.

I remembver I said Ronnie would still be top and Stephen Maguire second but can't recall my other choices - or anyone else's.

However, it was a projection for five years in the future so they may run it at next year's UK.

James Bielby said...

How convenient that you can remember two of predictions which proved prescient!
Judd Trump and "unknown Chinese" featured prominently as I recall. May be a little premature on both counts.

Dave H said...

I'm pretty sure nobody mentiponed Mark Selby and probably not Shaun Murphy

I think I did suggest Stephen Hendry would still be in the top eight

Anonymous said...

It's an interesting game though...it's going to be even harder to predict who'll be in the top 10 in another 5 years but let's have a go:

1. Ding Junhui
2. Ronnie O'Sullivan
3. Mark Allen
4. Mark Selby
5. Liang Wenbo
6. Judd Trump
7. Stephen Maguire
8. Shaun Murphy
9. Jamie Cope
10. Ryan Day

st said...

I think Mark Selby will be the one to beat out of the up and comers. He has already made a World final and has comfortably the best all round game of those players in their early to mid 20s, more so than Ding, Mark Allen and Liang to name a few.

I remember the feature that was on during the UK Championship in 04 - in that tournament in particular, with shocks galore and an unexpected final between Maguire and David Gray, it looked as if a changing of the guard would be imminent.

When you look at the 2009 rankings after the next World Championship, though, I don't think that will materialise.

By the way, it was Clive Everton who suggested that an "unknown" chinese player would be in the top 8.

As ludicrous as it may sound, I still have doubts as to whether the likes of Ding, Allen, Wenbo, Cope and Day will still be up there in a few years time.

Ding seems to do better in non ranking events or the Premier League, and has a chance of dropping out of the top 16 in my view, Allen and Day can't get over the finishing line, whereas Cope and Liang seem to think they can pot everything they go for.

Judd Trump though does remind me of a young Mark Williams; brilliant one minute, sloppy the next, but I think like Mark did, that Judd will rise to the top. He'll have to improve his break building and pot success rate though if the Grand Prix is anything to go by.

Anonymous said...

I think Ding or Selby will have more chance to dominate the next 10years(only if O'Sullivan does decline in form). Ding's really good at break buiding and mark's all round game is fantastic. both players have the talent to be there.

James Bielby said...

Selby is punching above his weight qv Ronnie's remarks post Welsh Open final. He might win the Worlds but several poor players have done so: Dott, Ebdon, Johnson.
Ding has never recovered from his battering at the hands of Ronnie and the braying Wembley crowd of 2007.
Murphy's shot selection is often poor and he doesn't keep the cue ball on a tight enough string.
Maguire is the only all-round class act to have emerged in the last five years. His cue action is superb, up there with Ronnie, Higgins and Hendry.

Dana said...

excuse me, what does mean first number and second number in the research of the top 10 from 1998-2008? you know - Ronnie O'Sullivan 215?? and 901 ?? I don't understand what does it mean.

Dana said...

sorry, forget my question :-DD it was stupid, I forgot you use comma instead of point between thousands :-DDD now I understand

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the late post... The "top 8 in 2009" lists were:

Dennis Taylor:
Maguire, O'Sullivan, Williams, Hunter, Higgins, Hendry, Ding, Trump

Phil Yates:
O'Sullivan, Maguire, Higgins, Hunter, Williams, Ding, Trump, Robertson

Dave Hendon:
O'Sullivan, Maguire, Robertson, Ding, Hunter, Murphy, Higgins, Hendry

Clive Everton:
O'Sullivan, Maguire, Higgins, Hunter, Williams, Ding, Trump, "unknown Chinese player"

Philip Studd:
Maguire, Hunter, Trump, O'Sullivan, Williams, Ding, Carter, Murphy

Matthew Bennett (posting on alt.sport.snooker a few days later):
Hunter, Selby, Maguire, O'Sullivan, Higgins, Williams, Stephens, Ding.