I would never bet against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the partycasino.net Premier League.

It’s not just the shot-clock – although that is a factor – but more the nature of the event: turning up for a night, playing and going home that suits Ronnie’s personality more than hanging around for nine days at a time.

He has two nights to play this weekend if he is to win the League for a ninth time. O’Sullivan made a slowish start to this year’s competition but stepped it up towards the end of the round robin phase and, by the end, was playing some superb stuff.

Among his victims was Neil Robertson who he plays again in the semi-finals tomorrow night.

Robertson very nearly missed out on a last four place by virtue of arriving at Llandudno for his final match last week with only minutes to spare.

But he beat Shaun Murphy to get through and the world champion and world no.1 is of course a massive threat to O’Sullivan.

Except, Robertson is less settled in the format than Ronnie. His League performances have been inconsistent and while I would favour him if these two met in a ranking event, O’Sullivan is always fired up for the League and has to start favourite.

People who knock the League seem to think it’s just an extended series of exhibitions without pressure. They should speak to the players, every one of whom regards it as a prestigious event. In fact, they clamour to get in it.

The Premier League has run since 1987 and seen off countless ranking events in the last 23 years.

Live on TV in front of big crowds, it’s a test of temperament, tactics (because of the shot clock) and the ability to think quickly. There’s also big money on offer and this affects a player’s thinking too.

O’Sullivan’s dominance in recent years proves his innate snooker intelligence. It’s not just that he plays quickly: he sees the right shot immediately.

Unlike in a long match his focus is less likely to go, but this doesn’t make the League easier to win. It’s just a different mindset, a different set of skills required.

Last year O’Sullivan chose to run the Norwich half marathon on the morning of the final and lost 7-3 to Murphy.

That’s not to say Shaun wouldn’t have won anyway but it was hardly the best preparation.

Murphy has kept himself ticking over this season by playing in all the PTCs, winning one, finishing runner-up in another and topping the order of merit.

In the other semi-final he faces Marco Fu, who returns to action fresh from winning the gold medal for Hong Kong at the Asian Games last week.

Marco is capable of brilliant performances but at other times, for whatever reason, just can’t get going.

He beat Murphy 4-2 in the League section and is a former champion himself so Murphy has his work cut out to reach the final again.

But they all know that O'Sullivan is the man to beat.

The action is all live on Sky Sports4 from 7.30pm UK time tomorrow.


John McBride said...

I'm looking forward to it Dave. Always comes across as a breath of fresh air this comp. Well to me it does anyway....

Neil Robertson is not fazed by Ronnie O'Sullivan tho. The Australian has been wearing his World crown well & I expect him to push Ronnie O'Sullivan very close.

I like this comment....

"O’Sullivan’s dominance in recent years proves his innate snooker intelligence. It’s not just that he plays quickly: he sees the right shot immediately."

Pretty much on the button that.

Anonymous said...

Dave, are the two semi-finals start at the same time or one after another?

Dave H said...

One after the other

Anonymous said...

hopefully robbo puts him on his bum early

Betty Logan said...

The Premier League is really the only successful modern tournament on the calender. The field has been a little soft in recent years, but that argument certainly doesn't apply this year; whoever wins it this year has won a top-drawer competitive event. Fu is probably worth a bet — he's well capable of beating Murphy and has done some numbers on Ronnie in the past...

Anonymous said...


what is fus record v ron in the last 4 years?

Betty Logan said...

I haven't a clue but they drew in this year's Premier League and of course Fu beat Ronnie in the Grand Prix in 2007. Other notable Fu victories are of course the 1998 Grand Prix semi in Fu's rookie season, the 2003 Premier League where Fu beat Ronnie on the way to the title and the first round of the 2003 world championships. At the 2007 Grand Prix Ronnie was only one or two matches ahead in head-to-heads if I recall correctly. I wouldn't be surprised if he had the best record against him after John Higgins.

Betty Logan said...

Found this site:


It gives the head-to-head for ranking matches from the last three years. No idea if it's complete but it has them standing three apiece. If Fu beats Murphy he's well worth a punt I reckon.

The Tomato Peeler said...

Will the Sky people keep mentioning the term "HD" as in "Live on Skysports 4 and Skysports 4 HD" when it is clearly not in HD? I find this incredibly annoying.

Dave H said...

The overall O'Sullivan v Fu head-to-head is 10-8 to O'Sullivan

In the last four years (start of 2007 to now) it's 5-3 to O'Sullivan

Anonymous said...

thanks dave
i am a fan of fu
id still not bet him to beat ronnie in a timed event

jamie brannon said...

Dave, if you were pricing up a match at the Crucible between Ronnie and Neil, you would have Neil as the favourite?

The bookies still don't see it this way, hence why O'Sullivan is the favourite for Sheffield?

Personally, I still think on his day Ronnie is the best, that is why I tend to agree with the bookies. I would say the same thing about Higgins, too.

I know that I will be accused of bias, but I still genuinely believe that and you said as much when you were doing your player profiles prior to season's commencement.

I think Robertson would be next in my betting for Sheffield, I think he deserves his number one status, but he is not an authentic number one yet.

Anonymous said...

tommy toes

it is live ON SSHD

IF THEY DONT Say its IN hd, u are oversensitive

Anonymous said...

Jamie, the bookies price up markets on who will bet, given recent patterns as well as who they think will win

they dont just say, ron is better so he will be fave

youve obviously got no clue about the betting industry and how the market is generated, as youve posted that theory about betting many times.

i think Neil will beat ronnie, but if i think 75% of my customers will back ronnie, then i wont make them both 5/6, i will make one shorter and the other slightly longer. and adjust accordingly depending on volume

Dave H said...

Of course he's an authentic no.1: he's top of the rankings.

This is one of the problems with the internet: it's made people believe their opinions are more important than cold, hard facts. It doesn't matter what you, me or anyone else thinks - Neil Robertson is the world no.1.

Would I take him to beat Ronnie at the Crucible? Yes. But that's an opinion.

Anonymous said...

Dave, when you say its a problem with the internet, i agree it can be, but on here you can replace internet with "jamie I LOVE RONNIE brannon"

jamie brannon said...

I am not disputing the fact, but what I meant he is not yet a dominant number one in the same way that Williams was.

Plus, I never said that my opinion was more important than fact. However, just become someone is number one doesn't mean they are the best player.

Serena Williams is not number one in tennis, but no one in their right mind would say she is not the best player in the world.

Is that because you perceive Ronnie to be in decline? As at his best or John Higgins at his best I would favour them in a long match over Robertson, hopefully we may get to see some evidence of this in Telford.

Dave H said...

Of course he's not as dominant as Williams. He's only be there two months!

O'Sullivan seems less interested in digging in at tournaments now, partly because of personal circumstances and wanting to spend more time at home. The release of his father may spur him on more but his game has declined in noticeable ways and though he is still capable of fine performances, whether he has the patience to last the course at Sheffield any more I'm not so sure.

jamie brannon said...

When markets are originally priced up they will select who they believe is the most likely to win, effectively who they think is best and then the book opens.

I find it laughable how many anonymous posters on here claim they are players, officials and bookmakers.

jamie brannon said...

I can live with that, but I thought maybe you were suggesting that Robertson was a better player than Ronnie in general.

I still only think his long potting is in decline, he is still majestic in the balls, but I take on board all the points about his domestic situation and psychological state.

One thing I have noticed is that in recent times certain players seem to encounter O'Sullivan at his best, I am thinking of Maguire, Williams and Ding. I just feel that Robertson is a challenge that will get his juices flowing.

I partly blame you for me using the word authentic! I remember you describing Williams as Authentic number one in your decade review. So, I kind of thought you used that word because he was so dominant, which obviously Robertson is not yet, through no fault of his own.

Before anyone says that I am anti-robertson I am not, I respect him hugely now as an all-round player of the highest order and an engaging character, who seems like aman with a fantastic perspective on things.

Finally, John Higgins is my tentative tip for the UK Championship, owing to his excellent recent form, which included nine centuries in just two EPTC events.

Anonymous said...

It will depend on how Robertson plays against Ronnie yes Ronnie has an very good chance of winning the Premier League also why was Alain Robidoux jealous of Ronnie playing left-handed in the 1996 World Championship First Round??

Betty Logan said...

I think what Jamie is getting at is that he's not proven as the man to beat yet. I'd back Robbo over Ronnie to reach the UK final, but given a Ronnie/Robbo final line-up I'd still expect Ronnie to turn him over.

Anonymous said...


what you meant is not what you said, hence davids reply

he never said that you said your opinion was more important. dont need to put words in his mouth.

serena is not the best tennis player in the world. the number one is!

Anonymous said...

Has Ronnie's father been released yet or is he about to be?
This should inspire him if anything should.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie's father being released will be an unimaginable incentive to win as many tournaments as he possibly can. As he will be 35 in December (an age when Hendry stopped winning tournaments)and the standard of play has markedly improved it should be another huge motivation. I sincerely believe he can still win tournaments well in to his 40s - if he wants to. That really would be something.

Sweepstake said...

Ronnie being a frontrunner in the betting market actually adds decent value to the other contenders.

Pre tournament,John Higgins was 10/1 to win the 2009 World Champs

Robbo was 12/1 or 14/1 to win this years WC.

Yes,I could treat myself after those windfalls.

Dave H said...

Ronnie's dad was released this week.

I understand what Jamie means about Serena Williams but the difference is she has won two grand slams this year. Ronnie hasn't won anything in the last year (apart from Power Snooker of course).

Betty Logan said...

Just a couple of points—being ranked number 1 doesn't mean you're the best player, it just means you've accumulated more ranking points. That could be down to the number of events you play, the distribution of points, and also consistency: for example, someone going out in the semis of every event would get more points than someone who alternated winning titles and first round exits, but who's the better player? Over the last two seasons, the three majors have all had a different winner so it's impossible to conclusively say who the best player is.

Secondly, the price on a betting slip doesn't necessarily reflect the probability of the outcome: if everyone bets on Ronnie then his odds will shorten because the accounts have to balance at the end of the day, and the only way to do that is to get people to buy other players by giving them better prices. I bet many bookmakers wouldn't buy Ronnie at the odds they offer, because at his regular price he should be winning 3–4 tournaments a season.

Anonymous said...


your post at 143 is completely wrong.

i worked in the business for 8 years, ON COURSE and off course.

the book is made up of projections of not only who the person making the tissue thinks will win, but also on betting trends, so if historically more money gets put on ROS, then he will start at lower odds than most if not all

Anonymous said...

If Jamie hears Ronnie say it snows in Egypt every June, he would believe it.

Anonymous said...

Brannon,Ronnie's gonna have to win more substansial events other than Power Snooker,Sky Shootout and his fave Premier League to convince more balanced observers that he can be the ultimate player again.

He's 8th in the rankings dude.

Gotta win a major this season to justify any of your deluded boasting brannon.

Anonymous said...

ITV SportChat page 549 use to be a good laugh until it was shut down in December 2009.

You had Adam from Runcorn who was infatuated with the Williams sisters.
Khan from Reigate who was the resident Indian cricket propagandist.

I suceeded in getting Snooker comments broadcast every so often.

Thankfully,this blog has no predictable overzealous bias.

Thing is,Jamie makes out that he takes on board all criticism yet he repeats the exact same mantra or theory just afew weeks later despite lots of evidence to the contrary.....(ie) the actual facts themselves.

Anonymous said...

I think Jamie Brannons critics are OTT. Anyone who isn't a Ronnie fan just does not understand snooker.
He does things with the white that the rest can only dream about.
Robertson is a great player and a worthy champion but hes not in the same planet as Ronnie where skill is invokved

Anonymous said...

Just shows how ignorant that BOY Brannon is.
Ronnie is favourite for the UK, The Masters + The Worlds. He is half the price of his next challenger for those titles. Hes not won a sausage except for a wooden spoon invitational event which had stupid rules set up for the fastest player to have a bias.

But, on Jamies basis, Ronnie is 8th in the world but he is still the best and the bookies think he is the best and so theyve priced him up as sth shortest on that basis.

Yeah Jammie, they have forgot he hasnt won anything of not in over a year.

They price it up on betting markets, trends and volume of bets, expected and already placed and the market moves.

Every time you take your empty head out the sand you bump it on the silly i love Ronnie tree.

Anonymous said...

Robertson is no.1 right now because he deserves to be there- he is the best player in the world right now. However for me, i'm more interested in who's no.1 after the Crucible as they will have proved themselves over a whole season.


Anonymous said...

It is sad if Ronnie's long putting really is permanently weakened. As we have seen with Hendry and Davis the decline is seemingly irreversible. I hope that scientists discover exactly why snooker abilities decline with age. Imagine if it is a reduced production of certain brain chemicals that naturally occurs when people get in their 30s and that it can be helped by eating certain things (as not to use drugs).

I'm sure Hendry wouldn't mind gobbling down vietnamese cabbage if that is what it takes to regain his former glory.

I just want the oldies to build further upon their legendary status.

jamie brannon said...

Betty Logan's point about the O'Sullivan v Robertson match-up is what I am trying to get across, I accept that Robertson is number one and it is totally vindicated by holding two BBC events, although he benefited from John Higgins suspension too.

On a given day though Ronnie can still produce his A-game, this is why I am not sure I would agree with Dave's assertion that Robertson would be favourite in a ranking event.

However, I totally agree with Dave that over the distance of a major event that last at least a week, then O'Sullivan may struggle to deliver now. Although, he still has reached two BBC finals this year, so it would be folly to write him off yet.

The rankings in some sports are flawed, in snooker they are probably not, and in my opinion in any sport your legacy will be defined by the sports biggest tournaments ahead of your ranking status.

jamie brannon said...

Are we getting the anwsers to those Aussie questions yet?!

Dave H said...

Good point!

jamie brannon said...

Is much play going on at the UK qualifying? As they seem to be taking an age to get through the early rounds, I am particularly keen to know what is going on with James Wattana, but global snooker don't seem to be updating.

Juding from the date of these qualifiers, the quality of the Asian Games snooker must have been diluted.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned O'Sullivan is just the World No. 8 right now - I wonder there that comes from? I has skipped the Shanghai Masters and only played in 2 PTC events. When he turned up he played great stuff this season. This whole declining debate remembers me at the season 2007/08. Ronnie hasn't won a tournament for quite some time and everyone thought his best days were over. You know what happened...

But I have to say that at the moment Robertson is the best snooker player in the world. He should be the favourite for all the tournaments he plays in. Except one - the next World Championship - why? Look at the statistics of the defending champions for the last 15 years - not to mention the Crucible curse.

For tonight I recon it's going to be a tight match - O'Sullivan as a slight favourite.

But lets just see how it turns out.

Dave H said...

It's interminable. There's even a rest day today.

Anonymous said...

Robinson wont win a frame tonight. The reason?
Ronnie will be trying.

Anonymous said...

The rankings don't tell a true picture of pure talent.
If Ron had shown more commitment and dedication by entering more events he would still be Top 3 no question about that.

But he hasn't,hence why he is 8th.

Ron should be thriving under Hearns stewardship but old habits die hard it seems.

Peter P said...

Anybody that genuinely believes O'Sullivan is in decline misses the point completely. Ronnie wins when he wants to. That's pretty much always been the case throughout his career.

When he wants to win he plays his best, and few (Higgins & Hendry) can match him. Tonight is a prime example. I can only see a Ronnie win. In a ranking event, the match is a toss-up.

Of course that's also because Robertson doesn't like the format. 5 wins in 25 or so matches bears that out.

Anonymous said...

All this started with Dave making a perfectly legitimate point about which type of matches Ronnie would be favourite for and what type of matches Robertson would be fave for

It was going so well until Jamie panic rushes in with his hypnotised hyperbole.

It wouldn't be so bad if Jamie wasn't trying to suck up to Dave all the time.

Dave H said...

'Ronnie wins when he wants to' is nonsense

Are we to assume he didn't want to beat Selby in the Masters final?

Case closed

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the smug, dismissive attitude Dave. 'Pretty much always' was the phrase used. And who uses 'case closed' to 'win' an argument.

Some of us know you don't particularly like Ronnie, because of his attitude. Shame for you that he is still the best player in the world, and will doubtless prove that tonight.

You spoil so much great analysis with your bias.

Anonymous said...

dave, i dont know why you bothered posting at 4.30

these guys will post any rubbish to say that ronnie is still the current best.

he can do things with the cueball others can only dream of

what a load of shite that comment is

i agree he is up there with the most talented ever, but 3 cushion billiards players can play shots ronnie could only dream of, but then, i bet the ron lovers will say if he played it hed be able to. yeah right....

Anonymous said...

different class. the worlds best player by a country mile. Robbo could only look in awe.

James said...

He's the best player under the shot clock without question but Robertson outplayed him in the World Open final in similar fashion when there were no phoney rules

Anonymous said...

agreed 952
yes ronnie is the best under rules set out to suit him
under normal rules, neil is a good bit better over the last year or two

Anonymous said...

6.15,Dave biased against Ronnie.

You're new to this blog aren't you?

Greg P said...

I bet Dave could just post a one word entry, "Ronnie", and it would generate 200 furious comments...

Anonymous said...

In that scenario I'd wager 40 comments come from Brannon.

Anonymous said...

i bet that too greg, and no wonder with all the ridiculous things the guy has said and done

yes i know hes a brilliant player, but i dont have blinkers and so do many other snooker fans not railroaded by that so they cant see him for an idiot, or a talented idiot, in their opinion.

as long as nobody is being downright rude or libelous then dave is exercising his right to let their opinion through.

i know he is a great player. i enjoy watching him play well. but i would rather the sport didnt have him and built on the rest of the sport instead of modelling it and shaping events to suit him, cos he wont last forever and the more we pander to him the harder it will be when the day comes he leaves and gives 50% of us peace.

good luck shaun

Greg P said...

But you do have blinkers on - you only measure him against other current snooker players.

Instead, try comparing him to all other sportsmen, especially footballers, and you'll see really he's nothing special in the "rudeness" stakes. If you put him in the Premiership nobody would notice him.

rashid1891 said...

I would never bet against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the partycasino.net Premier League.

Anonymous said...

no wonder rash, its set up for him

jamie brannon said...

I am not sucking up to Dave in the slightest, I have respect for him as a writer, but I have challenged his opinion's sometimes in a constructive manner.

I don't agree that Ronnie wins only when he wants too, but he almost certainly would have won more tournaments, if he shown a little bit more application in certain matches, like against Ebdon in 2005 world Championship and the following year in the semi-final against Graeme Dott.

He was good enough to match Hendry's haul of seven world titles, but will probably finish on four, I think.

Anonymous said...

if others had applied themselves better they could have won more

you cant just say that about ronnie, cos you fancy him jamie

jamie brannon said...

Yes, but none more so than Ronnie.

Betty Logan said...

Just ignore the anon Jamie. He accused me of "sucking up" to Dave too when I was discussing John Higgins' comeback. He's obviously just obsessed with Dave and sucking.

jamie brannon said...

I don't why I bother sometimes, it doesn't even annoy that me much, don't get why people use the internet just to be infantile and immature. This is the reason for David 'bumble' Lloyd departing Twitter.