Judd Trump v Ronnie O’Sullivan: now there is a match to get the snooker juices flowing.

Their Betfair World Championship semi-final over four sessions has the potential to be big entertainment. These are two crowd pleasers who go for their shots and are capable of playing some quite extraordinary snooker.

O’Sullivan was at times sensational in overwhelming Stuart Bingham 13-4. Trump won a Crucible classic, 13-12 over Shaun Murphy.

O’Sullivan’s reaction to winning was odd, even by his standards. He claimed he was only in it for the money so he could pay his children’s school fees and that he would – guess what – retire after fulfilling contractual obligations next season.

Naturally, this is the exact opposite of what he said earlier in the tournament. Who knows the truth? Does Ronnie even know it? Or is he just reacting to how he feels in the moment?

It suggests that, even with the work he has done with Dr. Steve Peters, all is still not well with snooker’s most troubled star. But that may not be the whole story.

I’ve listened to many of his press conferences down the years and would make the point that they are heavily influenced by the manner of his performance in matches that often finish just minutes before he is interviewed. Had he won 13-3 this morning as seemed likely then I suspect he may not have been so gloomy.

Trump certainly sounds confident going into the match, as he should be. He has the ultra attacking game to put the defending champion under some pressure.

One factor that could favour Trump is the fact that he will have a significant portion of the crowd on his side. Traditionally, O’Sullivan enjoys the vast majority of audience support.

Trump is positive ahead of the semi-finals, saying: “There’s only a certain amount of players who have got the self belief to beat Ronnie and scare him and I think I’m one of them.

“I’ve got a good record against Ronnie. I’ve beaten him more times than he's beaten me, so hopefully I can go out and scare him.

“I haven’t seen any of his games really, but from what I’ve heard from my brother and others he hasn’t really played that well and a lot of people are just scared of him.”

In fact, O’Sullivan has played superbly. His long potting has been terrific. He has played better snooker in the tournament than Trump.

O’Sullivan said of Trump: “I’ve played him a few times and I’ve sensed he’s wobbled. Even he gets scared of me. It’s a hard place out there. If you play well enough and stay with him, and peg him back, he's not Stephen Hendry or John Higgins.”

O’Sullivan may have reacted badly to failing to kill Bingham off more clinically but he is a fierce competitor and will surely relish the challenge of taking on a player widely seen as the heir to his crowd-pleasing mantle.

By contrast, the two players in the other semi-final couldn’t be less controversial.

Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden are two nice guys who love their snooker and support the game all year round.

Hawkins was superb in winning all four frames this morning to beat Ding Junhui 13-7. Walden eased to a 13-6 victory over Michael White tonight.

They each know they have a great chance to appear in a world final – the very reason you spend so many years practising and working hard.

You can guarantee whoever comes through this semi-final will be grateful for the chance to become world champion.

We’re down to one table now. My Eurosport commentary colleague Joe Johnson, who himself has played in two world finals, put it poetically: “when you get down to one table it’s a different tournament. It’s a different arena. You see the twinkle lights of the Crucible and they’re like the stars in the sky. It’s like playing in Heaven.”

For others, of course, it is a form of snooker hell.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to be less Freudian or deep in assessing Ronnie but isn't he merely a fickle attention seeking Essex boy who happens to be a very talented snooker player?
We can analyse his post match interviews and view them either as prophetic or bollocks.
The last one for me.

Claus said...

Dave, can you please sort out this one crazy fact about the money: Is he not a gazillionaire?

That school fee explanation made me look at the calendar but this isn't April and it all just read like a set-up for some really bad joke.

Is he not mega-rich as everyone thinks? This sounds way more ridiculous than his previous retirement did. What is going on then?

The Blog said...

Ronnie on plans to quit:

"Ronnie O'Sullivan says this year's World Championship could be his last major event, stating he only returned to the sport for "a bit of money".
O'Sullivan pulled out of the 2012-13 season last November because of "personal issues" before ending his snooker sabbatical in February.

"I've realised I don't miss snooker but I needed a bit of money," he said."

Imagine what it must be like when he goes to the toilet...

"I plan to go have a pee."

"Actually I have no plans to have a pee."

"I might have a pee and then never pee again."

"I love peeing and continue to pee."

"I hate peeing and blame peeing on Barry Hearn.

"I have done my last ever pee. It's all over."

"Stephen Hendry is still the best pee-er."


Anonymous said...

agree with Claus .. what is going on!?!

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Anonymous said...

According to his brother? Is this the same yob who tried to put Robbo off his shots? I'm really looking forward to this one though, this tournament desperately needed a classic and it got one today, and now it needs a "box office hit" and they don't come much bigger than this. I suppose it's comparable to the 1982 semi between Higgins and White. I think Ronnie's comment is probably going to define this match: "he's not Stephen Hendry or John Higgins". It's true, and Trump is going to need a bit of help from Ronnie (and possibly his brother) to take him down. This tournament has been the worst world championship I have ever watched (even worse than 2006) but this semi could turn it all around.

jamie brannon said...

I hope he wasn't telling the truth in that interview today, the entertainment he provides needs to be seen more regularly. Nobody will ever play the game more beautifully.

As for Trump's connections, they are talking out of their backsides. The first session against Bingham was umplayable, Trump would have been sitting down like anyone else when he's in that sort of mood.

Dave is right that Trump can intimidate with his audacious potting game but, conversely, if they don't all fly in then O'Sullivan will be presented with enough scoring opportunities to hurt Trump.

I'm tipping O'Sullivan by 17 frames to 11.

Walden to edge Hawkins 17-15.

jamie brannon said...

The long potting has been terrific since midway through the Carter match, but he's very inconsistent in that department.

adamtuck said...

To be honest, when Ronnie was being introduced tonight by Rob Walker for the final session against Stuart you could see in Ronnies face he didn't want to be there and wanted to get it over with quickly, which he did. I think that played a part in his words, he is someone who speaks what he's thinking and as everyone knows he is a perfectionist, letting Bingham hold it over for another session probably annoyed him and so was disappointed to come out and play one frame to get over the line in anti climatic fashion. I'm not trying to justify Ronnie at all as when I saw the article I rolled my eyes and sighed. I wish he would just play Snooker and do what he says he's going to do. In all honesty I think he's talking rubbish again, I think we'll see him next season in some of the bigger events just as he first said. Anyway, the Semi should be awesome, I know Ronnie said he will be trying his best. Someone on twitter said Ronnie hasn't been pushed yet and has had an easy run to the semis. I think we have to remember, the reason he wasn't pushed against Stuart was because he dominated him at the start and never looked like losing afterwards. You have to think, if judd had been playing Stuart would it have been such a comprehensive victory or would it have been closer? Personally I think it would have been closer and get the feeling Ronnie wants to prove something to Judd. Either way will be a great match, and I think the winner of the world championship is going to come from that match, just like last year when it was said the winner would come from the Ronnie and Neil encounter.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie after this championship is over please go back to mucking out goats on a farm.
Then we can enjoy Mark Selby and Neil Robertson contesting sensible finals of tournaments from far off countries in peace, while wishing we were all young again.
We don't need this over excitable rubbish, balls flying in from all angles and then more drivel about retirement.
I want Wuxi Classico, whose cue hasn't arrived from baggae reclaim this time? Prey tell commentary team, we are all ears.
Oooh drama drama panorama.

jamie brannon said...

The first all-English semi-final line-up since 1991, a tournament which also ended on May 6th.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie is a troubled individual. He should have the courage of his convictions and do what Hendry did. Don't piss about, RETIRE and stay RETIRED. He is a laughing stock. Taking his ball home when things don't go his way. Walking out when Hendry is smacking his backside in York. He's a child in a mans' body. A spoilt brat is another description. Just GO.....

Anonymous said...

I still can't quite believe that either Ricky Walden or Barry Hawkins is going to contest a world final. Someone pinch me. Robbo and Selby, what a pair of muppets you are!

Anonymous said...

How can anyone take O'sullivans comments seriously! He even says Liverpool could land the premiership within 5 years with the help of his sports psychologist!

kimball said...

Why doesn't he just knee the headreferee and take a bite of his
lower lip as in the good old day's
and (this time) get's bannned for life.

John McBride said...

In my opinion, you couldn’t two more contrasting semi-finals.

Firstly, I'm well pleased for both Ricky Walden & Barry Hawkins in reaching a World Semi-Final which is something I'm sure they've both aspired to do. Hard work has certainly paid off for them both. It will be all about who misses the less balls. As we know, when players miss in high profile matches, as this one most certainly is, this only adds to the tension. Don’t be surprised if this semi is a cracker filled with tension too. This semi-final could well go down to the wire.

For the Ronnie O’Sullivan & Judd Trump semi-final, I’ll I can say is fasten your seat belts, sit back & enjoy.

As for Ronnie O’Sullivan’s comments after his win against Stuart Bingham, as far as I’m concerned, I take his post-match comments with a pinch of salt these days. If anything, he says what he feels in that moment in time. Without making excuses for the man, it can’t be easy having to explain yourself just after a match when the adrenalin is still running through your veins.

These 2 semi-finals are 2 finals in themselves, both will be different, both will be tension filled & both will be extremely close. Good luck to them all too.

Bring it on!

Shaun foster said...

For christs sake lets stop over analysing it. Ronnie loves to get a reaction. Everyone is talking about retirement, school fees etc which frees up ronnie to concentrate on his semi final. O Sullivan loves nothing more than toying(taking the piss) out of the press. P.s I think it's going to be one hell of a match

Anonymous said...

Following a long line of snooker players who educate their children privately: Davis, Taylor, White.

If someone makes that choice it's up to them. But don't moan about money.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,
Supporting what 10:52 has said in relation to Ronnie's financial "predicament" - I found his comments about struggling to pay the school fees a bit hard to swallow. According to Wikipedia his career winnings (ignoring income from exhibitions and sponsorhip), up to 2009, were £6,056,010!!! It's stretching credibility a tad for Ronnie to seriously claim he's simply playing for the money. I'm inclined to believe that maybe there's more to it than he's letting on. I'm coming more around to the view that it's pointless most of the time listening to his post-match interviews. His play, and level of mental presence, are the best indicators of his true intentions. I think if it was just for the money then he'd find it very difficult to motivate himself. Or possibly he gets nervous when his bank balance drops below a couple of million!
As regards his match with Trump - I think Judd ran his mouth off a bit and this was an unwise move. O'Sullivan would have been motivated anyway to put the young pretender in his place but with Trump saying that Ronnie hadn't played well and that he was going to attack - ill advised. It was reminiscent of Ronnie's remarks about Hendry (although not in the same vein) in advance of their epic semi-final in 2002 when Hendry put manners on him in the end. I fear that Trump could be in for a similar lesson from Ronnie. I don't think it matters too much who wins in the other semi - the winner to come from this tie. Should be an all-time classic!

Anonymous said...

he could have just sold one of his sportscars

Anonymous said...

I reckon he's got bipola or something I'm being serious, I love ronnie but how can he say I need a focus in my life then to say I don't need snooker. Or it might be in the heat of moment because he wasn't that happy about coming back in the evening against Bingham.

Anonymous said...

That "player of the season" thing on the World Snooker site is bollox. If Ron wins the WC after a year off then he is obviously the player of the season, but no nom for Ron!

ollie said...

This is becoming a recurring trait among several leading players: I note Mark Allen's recent interview bleating that he is underpaid, despite having earned way over £200k in prize money alone for each of the past two seasons (i.e. without endorsements, personal appearances etc). If he kept quiet and stopped getting fined for making ludicrous comments then he'd have more money.

Anonymous said...

The first all-English semi-final line-up since 1991, a tournament which also ended on May 6th.

Won by the bird, so could this be the year of the hawk .... ?

NewsfoxSport said...

It's a disaster that Hawkins is playing Walden in the World semi.

I'm a big snooker fan and I won't watch any of that and assuming the final is a total walkover, I won't watch any of that either. For the second year running!

It's not burnout, it's pressure. The worlds seems to have more upsets than half the other tournaments combined.

Neither Hawkins or Walden even had to up their standard so very unlikely they'll do much in final. Could be an 18-3 final!

But....I really do hope I'm wrong!

adamtuck said...

@ollie the way I see it, if they want to live an expensive life style, how can they complain about money problems. Mark Allen complaining about money is laughable, he should try being on minimum wage. They all think they should be millionaires just because Golfers and Tennis players are. It's pathetic, they are getting very good money for playing the game they love, that's why I admire people like Stuart Bingham, he loves all the tournaments they play because he just loves playing Snooker, don't think iv ever heard him complain of money!

Anonymous said...

Ronnie only opens his mouth to change feet

Hendry retired with class and with all the meaningful records.

Ronnie just about manages to string an understandable sentence together once a year that gives an opinion he sticks to.

The Blog said...

4:4 at the end of the first session.

If Trump can maintain his concentration for the rest of the match I think Ronnie could face a huge challenge in beating him. Trump is an incredible long potter and this could be a big factor in who wins the match.

Anonymous said...

Newsfoxsort 2.05
Ricky walden has beaten O Sullivan in a ranking event final over 19 frames .
And to Jamie Brannon if you watch the rerun of Ronnies first session with Bingham you'll see Bingham missed 2 blacks , a pink and a blue all off the spot . Although Ronnie took full advantage of the situation with brilliant play.

jamie brannon said...

I didn't mean he literally sat down for the whole of it, but it was still one of the best sessions seen at the Crucible. He had 98% pot success rate for the first seven frames.

The Liverpool comments were strange, but if Rodgers is given time to build and they don't become a selling club, it is not entirely an absurd prediction.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie will retire again after this tournament and will neveneeder play again until he makes an aborted comeback in a PTC then plays in this again next year.
Then it'll be a retirement and that will be it.
I promise you.

Anonymous said...

Surprised like most to hear Ronnie suggest he is short of money. He's won give or take £7 million- and presumably in sponsorship, exhibitions etc made at least £3.5 million. Plus investment income from his reported purchases of multiple commercial and residential properties. Would have thought he is worth at least £5 million and has a six figure income if he stayed in bed every day.

Anonymous said...

Poor direction from the TV people is ruining this Championship.
As usual shots are missed by the boffin in charge and at one point this week a close up was shown while someone played 2 shots, one of which I'm told would have won shot of the championships except for the fact that that has also been jettisoned by the sexed up BBC ornate glasses wearing brigade who tell us how to live our lives and what to watch.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie will pick and choose his events next year - He'll play in the UK and Masters although I don't think he even knows what else he will play in.
He will definitely, bar injury be playing in the 2014 World championships, even if he doesn't win this year and has to play a qualifying match.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie is a tosser. Please mean your retirement this time. You are a waste of time and newspaper space.

Anonymous said...

Dave, a poser here for you. I got talking to someone yesterday and we got musing about which season produced the highest standard of snooker ever seen. This chap reckoned it was 98/99, mostly on the basis that the semi-finals of the WC set the bar for the standard of professional snooker. I went for 03/04: Williams does the BBC slam, O'Sullivan & Hendry set a century record at the British Open, Hunter produces one of the greatest comebacks the games has ever seen and O'Sullivan produces arguably the most ruthless display ever seen at the Crucible against his old foe Hendry. We both considered 01/02 to be a high point too, but considered any season that resulted in Ebdon winning the WC couldn't be snooker's highest point. Which season would you go for?

kimball said...

Tuff to play Masters if you are out of top 16. Barry is done with Ronnie.
Even swedes can see that production
and pic selection is bad this year,
very irritating and bad surprise.

Anonymous said...

NewsfoxSport:> I'm a big snooker fan and I won't watch any of that and assuming the final is a total walkover, I won't watch any of that either. For the second year running!

You can't be that big a fan if you refuse to watch a match purely on the basis of who's in it. Walden has played the best stuff of the bottom half of the draw and Hawkins has knocked out two of the favourites.

The first session was a bit edgy but it could be a great match in the final stages.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell John Virgo not to keep wetting his pants every time a ball, of any colour, goes towards a pocket when it is not supposed to! Happened yesterday during the Walden-Hawkins match when there were about 13 reds left on the table and the yellow was knocked in by mistake and it made absolutely no difference to the state of the game, but you would never have known that judging by Virgo's reaction. He virtually went apoplectic.

He also winds me up by stating that a frame is won/lost at that precise moment when a player needs snookers. You can still win a frame despite needing snookers. Aaargggh!!

The Slickster said...

Ronnie is petulant, worst championship in years, Walden and Hawkins making up the numbers, and on top of it all we have a bookies chancer offering never to be repeated odds.

Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah goes the usual rubbish, but I've got to agree with Anonymous @ 9.30pm, but from a different angle. There are 3 commentators at the moment that are no more than an embarrassment to the event.

Cringeworthy is not the word, to the point that I refuse to listen to such dribble at the expense of an entertaining match. Surely someone at the BBC has been told that its got out of hand with some of the commentators, but are these "ornate glasses wearing brigade" really as bad as this?

I don't need to mention names as I'm sure everyone know who they are, but its times to put these imbeciles out to pasture and get on with moving the broadcasting of snooker up to a par with how it's being run.

Hendry is quality. Knowledgable about the play, who can give viewers an good incite into the game, but when you think that Clive Everton was dumped to save this lot, it beggars belief.

Tony B

Anonymous said...


Spot on.

Direction has been getting worse for years.
Director is obsessed with focussing :
a - on object ball falling in to the pocket
b - player's reaction when they miss

Totally fed up with missing the skilful part of the shot, ie positional play, delicate canon and so on.
Plus the fact that the morons operating the floor cameras constantly second guess (wrongly) which pocket they assume will be aimed at.
Would rather just watch the full view at all times instead the view from those idiotic pocket cameras, Ronnie, complexion or Judd's comb-over.
Red button option for constant view please and let us see every aspect of every shot.

Anonymous said...

Snooker wouldn't get in the papers if it weren't for ronnie. Snooker fans should count themselves lucky!! You don't want all die hard attitude snooker players it would be pretty boring you need a bit of drama in the game.

Anonymous said...

Whoever decided that the current commentary team should be employed at the expense of Clive Everton has obviously been touched by madness.

Anonymous said...

if o'sullivan wins he'll be ranked 15th. with the money list that'll be even higher.

of course he'll play at the masters, UK and a few other events.

world title no. 6 there for the taking in 2014.

Anonymous said...

Does Ricky Walden really need to leave the arena after every frame??? Sick of players constantly going out for a 'toilet break'. I'm sure it's all gamesmanship designed to wind their opponent up. No need for it.

And Tony B – you are spot on. Clive Everton is head and shoulders above the current lot of commentators. What is it with BBC and Sky flooding our screens with ex-players when professional broadcasters are so much better.

Johan said...

Something completely different:
I noticed in this morning's session, the "V" from OVAL VODKA on Ronnie's pub was missing - it's back on again. Anyone knows why?

Anonymous said...

Great stuff before the interval.

But wtf whas that stuff with the guy making those noises and the ref not saying anything about it? She doesn't seem to be liking it out there.

Very good of Ron to end a strange session with a big break and go home with a chance to get his shit together. He seemed a little off today. Only 3 days of putting some work in, and then he'll go home with the trophy.

The Slickster said...

Johan @ 8:09 pm

Yes, apparently they sent it off for dry cleaning with the badge still on the waistcoat. The badge is produced with heat transfer flock, and shouldn't be dry cleaned.

Tony B

Anonymous said...

Bloody difficult question, merits for 98/99 as on paper yes prob the strongest WC semi final lineup ever but i recall hendry was struggling for form for a while or not quite the player hes had been & i was like many i suspect a bit suprised he made the final & then won. 03/04 doesnt stick in my mind even though williams cleaned up, but i think 91/92 is worth a call parrot fresh off the back of his WC win playing some sinterlating stuff, white verymuch in his prime, hendry strong as still was davis, this & the other two seasons are perhaps the three standout seasons in history.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think they both looked like a couple of parakeets strutting around the table, especially with their coiffured hairdos?