Let’s start by nailing one snooker myth: that Ronnie O’Sullivan can’t be bothered in China.

He’s actually won three ranking tournaments there, which is more than anyone else.

However, it’s worth pointing out that the two China Opens he won were played in December, not a couple of weeks before the Crucible.

Ronnie could be forgiven for saving his best for the Betfred.com World Championship. The thing is, though, that he doesn’t have to play his best to win the tournament.

At the Shanghai Masters last September O’Sullivan was not at his awesome peak but still came home with the trophy. How much this pleased him I don’t know but his fans were happy and he has several million of them in China who will cheer for him even though he’s playing one of their own today.

Tian Pengfei was the best wildcard and duly came through at the expense of Mark Davis. I’d be amazed if he beat O’Sullivan but he can hopefully contribute to what should be a match played in a great atmosphere.

Yesterday, all eight top 16 ranked players who played first round matches were successful.

Can this hit rate continue? If it did it would surely be the first time ever (unless an anorak out there knows different).

Stephen Hendry will certainly hope so when he faces Andrew Higginson in the day’s first TV match.

Hendry won the first ranking event staged in China 20 years ago. He’s not lost a first round match in a ranking event this season and, though Higginson is a very solid campaigner, I’d expect that pattern to continue today.

Peter Ebdon was a surprise winner in Beijing last year based on his poor form leading up to the event. Judd Trump is a dangerous opponent but if he plays his normal go-for-everything game they’d better go in, because Ebdon played very well in the Championship League and will take advantage if he’s left in.

Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby will play their first matches for two months against Nigel Bond and Rod Lawler respectively.

All things being equal Murphy and Selby would be big favourites to progress but sluggishness as a result of the enforced lay off may mean that an upset or two is not impossible.


Greg P said...

Fingers crossed we should get a treat this afternoon with Ronnie, I remember his performance against a Chinese wildcard last year, a glorious exhibition with outrageous shots going in left right and centre. Hope he's in a similar mood today.

Anonymous said...

'Let’s start by nailing one snooker myth: that Ronnie O’Sullivan can’t be bothered in China.'

Judging by his performance against Tian Pengfei at the moment, this myth looks set to be perpetuated for another year at least....

Anonymous said...

Could you post up tomorrows Live matches again please David

Anonymous said...

OMG i can't believe how Ronnie just lost. Under hitting the black like that. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

What the heck was Ronnie thinking???

I became really concerned after the mid-session interval because it looked like he wasn't up for it today at all.

But that final black is just unbelievable...

Bryan said...

eh, he was. But they didnt go in.
strange i will say no more

Anonymous said...

Dave could we have a thread on “Commercial Rights” as many of your blog could be interested in investment.

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Dear David Hendon
On a very serious note! What is meant by “Commercial Rights”? Does it mean all “Rights” or all “Commercial” dealings? It seems so very ambiguous.
Why Dave doesn’t the WPBSA board (Seller) buy these “Rights” from Barry and Steve (Buyer) and sell the “Commercial Rights” for W/S to the highest bidder on E Bay?

China I am sure Dave would be a keen bidder on E Bay, as would America and Russia. The individuals that may make a bid would include the many millionaire footballers to buy as an investment to resell at a later date.

Would it mean taking a cut from sponsors, BBC and Eurosport plus the Chinese TV? Does it mean demanding a cut from all Snooker Accessories, table, cloths ball etc?

Please ask Barry to be more “Transparent” Dave as I may consider a bid myself. Mr hey you

Kildare Cueman said...

Ive seen it all now. I suppose thats what makes O'Sullivan such compulsive viewing.

What a nutter.

Ray said...

This is all snooker needs ..... there has been no bigger fan of Ronnie's than me but the way he played the final black against Tian Pengfei sickened me to the pit of my stomach. He obviously didn't want to be there so why go? It must be heartbreaking for Tian because he can't really say he beat O'Sullivan.
Incidentally, when is a referee going to have enough bottle to take Ronnie aside and tell him that it's the referees' job to take the balls out at their own pace not Ronnie's pace. If he continues to play before the balls are replaced it will be his own fault when the referee calls a foul. Intimidation shouldn't have any place in the game. In all sports there is no game without the referee.
In one fell swoop Ronnie has today disrespected himself,his opponent,the referee,the fans and most importantly this wonderful game of ours.
Over to you Barry Hearn?

stuartfanning said...

Ronnie lost. I think he deliberately threw the match. That black at the end was unforgiveable. If he resents having to play in China he shouldn't go and pay whatever fine the Snooker authorites levy against him.

Philip said...

well, he wasnt. very strange appearance today by ronnie.

Unknown said...

Wow, well done to the wild card Tian Pengfei, what a result!

A god day's snooker (again) and decent crowds, great to see it!

BTW Dave, do you know what matches are being broadcast tomorrow??

Alex said...

O'Sullivan apologists sign in here:

D Hendon


that's it

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave,

You could see from the way Ronnie struck the opening break-off, that he wasn't interested.

Am neither defending or protesting his performance today. His track record overseas and attitude has always been borderline. I can go back to Malta in 1996 when he literally did a Quinten Hann and smashed balls everywhere in a match he lost to Chris Small.

He is what he is. Whether folk find funny or outrageous is another question. Tournaments overseas have never really agreed with him, from outrageous press conferences to matchplay.

But for the record: I enjoyed the match!

I presume he will be fined or stronger action will be taken over the final black. This will be interesting with the new regime.

Thanks, Joe

Anonymous said...

wow -couple of unexpected results today eh! Not only Ronnie but Shaun too!

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the black Ronnie missed to get to 4-4. Was he in a hurry to get his easter eggs at home?

Sparky said...

Dave - is this the "most international" field ever in a snooker ranking tournament?

I count 11 different nationalities: English, Scottish, Welsh, NI, Irish, Chinese, Thai, Hong Kong, Maltese, Belgian, Australian.

Have there ever been more?

Anonymous said...

Oh for a crystal ball, eh Dave!

Dave H said...

I did think as I wrote that this morning that it would almost certainly backfire in a big way.

Anonymous said...

oh well cant say I am surprised at the O'Sullivan result - but lets not be distracted from a wonderful tournament and a fantastic result for Nigel Bond. There are some great lineups in the last 16 so what about focusing on the snooker instead of a player who didnt seem bothered whether he won or not and is now no longer part of the tournament.
On a seperate issue perhaps it would be helpful if all players were contracted to do promotional work for the remainder of the tournament week when defeated early, as a condition of entry for overseas events. Then they all know they are there for the duration and dont have to worry about when to book there flight home- they all stay the week and return next monday! - this would nicely stop any negative comments about some players appearing to not be trying to the maximum of their ability in overseas tournaments.

Dave H said...

As for tomorrow's TV matches, the Chinese host broadcaster has picked the two Asian players for the first session, so it's Tian v King and Fu v Bond.

Next session is Higgins v Williams and Selby v Ding.

Anonymous said...


Kildare Cueman said...

I suggested in an earlier blog that a charge of "not trying" be introduced, with penalties ranging from a slap on the wrist/small fine for a performance like todays, to a life ban if proven guilty of match fixing for betting purposes.

Im not so sure now though. I think it will be a long flight home for the rocket, and theres no doubt that he will be punishing himself far more than anything WS could throw at him.

I dont believe he missed the last black on purpose. I've seen Mark Williams play frame balls like that many times. It generally gives the pocket every chance of accepting the ball, and at the time, O'Sullivan may have felt he was struggling and didnt feel comfortable stunning it.

I think Ray at 3.42 is over-reacting a bit.

We all know theres a bit of a mad streak in Ronnie. That, along with his wonderful style of breakbuilding, is what makes him great to watch.

That is why people ask; "Which Ronnie will turn up?"

I, as much as anyone, wanted to shake him today, but thats the way he is. Accept it.

As for "Over to you Barry", re O'Sullivans impetuous disregard for snooker etiquette, that is the petty attitude that has dragged the game back in recent years, and there can be no greater certainty than if Hearn was watching, He would be revelling in the atmosphere and wishing the Rocket had won.

We know hes never going to be snookers greatest ambassador. Lets leave that stuff to Higgins and Murphy and others.

One thing we do know. The mans a genius, flawed yes, but has more charisma, excitement and mystery on table than anyone else in the game.

Hes the last person Id want to have a pint with, but I'll be devastated the day he hangs up his cue.

CHRISK5 said...

I much doubt if Ronnie will get fined or levied (even if he did,the sum would be paltry to him)

After all,another Chinese player has advanced in his home event.

Also,the WPBSA & Hearn will be more interested in his commitment levels for the PTC events in 2010/2011 - So,I would imagine they'll let this one go for now.

The enigma of Ronnie is very simple.

On his day,when in the 'zone' - the greatest player ever.

It's the vital areas of desire,mental application & allround consistency that he usually lacks - in comparison to his peers - Davis, Hendry,John Higgins & a host of other players.

This early exit doesn't change that assesment at all.

Though I agree that players who lose in the early stages - SHOULD be required to stay at events thereafter - for good PR & overall morale of the circuit.

Anonymous said...

Disgraceful performance - so unprofessional. Will there be repercussions?????

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Ronnie O'Sullivan can't be bothered in China, Dave!


Anonymous said...

Ronnies best days are behind him now I would say.
As a player gets older they are unable to handle pressure as well as previously, and Ronnie prefers to give the impression that he isn't bothered rather than knuckle down.
To embark on a twelve hour plane journey to Beijing then play such a feeble shot on a final black tells me Ronnie may well never win at Sheffield again. In some ways the journey home should allow him some time to reflect if he is that sort of bloke.
He will always play the odd marvellous match but essentially his bottle has gone a bit.
Its nothing to be ashamed of but today's performance in China and random scattergun shot selection tells me that its time to look to the future rther than get bogged down in a past glory Rocket.
I only hope Hearn is able to bring the next O'Sullivan through under his new blueprint for the future.

SupremeSnooker.com said...

I'm really looking forward to Williams v Higgins.
Mark's return to some kind of form in the last few televised events has gone down really well here in Wales and I don't think John will have things all his own way.
Incidentally, what to we make of snooker's most unusual innovation to date?:

Anonymous said...

it wasn't all that bad what Ronnie done, it was just an exhibition shot gone wrong, he could have easily missed the blue; he played it with a ridiculous amount of side.

there is a difference between not trying to win and not being all that bothered, Ronnie's in the latter category. It was pretty fun to watch.

Tian held himself together well.

''Will there be repercussions?'' - No, and there shouldnt be.

Anonymous said...

I love how ronnie fanboys always try to find excuses. Accept the fact he's not the player he was 2 years ago anymore and that his downfall will be so quick that soon no one will remember about him.

W China said...

MBE for Ronnie? lol

Anonymous said...

That was just a lapse of concentration by Ronnie. Too many people are keen to label him as this or that. Remember he has had mental issues in the past that have required treatment and the game is lost without him. Just look at the huge number of empty seats this morning to see what I mean.

Betty Logan said...

Are you in China, David? If not that is one powerful commentator's curse you have!

Anonymous said...

Snooker © The Fine Art Method
A secret is wasted if not shared
Hi Dave
How’s Tricks! Thanks again for the posts lad, even the “Absent Posts” that are now in the pipe line.

The press today is spouting negative reports on Barry and Steve’s “Matchroom Takeover”. There will be others scribes shouting for Steve the Legion.
Steve and the board along with John Higgins the new union boss will have to be heard loud and clear if they will “Walk Away” along with Barry if the vote is negative.

May the 5th is a long way off Dave and there will be much “Wheeling and dealing” to be arranged, plus many “Honest Soldier” promises.
The punch line in most disputes is the cry “What is the Alternative”? Why not TRY the alternative free of charge and if a bum steer, sell to the hightest bidder. Mr hey you

CHRISK5 said...

Unless the number of ranking events increased significantly.

I cannot see Ronnie ever getting close to Hendry's record tally of 36 titles.

In terms of 2nd placed Davis on 28 titles - I would say John Higgins has a better chance than Ronnie of reaching a similar tally.

Through a combination of Ronnie getting slightly past his peak - John Higgins having a much better B-Game & quite predictably,the Rocket will retire several years before the 'Wizard' does.

Anonymous said...

Where's dear old Jamie Brannon today to defend "his hero"? LOL

Anonymous said...

It's funny isn't it that the mental issues only crop up when he's losing!!!!

Lapse of concentration? You have got to be pulling our legs. He didn't want to be there - so he shouldn't have entered.

Will Mr Hearn do anything? No - same old story. If he REALLY wants to turn snookers' fortune around then he SHOULD do something and make an example of someone - in this case O'Sullivan. He is extracting the proverbial Michael and it's about time be was brought to book.

jamie brannon said...

I have said before I will criticise Ronnie where I feel fit, my support doesnt waver however, as we have to accept that his lack of interest will be always part of his fascinating make-up. I take issue though it has damaged the sport as it is got people talking snooker. The only way he has damaged it is if people think it was match fixing, and no one in the snooker community will have the bottle to say that anyway, not that I think anyone knowledgeable would see as anything other than genuine stupidity from Ronnie.

I fancied him this week with the draw he had, and although things will be far tougher in Sheffield-you write this genius off at your peril.

Anonymous said...

it is laughable how people think that ronnie cannot win another world title because of one lose

he won shang, was in masters final, in two other semifinals

put an amazing performance against williams in the masters, against allen in the welsh. This man is a total genius

he will this World champ and will silent all doubters


Betty Logan said...

The reality is, Shaun Murphy aside none of the younger generation of players look like winners at Sheffield. Again it's the older players that are putting in the most consistent performances and Higgins will top the rankings (at 35!) and Ronnie will be in second place (at 34). They are the top two players in the world so you'd be mad to back against them, but the trend will have to change soon - are these two players really going to be dominating at 36/37?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but what about Mark Allen? He shot into the top 16, defeated Ronnie there last year showing loads of talent. Write HIM off at your peril!