Ronnie O’Sullivan rose to the top of the 2011 Premier League table after a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Ali Carter on night four in Doncaster.
‘The Rocket’ had earlier easily dispatched of Matthew Stevens in the semi finals before Carter repeated the 3-0 outcome against an out-of-sorts Ding Junhui in the second last four clash.
Both Essex lads played well in their opening ties, knocking in sizeable breaks along the way to oversee comfortable whitewashes.
However, the final opened up under scrappy circumstances and two drawn out frames were shared between them.
The first went Carter’s way and ‘The Captain’ had chances to extend his lead in the subsequent frame only for Ronnie to dish up to the blue to square proceedings.
There were plenty of missed pots but the tactical display from both players was of the highest quality and proved that the use of a speedy shot-clock doesn’t always ensure an attacking style.
O’Sullivan upped the standards, though, in the third frame and knocked in the highest break of the final, a 68, to lead for the first time at 2-1.
Things turned dramatically in the fourth as Carter, with reds in clear sight, missed the object ball three times on the trot and subsequently lost the frame under the three misses rule.
It is one of the few times that it has happened on live television and it cost the 2010 Shanghai Masters champion the final.
Yet, the 32 year-old still comes away from Yorkshire with four points as league points are rewarded in this year’s event from frames won.
O’Sullivan, therefore, earned six points from his night’s work and sits on top of the standings with eight after the fourth night of the round-robin styled phase.
The leaderboard is bunching up, though, with four players close behind him on six points – meaning that there is a lot to play for in the remaining weeks to come.