News

The Ronnie League

Ronnie O’Sullivan has been in the final of the last seven Premier Leagues, winning six of those, and last night reached the Play-offs again with victories over Jimmy White and Shaun Murphy.

This ensured that, despite going into the night with a slight chance of unexpectedly missing the semi-final stage, the ‘Rocket’ actually finished top of the group and will play Mark Williams in the last four next week.

It would take a brave man to therefore bet against the former world number one,  who will be bidding for his tenth PL title in total.

While it is hard to argue with those impressive statistics, O’Sullivan will hardly have it all his own way in Norfolk in eight days time.

Williams will pose a dangerous threat but the three-time world champion will feel he should have the beating of the Welshman in a quickfire format that is suited perfectly to O’Sullivan’s match style.

However, the more prominent peril to Ronnie’s reign will most likely come from the other semi-final clash between Ding Junhui and Judd Trump.

Both players have adapted well to the new format this year – with a 20 second shot clock – and whoever emerges victorious from this encounter will be hoping to begin a new era for himself in the competition.

Any pairing out of the four that could make up the final will undoubtedly be a fantastic match-up but it is not without reason to assume that most people are dreaming of an O’Sullivan versus Trump contest.

The duo served up an enthralling final to the ninth Players Tour Championship event of the season last Sunday in which the latter came up trumps in a thrilling deciding frame triumph.

All fans and pundits yearned for after the event was for the match to be extended beyond the lowly best of seven frames that each PTC tournament provides.

With the PL final being played over a best of 13 frames format, there could be an opportunity for two of the biggest draws in the game to conjure up a titanic battle.

Ironically, both players are also due to meet at the second round stage of the UK Championship next month so an imminent rivalry could be on the cards.

Yet, Ding and Williams, as well as those they are due to meet in the last 32 in York, will not forgive me for getting slightly ahead of myself and there is plenty of snooker to be played before any of this may materialise.

What is for certain, though, is that O’Sullivan will be favourite once again for the Premier League title as he bids to maintain his dominance in the invitational event.



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.