The 2014 Champion of Champions concluded on Sunday with a familiar sight – that of Ronnie O’Sullivan lifting the winner’s trophy aloft.
The soon-to-be 39 year-old produced a trademark stylish performance to see off Judd Trump 10-7 in an enthralling final that was played in the highest quality.
On any other day, or against any other foe, Trump would have been waking up this morning with a £100,000 cheque as champion.
However, even what was approaching his own best could not match a superb O’Sullivan who was at his most devastating throughout.
The pair shared six century breaks between them – O’Sullivan’s four bringing him to within just 11 of Stephen Hendry’s all-time record of 775 – while the majority of other frames boasted a run of at least 50 as well.
The final was actually closer that it initially appeared it would turn out to be.
After racing into a seemingly unassailable 8-3 lead with snooker that no opponent could have lived with, O’Sullivan was given a stern test of his temperament as the challenge from a rejuvenated Trump became apparent.
The 25 year-old reeled off four frames on the bounce to get to within one frame at 8-7 and so narrowly failed to level the scores after going in-off from potting the green in the 16th frame.
O’Sullivan’s reprieve was the eventual writing on the wall and his last century came in the next frame, a 109 to ensure he be crowned Champion of Champions for the second successive season.
The ‘Rocket’ proved, as if he even needed to, once more that he is the king of the baize and this triumph serves to remind everyone that his Crucible loss to Selby was only a minor blip.
Despite approaching the age of 40, where most competitors find that their best form is a few years behind them, O’Sullivan conversely appears to be getting better as time goes on.
The Chigwell cueist remains the most powerful scorer, one of the most astute at the tactical side of the game when he needs to be, and has a will to succeed now that wasn’t always apparent up until only two or three years ago.
For Trump, his run to the final in Coventry continues what has been an encouraging campaign for the youngster so far – with victory in Australia already to his name – and his form is very near that what brought him to the no.1 position in the world rankings two years ago.
Attentions now turn to the UK Championship in York in a few weeks time, where O’Sullivan will undoubtedly start as the clear favourite once again.
Of all the big events on home turf, the UK is the one that has eluded O’Sullivan’s grasp for the longest as he hasn’t been able to etch his name on that famous trophy since 2007.
It would be difficult to bet against him making that right before Christmas.