Finals, Snooker News

Ronnie Tastes UK Glory Again

Ronnie O’Sullivan won his fifth United Kingdom Championship, 21 years after his first, in a thrilling final with Judd Trump at the Barbican Centre in York on Sunday.

O'Sullivan's highest break in the final was 133 - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
O’Sullivan’s highest break in the final was 133 – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The 39 year-old survived a spirited comeback from his young challenger to deny the 2011 champion in a classic encounter 10-9.

O’Sullivan had led 5-1 and 9-4 but Trump, who had struggled for consistency while in among the balls for much of the contest, responded with a furious four frames of frightening scoring to force the match into a decider.

A stunned O’Sullivan, who had chances to seal success in both the 14th and penultimate frames, would have been forgiven for shying away from his trademark attacking approach at the last hurrah.

However, while the ‘Rocket’ has been blessed with the most natural talent ever in the sport, in addition he boasts one of the greatest temperaments under extreme pressure.

After the pair shared early chances, the Champion of Champions victor, where he also overcame Trump in a superb showdown, laid the ‘Ace’ in a difficult snooker and duly capitalized on his missed attempt with a brilliant break of 51 under the circumstances to finally emerge victorious.

The triumph means that O’Sullivan has now won 15 Triple Crown events in his career – five World Championships, five Masters and now five UKs.

His displays in the British-based tournaments have been so dominant that it only took a surprising turnaround in this year’s Crucible final to deny O’Sullivan a clean sweep of titles in 2014.

Who would argue against him adding to that tally at the upcoming Masters invitational at the Alexandra Palace, the subsequent Welsh Open and, ultimately, his search for a sixth success in Sheffield.

Even as he approaches the age of 40, where most snooker players are already in decline, O’Sullivan, if anything, appears to be becoming a more complete competitor.

He references Jimmy White when he says he would like to be playing for the next five or ten years and, by the looks of things, he’ll not only be participating but also still winning.

For Trump, he will probably feel bitter disappointment having come so close to recording what would have been one of the greatest fight backs in the history of the sport.

Yet, after some time he will undoubtedly take solace in another creditable performance against the world’s best player and a week that saw him reach his fourth final of the campaign.

There were plenty of positives to take, most notably his willingness to continue his attacking brand of naughty snooker despite coming undone with positional play and routine shot selection on occasion.

The 25 year-old will be one of the favourites for the Masters, but he’ll arguably have to dispatch O’Sullivan if he is to land a maiden victory in London.

Perhaps ominously, the pair are on opposite sides of the draw and could potentially meet in yet another final.

Who among us would be opposed to that?

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