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Ronnie O’Sullivan Gets Going in Belfast

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s aspirations to complete the Home Nations sweep survived for another round after beating Lukas Kleckers 4-2 in the Northern Ireland Open on Tuesday.

Ronnie O'Sullivan NI OPen (WS)

O’Sullivan compiled a 126 in the second frame. Photo credit: World Snooker

The English Open champion, who is the last player standing who can pocket the incredible one million pound bonus on offer for capturing all four Home Nations crowns, came through a tough test with the German rookie to move into the last 64.

Headlines on the second day of action surrounded Judd Trump, though, after the 28 year-old crashed out in controversial fashion to Stuart Carrington.

It had already been a terrible few days for the European Masters champion, particularly after his crushing defeat to Ronnie O’Sullivan in Saturday’s Shanghai Masters showdown, but also because he had problems getting his cue back following the long returning flight to Europe.

Trump did manage to retrieve his trusted piece of equipment in time but he was unable to avoid a first-round exit at the hands of his fellow Englishman, who he grew up with and dominated on the junior circuit before turning professional.

Worse still is the disciplinary action that is likely to be taken against the former world number one after the manner in which he conceded the loss.

Trailing 3-2 and only 52 points behind with plenty of reds still remaining in the sixth frame, Trump jawed a red to the middle pocket before frustratingly smashing the remaining pack of reds and immediately offering his hand in concession.

It was an unusual conclusion to the contest that left many stunned and Trump will no doubt receive a deserved fine of some description as punishment.

The Bristol potter’s actions were labelled disrespectful by many onlookers and of course it wouldn’t, and shouldn’t, be regarded as the proper etiquette or something that could be stood for if it occurred on a regular basis.

However, it’s worth remembering how busy the schedule is at present with the top players especially having to travel back and forth between two continents on the opposite sides of the world to each other.

It must be difficult, in a sport that weighs heavily on the need for a strong temperament and unwavering patience, to remain calm and composed at every given moment.

Trump will be punished accordingly for acting in a manner that usually goes unnoticed but no doubt happens frequently behind the scenes and away from the cameras.

If anything, it shows how much winning means to these players and how irritating it can be when a match or a player’s standard is going the wrong way.

Trump isn’t the first high-profile player to lash out or concede early with O’Sullivan famously having done so during a UK Championship quarter-final with Stephen Hendry in 2006, while People’s Champion Jimmy White once flung his cue in frustration towards the climax of a second round session with Matthew Stevens in the 2002 World Championship.

These things happen and it would be wise if Trump, who skipped the post-match press conference despite an official request from World Snooker, simply apologises as quickly as possible so everybody can swiftly move on.

Meanwhile, another busy day at the Waterfront Hall saw John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ryan Day, and Liang Wenbo all advance from their opening tests.

Indeed, Liang is one of 17 competitors from China, more than a quarter of the remaining field, who is still in the hunt for glory this week and the £70,000 top prize.

Among some of Liang’s countrymen to join him at the next stage are Yan Bingtao, Zhou Yuelong, Zhao Xintong, and Xiao Guodong, while new teenage sensation Yuan Sijun overcame veteran Alan McManus 4-1.

Multiple ranking event winners Ali Carter and Stephen Maguire progressed courtesy of 4-0 drubbings but Michael White, winner of the Paul Hunter Classic this season, fell 4-2 to Jimmy Robertson.

Irish duo Fergal O’Brien and Leo Fernandez both lost as well to Tom Ford and Matthew Stevens respectively, which means that only Mark Allen and Ken Doherty remain from the Emerald Isle.

Live coverage continues on Eurosport and Quest TV.

Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)

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.