Ronnie O’Sullivan has won the UK Championship for a magnificent seventh time after a 10-6 victory over Mark Allen on Sunday in York.
Success at the Barbican Centre brings the 43 year-old’s record in the sport’s second biggest ranking event beyond Steve Davis’ tally – 25 years after his maiden UK triumph in 1993.
The records continue to tumble for the greatest player that has ever lived as the victory also brings his Triple Crown haul past Stephen Hendry to 19 career majors.
While the vast majority of Davis’ success came in the 1980s and Hendry’s dominance occurred a decade later, O’Sullivan’s achievement has been even more impressive as he has sustained the absolute highest level for approaching three decades.
Indeed, like a fine wine O’Sullivan appears to be getting better with age – highlighted by the fact that, with this glory, he prolongs a streak that has seen him collect one of the three big titles in each season since the 2011/12 campaign.
O’Sullivan had been in the headlines more often for his actions off the table in the last couple of weeks following his controversial comments regarding a possible breakaway tour.
However, the “Rocket” never looked distracted on the baize and, aside from a tough early test against former world champion Ken Doherty, raising the trophy aloft was never really in doubt.
Enjoy the celebrations he did too, as O’Sullivan jumped into the stands to hug his team and duly performed a victory lap for the packed crowd that had supported him so passionately again.
It’s a far cry from a decade ago when an O’Sullivan victory was commonly followed by a disconsolate critique of his game and the sport.
Despite all his current complaints with regard the tour structure, O’Sullivan is clearly in love with snooker and enjoys taking the standard to even greater heights.
The £170,000 champion’s cheque he picks up for this UK triumph brings his overall earnings this season to more than half a million pounds – in only his fifth tournament of the term.
O’Sullivan has even more records in his sights with the 1,000 centuries milestone within his grasp and there’s a distinct possibility that it could be achieved in next month’s Masters – the prestigious invitational that he has also won seven times.
The five-time world champion has narrowed the gap to Mark Selby at the top of the world rankings list as well and it appears only a matter of time before O’Sullivan might reclaim the number one position, certainly should he maintain this kind of devastating form.
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) December 9, 2018
Sunday’s UK triumph was founded on a five-frame burst at the end of the first session that helped O’Sullivan establish a 6-2 advantage after the afternoon’s play.
Allen, who first missed out on a UK triumph seven years ago when he narrowly lost out to Judd Trump in the title decider, fought in trademark fashion but the 32 year-old was always left with too much work to do.
Perhaps the most pivotal frame came after the mid-session interval of the evening session when O’Sullivan cleared with a run of 57 to pinch it on the black and move 9-4 in front.
International Championship winner Allen then had an opportunity to compile a rare Triple Crown final maximum but unexpectedly missed on 72 with the reds nicely spread.
The Antrim man won the next as well but O’Sullivan was patient and delivered the final blow in the 16th frame with a break of 78 sealing the deal.
Defeat for Allen will be disappointing but it has still been a remarkable twelve months in the big events and he’ll head into next month’s Masters defence full of confidence.
Yet this moment, and so many others, belongs to O’Sullivan as he continues to demonstrate why he’s the sport’s brightest star.
O’Sullivan’s career shows no signs of letting up and the question now will turn to how many more he can win and whether or not he can challenge one of Hendry’s last surviving records of seven world crowns.