Ronnie O'Sullivan
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Ronnie O’Sullivan Snr slams ‘barbaric system created by WST’

Ronnie O’Sullivan Snr has hit out at snooker bosses with the ongoing dispute over scheduling on the tour raging on.

World number one O’Sullivan has been a prolific winner on the World Snooker Tour over the last couple of months.

A record-extending eighth UK Championship title in December was followed by an eighth career Masters crown at the Alexandra Palace earlier this month.

Immediately following the conclusion of the latter in London, the World Grand Prix commenced the next day at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

Despite the quick turnaround, O’Sullivan at times produced his best snooker of the 2023/24 season so far as he romped to another ranking title.

A scintillating display saw him thrash Ding Junhui in the semi-finals before a more hard-fought performance helped him to overcome rival Judd Trump in the final.

After a taxing couple of months, the 48 year-old has indicated that he will skip some of the upcoming tournaments on the calendar.

Yet O’Sullivan does intend to participate in the World Open in China in March, meaning he’ll have to attend the qualifiers this week in Barnsley.

Even though he’s the world number one, the Rocket has somewhat strangely not had his round-of-128 fixture held over to the venue stages.

Defending World Open champion Trump, reigning world champion Luca Brecel, and the top two ranked Chinese competitors – Ding and Zhang Anda – have all had their ties deferred until the tournament begins proper.

But O’Sullivan will be forced into the qualifying cubicles on Tuesday if he wants to guarantee his spot in Yushan.

Not for the first time in recent weeks, O’Sullivan’s father has taken the opportunity to have a pop at those in charge of the sport.

“Getting ready for Barnsley tomorrow, moped gassed up and ready to go for a qualifying match for China,” Ronnie O’Sullivan Snr wrote on X.

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Photo credit: Ronnie O’Sullivan Snr, via X

“Lovely jubbly, thanks Bazzer (Barry Hearn) at WST. Win a big tournament and given 24 hours to recover is barbaric.”

“Then with no sleep or rest or preparation travel to Barnsley for one game to qualify for the tournament in China. It’s not good at all.

“Top 16 should automatically go to China. No rewards. Because Baz earner loves good or bad publicity as it’s all the same to him.

“Especially when a top seed goes out because of fatigue. Every pro in any sport needs time to recover. Baz earner and the hampster wheel.

“China want to know who’s coming over to play so they can promote the tournament and get players logos to wear promoting there companies.

“Barbaric system created by WST and the Gestapo that are killing the players.”

Alfie Burden is due to be O’Sullivan’s opponent at the Barnsley Metrodome on Tuesday at 7pm UTC.


World Open Draw and Results

Round of 128 (bo9)

Judd Trump 5-2 Rory Thor
Sanderson Lam 5-4 Gong Chenzhi
David Gilbert 5-0 Anton Kazakov
Fan Zhengyi 5-2 Dylan Emery
Lukas Kleckers 5-2 Jack Lisowski
Dominic Dale 5-3 Marco Fu
Stuart Carrington 5-4 Gary Wilson
David Lilley 5-3 Scott Donaldson

Jak Jones 5-3 Ryan Thomerson
Ashley Hugill 5-1 Anthony McGill
David Grace 5-2 Rebecca Kenna
Kyren Wilson 5-0 Jimmy White
Jamie Jones 5-0 Rod Lawler
Ricky Walden 5-0 Peng Yisong
Ben Woollaston 5-4 Ben Mertens
Iulian Boiko 5-1 Baipat Siripaporn

Mark Selby 5-3 Xing Zihao
Adam Duffy 5-4 Mark Davis
Si Jiahui 5-1 Stan Moody
Long Zehuang 5-4 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
John Higgins 5-1 Ross Muir
Jackson Page 5-3 Liam Graham
Zhou Yuelong 5-1 Jiang Jun
Wu Yize 5-2 Julien Leclercq

Matthew Stevens 5-3 Hammad Miah
Ryan Day 5-4 Andrew Higginson
Elliot Slessor 5-2 Reanne Evans
Zhang Anda 5-3 Allan Taylor
He Guoqiang 5-2 Jimmy Robertson
Matthew Selt 4-5 Wang Xinbo
Daniel Wells 5-1 Liam Highfield
Mark Allen 5-1 Andres Petrov

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-3 Alfie Burden
Michael White 5-2 Haydon Pinhey
Lyu Haotian 5-2 Ashley Carty
Aaron Hill 5-4 Joe O’Connor
Robert Milkins 5-2 Barry Pinches
Sam Craigie 5-0 Ken Doherty
Hossein Vafaei 5-2 Liam Pullen
Graeme Dott 5-2 Ian Burns

Cao Yupeng 5-0 Rory McLeod
Noppon Saengkham 5-4 Himanshu Jain
Liu Hongyu 5-1 Jamie Clarke
Ding Junhui 5-3 Zak Surety
Sean O’Sullivan 5-1 Xiao Guodong
Joe Perry 5-4 Martin O’Donnell
Xu Si 5-0 Andrew Pagett
Shaun Murphy 5-0 Mohamed Ibrahim

Neil Robertson 5-0 Victor Sarkis
Tian Pengfei 5-1 Mink Nutcharut
Ishpreet Singh Chadha 5-3 Stuart Bingham
Yuan Sijun 5-3 Alexander Ursenbacher
Ali Carter 5-1 Ahmed Aly Elsayed
Louis Heatchote 5-0 Oliver Lines
Chris Wakelin 5-2 Andy Hicks
Jordan Brown 5-1 Lan Yuhao

Robbie Williams 5-3 Andy Lee
Tom Ford 5-2 Ma Hailong
Jenson Kendrick 5-3 Anthony Hamilton
Barry Hawkins 5-3 Steven Hallworth
Stephen Maguire 5-1 Mostafa Dorgham
Pang Junxu 5-2 James Cahill
Oliver Brown 5-4 Mark Joyce
Luca Brecel 5-1 Manasawin Phetmalaikul

Round of 64 (bo9)

Judd Trump 5-2 Sanderson Lam
Fan Zhengyi w/o David Gilbert
Lukas Kleckers 4-5 Dominic Dale
Stuart Carrington 4-5 David Lilley
Jak Jones 0-5 Ashley Hugill
David Grace 4-5 Kyren Wilson
Jamie Jones 4-5 Ricky Walden
Ben Woollaston w/o Iulian Boiko

Mark Selby w/o Adam Duffy
Si Jiahui 2-5 Long Zehuang
John Higgins 3-5 Jackson Page
Zhou Yuelong 1-5 Wu Yize
Matthew Stevens 5-2 Ryan Day
Elliot Slessor 5-3 Zhang Anda
He Guoqiang 5-4 Wang Xinbo
Daniel Wells 5-3 Mark Allen

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-3 Michael White
Lyu Haotian 5-4 Aaron Hill
Robert Milkins w/o Sam Craigie
Hossein Vafaei 5-1 Graeme Dott
Cao Yupeng 5-3 Noppon Saengkham
Liu Hongyu 2-5 Ding Junhui
Sean O’Sullivan 1-5 Joe Perry
Xu Si 3-5 Shaun Murphy

Neil Robertson 5-3 Tian Pengfei
Ishpreet Singh Chadha 3-5 Yuan Sijun
Ali Carter 5-3 Louis Heathcote
Chris Wakelin 5-4 Jordan Brown
Robbie Williams 5-4 Tom Ford
Jenson Kendrick 2-5 Barry Hawkins
Stephen Maguire 5-3 Pang Junxu
Oliver Brown 2-5 Luca Brecel

Round of 32 (bo9)

Judd Trump 5-3 Fan Zhengyi
Dominic Dale 2-5 David Lilley
Ashley Hugill 3-5 Kyren Wilson
Ricky Walden 4-5 Ben Woollaston

Mark Selby 5-2 Long Zehuang
Jackson Page 5-3 Wu Yize
Matthew Stevens 1-5 Elliot Slessor
He Guoqiang 3-5 Daniel Wells

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-2 Lyu Haotian
Robert Milkins 2-5 Hossein Vafaei
Cao Yupeng 1-5 Ding Junhui
Joe Perry 3-5 Shaun Murphy

Neil Robertson 5-2 Yuan Sijun
Ali Carter 1-5 Chris Wakelin
Robbie Williams 2-5 Barry Hawkins
Stephen Maguire 5-1 Luca Brecel

Round of 16 (bo9)

Judd Trump 5-3 David Lilley
Kyren Wilson 5-4 Ben Woollaston

Mark Selby 2-5 Jackson Page
Elliot Slessor 5-2 Daniel Wells

Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-5 Hossein Vafaei
Ding Junhui 5-3 Shaun Murphy

Neil Robertson 5-1 Chris Wakelin
Barry Hawkins 5-1 Stephen Maguire

Quarter-Finals (bo9)

Judd Trump 5-2 Kyren Wilson
Jackson Page 5-2 Elliot Slessor

Hossein Vafaei 0-5 Ding Junhui
Neil Robertson 5-2 Barry Hawkins

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Judd Trump 6-2 Jackson Page
Ding Junhui 6-5 Neil Robertson

Final (bo19)

Judd Trump 10-4 Ding Junhui


Featured photo credit: WST

3 Comments

  1. All 128 + wildcards, should be at, or at least near, the venue – for all ranking events.
    And with a tiered draw based on a points system rather than the money list, it would then be fair for all.
    It ludicrous to keep playing the first round in England. And at the current rate of change, it won’t be long before the argument that the majority of the tour are English, won’t hold up.
    If the Masters to the World Grand Prix wasn’t a case of “after the Lord Mayor’s show”, then the step down to cubicles in Barnsley certainly is.
    To treat the players in this way is not what anyone would expect of a professional sport.

    • Yes, I was in Barnsley yesterday, and there are about 30 chairs with a view of Table 1. It’s impossible to see how it’s going to work tonight. Once again, they are trying to run a sport in 2024 with the 1980’s model. Fundamentally it’s the ranking system which is at the heart of these structural problems, and the lack of flexibility from promoters and broadcasters which is leading to the scheduling difficulties.

      I should add that I saw Nutcharut Wongharuthai playing yesterday in Barnsley, less than 24 hours after she won the Women’s Belgian Open. Rebecca Kenna was also playing. There’s no particular reason why they had to be scheduled on day 1 of these qualifiers.

  2. It’s clearly ridiculous language from O’Sullivan senior but the decision to not carry O’Sullivan’s match over is baffling. He’s the biggest draw in the game and surely being world number one earns you the privilege.

    Day one of the World Open qualifiers saw Mark Selby become the fifth player to compile 800 centuries.

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