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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

Round of 128 (bo9)

Judd Trump vs Rory Thor (Mar 18)
Sanderson Lam vs Wildcard (Mar 18)
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 vs Allan Taylor (Mar 18)
He Guoqiang 5-2 Jimmy Robertson
Matthew Selt vs Wildcard (Mar 18)
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 vs Zak Surety (Mar 18)
Sean O’Sullivan 5-1 Xiao Guodong
Joe Perry 5-4 Martin O’Donnell
Xu Si 5-0 Andrew Pagett
Shaun Murphyer 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 vs Wildcard (Mar 18)

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 vs Manasawin Phetmalaikul (Mar 18)

Round of 64 (bo9)

Matches to be played on March 18th and 19th. Schedule to be confirmed.

Trump/Thor vs Lam/Wildcard
David Gilbert vs Fan Zhengyi
Lukas Kleckers vs Dominic Dale
Stuart Carrington vs David Lilley
Jak Jones vs Ashley Hugill
David Grace vs Kyren Wilson
Jamie Jones vs Ricky Walden
Ben Woollaston vs Iulian Boiko

Mark Selby vs Adam Duffy
Si Jiahui vs Long Zehuang
John Higgins vs Jackson Page
Zhou Yuelong vs Wu Yize
Matthew Stevens vs Ryan Day
Elliot Slessor vs Zhang/Taylor
He Guoqiang vs Selt/Wildcard
Daniel Wells vs Mark Allen

Ronnie O’Sullivan vs Michael White
Lyu Haotian vs Aaron Hill
Robert Milkins vs Sam Craigie
Hossein Vafaei vs Graeme Dott
Cao Yupeng vs Noppon Saengkham
Liu Hongyu vs Ding/Surety
Sean O’Sullivan vs Joe Perry
Xu Si vs Shaun Murphy

Neil Robertson vs Tian Pengfei
Ishpreet Singh Chadha vs Yuan Sijun
Ali Carter vs Louis Heathcote
Chris Wakelin vs J. Brown/Wildcard
Robbie Williams vs Tom Ford
Jenson Kendrick vs Barry Hawkins
Stephen Maguire vs Pang Junxu
Oliver Brown vs Brecel/Phetmalaikul


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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