Ronnie O'Sullivan
Main News, Non-Ranking

Ronnie O’Sullivan withdraws halfway through group stage

Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from another event on the calendar – the Championship League at the Morningside Arena in Leicester.

The world number one has made a habit of pulling out of tournaments during the 2023/24 campaign.

O’Sullivan withdrew from competition in the build up to seven ranking events on this term’s calendar.

The Rocket also decided against participating in the prestigious Champion of Champions invitational in November where he was the defending champion.

On Wednesday, O’Sullivan extended his streak of withdrawals at the invitational version of Championship League Snooker.

In contrast to the other situations, however, the 48 year-old actually initially cued up to compete in Group 7 at the Morningside Arena.

The UK and Masters champion won his first two round-robin fixtures with a brace of 3-2 triumphs over Elliot Slessor and Sam Craigie.

O’Sullivan subsequently lost to Jak Jones and Joe O’Connor to end the first of two days in fourth spot with two points and was provisionally in line to qualify for the group’s knockout stage.

The Englishman, a Championship League finalist in 2016, was due to play Jordan Brown and Pang Junxu in his remaining fixtures on Thursday.

However, event promoters Matchroom Sport confirmed that he would not be returning for the second day of play.

“Ronnie O’Sullivan has withdrawn from group 7 at BetVictor Championship League Snooker,” the official account for the tournament announced on X.

“The group will now proceed as a 6-player group that concludes tomorrow.”

A flaring up of a recurring foot injury has been cited as the reason for his latest withdrawal.

Jones leads the way in Group 7 with four wins from the four round-robin matches he’s played so far.

The winner on Thursday will complete the lineup for the Championship League Winners’ Group in March.

Defending champion John Higgins, Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Kyren Wilson, Stuart Bingham, and Chris Wakelin have already booked their spots in the finale.

It has become commonplace for two versions of Championship League Snooker to be played during a season.

The ranking edition, which is open to everyone on the World Snooker Tour, was won by Shaun Murphy last summer.

This particular variant, played behind closed doors and geared towards the online betting market, has been on the calendar since 2008.

While there are different prize bonuses on offer, a lot of the top pros see it as an opportunity for some valuable match practice ahead of bigger tournaments.

There is, however, a dangling carrot of a guaranteed invitation to the Champion of Champions later this year for the overall winner.

O’Sullivan, meanwhile, will be seen next at the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker in Saudi Arabia.

The non-ranking event gets under way on Monday with the top eight players from the world rankings list in the field alongside two local amateurs.

With a huge prize fund on offer, it seems unlikely that O’Sullivan will withdraw for that occasion.

Featured photo credit: WST

5 Comments

  1. Not the first time O’Sullivan has withdrawn during a group of this event. He’s clearly felt that enough match practice has been obtained. Never the best look unless a serious reason for doing so.

    Sam Craigie became the 80th player yesterday to compile 100 career centuries.

  2. Jakob Kidde Sauntved

    Joe O’Connor made his first 147 in competition (in his hometown Leicester), which is also the 200th on the tour, a bit disappointing it happened in a tournament with no audience, but at least the “jubilee” won’t happen during that bogus Saudi event.

    • Jaybrannon

      That’s a good point – preferable to have it now rather than run the risk of it occuring in Riyadh. I genuinely hope tickets sales are poor next week but they will probably have an audience in somehow.

  3. You've bean gamed

    There comes to stage, with sports like snooker, another frame another tournament, here we go again. In Ronnie’s case it becomes a mental case, good to walk away sometimes

  4. Child in a mans body , can’t understand why anyone likes this cry baby .

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