Monday, 24 March 2014

(The) Ronnie, the snooker and the telly

"Mum, I'm on the telly!"
He is cute, he is bad, he is a genius and he is mad, but he is also incredibly talented and can perform like no other on the dearest green baize – because he is Ronnie O'Sullivan.

With a cue action that motivates even the invalids, this guy keeps the entire planet on its tenterhooks when enters into the arena. Will he be in the mood for playing some cracking stuff, or will he be in the mood to throw in the white towel over his face and look lost at the table?


The fun part with Ronnie is that one never knows, but that's his unique and personal charm, what’s kept him in the people's mind and soul over the years, since he's been pocking those colourful balls on the snooker table.

With a record of bad manners and scandals, but also with one that not many could brag with, the Essex-man winning no less the five world titles, four UK trophies, five Masters, hitting 12 maximum breaks, making the fastest 147 in the history of mankind (5 minutes and 20 seconds) and the list could carry on, there's no wonder that the EuroSport Channel contacted O'Sullivan and named him "global snooker ambassador."

And since Barry Hearn's efforts to revive snooker are starting to show, the sports channels are beginning to see the opportunity of giving more space and more importance to the game of snooker.

Either we like it or not, at the moment, Ronnie is the player that everyone is talking about (much deserved to be honest) and considering his latest performance and the second book he's released (a book that talks about his demons as well as passion for snooker), it's only natural to see more of him and for promoters to use (I know, it's a nasty word) him as a model and inspiration for the snooker lovers around the world.

The Rocket at work
But EuroSport didn't stop in just naming Ronnie snooker ambassador, and gave the man a TV show that will start Tuesday (March the 25th) on the "home of snooker" as the call themselves, a show named "The Ronnie O'Sullivan Show".

The programme will feature Ronnie's thoughts on the current season as well as ways to improve one's snooker skills, tips & tricks if you like for the future snooker stars.

So, even if you're a fan of the Rocket, or just a snooker fan, you better turn on your telly this Tuesday from 12:30 (but also from 22:30) UK time, for British EuroSport 2 is showing the Rocket doing the talk but also the walk.

Until then, though here’s a teaser for what will happen during the show and the TV intro:







Sunday, 16 March 2014

Murphy masters Haikou World Open

Shaun Murphy - the 2014 Haikou World Open champion
Shaun Murphy beat Mark Selby by 10-6 to win his first major ranking event of the season, the mighty Haikou World Open. This is actually his first major win since 2011 when he beat Martin Gould to conquer the first edition of the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals.

It was about time to see a revived and working/potting at full-speed 'Magician' because the guy is very talented and a pretty tough opponent to beat if he gets going. It's true that his form hasn't been the best lately, but since his victory in Poland's Gdynia it was pretty clear that Murphy was making a comeback to his beloved green baize.

But leaving behind the frustrations caused by years of not getting any silverware under his belt, which sadly culminated with a crushing defeat in front of Selby in this year's Masters' semis that made him consider retiring from snooker, Shaun has managed to keep his chin up and through great potting and a few flukes here and there, to reach the final of a major ranking tournament.

However, the winning of the shiny trophy was no gimme and the entire final could be classified as a prefect drama, for what it started as a dreamy journey for the 2005 world champion soon turned out to be a genuine nightmare during the second session.

Mark Selby - the 2014 Haikou World Open runner-up
Murphy left no room for error during his first encounter with Selby and flew all the way to 4-0, until his opponent could wrap up two consecutive frames with a bit of help from a 91 break. And the punishment continued as he fired in breaks of 98, 105 and 112 to end the first session with a pretty comfortable 7-2 lead.

But everything changed a few hours later with the lads re-entered in the arena to resume their snooker match, for Selby took revenge on the man that left him behind.

Runs of 78, 31, 43 and 33 were enough to add no less than three consecutive frames into Mark's account, thus questioning Shaun's capacity to win the match.

Unable to settle in and presenting himself almost as a totally different player than the one who almost clean the floor with Selby in the first session, Murphy barely managed to score a 60 break and enter the mid-session interval with just one frame in his pocket. It was 8-5.

The Magician at work
15 minutes later Selby won a scrappy affair to clinch yet another frame, but this time Murphy responded with a great 78 clearance that was bringing him just one step away from the finish line.

A bit more focused, Shaun hit in runs of 50 and 20 before leaving his opponent in need of three snookers to tie. And as expected Selby tried his best to gain them ... but only managed to get two.

The conclusion of the match was set down to the blue, but when Selby potted it by mistake, the pink became the last frontier.

The lads put on quite a show of skills in getting snookers, in the end though (the frame lasted for about 45 minutes), Murphy managing to pot the last pink and get his hands on the trophy.

The lads
Surprisingly enough there was not joy or burst of emotions on Shaun's face, but you could see a great relief that he managed to overcome a tough opponent and a pretty tough tournament also.
His reaction is only normal, considering the amount of pressure he was on during the last session and also the last frame and if one should take into account his latest performances and results - when you are working so much, practice so hard and put in the hours, when you finally win something you don't even have the energy to be happy for it for it comes as a natural, deserved and given fact.

However, Shaun managed to smile for the cameras when he was handed the trophy and the check - it was a long-awaited moment after all.


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