Ronnie O'Sullivan agrees to play in Belfast tournament
Ronnie O'Sullivan has not decided if he will defend his world title at the Crucible this year — or return to big time snooker at all — but he has agreed to come to Northern Ireland for a special event in June.
The man known as ‘The Rocket’ will be part of a Snooker Legends show on June 4 at the Waterfront Hall where Stephen Hendry, Jimmy White and Ken Doherty will also play.
Back in November, O'Sullivan revealed he would be taking the rest of the season off due to “personal issues”.
World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn says he remains hopeful that O'Sullivan will play in the World Championship, though the four-time winner must enter the tournament by the end of February, otherwise he will miss out.
Recently it was reported that O'Sullivan, who has battled depression in recent years, has been working voluntarily on a farm in Essex.
Come June he'll be in Belfast which will certainly interest snooker fans here.
Perhaps he hasn't fallen out of love with the game that needs him so much after all.
The Snooker Legends night will see O'Sullivan partner seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry as they take on Dubliner Ken Doherty — victorious at the Crucible in 1997 — and the ever popular Jimmy White, back in the home town of his great friend Alex Higgins.
There will be a tribute to two-time world champion Higgins on the night with respected commentator John Virgo providing expert analysis.
Tickets for the event are on sale now.
Mark Allen joined the exodus of leading names, losing at the German Masters as he suffered a 5-1 defeat to Barry Hawkins in the last 16.
With Judd Trump, Mark Williams, Stephen Maguire and John Higgins all suffering defeats at the last 32 stage in Berlin's Tempodrom, Allen started as favourite to reach the quarter-finals, but was simply swept aside by a barrage of heavy breaks.
The Antrim man won the first frame with a 52, but was forced to sit in his chair and watch as Hawkins seized upon the opportunities that came his way in compiling knocks of 72, 90, 102 and 122 to progress.
Allen threw a black towel onto the table at the conclusion of the match, aware he been well outplayed for large swathes of the evening.
Trump went down 5-4 to Anthony Hamilton with the Nottingham potter sealing a place in the last 16 with a 57 break in the deciding frame.
World number 37 Hamilton led 3-1 and 4-2 before being pegged back but kept his composure to book a contest against Allister Carter.
Earlier Michael Holt defeated Williams for the second time in four days to reach the last 16.
Holt got the better of the former world champion in the one-frame Shoot-Out tournament on Sunday, but proved the win was hardly a fluke with a dominant 5-1 success in Berlin.
The world number 28 started in supreme fashion by storming to the top of the high break charts with a 144 total clearance, and though Williams responded with a 94 break, it would be the Welshman’s only frame of the contest.
Mark King made a 105 break against last year’s runner-up Maguire as the world number six crashed to a 5-0 whitewash.