Belfast Telegraph

Rocket Ronnie O'Sullivan wins without leaving second gear

Billy Weir

ENGLEBERT Humperdinck, Gary Lineker, Kasabian, Willie Thorne, Biddy Baxter, Peter Shilton, Una Stubbs, Gok Wan, Showaddywaddy, Leicester Tigers, Mark Selby, – your boys ... Hang on, I'm spotting a theme here ...

Yes, as the dust settled on Ulster's Tigers feat, it was the turn of another of Leicester's finest to try and defy the odds by seeing off Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final of the Masters snooker on Sunday evening.

The match started earlier in the day and what with Dancing On Ice and All Star Family Fortunes to be watched, when I tuned in live, Jeremy Clarkson was trying to jump start a Toyota in the Amazon.

I know Barry Hearn wants to change snooker, but this is taking it a bit far.

Thankfully Sky+ came to my rescue, and with game evenly poised at 7-1 to O'Sullivan, we joined our intrepid explorers on a tour of London, the protagonists only stopping to chalk their cues in front of various landmarks.

Thankfully no Tigers were involved or rainforests, although there was a man from the jungle and a Parrott, as John joined Steve Davis in desperately trying to keep us watching by musing was it 'mission impossible or was there a sting in the tail?'

No, is the answer you're looking for, JP.

Presenter Hazel Irvine, speaking over Selby's intro music, revealed that he had come into the auditorium to The Underdog by Kasabian, clearly he couldn't locate his Showwaddywaddy tapes.

In the commentary booth, Ken Doherty warned that Selby was 'never gonna give it up', although there was no mention of whether there would be any letting down, running around, deserting, crying, saying goodbye, lying or hurting.

And from there we turned to Chinese philosophy with Ken paraphrasing the work of Lao Tzu, who lost out to Ding Junhui in the qualifying round, with 'every great journey began with a single step' but Sunday evening is not the time for a touch of Taoism.

I was more interested in what was in the orange Sainsbury's bag that seemed to be floating to the side of Ronnie's face and just why two grown men had come to the snooker wearing matching 'Hazel Rocks Our World' T-shirts.

There were further distractions too, with Jimmy White sitting beside Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood in a couple of the good seats at the front.

Back in the day these were always the reserve of the mayor of the dreary town the final was being played in with obligatory chain round his neck and mousey wife sitting beside him.

Can't imagine Jimmy and Ronnie quaffing much tea at a W.I. fete.

Somehow we got to the mid-session interval, a relief for Dennis Taylor and Stephen Hendry who took over before some eejit was chucked out for shouting out 'C'mon Ronnie' at an incredibly annoying level, although surely that should apply to Rob Walker too?

And soon it was all over, O'Sullivan winning and barely having to get out of second gear to do it thus making way for some bonus Top Gear action and not a Taoist saying to be heard in Bolivia.

Belfast Telegraph


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