Belfast Telegraph

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Ding Junhui would be one to watch

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Jonathan McCambridge

Next year will see the 30th anniversary of Dennis Taylor's gripping World Snooker final victory over Steve Davis.

Hard to believe that almost three decades have passed since 18.5m of us sat up into the wee small hours to watch the Coalisland man prevail on the final black over the seemingly unbeatable Davis.

I well remember chatting excitedly in the playground with my classmates the next morning about the astonishing drama. We laughed at the poor kids whose parents had not let them sit up.

It's unlikely that many children will be chatting in the playground about this year's tournament, which begins in Sheffield today.

That's because since Dennis waved his finger excitedly in triumph the popularity of snooker as a TV sport has withered away.

But there is some hope on the green baize horizon this year. A clash between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ding Junhui could be just what snooker needs to get people talking again.

O'Sullivan, basically a part-time player now, is chasing his sixth title and is in serene form. When he won the Wembley Masters this year he seemed to be barely awake most of the time, such were the ease of his victories.

But Ding is rapidly emerging as his biggest threat and is aiming to become the first player ever to win six ranking events in one season.

Unfortunately, the two are scheduled to meet in the semis, rather than providing a dream final. But if it happens it's a match I will definitely be sitting up late into the night to watch.

Belfast Telegraph


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