2018/19 Snooker Season: Ronnie’s Records and the Ace in the Pack – SnookerHQ


The most recent chapter in a sequence of articles wanting again at every marketing campaign from the Crucible period.

A lot of the eye surrounding the busy 2018/19 snooker season revolved round Ronnie O’Sullivan’s pursuit of three large milestones.

There have been many followers and analysts who already regarded O’Sullivan as the sport’s biggest ever, however Stephen Hendry nonetheless proudly held onto plenty of probably the most important information.

O’Sullivan had already surpassed Hendry’s tons tally, however by accumulating 5 rating titles within the earlier time period the Rocket had surged to 33 on the all-time checklist and a mere three behind his now retired rival.

And having received the 2017 UK Championship, the Englishman was moreover on a par with Hendry when it comes to their respective victories in Triple Crown occasions, with 18.

Twelve months on and O’Sullivan was again within the last on the Barbican Centre in pursuit of a record-breaking seventh UK title, and a nineteenth Triple Crown success.

It had already been a greater than first rate begin to the 2018/19 snooker season, with O’Sullivan triumphing in a Shanghai Masters that had been revamped as a prestigious invitational – beating Barry Hawkins in a detailed encounter, 11-9 – earlier than turning into the Champion of Champions in Coventry for the third time in November.

Not lengthy after that in York, O’Sullivan was dominant and received 5 out of his six encounters in reaching the ultimate with 6-1 or 6-0 scorelines.

O’Sullivan’s challenger within the title-deciding contest was Mark Allen, who had backed up his Masters victory earlier that calendar 12 months with victory within the profitable Worldwide Championship.

Every week after the UK Championship, Allen would proceed to assert the Scottish Open crown in Glasgow as properly in what was undoubtedly probably the most prolific interval of the Pistol’s profession, however in between he was unable to cease O’Sullivan from writing his identify as soon as extra into the historical past books, with this UK win coming 25 years after his maiden title on the similar occasion in 1993 as a young person.

Three months later, O’Sullivan featured within the finals of each the Gamers and Tour Championships, and on each events he battled Australia’s Neil Robertson.

The latter was likewise in positive kind in the course of the 2018/19 snooker season and had firmly put behind him the non permanent blip of dropping outdoors the highest 16 on the planet rankings the marketing campaign prior.

For the fourth time in six seasons Robertson received the opening match on the calendar, on this event beating Jack Lisowski to regain the Riga Masters trophy.

Within the penultimate rating occasion of the schedule, Robertson repeated the trick with an 11-4 downing of Lisowski to win a China Open that had been injected with an enormous improve in prize month.

The £1 million general fund and the £225,000 winner’s share underlined simply how far the game had come within the decade underneath Barry Hearn’s management.

Robertson’s double with O’Sullivan additionally got here on the again of a latest glory within the Welsh Open, however on the Gamers and Tour Championships he couldn’t reside with a genius who had a date with future.

O’Sullivan received the Gamers Championship with a mesmorising 10-4 efficiency which fittingly concluded with a styling century break that represented his 1,000th in aggressive play.

It was a thirty fifth rating title, and simply two weeks later O’Sullivan equalled Hendry’s as soon as unbeatable goal with a better 13-11 defeat of Robertson in Llandudno, in doing so usurping Mark Selby to finish the Jester’s four-year reign on the prime of the official world rankings checklist.

O’Sullivan was on prime of the world in virtually each sense, with one notable exception being on the Crucible the place his struggles since 2014 continued, sensationally dropping to novice James Cahill within the first spherical of the 2019 World Championship.

As a substitute in Sheffield, it was the flip of one in every of his largest rivals.

It had certainly been a memorable season for a couple of cause for the five-time world champion, however two of his different headline losses got here by the hands of a quickly bettering pressure in Judd Trump.

On the Northern Eire Open, Trump overcame O’Sullivan in a detailed last, but it surely was his landmark victory over the Rocket within the Masters last on the Alexandra Palace, a venue that O’Sullivan had made his residence, that really elevated Trump from an immensely proficient underachiever of types to a relentless profitable machine.

Quickly after capturing his second Triple Crown title, Trump triumphed within the World Grand Prix and later entered the season-ending World Championship as one of many heavy favourites.

In 2017, Trump had made a idiot of himself by brazenly bragging about his probabilities of claiming a maiden world title in Sheffield, solely to limply lose on the opening hurdle to Rory McLeod.

His destiny on the 2019 World Snooker Championship nearly adopted an identical destiny, however he nearly eked his means past Snooker Shoot Out champion Thepchaiya Un-Nooh within the final 32 with a 10-9 scoreline.

Thereafter, Trump proved to be an unstoppable pressure, sealing extra complete defeats of Ding Junhui, Stephen Maguire, and Gary Wilson to succeed in the ultimate, the place he produced arguably probably the most achieved Crucible efficiency ever in a spectacular 18-9 victory over John Higgins – the Scot a runner-up for the third consecutive marketing campaign on the Crucible.

Trump, who had been denied by Higgins on the similar stage eight years earlier, compiled seven century breaks within the last to lastly attain the heights that many knew he was able to.

Elsewhere in the course of the 2018/19 snooker season, Jimmy Robertson and Matthew Selt joined the illustrious membership of rating occasion winners with respective victories within the European Masters and the Indian Open.

Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham every loved a number of wins too, with the previous profitable the final Paul Hunter Basic to be staged as a rating match earlier than following it up with further success in Germany on the Tempodrom.

For Bingham, the 2015 world champion’s triumph in October’s English Open proved poignant on a lot of ranges, particularly because it fell nearly a 12 months to the day after he was discovered responsible for betting on matches, which resulted in a six-month ban.

Three months have been suspended, but it surely was sufficient for Bingham to overlook the 2018 Masters, and though there was no suspicion of match-fixing his status was considerably tarnished.

Match-fixing, nevertheless, did sadly stay prevalent with Chinese language duo Yu Delu, who was described as “a scourge to the sport of snooker”, and Cao Yupeng each handed prolonged bans for extra severe misconducts round this era as properly.

In 2020, snooker and the remainder of sport would have a more moderen problem to beat, however extra on that subsequent time.

Click on right here for extra from the Snooker Seasons sequence.

Featured photograph credit score: WST


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