In the first of a regular column feature, The Old Green Baize editor Nigel Slater gives his take on the Dafabet Masters.
MAY – Ronnie O’Sullivan wins the 2013 World Championship. January – Ronnie O’Sullivan wins the 2014 Masters title.
Nothing’s changed much in the past eight months, has it?
The Dafabet Masters showed once again, just like the past two World Championships, that Ronnie O’Sullivan is the top man in the snooker world and by quite a margin. When he’s not at his best then the other players get a sniff of glory.
When the Rocket is on his game nobody can seem to cope with him. Not even world number two Mark Selby who could do nothing but only watch as O’Sullivan wracked up seven out of eight frames in a crushing first session before sealing his fifth Masters title with a 10-4 win.
When he’s not at his best then the other players get a sniff of glory.
And it was fully deserved. O’Sullivan was by far the best player in the tournament as the others struggled to find their top form at Alexandra Palace.
World number one Neil Robertson failed to recapture the form that won him the UK title just a month earlier, Selby got to the final without being at his best (5-3 down to John Higgins in the quarter-final) and Judd Trump’s struggling season continued, losing to Marco Fu in the first round.
I think all snooker fans will accept Sunday’s final was not the best in Masters history but to see O’Sullivan at his best is a joy to watch at any time.
With five World Championships, five Masters and four UK Championship titles plus loads more to his name, O’Sullivan now has the amount of silverware to justify his talent and the tag of legendary status. Some may argue that was the case anyway before the tournament started.
Considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, to pick up a cue – pundits, writers and lovers of the game can now say he has the amount of trophies his talent deserves.
A few years ago that issue was questioned by some sections of the media but I don’t think that is the case now.
And if he carries this form into the Crucible in April, then he stands a great chance of making it six world titles – joining the greats of the game in recent history to have achieved it – Ray Reardon, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry.
I tweeted on Sunday night that it is always a shame to see a snooker final finish early with the BBC having to fill the missing time with other shows. Snooker needs a late night finale again.
A lot of great work has happened in the sport in recent times under the leadership of Barry Hearn and Jason Ferguson, however a dramatic finale has been missing in a BBC event. I’m sure both Barry and Jason will hope to see one soon.
Unfortunately with Ronnie such a dominant force at the moment that may not happen for some while yet – not least by his post final comments anyway.
Editor – www.theoldgreenbaize.com