Barry Hearn: ‘Shoulder barge between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter made me feel proud’

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn has said the weekend’s memorable shoulder barge incident between Ronnie O’Sullivan and Ali Carter made him feel proud.

Carter and O’Sullivan collided and had heated words with each other during a critical stage of their epic second round clash, which Carter won 13-9.

Both players played down the incident – which happened midway through the 19th frame – after the match saying there was no malice involved and it happened within the heat of the moment.

Speaking to the BBC, Barry Hearn said the incident was an example of what ‘real sport’ was all about.

Hearn said: “I was so proud of the two snooker players – simply because if they had been Premier League footballers one of them would have fallen over and tried to get the other sent off.

“Snooker players are proper tough, good blokes. That match was played with an intensity, with a rivalry that you could smell in the crowd. People were on the edge of their seats wondering what was going to happen.

“I’m not saying it was good and I think the referee Paul Collier did a brilliant job to make sure it did not get out of control.

“What happened was absolutely nothing but as I say in the Premier League it would have been a sending off. These guys were so committed to winning. I just thought it was real sport.

“It showed the intensity for what they were playing for and that’s more important than anything else. I was pleased to see the passion on both sides.”

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