Betfair World Snooker Championship 2013: Rocket Ronnie and a dazzling Crucible display

7May 2013



Ralph Ellis lost money betting against Ronnie O'Sullivan winning the Betfair World Snooker championships after a year out - but even he feels like celebrating the  Rocket's triumphant return...


So maybe there is such a thing as raw, God-given talent. That was the only conclusion after Ronnie O'Sullivan walked away with the Betfair World Snooker Championship.


It cost me money. I'd confidently laid him in the first few days of the tournament because I'd followed simple sporting logic. Nobody, but nobody, could take six  months out of any sport and waltz back in as the best in the world. I'd thought of Michael Schumacher, and of Ricky Hatton. I'd thought of Bjorn Borg and his wooden  racket in Monte Carlo, trying and failing to turn back time.


I'd read the works of Matthew Syed, whose brilliant book 'Bounce' set out the science to explain that there was no such thing as talent, that sporting genius was a  product only of application and training. And then Ronnie came to the Crucible and blew the lot away.


Most people would still have the 1985 final between Steve Davis and Dennis Taylor as the greatest in Crucible history. And true, this year couldn't match that all- night epic for sheer, edge of the seat drama. The 2013 running was over before the Monday night football had barely kicked off, after all.


But the 2013 version of the World Snooker Championship wanted some beating for the two week narrative of seeing a superstar rise to the challenge of retaining his  crown. He started with that delicious, left-handed break.  It's the shot that throws down the gauntlet to any opponent, telling him: "I'm special, you have to be at  your absolute best to even think about competing with me."


And then every time an opponent upped the tempo, Ronnie went with him and beyond. The peak of it was probably the semi-final with Judd Trump. He was the man I thought  would be too strong for O'Sullivan, and a couple of times looked capable of winning.


But it wasn't Judd who held the Trump card, it was Ronnie. Up he'd get to the table with a century break, dazzling long pot, or clinical clearance. And over several  sessions he broke the young star. It was mental cruelty - anything you can do, I can do better.


Last night's final session wasn't much different. Barry Hawkins didn't freeze in his first final, in fact he probably played the best snooker of his career. A couple  of superb centuries, he refused to be fazed by the occasion. But O'Sullivan was magnificent and his six century breaks, all played with typical panache and pace, were  simply irresistible.


The only thing missing was a 147. Neil Robertson would have been glad about that because it meant he collected Betfair's Golden Cue for his 143 earlier in the  tournament. But then this was snooker as a contest and not an exhibition, and it was all the more gripping for that.


The celebrations at the end were heart warming too, with little Ronnie sharing the spotlight with his triumphant dad. It sparked such sentiment that O'Sullivan is  fourth favourite at 16.5 to be Sports Personality of the Year this morning.


He won't win it, the voting British public won't work like that. But if there's a more dazzling performance to come from any sportsman in the next six months I can't  wait to see it.  Just hope it doesn't cost me money next time!



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Keywords: Betfair, World Snooker Championship, Rocket Ronnie

Source: Betfair

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