The Englishman is currently enjoying a break from the game following a mixed season.
He returned to the top of the world rankings and surpassed 1000 career centuries – the first player in history to do so – but suffered a shock defeat in the opening round of the World Snooker Championship to amateur James Cahill.
Meet Neil Morrice – the talkSPORT guest whose 21-year-old bet banked him £10,000 as Judd Trump was crowned world snooker champion on Monday.
This brilliant story begins in 1998, when racing journalist/snooker oracle Neil decided put a bet on Trump when he was just eight years old, after watching him wipe the floor with his 12-year-old son at a snooker club in Bristol.
Neil remembers how Trump then needed to stand on a box to reach the table and ‘used the cue more like a spear’, but quickly racked up a 35-40 break on his first visit to the table.
Knowing he’d just seen something special, he contacted his bookmaker friend – who just so happens to be talkSPORT’s Coral Daily Download regular Simon Clare – who offered him 1000/1 odds on this ‘little boy’ being world champion before he was 30. So he stuck a tenner on.
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Well, that’s just what Trump did on Monday, as the 2019 Masters champion beat John Higgins in a thrilling final at the Crucible to win his first World Championship title – at the age of 29.
Talk about a close call!
Well done to racing journalist Neil Morrice, 62, who has won £10,000 after placing a £10 bet on Judd Trump to win the World Snooker Championship – at odds of 1,000/1 with Coral when Trump was eight
World number one Ronnie O’Sullivan crashed out of the World Championship in the first round after suffering a stunning defeat to amateur James Cahill.
In arguably the biggest shock in the tournament’s history, Cahill held his nerve to beat five-time champion O’Sullivan 10-8 at the Crucible.
O’Sullivan was a prohibitive favourite before the match after a season which saw him win five titles and compile his 1,000th career century on his way to victory in the Tour Championship.
But after recovering from 8-5 down to get back on level terms with the aid of breaks of 104 and 89, O’Sullivan missed a great chance to snatch the 17th frame and Cahill took advantage to move 9-8 in front.
O’Sullivan looked on course to set up a final-frame decider only to inadvertently pot a red when breaking the pack open from the blue, leaving Cahill to produce a nerveless break of 53.
The 23-year-old from Blackpool will face Scotland’s Stephen Maguire in the second round.
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A delighted Cahill told the BBC: “I believe I can beat anyone on the day.”
Asked how he managed to hold his nerve to pot the final few balls to clinch victory over O’Sullivan, he replied: “I don’t really know. I thought I was going to fall over at one point.
“I thought I’d be nervous when I went out there today but I wasn’t. I was a bit tense in parts but I think I have shown quite a bit of bottle.
“It was nice to qualify and it was nice to beat Ronnie.”
O’Sullivan admitted he was feeling under the weather as he bowed out in the first round for the first time since 2003.
“My limbs are feeling very heavy. I have no energy,” he said. “You come here and try to do your best but if you’re physically not 100 per cent it’s just one of those things.
“I tried to hang in there and get through this match and have a few days off before my next match.
“There are two ways of looking at it. One is, he has come here and played brilliantly. But I also left him some easy chances.”
When West Ham United aren’t casually beating Newcastle United 3-0 at St James’ Park, it appears they’re practicing their snooker skills.
And Mark Noble, Marko Arnautovic, Javier Hernandez, and Robert Snodgrass got to test their abilities alongside legends of the game John Parrott and Steve Davis in an epic game of Crazy Snooker.
The two teams went head to head over the course’s iconic six holes – the Helter Skelter, the Water Wheel, the Loop-the-Loop, the Runaway Train, the See Saw and the Trap Door – and produced a brilliant contest that featured amazing snooker trick shots and hilarious misses.
Celebrating Betway’s sponsorship of the 2018 UK Championship the encounter proved a great laugh, even if Noble did accuse Parrott of sinking ten pints instead of a sinking a shot on the Trap Door.
You can check out the video below…
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Ronnie O’Sullivan claims he is ‘ready to go’ and start his own ‘Champions League-style’ snooker tour.
The five-time world champion, snooker’s most popular and marketable player, beat Ken Doherty 6-5 in the second round of the UK Championship in York on Sunday, but as is often the case, it was what he said afterwards which took centre stage.
For some time now the 42-year-old has railed against the World Snookertour, in particular its 128-player flat draw which often sees leading names playing first-round matches against low-ranked players in what he considers to be remote venues.
O’Sullivan remains a part of that tour, picking and choosing events and by almost everyone’s assessment remaining the greatest player in the world.
However, he says if enough players are willing to go with him, he wants to form a breakaway, more elite competition, akin to the Champions League in football.
His claims came after it was put to him that his great rival and friend, John Higgins, had said he is considering retirement.
“If he wants to play and finds the tour a bit of a grind, when you’re a top player, winning matches, travelling from here to here… I’m just waiting for four or five unhappy players, because I can’t go and play on my own. I’m ready to go,” O’Sullivan, who is the defending champion in York, told a press conference.
“If someone offered me the opportunity to play on another platform, I would be gone tomorrow. But unfortunately, with snooker, you do need an opponent.
“For me, it’s a chance to maybe get John, the Chinese kids that have been banned, I know a couple of other Chinese top-ranked players that are not happy to keep travelling over to play qualifiers at Barnsley.”
O’Sullivan is undoubtedly one of the greatest entertainers snooker has ever had. In York he could pass 1,000 career centuries and many believe his name props the sport up.
“There’s seven players… that’s what I’m hoping for, enough players that are a bit fed up and maybe want to play in a Champions League-style, where you still play for trophies, prize money, a one-table setup,” he added.
“I’ve got 15 years left in this game, I still think I can play to mid-fifties, easily, so there’s no rush.”
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O’Sullivan insists he does not want to rival the current tour, which hosts tournaments all around the world, and reckons seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry could come out of retirement to join him.
“I’m not looking for an alternative tour, I’m looking for seven or eight real top-quality players, Champions League style, ATP at the O2, best of the best, every match is a final,” he said.
“Absolutely. It’s a risk. I’m looking for people.. you can’t expect people to come for nothing. Hendry’s up for it, bring him out of retirement, me, Higgins, three or four other good quality players.”
O’Sullivan says he has backers and admits players may prefer World Snooker’s tour because of the option to play at the Crucible and the Masters, but believes leading names having to play unheralded ones causes problems.
“You don’t see Leyton Orient turning up to play (Lionel) Messi at Barcelona. They might play in the FA Cup, not week in, week out. It’s demotivating,” he said.
“I think Messi would get fed up having to come out and play Huddersfield Town and Leyton Orient. He wants to play against (Cristiano) Ronaldo, hear that Champions League music. I think there’s room for two tours.”
O’Sullivan believes Higgins may have grown weary of the rigours of travelling around the world, and said in tennis Roger Federer would not be asked to “come out at Richmond Park and qualify for Wimbledon”.
O’Sullivan plays Zhou Yuelong in the third round on Monday and World Snooker has been contacted to respond to his comments.
Its chairman, Barry Hearn, did tweet O’Sullivan, in response to the player’s claim that Chinese pair Yu Delu and Cao Yupeng, banned for match-fixing on Saturday, had been harshly treated.
“Please keep such stupid comments to yourself. Your getting ridiculous and I expect better from a player of your standing. Enough,” Heard said.
“He’s full of you know what, ain’t got a clue about sport mate, he’s a number cruncher. Main job is an accountant.”
Hearn, who defended his record promoting boxing, darts and snooker, said O’Sullivan has refused to meet with him, or voice his concerns to World Snooker’s players’ commission, which meets several times a year.
Hearn wrote: “How can I listen when he refuses to meet ? Easier to just moan !
“Ronnie has been offered the opportunity to meet with the players forum to put across his views.
How can I listen when he refuses to meet ? Easier to just moan !
“He has refused to meet. I think that sums up Ronnie very well. I would love to hear specific not vague criticisms in order to consider and answer. Alas – he can’t be bothered.”
Questioned by one fan whether Twitter was the right medium for such a discussion, O’Sullivan said: “Waste of time talking, nothing gets done, they wanna keep things hush hush, hoping another 10 years go by, before anyway realises it’s all messed up.
“The new system stinks, and he knows it, but refuses to back track.
“No one is interested in discussions, they wanna keep it as it is, and try to gag you, with intimidation of fines etc, so you can’t express your views.”
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O’Sullivan said he had placed Hearn on ‘mute’ on Twitter, so he cannot see the World Snooker chairman’s replies and said there would be “no point” talking to Hearn. “It would be like talking to a brick wall,” he added.
One of O’Sullivan’s complaints centres around the depth of the field at tournaments, which begin with 128 players, and having to play more rounds against lower-ranked opponents, who struggle to accumulate high-scoring breaks.
One fan suggested a points system like tennis, saying Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer would not be required to qualify for Wimbledon.
O’Sullivan added: “Yeah can you imagine them guys playing a qualifier for the us open in a stinky leisure centre.”
O’Sullivan said the situation was “de motivating (sic) which slowly chips away at your love for the game”.
He speculated China would have its own tour in future, suggesting he would join it if it materialised.
He added: “I don’t play for money, I play for the enjoyment, and I’m afraid it’s no fun playing in stinky venues in front of 3 men and a dog, playing players, who, with respect are never really going places.
“It’s not always about money I prefer playing in great venues, with good players. Flat 128 draws,playing in stinky venues is not my idea of good fun. Would woods ,Federer, messi, Hamilton enjoy playing in a qualifiers in stinky venue.”
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