O’Sullivan wins Players Championship but again criticises ‘numpties’



Ronnie O’Sullivan fired another broadside at snooker’s “numpties” after coasting to a record-equalling fifth ranking title of the season at the Ladbrokes Players Championship in Llandudno.

The 42-year-old maintained his stunning recent form to beat Shaun Murphy 10-4 in the tournament which features the top 16 players in the world. O’Sullivan later repeated his recent criticism of other events on the tour, whose main draws have been opened to larger numbers of players.

O’Sullivan told ITV4: “I’m absolutely delighted because it’s a great tournament – top 16, no numpties, so it has a bit of quality. At some of the other tournaments it’s like being in the zoo but this is pretty nice. It’s like first-class.”

His win over Murphy means he joins Stephen Hendry, Mark Selby and Ding Junhui in winning five ranking titles in the same season.

Murphy, who had been forced to withdraw from two recent tournaments with back and neck problems, struck with a break of 93 to take the opening frame. But O’Sullivan responded to reel off the next three frames and increased his advantage to hold a 6-3 lead at the end of the afternoon session.

O’Sullivan began the evening with a break of 92 to go 7-3 ahead before Murphy hit back in style with a clearance of 137 to reduce the deficit back to three. But the 2005 world champion was making too many mistakes to keep O’Sullivan at bay and the favourite went on to wrap up another title with breaks of 76 and 85 in the final two frames.

O’Sullivan added: “I’m playing as well as I’ve ever done. Over the past six years I’ve played pretty solid stuff except for a year or so when I probably didn’t focus as much. But this year I really have and the results have shown it.”