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Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Ding Junhui to be crowned oldest UK Championship winner ever… 30 YEARS after becoming youngest
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Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Ding Junhui to be crowned oldest UK...


RONNIE O’SULLIVAN has become the OLDEST winner of the UK Championship – 30 years after he became the YOUNGEST.

The everlasting Rocket – who turns 48 on Tuesday – won a record-extending eighth title as he overcame Chinese cueist Ding Junhui 10-7 in the final.

AFPRonnie O’Sullivan has won yet another UK Championship[/caption]

The undisputed world No.1 – who banks £250,000 for this triumph – can officially call himself the Grand Old Duke of York.

Victory sees him overtake the age-record held by the late Welshman Doug Mountjoy, who won this crown aged 46 years old and 172 days in Preston in 1988.

There is great symmetry at work here because this is the tournament in which O’Sullivan announced himself to the world of snooker with a stunning triumph over Stephen Hendry in 1993 aged 17.

There is no denying he is the greatest genuis to have ever wielded a cue in professional combat and this represents a 40th ranking title.

The Essex potter, who woke up on Sunday with a sore throat, led 3-0 and 4-1 in a quick-fire afternoon session.

But Ding, 36, drew level at 4-4 to ensure this would not be a runaway success and he showed his class in the evening with a 104 break.

O’Sullivan, whose highest break was a exhibition-style match-winning 129 in frame 17, was never behind in this contest and showed no ill-effects of a foot injury that had troubled him last week.

In front of a sell-out crowd of 1,247, the Barbican trophy presentation party included World Snooker Tour chairman Steve Dawson.

It was an interesting aside given that O’Sullivan and the baize bigwig have had their disagreements throughout this year about the way the sport is being run.

Ding’s reward for losing – apart from, of course, the £100,000 runner-up cheque – is the chance to play O’Sullivan in the first round of next month’s Masters.

Speaking after his win, O’Sullivan said: “Each tournament I win these days, I get great pleasure out of it.

“I may not have played my best stuff. It shows what a strange game it is. I have to left blood, sweat and tears out on the table.

“I always keep beating myself up because of the age stuff, at some point I think I have to stop winning, but I will keep going until the wheels fall off.

“Ding played fantastically all week. It was a pleasure to play him. A credit to China. He is the Godfather of Chinese snooker.

“I could feel a bit of sabotage coming in the afternoon. I was getting frustrated.

“I feel like I play snooker like Seve Ballesteros, in and out of the trees, it’s nuts this game sometimes. But it catches up with you. It’s quite draining.

“I have to have resilience. It’s easy to get down on yourself and get frustrated but I have to think of the positives. You need that resilience to keep going. 

“I felt like there was a burst in there somewhere, so I had to hang in there until that burst came at the end.”

Junhui, who felt sick before the last-32 win over Mark Allen on the opening day, added: “It has been a very good week. This will be tough now. I missed shots to win frames. I didn’t do well. Ronnie played better.”



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