Ronnie O’Sullivan won a record seventh Betway UK Championship title – and a 19th Triple Crown victory in all – by beating Mark Allen 10-6 in the final.
O’Sullivan outplayed his opponent to take the £170,000 top prize in York, coming from 2-1 down to win nine of the last 13 frames, scoring a century and seven more breaks over 50.
After receiving the trophy O’Sullivan jumped on to the barriers around the table to hold it aloft in celebration, then climbed, Pat Cash-style, into the crowd to celebrate with friends and fans. It was a rare display of emotion which revealed just how much his landmark achievements mean to him.
It was 1993 when O’Sullivan lifted the UK trophy at the age of just 17, beating Stephen Hendry in the final. A quarter of a century later he has surpassed several of Hendry’s records and, now 43, year by year he continues to strengthen argument of those who claim that he is snooker’s greatest ever player.
Seven UK Championship titles (ahead of Steve Davis’ six)
19 Triple Crown victories (ahead of Hendry’s 18)
986 centuries (ahead of Hendry’s 775)
15 maximum breaks (ahead of Hendry’s 11)
Seven Masters titles (ahead of Hendry’s six)
…and those he is still chasing
Hendry’s seven World Championship titles (O’Sullivan has five)
Hendry’s 36 ranking titles (O’Sullivan has 34)
O’Sullivan has dominated the Betway UK Championship more than any other event in recent years, capturing the title in 2014, 2017 and 2018. Losing to Mark Selby in the 2016 final was his only defeat among his last 28 matches in York. His previous UK crowns came in 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2007.
And the Chigwell cueman has made a tremendous start to the current season, adding this title to the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions. In the five tournaments he has contested, he has won 26 out of 28 matches and earned £531,000.
He remains third in the world rankings behind Mark Selby and Mark Williams, but having closed the gap he is well-placed for a three-way battle for the number one spot in the coming months.
Allen missed out on his second Triple Crown title having landed his first at the Masters in January. Still, 2018 has been by far the best year of his career as he also won his fourth ranking title at the International Championship last month. Tonight’s runner-up prize of £75,000 moves the 32-year-old Northern Irishman up to sixth in the world rankings, equalling his career best.
Leading 6-2 after the first session, O’Sullivan extended his lead in a tense opening frame tonight, sealing it by potting the penultimate red with the rest to a top corner. Allen pulled one back with runs of 56 and 37 to make it 7-3.
O’Sullivan made 30 in the next before missing a red to a top corner, and after a safety exchange Allen converted a difficult three-ball plant to set up a run of 105 and close the gap again. But frame 12 went O’Sullivan’s way as breaks of 46 and 41 put him 8-4 up at the interval.
Allen led 59-6 in frame 13 but could only watch as his opponent made brilliant 57 clearance to go five up with six to play. In the 14th Allen potted nine reds with blacks, but then on 72 missed a red to a centre pocket when the balls had looked well placed for a 147.
O’Sullivan missed a red to a centre pocket early in frame 15 and Allen made breaks of 59 and 30 as he raised his chances of a fight back by closing to 9-6. But O’Sullivan quashed his hopes in the 16th with a match-winning break of 78.
Both players now head to Glasgow for the BetVictor Scottish Open which starts on Monday – for the match schedule click here and for tickets click here.