O'Sullivan Wins 30th Ranking Title

Review Of The Season

We’ve come to the end of another season on the World Snooker Tour, which continues to take our sport around the planet. The players have crossed the globe from Bucharest to Bangkok hunting for their share of over £10,000,000 in prize money. Here’s the story of the 2016/17 snooker season…

Riga Masters   Winner: Neil Robertson

22nd June –  24th June

Latvia was the first stop and Australia’s Neil Robertson got off to the perfect start. The 35-year-old faced Michael Holt in the final, a player who had defeated him at the Crucible just a couple of months earlier. Robertson gained his revenge with a 5-2 win. “It’s an amazing feeling to win the first ranking event of the season,” said the 2010 World Champion. “I have done it a couple of times before and it’s a good feeling because you can try to build on it for the remainder of the season.”

Top Prize: €50,000 Euros

Indian Open   Winner: Anthony McGill

5th July –  9th July

Two of snooker’s most promising young stars rose above the rest in Hyderabad, as Anthony McGill defeated Kyren Wilson to lift his maiden ranking title. It was the first ranking final to feature two players aged 25 or under since the 2011 UK Championship where Judd Trump defeated Mark Allen. Wilson clinched his first silverware in Shanghai last season, however this was the Scot’s turn as he sealed the title with a 5-2 win. “It feels fantastic,” said McGill. “I played better after the interval and I started getting the run of the balls. In the end I made a nice clearance to win.”

Top Prize: £50,000

 

Ali CarterWorld Open   Winner: Ali Carter

25th July – 31st July

For the first time the World Open was staged in Yushan and it was a momentous event for Ali Carter. The Captain claimed the title to fly fifteen places up the world rankings and burst into the top 16. It was Carter’s first full ranking victory since successfully beating cancer for a second time. There were impressive wins for Carter during the event, including a 5-0 demolition of John Higgins. He beat Joe Perry 10-8 in the final to pick up the title. “I have been through a lot over the last couple of years so to get back into the top 16 is a huge achievement,” said the Captain.

Top Prize: £90,000

 

Paul Hunter Classic   Winner: Mark Selby

25th August – 28th August

A popular event which acts as an annual pilgrimage for German fans to the town of Furth to see the World Snooker Tour in person.  Mark Selby sealed his first ranking title since tasting World Championship glory last year. He was pitted against Tom Ford in an all-Leicester final. The Jester proved too strong and ran out a 4-2 victor. It was the third-time Selby had won the event. “It’s always great to win a tournament and I can take a lot of confidence from it,” said the World Champion.

Top Prize: €25,000 Euros

 

Six-Reds World Championship   Winner: Ding Junhui

5th September – 10th September

Ding Junhui may have been runner-up to Mark Selby last year in Sheffield, but he still picked up a World Championship win in 2016. He lifted the Six Reds world title in Bangkok following a dramatic final. The Chinese superstar faced Stuart Bingham in the final. Ding came out on top of an 8-7 thriller which went down to the very last black. “I feel happy to have won. The Six Red World Championship is a special tournament and it is a game fans love to watch,” said the 12-time ranking winner.

Top Prize: £40,000

 

Shanghai Masters   Winner: Ding Junhui

19th September – 25th September

The tenth running of this popular event in one of China’s most beautiful and vibrant cities. Kyren Wilson, then ranked 55th in the world, was a shock winner in 2015. It was a more familiar face who lifted the title this season, as Ding Junhui carried on his hot streak of form. He was reduced to tears after avenging his world final loss against Mark Selby with a 10-6 win. “I feel like I’m back to where I was in 2013,” said Ding, who won five events that year. “It’s special to win back to back tournaments.”

Top prize: £85,000

 

European Masters   Winner: Judd Trump

3rd October – 9th October

For the first time the World Snooker Tour travelled to Bucharest for a full ranking event.  The fans were treated to arguably the season’s most illustrious semi-final line up as Judd Trump took on Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan faced Neil Robertson. It was Trump and O’Sullivan who progressed and the final did not disappoint. With the Rocket leading 8-6 and seemingly set for victory, Trump produced a three-frame burst for the line to snatch a 9-8 win.  “I’m a little bit in disbelief,” said Trump. “To produce that under pressure against Ronnie will stand me in good stead for the rest of the season.”

Top prize: €75,000 Euros

 

Liang WenboEnglish Open   Winner: Liang Wenbo

10th October – 16th October

Manchester hosted the first ever event in snooker’s brand new Home Nations series. 128 players set out with the knowledge that if they could win all four events in the series they would pick up a cool £1 million bonus. Liang Wenbo emerged as the only man still left in the running. He ended Judd Trump’s bid for consecutive titles with a 9-6 victory. An ecstatic Liang leapt around the table with joy after depositing the winning pink. Liang said: “I have to say thank you to Ronnie O’Sullivan because I practise and eat with him every day. I have learned a lot from him over the past two years and he’s my best friend.”

Top Prize: £70,000

 

International Championship   Winner: Mark Selby

23rd October – 30th October

The world number one Mark Selby picked up his second win of the season in Daqing. It was a burst of dominance which hoisted the Leicester potter to the title. From the beginning of the semi-final he won 19 of 23 frames to blitz to the finish. First came a 9-3 demolition of 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham, in what was a clash between world number one and world number two. He then inflicted a crushing 10-1 defeat on Ding Junhui in the final to pick up the top prize. “I didn’t miss anything easy and I was happy with the way I stayed focused and closed the match out,” said Selby.

Top Prize: £125,000

 

China Championship   Winner: John Higgins

1st November –  5th November

The China Championship was another new addition to the World Snooker circuit in 2016.  The invitational event, which will gain full ranking status next season, was held in the port city of Guangzhou in southern China. John Higgins became the first man to lift the trophy, following a stunning run to the line against Stuart Bingham in the final. With the scores locked at 7-7, the Scot made three consecutive centuries to win 10-7. The 41-year-old remarked: “Time stands still for no one, so all you can do is try to fight back as much as you can. This gives me great confidence because I don’t think I’ve ever finished a final like that.”

Top Prize: £200,000

 

Champion of Champions   Winner: John Higgins

7th November – 12th November

Tournament winners from the previous year descended on Coventry to determine the Champion of Champions. John Higgins faced old rival Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final. The pair, who contested the 2001 world final which O’Sullivan won, put on yet another classic battle. Higgins came through 10-7 to inflict a second final defeat of 2016/17 on the Rocket and win his second title in two weeks. “I am delighted to put my name on the list of Champion of Champions winners,” said Higgins. “It has been a good two weeks and you have to roll with it while it is going for you.”

Top Prize: £100,000

 

Northern Ireland Open   Winner: Mark King

14th November – 20th November

The second event on the Home Nations calendar saw Liang Wenbo’s £1 million quest end as he suffered defeat against Mark King, who made his own dreams come true in Belfast. After 26 years on the tour, the Romford potter finally got his hands on silverware in dramatic circumstances. He overturned a 5-1 deficit in the final against Barry Hawkins to win a 9-8 thriller and become the third maiden winner of the season. “I just thought all week my name was on the trophy,” said an emotional King. “I left everything on the table and it is nice to come out and be a champ.”

Top prize: £70,000

 

UK Championship   Winner: Mark Selby

22nd November – 4th December

One of snooker’s premier tournaments returned to the beautiful city of York for the first Triple Crown event of the season.  World number one Mark Selby claimed his third ranking title of the campaign and become only the sixth player to have won the World and UK Championship in the same calendar year. He faced Ronnie O’Sullivan in what proved to be another thrilling final. They produced one of the sessions of the season, as Selby held off the Rocket to win 10-7. “To have now beaten Ronnie in the final of the Masters, World and UK is a fantastic feeling,” said Selby.

Top Prize: £170,000

 

Scottish Open   Winner: Marco Fu

12th December – 18th December

The inaugural Home Nations Scottish Open event was held in Glasgow at the Emirates Arena, a venue originally built for the Commonwealth Games of 2014. Marco Fu put in arguably the best start to finish tournament performance of this season to lift the title. The Hong Kong potter made a remarkable 11 century breaks throughout the week. He defeated home favourite John Higgins 9-4 in the final, winning eight frames in a row from 4-1 down to lift the trophy. Fu said: “To beat John in Glasgow is one of the biggest wins of my career. It was a great occasion.”

Top Prize: £70,000

 

Masters   Winner: Ronnie O’Sullivan

15th January – 22nd January

Snooker’s finest 16 players were on show in front of record crowds at Alexandra Palace for the 43rd running of this prestigious invitational event. Ronnie O’Sullivan thrilled his home fans in London to capture a remarkable seventh Masters title and stand alone as the most successful player in the tournament’s history. He’s now won 17 Triple Crown titles and is just one behind record holder Stephen Hendry. After overcoming Marco Fu in a high quality last four tie, the Rocket faced Joe Perry in the final where he clinched a 10-7 victory.  “I don’t want to stop at seven titles,” said O’Sullivan. “I just want to keep enjoying playing the sport that I’ve played for a long time.”

Top Prize: £200,000

 

German Masters   Winner: Anthony Hamilton

1st February – 5th February

The magnificent Tempodrom in Berlin is fast becoming one of the most vaunted venues on the World Snooker Tour circuit. The 2,500 capacity is frequently reached, in a country which has fallen in love with snooker. The enthusiastic crowd were treated to a magic moment this year as Anthony Hamilton followed in Mark King’s footsteps and finally got his hands on ranking silverware. The Sheriff of Pottingham secured a momentous victory with a 9-6 win over Ali Carter. “It’s crazy to win a tournament when I’ve stopped thinking about how to do it,” said Hamilton. “I stopped wanting it so badly and that took the pressure off.”

Top Prize: €80,000 Euros

 

World Grand Prix   Winner: Barry Hawkins

6th February – 12th February

The top 32 players in this season’s money list travelled to Preston’s Guild Hall in Lancashire hoping to claim the £100,000 top prize. Ryan Day battled to reach his fourth ranking final, however there was more heartbreak for the Welshman, who is still searching for his first ranking silverware. Barry Hawkins continued his affinity with the Guild Hall, where he won the Players Championship Grand Final in 2014. The Hawk soared in the final, making five centuries to claim a 10-7 win.  “I’m absolutely over the moon. I felt so good at the start of the match and played so well. I didn’t feel like I could miss when I got in the balls,” said the Hawk.

Top Prize: £100,000

 

Welsh Open   Winner: Stuart Bingham

13th February – 19th February

Attention then turned to Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena for one of the longest running events on the circuit. For the first time the Welsh Open was played out as part of the Home Nations Series and it was Stuart Bingham who ended his 21 month wait for a ranking title. He faced Judd Trump in a thrilling final. The Ace in the Pack led 8-7, but a gutsy final two frames from Bingham sealed the silverware in a 9-8 win. “I’m just thankful to get my hands on a trophy,” said Bingham. “I don’t know how I did it, maybe just true grit and determination.”

Top Prize: £70,000

 

Shoot Out   Winner: Anthony McGill

23rd February – 26th  February

The quick-fire Shoot Out brought snooker’s most unique atmosphere to Watford. For the first time at the event ranking money was on the line and Anthony McGill took full advantage and surged to his second title of the season. He faced Xiao Guodong in the final who is becoming a specialist in the short format, having reached the final in 2015. The Scot made a break of 67 to clinch the title. “I’ve never won more than one match in this event so I can’t work out how I’ve won it,” said McGill. “I had a bit of luck and played better the longer the event went on. By the end I felt really confident.”

Top Prize: £32,000

 

Championship League   Winner: John Higgins

This event at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry features a series of group stages running across several months, culminating in a winners’ group. John Higgins captured his third title of the season by beating Ryan Day 3-0 in the final. The Scot said: “Any win is a great win, it doesn’t matter it if is the Championship League or the World Championship – I was struggling with confidence and winning a trophy gives you confidence.”

Top prize: £20,900

 

Gibraltar Open   Winner: Shaun Murphy

3rd March – 5th March

The tour headed to the British territory of Gibraltar in southern Spain as the World Championship began to loom on the horizon. Shaun Murphy ruled the rock, winning his first title of the season. He faced an in-form Judd Trump for the trophy, who was competing in his second consecutive final. The Magician put on a spellbinding display to defeat Trump 4-2 and pick up the victory. “I have felt as if good things were coming for a while,” said the 2005 World Champion. “I’ve got one in the bag now and that frees me up for the next few events to make a good year into a great year.”

Top Prize: €25,000 Euros

 

Players Championship   Winner: Judd Trump

6th March – 12th March

The last event on British soil before the World Championship took place at the beautiful coastal town of Llandudno in the northernmost tip of Wales.  The elite tournament was contested by the season’s most successful 16 players, as defined by the one-year money list. Judd Trump was the cream of the crop and it was a case of third time lucky in finals for the Ace in the Pack. He made four centuries to defeat Marco Fu 10-8 and lift the title.  “It’s the 16 best players of the season. To win this is probably up there with my UK Championship win,” said Trump.

Top Prize: £125,000

 

China Open   Winner: Mark Selby

27th March –  2nd April

The Pre-Crucible season drew to a dramatic close in Beijing. Mark Williams needed to win the event to knock Ryan Day out of the top 16 and clinch a seeded place at the World Championship. The 18-time ranking winner battled all the way to the final, where he was up against world number one Mark Selby. It was the World Champion who headed to Sheffield on a high, winning a superb final 10-8 and claiming his second China Open title. “I’ll go to Sheffield trying my best. Winning here gives me a lot of confidence, though there are a lot of great players playing well at the moment,” said Selby.

Top Prize: £85,000

 

World Championship   Winner: Mark Selby

15th April – 2nd May

Once again Mark Selby stood on top of the snooker world at the Crucible. There were celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the World Championship in Sheffield and the showpiece final was a fitting tribute to the hallowed venue. Selby took on John Higgins in a repeat of their meeting 10 years earlier, where Higgins took home the trophy. The Scot charged ahead as he established a 10-4 advantage, but Selby turned the match on it’s head by winning 14 of 19 frames to secure his third world crown with an 18-15 win. It also sees Selby become only the fourth player in an elite group to defend the Crucible crown alongside Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis. Selby said: “It is such a hard tournament to win physically and mentally. Snooker is one of the toughest sports in the world.”

Top Prize: £375,000