Ronnie O’Sullivan rarely slips out of the snooker spotlight, and the Rocket had yet another run-in with the rulebook here at the Crucible yesterday.
The enigmatic five-time world champion has never been one to hide what he’s feeling, and most of his headline-grabbing antics in the last week have been borne out of frustration.
But placing his chalk on the table to determine whether the re-spotted pink would block his line of sight to a red ball is a contentious issue, as the official rules state that a foul should be given if a player ‘uses any object to measure gaps or distance’.
Referee Terry Camilleri is very experienced, and used his discretion to determine that no foul was committed. O’Sullivan went on to win the frame, but trails 5-3 heading into today’s concluding sessions, as his quarter-final opponent Stuart Bingham rattled off the remaining three frames of the afternoon.
The Rocket’s Crucible saga started as he slipped off his shoes in the first round, and then smashed his cue on the side of the table before making a lewd gesture to himself during his second round contest.
The incident count is up to four, and I don’t think many would be surprised if Ronnie still has another trick or two up his sleeve yet.
On the adjacent table there were far fewer fireworks, as Crucible specialist Barry Hawkins edged in front of 2010 winner Neil Robertson. The Hawk was a finalist here two years ago, and made the semi-finals last time out. He did well to battle hard against the Australian ace who is in fine form, winning all four frames following the interval to take a lead into today’s deciding sessions.
Potting sensation Judd Trump resumes today with a commanding 12-4 lead over Chinese cueman Ding Junhui. Trump just needs to win one more frame for a place in the semi-finals.
Snooker is known for its weird and wonderful fans and the players were preceded in the arena by a Norwegian yodeller. Bjorn Tomren was making his debut in snooker’s theatre of dreams, and has previously supported Oslo-based pop group ‘A-ha.’
And following the session, supporters were treated to even more entertainment, as former world champions Steve Davis and John Parrott were joined by snooker supremo Barry Hearn in a public ‘Fans’ Forum’ event in The Old Monk pub on Norfolk Street.