Snooker legend O'Sullivan thrills sell out crowd with exhibition
One of the greatest snooker players of all time thrilled a sell out crowd as Ronnie O'Sullivan played an exhibition at Hanging Heaton Cricket Club last Friday.
The event had taken 12 months to plan by club steward Pete Jagger and attracted snooker players and followers from across the area as over 170 people packed into the clubhouse.
Huddersfield based family run business the Billiard Company installed a professional standard table into the main function room, with O’Sullivan playing eight frames against local players.
BBC snooker commentator John Virgo compared the evening and provided commentary to all eight frames.
The five-time World Champion produced an entertaining display and maintained his superb record of making a century break in every exhibition he has ever played.
O’Sullivan faced former English CIU Champion Wayne Cooper in a best of five match, which saw both men produce some excellent snooker.
O’Sullivan produced a brilliant 79 clearance break to take the first frame but Cooper fought back in style as he made a magnificent 80 break to level the match.
The third frame was nip and tuck as O’Sullivan built a 64-point lead but Cooper twice forced snookers only for The Rocket to close it out and win 96-40.
O’Sullivan had the crowd on the edge of their seats as he potted five reds and five blacks at the start of the fourth frame only to see his hopes of a maximum 147 break ended when he missed the sixth black, although he went on to win 77-0 and establish an unassailable 3-1 lead.
Cooper began the fifth and final frame superbly as he potted five reds and five blacks before missing a difficult long red.
Cooper added a 42 break later in the frame to win it 83-15 and earned him high praise from O’Sullivan.
Hanging Heaton member Chris Swaine won an inter club competition for the once in a lifetime chance to play a frame against O’Sullivan.
Swaine earned rapturous applause when he took a 1-0 lead before O’Sullivan went on to win the frame 98-14.
O’Sullivan then met Bradford’s Mark Slater, winner of a qualifying tournament.
Breaks of 46 and 51 from O’Sullivan, sandwiched between a 29 break by Slater, saw him take the frame 97-29.
O’Sullivan saved his best for the final frame of the evening as he met Wakefield St Michaels player Anthony Hebblethwaite.
After a cagey opening which saw O’Sullivan 9-2 ahead, The Rocket produced a stunning 108 break to the delight of the crowd.
As O’Sullivan left to a standing ovation, Virgo announced that his final break had maintained a record of making a century in every exhibition he has played.
A snooker cue, donated by The Billiard Supply Company, and signed by O’Sullivan raised £450 in an auction, which will be donated to cancer charities.
The winning bidder was Joe Brennan of Chem Scaffolding Ltd.