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Monday, 15 February 2016

Ronnie O'Sullivan's Big Break

The sports pages of various newspapers contain critical accounts of the decision by snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan to sacrifice a 147-break by choosing to pot a final pink in place of the black required to achieve the maximum score attainable in a single ‘frame’ of snooker. Uncharitably the cynical hacks attribute to Ronnie’s act the motive of avarice. The prize available for professional players achieving a one-four-seven in an official match is subject to a roll-over mechanism which increases its value exponentially as each successive match passes without the prize being awarded. Ronnie, the hax contend, forewent the prize with the intention of repeating his feat of snooker genius at some subsequent competition for vaster reward.
Having coached him since his childhood, Ronnie I know like my own foster-children. He is naturally gifted with the cue and was quick to emulate the techniques I demonstrated at the 18th century table in the billiards room that once belonged to George 3rd (the billiard room, that is, not the table). Atop the massive mahogany legs, the slabs of peerless Welsh slate, and the finest West-of England green baize, I honed Ronnie’s game to its shining pinnacle of cuemanship. In addition to my finesse at the table, Ronnie was quick to assimilate other attributes I demonstrated to round-off his capabilities as an entertainer. Always leave the audience wanting more I told him.  I am convinced that his recent forfeiture of a 147 owed more to my lessons in showmanship than to the mean financial calculations imagined by the press, not least because it followed an example I set in Ronnie’s presence not two days beforehand, when, at a charity darts demonstration with Eric Bristow, I deliberately sacrificed the darting equivalent of the 147- the nine dart finish, choosing to tease and astonish the lager-swilling audience with a final double-bull in place of the double fifteen they expected me to attempt.
And it is not just in the world of precision sport that I have perfected the art of leaving my audience craving for more. Consider the number of times you have read eagerly through a post on my blog, only to find… no funny punch line!

Connoisseurs of literary humour the world over: Sure, you man's not wrong there. Must be months now he's been keeping us wanting more. He's got  that off to a fine art, no mistake.

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