5 moments Ronnie O’Sullivan would rather forget

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Mark Staniforth, PA
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Ronnie O’Sullivan crashed out of the World Snooker Championship in a final-frame decider against Anthony McGill.

It is not the first time the six-times world champion has fallen to an unexpected defeat at the Crucible.

Here, the PA news agency picks out five moments the ‘Rocket’ would rather forget.

2021 – round two: Anthony McGill 13-12

Betfred World Snooker Championships 2021 – Day Seven – The Crucible
Anthony McGill held his nerve to sink Ronnie O’Sullivan (George Wood/PA)

Despite losing seven frames on the bounce and falling five frames behind at 10-5, it seemed inevitable O’Sullivan would stir. He did just that, winning six in a row for an 11-10 lead then moving one frame from victory – but McGill proved more than his equal, and two nerveless clearances dumped the champion out.

2019 – round one: James Cahill 10-8

2019 Betfred Snooker World Championship – Day Four – The Crucible
James Cahill pulled off one of snooker’s greatest shocks (Nigel French/PA)

In what was probably the biggest shock in snooker history, O’Sullivan was dumped out in the first round by amateur James Cahill, who held his nerve to secure a famous win. O’Sullivan looked out of sorts and admitted: “I feel absolutely shattered, drained, no energy, struggling to stay awake. I feel absolutely horrendous.”

2010 – quarter-final: Mark Selby 13-11

Betway UK Championships – Day Twelve – York Barbican
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s loss to Mark Selby left him questioning his future (Mike Egerton/PA)

O’Sullivan led 9-7 going into the final session against Selby and there was no doubt his eventual loss hit him hard. “It (playing) can be a painful experience a lot of the time but I’ve stuck in there for a long time,” said O’Sullivan. “I decided I wasn’t going to fight it. My bad game has got me through the last 17 years, but I’ve been s***.”

2005 – quarter-final: Peter Ebdon 13-11

Snooker – Betfred.com World Snooker Championships – Day Three – The Crucible Theatre
Peter Ebdon’s slow play bored Ronnie O’Sullivan senseless (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

O’Sullivan was the defending champion but his enthusiasm was drained by Ebdon, whose go-slow approach – he took five and a half minutes to make a break of 12 – left the Rocket visibly frustrated. He gradually let slip an 8-2 lead, and at one point he even pointedly asked a member of the audience what time it was.

2000 – first round: David Gray 10-9

SNOOKER World
David Gray pulled off a shock win over Ronnie O’Sullivan (Alistair Wilson/PA Archive)

O’Sullivan, the fourth seed, made a record five century breaks in the match but still crashed out in the deciding frame to the 21-year-old qualifier from Surrey. Gray, who battled back from 5-1 down, said: “When Ronnie’s in the balls he’s a genius but I knew he couldn’t keep it going forever.”