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Ronnie O’Sullivan insists “there are no hard feelings” despite accusing Mark Allen of deliberately attempting to distract him during his defeat at the Champions of Champions tournament.
World champion O’Sullivan became embroiled in a bizarre verbal altercation with the Northern Irishman in the final frame of his 6-3 loss in Milton Keynes.
The 44-year-old complained at length that Allen was regularly moving in his eyeline and standing up when he was at the table preparing to take a shot.
Referee Marcel Eckardt repeatedly attempted to diffuse the situation by asking O’Sullivan to continue playing, with his opponent appearing baffled by the criticism as he sat in his chair.
While Allen maintained his innocence, O’Sullivan was unhappy with the situation and felt compelled to air his grievance.
“Maybe I read a bit too much into it but it just seemed a little bit like stuff you do down the snooker club when you’re an amateur and you’re trying to get into your opponent’s head or try to put him off,” O’Sullivan told ITV4.
“I just thought there’s no point letting it go and he carries on doing it, so I just thought let’s get it out of the way and it was done.
“It started around about 3-2 something like that, just little things. I thought I can either leave it, and that’s why I was taking my time on certain shots.
“I thought I’m not going to play the shot until you sit down in your chair. I could have said something then but I thought hopefully he will get the message.
“And he kind of did because he sat down. Then obviously when I was playing the shot he started ripping his logo off. I thought I’ve got to have a word with him.
“There are no hard feelings. Mark played fantastic and deserved his victory but sometimes you’ve just got to say something and get it out of the way.”
After his prolonged protestations, O’Sullivan eventually resumed play, only to miss a straightforward red, allowing his opponent to book a semi-final spot.
Allen, who will play Judd Trump in the last four, was bemused by the situation and felt O’Sullivan was attempting to bully him.
“To be honest, it was uncomfortable for Ronnie. I don’t know what he was on about, he was saying I was moving in his eyeline, he said I was standing in front of the shots, he said I was moving in my seat,” said Allen.
“Marcel (referee) even said, ‘Mark, I know you’re not doing anything but let it go’. I am not going to let it go if he’s just going to make up rubbish.
“It was funny because he was completely gone and obviously I took advantage.
“Ronnie just tries to bully people out there and I wasn’t having any of it. I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong. I just want to play snooker.
“I know I was in the right.”
After losing three of the opening five frames, Allen – who made breaks of 102 and 104 during the ill-tempered contest – won four in succession to progress.
Earlier in the day he survived a scare to scrape past world number 25 Scott Donaldson 4-3 in the group semi-finals, while O’Sullivan blitzed Michael Holt 4-1 inside 50 minutes.