Ford stalls in semi-finals as Rocket flies through
tard and Onions were shown the door to cut costs. A club that made a habit of fighting out of tight corners was unable to wriggle from this one.
They were cruelly docked 48 Championship points for 2017, but even with them would have finished seventh in Division Two as the psychological damage ran even deeper. With a clean slate last year they were eighth.
Four times Durham were bowled out for less than 100 in the Championship, twice in a day Leicestershire shot them out for less than their previous-worst first-class score. There were new lows in 50-over and 20-over cricket.
Lewis seemed to have Ronnie O’Sullivan RONNIE O’Sullivan ended the brilliant run of Tom Ford in devastating style to reach an eighth UK Championship final.
This has been the best tournament of 35-year-old Ford’s career but he proved no match for O’Sullivan, who wrapped up a 6-1 win and will bid for a seventh title at the York Barbican today.
Ford, who beat Joe Perry 6-2 in the quarter-finals, made the perfect start by winning the opening frame 68-32, raising hopes of the biggest upset yet of a stunning tournament.
But the ruthless O’Sullivan responded with a break of 122 in frame two and did not look back.
He won the next five frames to complete his win, punishing Ford for his misses and completing two more half-centuries in frames four and six.
An upbeat O’Sullivan said to the BBC after winning: “If it does not happen this year [winning a record 19th Triple Crown event – made up of the Masters, World and UK Championships], then maybe the year after, there is still plenty of time. I want to go out there and be involved in a good match.
“What is more important is that it is a good final for snooker and the fans that follow the sport.
“At some point you have to ask what it is all about. Sometimes you wake up and think there are a lot of people out there who get a lot of pleasure [from seeing him win]. I want to be able to repay that by playing with a smile on my face.
“If I am not winning then it is not the end of the world as people still want to see you do well.
“I have amazing support here like I have done all my career and it is still great to be playing decent snooker and to be performing for them. I feel them willing me on and they know I appreciate them and have a big heart for the snooker fans.”
Aside from a 6-5 win over Ken Doherty in the second round, O’Sullivan has been utterly dominant, dropping no more than a single frame in any match.
Ford said: “It is a bit bit frustrating because I felt good out there. I enjoyed playing a match that I lost because of the experience and the crowd. I felt quite relaxed.
“If someone told me I would have been in the UK semis, I would have taken it all day long.”