Ford stalls in semi-fi­nals as Rocket flies through

Sunday Sun - - Cricket -

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.”

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