Despitea spirited comeback from his heir apparent, Judd Trump, ‘Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivanclaimed his fifth UK Championship title in York this evening with a nervejangling 10-9 victory. A clearly ‘pumped’ up but drained Ronnie had to draw onall the mental fortitude that has been instilled into him by psychologist StevePeters to withstand the late charge by his younger opponent, in what ultimatelyproved to be a memorable final.

Trumphas suffered in recent finals at the hands of O’Sullivan, losing to him onlylast month at the Champion of Champions’ event and also in the 2013 WorldChampionship final. It seemed to be going the way of Ronnie once again as hestarted much the better to establish a commanding 5-1 advantage in the firstsession, before Trump pegged him back to 5-3 going into the evening’s frames inthe best of nineteen match.

O’Sullivancame out with renewed vigour in the evening session to move into what looked tobe an unassailable lead at 9-4 and must have been considering his victoryspeech at that point. Judd must have been reading a different script though, ashe rallied and amazingly managed to pull himself back into the final to levelthe match at 9-9, thanks in no small part to two marvellous breaks of 120 and127.

Theman who many believe is the greatest there has ever been in the sport is astrong character these days and despite clearly feeling the pressure ofrelinquishing his sizeable lead, managed to draw on his not inconsiderableexperience in the sport to stagger over the line. As the winning post approached in the deciding frame, a clearlymuch relieved O’Sullivan demonstrated his appreciation at holding on to win witha couple of celebratory fist pumps.

One wondershow many more stressful nights such as this that O’Sullivan will want towitness first hand before he finally calls time on his illustrious snookercareer, but based on the evidence of this match one hopes that the ‘end’ willbe later rather than sooner. The game needs his character (and that of his rivalJudd Trump) to enhance its popularity in the British public’s psyche. AlthoughRonnie seemed to hope that they would avoid each other in their next tournament,the sporting world needs its great head to heads, and after this one thesnooker world will be willing them on for more of the same.

O’Sullivan’sreward for winning the title was a not inconsiderable cheque for £150,000 andthe big break prize of £44,000 to add on top, a slightly late but still wellreceived present to celebrate his recent 39th birthday. He is at anage when most snooker players decide to disappear into the background, perhapsjoining the long line of former stars in the commentary box, but for now atleast his star shines as bright as ever and his appetite for re-writing thehistory books insatiable.

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