That's us for tonight

But those of you with Eurosport should definitely hang on for Selby-Gilbert; those of you with Eurosport Player have the options of Page-Walden.

Judd speaks

Northern Ireland Open
Can Allen emulate fellow Northern Irish icon Higgins by winning world title?
18/10/2021 AT 14:40
He says that usually, when he's got his opponent on the ropes, he doesn't let them off the hook, but he lost concentration then got nervous. He's looking forward to playing Mark in Belfast because he enjoys the atmosphere, and says they're similar in that they both thrive on the big occasion. He knows that Allen is in nick and wants to win his home tournament, but he's there to stop him, he's still in and he's still fighting.

And Mark Allen beats Stephen Maguire 4-3!

He meets Judd tomorrow.

Judd Trump beats Jimmy Robertson 4-3!

The best players find whatever they need whenever they need it, and that's what Trump's done tonight. He'll need to play better to make it four in a row, but he probably will play better, so. Either way, that was an extremely enjoyable tussle.

Trump 3-3 Robertson (55-3)

Gosh, Judd misses another long one! That part of his game has not been great tonight, and he leaves Jimmy a nasty expletive into the middle! Jimmy sees it away well, and the counter-attack is on! Er, until the pressure gets to him and he shoulders a yellow, the poor boy. This game. Surely Judd will now make things safe?

Trump 3-3 Robertson (34-0)

Or it might not be! Jimmy doesn't get enough on a safety that leaves the white close to the black cushion ... and he leaves the back-cut! That is going to cost him the match! (I think!) Judd sends it down then gets to work while, on the other table, the crowd cheer on Mark Allen, playing a decider against Stephen Maguire.

Trump 3-3 Robertson (22-0)

Getting to play a decider from 2-0 down is a really great bunch of lads for Jimmy. But when Judd leaves him one to the middle, he overcuts it! That feels like a colossal oversight, and Judd is quickly about the table accumulating. But not for long! The reds are almost entirely clustered, so when he runs out of position he plays safe. This might be another long one.

On Table 2

Allen 3-2 Maguire

Trump 3-3 Robertson

Ooh yeah! This getting tense!

Trump 3-2 Robertson (26-79)

Jimmy runs out of position and then Judd leaves him a long-range swerve-pot ... and he nails it! What a shot! The defending champ will have to play a decider!

Trump 3-2 Robertson (26-51)

Jimmy begins poorly but a few decent pots and he's soon in decent position. There are three reds clustered below the pink and Jimmy cannons them off the black, turning this into a pretty decent opportunity; he's rolling here.

Trump 3-2 Robertson (26-0)

Judd gets in first and on 18 keeps the break going with a canny back-double - he's been getting into pool recently and surely he could be useful at that - then undoes the good work by sending the next, much easier red, into the far middle knuckle. Then, next visit, he misses a long one and leaves a chance for Jimmy!

On Table 2

Allen 3-1 Maguire

Trump 3-2 Robertson

The thing with Trump is that he's so good, it's hard to keep him quiet for long even if he's not playing that well. When he needed something, he found it.

Trump 2-2 Robertson (46-19)

Judd misses a difficult cut-back red, so Jimmy sends him tight to the baulk cushion, and he'll have to be careful here because there's not much on the table that's safe. But is there a long, delicate cut on? Yes there is, that's a gorgeous pot sent to left corner, and I'd expect him to win the frame from here.

Trump 2-2 Robertson (23-19)

Jimmy leaves another long one and Judd caresses it right into the heart of the pocket - he's far too brilliant to miss those all night - then sets about the table. In co-comms Neal notes that the best players have gears, and though they don't mean not to be playing their best, when the match demands they improve, they're able to.

Trump 2-2 Robertson (0-19)

Judd's having a down period - he misses a long red and is now 1/5 tonight - then Jimmy deploys the spider to tap home a starter. But he opts to split the pack when perhaps he might've delayed for a better angle then winds up on nowt, a decent chance tossed too soon. Will he come to regret it?

On Table 2

Allen 3-1 Maguire

Trump 2-2 Robertson

There we go. Both players had numerous chances to win that frame,during which Jimmy looked the more fluent player. This is getting interesting.

Trump 2-1 Robertson (43-72)

Now it's Judd who can't escape a snooker and Jimmy also takes the free ball; he's buzzing now, and this is going to be 2-2.

Trump 2-1 Robertson (43-62)

Much chortling as the officials struggle to replace the balls, then Jimmy gets closer but still misses. This time, Judd takes the blue as a free ball, getting it back on its spot, then lays a harder snooker than the previous one, and of course Jimmy escapes first time.

Trump 2-1 Robertson (38-62)

Jimmy will be feeling peaky as Judd eases closer, but then he overhits a red that prevents him getting position on the next. So he sticks it close to black cush, with the white up in baulk behind the yellow; Jimmy will have to go at it from behind. He hits, but then Judd sticks him against the black - again, he overhits so it's not as nasty a snooker as it might've been - but off the top cushion, Jimmy misses the red by miles, also potting the pink, and there's an increasing inevitability about the outcome of this frame.

Trump 2-1 Robertson (12-62)

On 61, Jimmy runs out of position, so Judd returns to the table with the frame still in the balance. And when Jimmy clips the blue trying to get back to baulk, he's got a medium-distanced red to attack ... but he misses it. Jimmy then sinks one to put himself closer to the line ... but on his next visit, he fouls and leaves an easy one. He might be physically sick if he loses this; goodness me, I might.

Trump 2-1 Robertson (0-47)

Do we got ourselves a ball-game? Jimmy is into this now, getting in first and hitting ball more cleanly. When he overhits one, he redeems it with a nice yellow to middle, and has turned this into a framewinning opportunity. We do got ourselves a ball-game.

On Table 2

Allen 1-1 Maguire
This is a belter by the sounds of things. If you've got Eurosport Player, whack it on.

Trump 2-1 Robertson

Jimmy clears to the pink and given how he's played, to be just one behind against the best in the world is something of a coup.

Trump 2-0 Robertson (40-60)

When he goes to disturb the final red, Judd misses by a fraction, so he plays safe and sits down with the scores level. Both players then miss long pots, but Jimmy flukes a snooker in the process and when Judd misses by a fraction, he sinks the red, pots the brown and disturbs the yellow; he should get himself on the board from here.

Trump 2-0 Robertson (38-46)

But have a look! He misses a routine pink from near the black spot and him not leaving a red tells you how poor a shot that was. So in typical style, next time he's at the table he feathers home a beauty from centre to corner, and though those two cushioned balls are still tricky, Jimmy will be fearing the worst ... and as I type that, his disturbs one.

Trump 2-0 Robertson (15-46)

Oh Jimmy Jimmy. My system crashes so I don't actually see what he misses, but he misses something, at least sending a red safe while so doing. There are, though, still seven reds in the open, enough for Judd to take the lead if he gets in, and that's exactly what happens when he leaves Judd a fine cut to middle. He probably won't win the frame at this visit because there are now two reds on the side, but he can give himself a chance.

Trump 2-0 Robertson (0-37)

Judd misses a red and hammers the blue full-ball in the process; this is a huge chance for Jimmy now.

Trump 2-0 Robertson (0-30)

I nip off for a comfort break and return to see Jimmy at the table potting loose reds. He needs to make this chance count because if he doesn't he'll be nearly home; it's almost crack the pack time, after which we'll have a better idea of what'll pan out ... but no! He loses control of the white and has to play safe off the next red.

On Table 2

Allen 0-1 Maguire

Trump 2-0 Robertson

Judd is 100% on safety so far tonight, which tells us a bit about his skill but a lot about Jimmy's potting; his precision has deserted him right when he needs it most.

Trump 1-0 Robertson (62-2)

It's Judd in next, and he cobbles together the points he needs for 2-0; sat in his seat, Jimmy looks as glum as you'd expect.

Trump 1-0 Robertson (43-2)

The reds are all gathered down the right side of the table, most of them close to or on black cush. And, well, oh Jimmy. He gets in next then tickles the pink only for it to drop just short of left corner ... and to compound his woe, Judd uses it to deflect one home for himself. But he doesn't get the angle to send it back down when he next needs a colour, so plays safe off the yellow.

Trump 1-0 Robertson (37-1)

Judd chips away, but an infelicitous double kiss leaving the white close to the side cushion means he has to play safe, and given the lay of the table, his 36-point lead is a phat one.

Trump 1-0 Robertson (11-1)

Judd misses a mid-range red to left corner, leaving Jimmy an easy starter. But he can't capitalise, and then when he's left another, a cut to top right, he allows Judd another opportunity. It's a tight one though and he can't slot it through the gap, but Jimmy misses again then Judd rattles home a beauty; he's on the green, but with the black on its cushion and the blue close to the baulk line, he'll be needing the pink to work hard for him.

Trump 1-0 Robertson

The last thing Judd needs is a fluke, but he got one and it began a run of 60 that puts him one up.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (66-0)

Judd misses a red along the baulk rail so Jimmy returns to the table needing a snooker. Yeah, good luck with that old mate. He tries to disturb the two reds that remain on cushions, leaves a third one, and that will be that.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (52-0)

This isn't an easy break but Judd carefully eliminates balls nevertheless. He won't need any of the four reds that are on cushions.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (12-0)

Just what you need playing the best player in the world: in a tight frame, he flukes a plant when playing safe. Seconds later, Jimmy's snuggles in behind the black - nine reds are below the blue spot - and his escape hands over an easy starter in that vicinity. Judd then gets to work.

Trump 0-0 Robertson (0-0)

As we begin, Judd knows one thing: he'll not be beating Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-7 in the final for fourth year in row. Robertson, meanwhile, is 48 in the world and might just be putting it all together after some lean years. Anyway, it's a circumspect start, reds making their way up to balk, but there's nothing over the pocket yet so we avoid a re-rack. Then Jimmy leaves a nasty one to middle ... and Judd misses on the near knuckle; that wasn't especially close.

Here come the players...

We'll be focusing

On Judd, obviously - though the other early match is tasty in the extreme. Then we'll be on Gilbert v Selby - the former is in the form of his life - but the parallel confrontation will also be decent because Walden is playing beautifully.

On the menu

Thu 14 19:00
  • Judd Trump v Jimmy Robertson
  • Mark Allen v Stephen Maguire
And then
  • Jackson Page v Ricky Walden
  • David Gilbert v Mark Selby

Evening all!

Northern Ireland Open live coverage resumes at 6:50pm

We'll be back in a couple of hours to guide you through tonight's action. Thanks for sticking with us this afternoon for what was a brilliant, brief match.

BINGTAO WINS - O'Sullivan 3-4 Bingtao

An error from O'Sullivan and he concedes without waiting to see the outcome. The Chinese 21-year-old is through to the quarter-finals now, and deserves the win for his persistence as his opponent was not his usual, winning self.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Bingtao

The match is in the balance until a sloppy shot from O'Sullivan on a straight angle gives Bingtao his chance.
He grabs the green, is 60-34 up... but misses the brown. O'Sullivan needs at least one snooker.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Bingtao

O'Sullivan can't quite bring the white under his control and while it's 24-32, he's been put back into play a snooker by Bingtao, and it's now onto 36-24.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Bingtao

O'Sullivan is 5-28 behind after the opening exchanges. He sends the white ball up to the baulk, Bingtao returns the favour.

O'Sullivan 3-3 Bingtao

Brilliance from O'Sullivan. He deals with the brown as if it's your normal-everyday-normal-everyday pot of a loose red early on in a frame, and then speeds around the table as if the game doesn't depend on it.

O'Sullivan 2-3 Bingtao

O'Sullivan sinks the pink, heads back up to the yellow. It's 46-71. A brown set against the cushion may get in the way.

O'Sullivan 2-3 Bingtao

Bingtao plays a poor shot, 71-0 up. O'Sullivan sinks a red and lands on the black. What can he do from here?

O'Sullivan 2-3 Bingtao

O'Sullivan has fallen away here. Bingtao is onto 50 now after dealing with the easy reds. There's one more simple one to the middle pocket.

O'Sullivan 2-3 Bingtao

Bingtao is back, returning to the table twice to extend his lead, as a break of 34 leaves him with an insurmountable lead. He is a frame from the win now.

O'Sullivan 2-2 Bingtao

Bingtao is circling the table 23-0 in the fifth frame, but despite an open bunch of reds, nothing is easy. He elects to try a safety, but he hits a heavy red into the yellow, and leaves the red open in the top left. O'Sullivan has his chance, but he is stuck behind the green.

O'Sullivan 2-2 Bingtao

And Bingtao duly levels. A small break, now.

O'Sullivan 2-1 Bingtao

Looking to level, Bingtao gets to 51 and moves onto an easy-looking black, but he slides it just off-target and O'Sullivan is in now. Win the frame and his victory appears close to inevitable. O'Sullivan manages just 12, before Bingtao returns to add another five and put O'Sullivan back in. He needs just a colour after his first red, and glances in a blue. The Briton needs snookers, and an in, to rescue the frame now.

O'Sullivan 2-1 Bingtao

O'Sullivan has his first century as he attempts a clearance. There's a potentially tricky pink - it's on the brown spot - to be dealt with in due course.
He sinks a relatively straight blue, glances in the pink to send the white down to the black, which he rolls to the middle black. It misses, just, and his break ends on 129. That is his first miss of the day, too.

O'Sullivan 1-1 Bingtao

O'Sullivan moves onto 56 - and hasn't been put off his stride enough to miss - after stopping to ask people to not enter the area while play is ongoing. He looks set for a second set here.

O'Sullivan 1-1 Bingtao

O'Sullivan's poor safety let Bingtao in, and he races into a clearance with a break of 89, the highest of the game so far. He has his eye in.

O'Sullivan 1-0 Bingtao

A scrappy opening to the second frame sees O'Sullivan on 30 and Bingtao on 19, before he lands a long pot to set himself up for what could be an easy few points.

O'Sullivan 1-0 Bingtao

O'Sullivan is let back in by his opponent and he clears up with relative ease. The first of a best of seven is decided in his favour.

(0-0) - Both players get points on the board

Bingtao opens with a neat 23 break, and lets O'Sullivan for his worst real action for the day.
O'Sullivan has a relatively open pack of reds to work with and gets to work with his usual speed, and quickly moves ahead of his rival. but he attempts to force his way into the pack and pot the black, leading to a miss and a score of 42.

The players get fist-bumping and off we go

Ronnie O'Sullivan starts with a break in the first frame.

'You’ve got no chance' – Trump on 'difficult' late night matches

Judd Trump has admitted he missed more easy balls in his match with Lu Ning at the Northern Ireland Open than he would expect from a whole season.
Trump married brilliance with profligacy as his run to the last 16 in Belfast was marred by some glaring mistakes.
The 2019 world champion, who will reclaim the world number one spot from Mark Selby regardless of results in Belfast, said the late scheduling had impacted him.
“For me it’s just so difficult going on that late at night,” he told Eurosport.
“It’s so tough when you’re the second game on [in the evening session] and you don’t know what time [you will play]. You’ve got no chance, you’re just not prepared properly.
“I was just a little bit tired and I was just missing easy balls that I’d never miss. I’d never miss them in a whole season, the amount of balls I missed in that game."

'You’ve got no chance' – Trump on 'difficult' late night matches

‘Can I pick two?’ – O’Sullivan picks two legends as sport’s greatest ever athletes

Ronnie O’Sullivan has named Ayrton Senna and Muhammad Ali as the two greatest sportspeople of all time.
O’Sullivan, a contender for snooker’s GOAT status, was speaking at the Northern Ireland Open where he has made an impressive start.
The 45-year-old has dropped just two frames in wins over Stuart Carrington, Andy Hicks and Alfie Burden as he bids to snap a run of three consecutive final defeats to Judd Trump in Belfast.
When asked who the best athlete was in the history of sport in a revealing fast-paced interview with Eurosport, O’Sullivan countered: “Can I pick two?
“I’m going to go for Muhammad Ali and Ayrton Senna as my two favourite sportspeople of all time.”


Thu 14 10:00
  • Matthew Stevens v Mark Allen
  • Liam Highfield v Stephen Maguire
  • Ricky Walden v Neil Robertson
Thu 14 13:00
  • Jackson Page v Jack Lisowski
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan v Yan Bingtao
  • Lyu Haotian v Mitchell Mann
Thu 14 14:00
  • Shaun Murphy / Tian Pengfei v Stuart Bingham
  • John Higgins v Mark Williams
Thu 14 19:00
  • Judd Trump v Jimmy Robertson
  • Matthew Stevens / Mark Allen v Liam Highfield / Stephen Maguire
  • Jackson Page / Jack Lisowski v Ricky Walden / Neil Robertson
  • David Gilbert v Mark Selby
- -
Watch the 2021 Northern Ireland Open and the entire prestigious Home Nations snooker series live on Eurosport, and the Eurosport app.
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'One of the all-time greats' - Allen pays tribute to Higgins after Northern Ireland Open win
18/10/2021 AT 07:45
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'He's done it the hard way' - O'Sullivan praises Allen after Northern Ireland Open win
18/10/2021 AT 07:34