The game’s gone to pot: O’Sullivan and Carter brush off confrontation

Tempers flare at Crucible as five-time winner is dumped out of the World Championship

Ronnie O’Sullivan congratulates Ali Carter after his 13-9 win at the Crucible. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

Ronnie O’Sullivan congratulates Ali Carter after his 13-9 win at the Crucible. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA

 

Ronnie O’Sullivan clashed with Ali Carter in a bitter Crucible row as the five-time winner crashed out of the Betfred World Championship.

Title favourite O’Sullivan snapped at Carter in the 19th frame of the second-round match, describing the 38-year-old as “Mr Angry” after also appearing to barge him.

Carter went on to clinch a 13-9 victory, his first victory over O’Sullivan in a major tournament after years of trying.

O’Sullivan had just fluked a snooker when he and Carter collided at the side of the table in a flash point that defined the match.

Once back in his seat, O’Sullivan said: “That’s for being Mr Angry.”

He then told Carter it was his turn to play, sparking Carter to respond: “Thank you very much, very nice of you.”

“Stop being angry then,” O’Sullivan said.

Referee Paul Collier intervened and said: “Right fellas, just play on”, with O’Sullivan then saying he was “cool as a cucumber”.

O’Sullivan trailed 11-9 at the mid-session interval, but he had been off his game for most of the match and it was no surprise that he inched no closer.

Carter was clinical as he set up a quarter-final date with Mark Williams or Robert Milkins.

Carter, who has twice overcome cancer and suffers from Crohn’s disease, said of the flashpoint: “I just thought, ‘Listen, I’m not intimidated by Ronnie like a lot of other players are, I’ve been through harder things than that in my life’.

“He barged me, but I’m sorry, I’m not going to be bullied by anyone.

“I’ve been through a lot in my life and I’ve been through a lot of harder things than a shoulder barge from someone.

“It would have been easy for me to sit back in my chair and be like, ‘I’d better be the little boy in the corner’.

“But no, it was my day today and I’m delighted.”

O’Sullivan was asked whether he would apologise to Carter.

“I don’t think there’s anything to apologise about,” he said. “There’s no hard feeling there.”

O’Sullivan said there was no sense of embarrassment on his part and claimed Carter also barged him during the match.

Asked if he thought he might be fined over the incident, O’Sullivan added: “I don’t really know. They can send a letter to my lawyer and they can happily deal with it. For me, I’ve moved on.

“Have you never been angry in your life? We all get angry sometimes. If someone’s going to shoulder-barge into me, do I have to walk around him, tiptoe or do a little curtsey as if he’s the Queen? Sometimes you have to stand your ground. I’m not a limbo dancer you know.”

Carter grumbled before the match began that snooker had become ‘The Ronnie O’Sullivan Show’.

After sealing his win, Carter said: “It is the Ronnie O’Sullivan show, isn’t it? But it was the Ali Carter show today.”

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