Ronnie O'Sullivan gets his hands on the Crucible trophy for a sixth time
Ronnie O'Sullivan gets his hands on the Crucible trophy for a sixth time

World Championship snooker final: Ronnie O'Sullivan beats Kyren Wilson 18-8

Ronnie O'Sullivan has won the World Championship for a sixth time having thumped Kyren Wilson 18-8 in the final at the Crucible Theatre.

O'Sullivan's sixth world title now takes him level with Steve Davis and former mentor Ray Reardon and leaves him only one behind Stephen Hendry on the Crucible roll of honour. In the process, O'Sullivan has also broken the record for ranking tournament victories with 37 as well as taking his tally of Triple Crown wins to 20, a record he originally broke at the UK Championship in 2018.

In a career that has seen him achieve just about everything in the sport, O'Sullivan might well see this as the greatest achievement of his career having been knocked out of this tournament in the first round last year to continue his modest run at the Crucible in recent years.

With O'Sullivan this time arriving in Sheffield on the back of a frustrating campaign that hadn't seen him win a single ranking title this term, many had written him off, but he displayed a level of fight and resilience rarely needed in his career before overpowering Wilson in an ultimately one-sided final.


Victory was achieved before 8pm on Sunday evening but in truth, he had broken the back of the match when winning seven frames in a row in the third session on Sunday afternoon to lead 17-8 and put himself within one frame of victory.

When play resumed for the final session, Wilson would have been desperate to at least give the buoyant Crucible crowd a hint of a comeback, but O'Sullivan was in no mood to even consider it and having potted yet another brilliant long red from distance, O'Sullivan sensed his moment to close out the match.

From there he never looked like letting his already firm grip on the title slip, opening up the balls within just a few shots and going on to produce yet another silky-smooth break of 96. When a member of the crowd pleaded 'come on, give us a century' O'Sullivan tried valiantly to oblige but couldn't land on the final black as intended.

It didn't matter, though, the crowd quickly rising to applaud its champion and pay tribute to runner-up Wilson who shared a few warm words with O'Sullivan at the end of a tournament in which both players have provided such high drama.

O'Sullivan told the BBC afterwards: "I never really think about titles. As a kid I never dreamed I'd be here, I was playing for the fun of the game. But to be here and to have had all those victories, is a dream but it's also coming a bit of a reality so it's nice to be living your dream."

"There was a part of my that decided that I didn't play enough - and I still probably don't play enough - to justify winning a tournament of this stature. It is an endurance test and I'm not really an endurance-type snooker player.

"The lockdown gave me the chance to play on some good tables which was great and I came here feeling comfortable with my tools so I had half a chance - but I never expected to win it to be honest with you."

"I just want to say Kyren's a top, top player and he's improving all the time. When he fell off the tour (I knew) he was always going to get back on the tour.

"When you've got that desire and that hunger and belief in your ability - you might have to work in a bar for a bit or do bits and pieces - but deep down, the fire's burning bright and you get there in the end.

"He is a winner and he will win this tournament one day... not to put too much pressure on him. He's a country mile above everyone else around his age. His time is definitely going to come."

Wilson was typically gracious in defeat: "I'm 28 years old, I'm not going to beat myself up too much - I'm playing the greatest (player) of all time.

"For me, it was a dream come true, knowing that I was going to be playing Ronnie in the final.

"Obviously, you can't respect him too much or he'll walk all over you - which has happened to me today.

"For me, it's brilliant. I've got the two most important people to me (turns to address his children sat in a chair behind him) sat right here. They'll learn from this. It will make them stronger as well.

"But, at the end of the day, the night belongs to Ronnie. He was amazing throughout the final. He showed his class when he probably wasn't quite at his best and still stuck it out."

Following a strong rally in the second session on Saturday evening, Wilson would have held high hopes of turning the match in his favour when kicking off the third session with a break of 73 that reduced his deficit to two frames.

However, that would prove to be Wilson's only moment of cheer on a crushing afternoon for the Kettering potter who saw his title aspirations slip away in the face of a fearsome O'Sullivan onslaught.

Having looked out of sorts and a little weary at the end of Saturday's two sessions - that on the back of his dramatic defeat of Mark Selby on Friday night - O'Sullivan would have been relieved to have held a three-frame advantage overnight, and he was a completely different animal less than a day later as he reeled off six breaks of over 50 in a sparkling and ruthless display.

Following the help of a big fluke early in frame 19, O'Sullivan looked razor sharp as he put together a run of 53, though Wilson did get the chance to counter and might well look back on a missed pink to middle that could well have reduced his arrears to a single frame.

As it was, O'Sullivan reestablished his three-frame cushion in clinical fashion and from there on in it was one-way traffic.

Breaks of 48 and 61 allowed O'Sullivan to extend his lead to 12-8 and when he followed up with 57 in the following frame, Wilson's hopes were already falling apart as his own game grew increasingly ragged.

He did have his chances in frame 22, but more lapse positional play opened the door for O'Sullivan to stick the knife in further and he did so with typical panache, a break of 60 seeing him strike the ball with as much authority as he has all tournament.

At 14-8 down, Wilson desperately needed to win at least two of the final three frames of the session to keep his opponent in sight, but O'Sullivan wasn't for catching now and looked to have found all of his old swagger when floating around the table for another frame-winning hand - this time of 71 - that was sealed with a magnificent positional shot from yellow to frame-ball red.

Wilson was again in first in frame 24 but his game was unravelling in front of a reduced Crucible crowd and O'Sullivan jumped all over another mistake from his opponent, adding a typically fluent break of 72 to win his sixth frame on the spin and move 16-8 in front.

O'Sullivan was now circling for the kill and built up a healthy early lead in the final frame of the session before finally offering Wilson some hope when missing frame-ball black.

However, Wilson was distraught when leaving that same black hanging over the pocket after catching the near jaw and O'Sullivan made no mistake this time, closing out the frame and putting himself within touching distance of a sixth world title and a record-breaking 37th ranking title victory.

He would have a few hours to wait until finally getting his hands on that trophy again but he was all smiles when that moment arrived.

Snooker's greatest ever player, in snooker's most iconic venue, claiming its biggest prize, and with his adoring fans - albeit a reduced number - able to give O'Sullivan something like the ovation he deserved.

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