Dave Gilbert explains why playing Ronnie O'Sullivan is 'just so hard'

April 18, 2022
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Phil Haigh ✍️  

2022 Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day 2
Ronnie O’Sullivan looked in good form as he beat Dave Gilbert in round one at the Crucible (Picture: Getty Images)

Dave Gilbert says there is a lot more than just the phenomenal break-building to worry about when you play Ronnie O’Sullivan, with people not realising how good his safety play is and the extent the crowd can make a difference.

Gilbert was downed 10-5 by O’Sullivan in the first round of the World Snooker Championship on Sunday, not doing a great deal wrong but running into an on-song Rocket.

The six-time world champ made three centuries and five more half-centuries in the impressive victory, but the Farmer was just as impressed with the Rocket’s tactical skills as well.

Not so much a talent of the great man, but O’Sullivan nearly always has the crowd on his side, which can be a real hindrance at times.

’10-5 sounds like a drubbing, but I don’t think it was a drubbing at all,’ Gilbert said after his loss to O’Sullivan. ‘There were a few huge moments that all went against me and obviously Ronnie’s Ronnie.

‘Why all these qualifiers were calling Ronnie out, trying to make a name for themselves I’ve no idea. Lunacy.

2022 Betfred World Snooker Championship - Day 2
Dave Gilbert played well but could not keep up with the Rocket (Picture: Getty Images)

‘He obviously scores so well, he’s got a huge chance [to win the tournament], seems like his head’s on. There were a couple of times where he looked irritated and might play a loose shot, but he seemed to settle himself.

‘People don’t realise how good his safety is, he’s just so tough to constantly play.

‘It’s just so hard playing Ronnie. There were a few shots in there where I was down on my shot and you get the crowd shouting out. It definitely affected me. One of them was probably my fault for not being focused enough.

‘You don’t realise how hard it is against a player that never seems to mess up when he’s in the balls.

‘I don’t want to take anything away from anybody, but there’s no way I’m losing 10-5 to most people in the draw there.’

O’Sullivan will continue his quest for a seventh World Championship title in the second round against either Mark Allen or Scott Donaldson.

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