O'Sullivan leaves viewers staggered by using lighter on cue

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Ronnie O'Sullivan was lighting up The Crucible once again on Monday afternoon - but not just with his scintillating play.

'The Rocket' began the first session with a 12-5 lead in his World Snooker Championship final match with Judd Trump, having dominated the previous day. Trump did however mount a fightback, getting things back to 14-10 before O'Sullivan added to his growing list of flash-points from the 200 tournament.

Having already been reprimanded for a lewd gesture in his first-round match with David Gilbert, he complained of wet trousers in his semi-final against John Higgins after sitting on a seemingly damp seat. As a result, he pledged to take a hairdryer into his clash with Trump.

Despite being in supreme form on Sunday, he regularly argued with match referee Olivier Marteel, saying "don't stare" at him when the official sought to warn him over conduct. And in the 25th frame of the match, he again captivated viewers when he appeared to take a lighter to his cue-tip.

The incident was spotted by legendary commentator John Virgo, who last week learnt he was being axed by the BBC in 2023. He told fellow pundit Shaun Murphy: "Just an interesting thing when Ronnie went back to his seat again.

"You see sometimes he's using the little bit of sandpaper, there he's trying to burn the fibres off, there's just fibres coming off the tip. I was talking to him, Shaun, he's had the tip on four months, which is quite a long time and usually you get one ready for the World Championship don't you?"

Ever seen a snooker player take a lighter to his cue? Let us know in the comments section.

O'Sullivan led Trump 14-11 going into the final evening session
O'Sullivan led Trump 14-11 going into the final evening session

Murphy, 39, agreed that was rare, and added: "Yeah those fibres just start fraying after a while - it doesn't mean that anything is wrong with the tip. And you can either use a bit of paper or you know, a flame, as Ronnie was doing there - it's a very old fashioned way of trying to get the edges."

Murphy added "It's just a visual thing, it doesn't affect the tip." Snooker fan @CAPittard was one viewer to pick up on it, and joked the footage was initially misleading: "For a second I thought Ronnie O’Sullivan getting out a lighter was a return to the old days of snooker players smoking, drinking, having a barbecue at their seats." he tweeted.

The 'light-up' didn't bring instant joy to O'Sullivan, with Trump taking that frame to leave things at 17-11 ahead of the final session. The snooker icon needs the win to match Stephen Hendry's record total of seven world titles.

This post appeared first on Daily Star - Snooker.

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