Snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan narrowly avoided missing the start of his English Open clash with Michael Georgiou after enjoying a pre-match kebab.
O’Sullivan appeared at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes late looking disheveled and startled after he spent too long at a nearby Turkish restaurant.
The Rocket lost the opening frame to Georgiou, but he responded by firing his way to a 4-1 victory in just 62 minutes by scoring 82, 127, 129 and 108 in the remaining frames.
The 45-year-old sensationally claimed he would rather have been docked a frame than rush his kebab.
“I turned up with seven minutes to go. I was still in my jeans and trainers,” the world number three said. “I got my gear on. I was all over the gaffe. I should be meditating 20 minutes ago but I wasn’t.
“I knew I would be like a rabbit in the headlights. So, I tried to stay in the match for as long as I could settle.
“I was over in the kebab shop with my friends, having a good time, putting the world to rights and thought ‘I better go now’ as the previous match had finished.
“I’d rather be late for the match in fact and miss the first frame. I’d rather be 1-0 down in a good place than 0-0 and thinking I want to smash my cue into a 100 pieces and go home.
“Ah, I got to finish the kebab and had the baklava, too. It was a long lunch. You don’t want too much of the baklava due to the sugar factor, but I have earned it. I have been training hard.
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“Listen, I felt for Michael, it was hard for him. I don’t want to gloat too much. I played well.
“Unfortunately for him he didn’t capitalise after the first frame.”
O’Sullivan will now face the Anthony Hamilton – the Sheriff of Pottingham – in the last 32 of this Home Nations event after the Rocket suffered a 5-0 embarrassment at the hands of world number 60 Hossein Vafaei at the German Masters.
When asked if the tournament was big enough for two Sheriffs in town, O’Sullivan laughed: “I’m no Sheriff. I’m just a holiday lover.
“I’m just here having a good time. I am having a holiday. It’s going well so far.
“I have some great runs lined up. The holiday continues.”
The six-time world champion faces his former practice partner Hamilton at 3pm on Thursday November 4.
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