Snooker's shocking acts of 2022 from Ronnie O'Sullivan's X-rated gesture to cue slams

December 25, 2022
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It has been an epic snooker year that will be best remembered for Ronnie O'Sullivan claiming a magnificent seventh world title.

O'Sullivan was king of the Crucible once again in May as he became the undisputed greatest player of all-time by equalling Stephen Hendry's record of seven world crowns.

The Rocket was also involved in a moment of controversy and plenty of players lost their cool in snooker's pressure cooker during an action-packed year.

But there were also unforgettable highs as Neil Robertson lifted the Masters title in January and Mark Allen secured a special UK Championship triumph in November.

Here, Daily Star Sport looks back on five shocking moments on the green baize in 2022.

READ MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan brands himself ‘imposter’ who shouldn’t be playing in bizarre new rant

O'Sullivan's rude gesture caught live on TV



The gesture was caught live by TV cameras
The gesture was caught live by TV cameras

O'Sullivan is snooker's box-office figure but he was hit in the pocket for a rude gesture that was caught live on TV in April. The Rocket made the gesture with his hand during his Crucible first round match against David Gilbert.

The incident appeared to take place in the 13th frame after O'Sullivan missed a routine black. O'Sullivan was also reprimanded for a gesture made in his match against Kyren Wilson in the 2021 UK Championship in York.

The 47-year-old was fined £4,000 in total by snooker chiefs after disciplinary committee found him guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute for making a "lewd and offensive gesture" on two occasions.

What was your snooker highlight of 2022? Let us know in the comments section.

The Angry Farmer



Gilbert conceded his match after missing a black in his German Masters qualifier match
Gilbert conceded his match after missing a black in his German Masters qualifier match



Gilbert had enough after missing a regulation black
Gilbert had enough after missing a regulation black

David Gilbert lived up to his 'Angry Farmer' nickname as he stormed out of a German qualifying match in November. The Tamworth potter missed a black and saw red whilst trailing 3-2 in frames and 56 points to Andy Hicks in Leicester.

World no.17 Gilbert was still well in the best-of-nine frame match with 75 points still on the table in the sixth frame, but had simply seen enough. “That’ll do mate. I’ve got to get out, well played mate," the 41-year-old told veteran Hicks, while shaking hands and conceding the match.

Gilbert walked out on his hopes of making Berlin's Tempodrom in January and was clearly not in the best mindset as he held his head in his hands in his chair earlier in the match.

And Gilbert's walkout reminded fans of the most-high profile case of a player quitting mid-frame. O'Sullivan famously conceded his UK Championship quarter-final against old rival Stephen Hendry in 2006 after trailing 4-1 in a best-of-17 battle.

The Cue Slam



John Higgins slammed his cue in frustration in his Crucible semi-final against O'Sullivan
John Higgins slammed his cue in frustration in his Crucible semi-final against O'Sullivan

A compilation of cue slams could be made from 2022 alone, but some have been particularly memorable.

Four-time world champion John Higgins was 13-9 in his Crucible semi-final clash with great rival O'Sullivan. And the Scot looked ready to break his cue as frustration reached boiling point after he missed a long red by a considerable distance.

Furious Higgins slammed his cue in anger before returning to his seat in his defeat to eventual champion O'Sullivan.



Gary Wilson threw his cue to the ground after a fluke and remonstrated with the referee over his opponent's toilet breaks
Gary Wilson threw his cue to the ground after a fluke and remonstrated with the referee over his opponent's toilet breaks

And Scottish Open winner Gary Wilson also created headlines by throwing his cue in a match littered with controversy in UK Championship qualifying.

'Tyneside Terror' Wilson threw his cue to the ground after rookie opponent Andres Petrov had an important fluke in the match, and later fumed at the referee over the Estonian's frequent toilet breaks before a shock exit.

The Whirlwind's warning



Jimmy White was given a warning in a heated incident
Jimmy White was given a warning in a heated incident

Jimmy White received a warning for his furious reaction to referee Ben Williams during his Northern Ireland Open match against Luca Brecel.

The Whirlwind was not amused when official Williams wrongly identified his object ball, leading to a rather awkward exchange with the six-time world finalist and the referee.

White nominated brown ball against Brecel - but Williams mistakingly called 'blue', before changing his call and chuckling. "What's funny about that? What's funny about that?" White repeated after correcting the call.

The 60-year-old, who qualified for the UK Championship this year, was given a warning after the squabble, but claimed he had no regrets over the incident.

"He's given me a warning because he thinks I gave him a hand gesture, which I didn't," White said. "We're playing a serious match, it's not an exhibition. All he's got to say is, 'Ok sorry, brown' and we get on with the game. No regrets. It's a serious situation."

Pigeon stopped play



A pigeon stopped play at the World Championship
A pigeon stopped play at the World Championship

An uninvited guest on the table perhaps provided the biggest moment of shock for fans visiting the Crucible this year.

A pigeon somehow may its way into the famous Sheffield theatre and briefly stopped play in the World Championship second round match between Mark Selby and Yan Bingtao.

The bird landed on the side cushion during a break in between frames after flying from the television lights, before being safely ushered out as fans and players were left completely stunned. Iconic BBC commentator John Virgo exclaimed: “Where’s the pigeon going?”

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