Sunday, 6 May 2012

The only way is Essex

Fifteen days are down and two men are left standing in the World Championship.

Picture by Monique Limbos
It's time for the final.

We've seen it all. Joy, despair, surprises,comebacks, flukes and more but now we're down to an Essex derby to decide who becomes world champion.

Ronnie O'Sullivan faces Ali Carter in a repeat of the final some four years ago.

The Rocket is the unanimous favourite. He's playing with more focus than I've ever seen from him at the Crucible.

When he plays at his best, he's a class above anyone and that's certainly been the case over the past fortnight.

He's got a real purpose about his play and refuses to be flustered.

They say the greatest players have an aura about them and Ronnie definitely ticks that box. When he hasn't been superb, he's been sublime cruising round the table like the ultimate destroyer. His positional play when break-building has been of the very highest standard in this tournament and he's effortlessly made it this far, playing through the gears when he's needed to.

He's playing in some massive matches like it means nothing at all and that gives him a great advantage, refusing to buckle under pressure.

Picture by Monique Limbos
Is there anyone who can stop Ronnie? This is a massive task but the job that sits square in the face of the Captain.

This is Ali's second world final and rich reward for some good, hard match snooker.

He's shown his fighting qualities in abundance and has played percentage snooker with great success.

It's difficult to under-estimate the importance of him having 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon in his corner. After a season of huge disappointment on the table caused by fighting the effects of crohn's disease off it, his run in Sheffield marks a massive turnaround in his fortunes.

Carter has simply found a way this week. He's numbed his opponents' play and waited patiently for his chances.

Playing Ronnie is a bigger task than any he's faced in the World Championship but he couldn't come into this match more resolute.

Today's final will clearly bring a great clash in styles but still promises to be a belter as the class of O'Sullivan meets the combative Carter.

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