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Foulds: No one knew what to do after O'Sullivan conceded to Hendry

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Ronnie O'Sullivan ponders his next shot during his Quarter Final match against Mark Williams during the 888.com World Championship at the Crucible Theatre on April 25, 2006 in Sheffield, England.

Image credit: Getty Images

ByEnis Koylu
08/05/2020 at 09:55 | Updated 08/05/2020 at 10:55

Eurosport's Neal Foulds believes that Ronnie O'Sullivan's shock concession to Stephen Hendry in the 2006 UK Championship could be the strangest thing he has seen in snooker.

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With The Rocket visibly out sorts and trailing Hendry 4-1 in a best of 17 encounter, O'Sullivan curtailed the quarter-final tie, prompting shock from the whole crowd and his opponent, who looked visibly puzzled.

In the latest episode of Eurosport's snooker podcast, which you can listen to on your podcast platform of choice, Foulds and Jimmy White look back at some of the strangest incidents in the sport, including this moment which brought with it a fine of £20,800 for O'Sullivan, who later began working with sports psychologist Steve Peters, while discussing the strangest moments in snooker history.

When Ronnie conceded a best-of-17 after just five frames

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"Looking back now you probably wouldn’t have ever thought Ronnie would go on to achieve what he’s achieved because it wasn’t only that match, " Foulds said.

"There were a few matches at the time when he would just put his cue through the ball, he just didn’t really want to be there. It was best-of-17 but he was 4-1 down.

"He was playing badly against Stephen Hendry, the great player that he is. It was pre the days of Steve Peters, who of course with Ronnie has done so well. He’s got his mind right and got him playing snooker well.

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"He had a spell of a year or two where he would literally throw the towel in. In this case he really did do that.

"What was incredible about it was the look on the referee Jan Verhaas and Stephen Hendry’s face. No one really knew what to do. The crowd didn’t know what was going on.

"He went through the back of the building and was gone from the Barbican, into the night if you like. Never to be seen again that week. But you’ve got to say the problem with it is you’ve almost got the tag on your head of a bit of a quitter when you do that.

"So what it has done is proved how he’s turned it around in such a big way. He’s won more of the majors than any other player now, more Masters, more UK Championships, so he’s turned it all around. It’s all him but Steve Peters has helped him. It’s almost a chapter in his life that he needed to have and get out of his way."

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White recalls feeling genuine concern for his fellow player after O'Sullivan conceded the match.

"That for me was totally bizarre and I actually got concerned for O’Sullivan because where does he go from there?," White recalled.

"And Stephen Hendry, the look on his face and Jan Verhaas’ face, thinking ‘what do we do know? This is not in the script.’

"But Ronnie O’Sullivan... I was a bit concerned for him that day because I think he has talked about it that he went on a mad blow out for a few days and just needed to let the steam off.

"As Neal said, this is before Steve Peters was on speed dial because to do something like that, he had problems, because that was one of the most bizarre situations I’ve ever seen in the game of snooker."

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