Ronnie O’Sullivan was given a rather unusual helping hand in his English Open victory over Zhang Anda in Barnsley.
An intruder, rare to the sport of snooker, took to the table at the Barnsley Metrodome in O’Sullivan’s last 32 English Open tie with Arda.
The match was wrapped up with Ronnie on a break of 123 in the final frame of a best of seven encounter with his Chinese opponent.
The woman, with a red shoulder bag, trotted around the snooker table, declaring: “She wanted to run around the pitch."
She tapped a smirking O’Sullivan on the shoulder as she continued to jog around the table.
O’Sullivan sunk the penultimate pink to take his break up to 129 with the intruder in his eyeline.
A tournament organiser and the umpire feebly attempted to shoo her from the arena.
Despite the protestations from those in charge, Ronnie handed the supporter his cue, offering her a shot at his final black.
Unfortunately, the fan screwed the black into the jaws of the pocket.
On her second attempt she missed the black completely, to the amusement of the Barnsley crowd and the five-time World Champion.
O’Sullivan now faces a potential last 16 tie against John Higgins and, further down the line, a quarter-final against Judd Trump.
The tournament, in its second year, was last year claimed by Liang Wenbo.
Ronnie’s last ranking event final came at last year’s Welsh Open with a 9-5 win over Neil Robertson.
Ronnie, currently ranked 12th in the world, last won a tournament at the 2017 Masters in January, beating Joe Perry 10-7 in the final.
In the past two years, the 41-year old has won just three of eight tournament finals, adding the 2016 Masters to the two aforementioned titles.
O’Sullivan has failed to make the World Championship final since a losing effort in 2014 to Mark Selby.