Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Allen were involved in a heated exchange during their Champion of Champions encounter last night.
The snooker stars met in the final of their group in a best-of-11 tie. Allen was leading 5-3 when O’Sullivan began to complain about his opponent’s behaviour.
O’Sullivan accused Allen of moving within his eyeline. They exchanged words for more than a minute, with referee Marcel Eckardt trying and failing to defuse the situation.
“Can you sit still? You’re standing up and walking in my eyeline,” O’Sullivan said.
“You are. Come on.”
Eckardt tried to get the 2020 World Champion to continue playing but he was more keen on confronting Allen.
“Are you disagreeing with me?,” he asked the Northern Irishman.
“Absolutely,” came Allen’s reply, to which O’Sullivan asked: “Really?”
O’Sullivan eventually resumed the frame but missed an easy red, allowing Allen to make a match-winning break of 66 to win the match 6-3.
Allen later insisted he did nothing wrong and accused the Rocket of trying to bully him.
“To be honest, it was uncomfortable for Ronnie, I don’t know what he was on about,” Allen said, via the Metro. “I’m not going to let it go if he’s going to make up rubbish.
“He was taking forever over shots in that last frame. Ronnie was completely gone and I just took advantage.
“Ronnie just tries to bully people out there. I just want to play snooker, that’s what I came here to do.
“It was the worst thing he could have done, I was never missing after he missed that easy red. Sometimes he needs to be put back in his place.”
O’Sullivan said he was taking longer over shots because he was waiting for the Pistol to keep still.
“When someone’s continuously in your eyeline, when you’re on your shot and he’s moving, maybe I read too much into it but it seemed like stuff you’d do down the snooker club when you’re an amateur and trying to get into your opponents head and put them off,” the 44-year-old said.
“I thought, ‘I’ve got to pull you up on it.’
“I’m not going to let it go, get it out the way and it was done.
“It started around 3-2, just little things. That’s why I was taking my time on shots because I thought ‘I’m not playing shots until you actually sit down in your chair.’
“I could have said something then but I thought he’d get the message and he did because he sat down. But then I was playing the shot and he started ripping his logo off so, I just thought I’d have a word with him.”
Yet despite his frustration, O’Sullivan insisted Allen deserved to win.
“There’s no hard feelings,” he added. “Mark played better tonight, he played fantastic, deserved his victory.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to say something and get it out the way.”
Allen’s win means a semi-final clash against Judd Trump in Milton Keynes on Saturday. Neil Robertson and Mark Selby will meet in the other semi-final on Friday.
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