SNOOKER has kept Ronnie O’Sullivan from going off the rails according to the five-time world champion as he made yet another ranking tournament final.
The Rocket clocked up three half-century breaks to cruise into a 4-0 lead against a beleaguered Stephen Maguire at the Betway UK Championship.
The Scot eventually fought back to win four frames in the next five before the Romford potter, who also posted 111 in the seventh frame, rediscovered his form again to make a break of 63 and clinch the contest.
And while the Rocket hasn’t been at his explosive best at the York Barbican, O’Sullivan does believe snooker has kept him on the straight and narrow.
He said: “I think playing snooker just keeps me out of trouble and that’s how I look at it. It forces me to behave myself, to keep fit and eat well.
“I see snooker as a good thing for that, otherwise I’d probably go off the rails. There’s nothing wrong with going off the rails either, I’ve got all that to come.”
O’Sullivan has now made seven finals at the competition, losing only once against Mark Selby in a thrilling contest last season.
But the Rocket claims he could’ve fallen at a much earlier stage of proceedings had one of his opponents brought their best game.
“I’ve got lucky, everyone’s seemed to struggle against me and you’ve seen it for yourself, I’ve definitely not been producing what I have been producing over the last couple of months,” he admitted.
“I suppose to get to the final having not played my best is not a bad thing.
“I feel like I’ve just scrambled and scrambled. If I was to win the trophy this year I’d have still enjoyed last year much more than this year, but you have to look at it like a job and be professional.
“I’ve felt like this week I’ve dug in and it’s all down to positive mental attitude.”
Maguire believes he had O’Sullivan on the rocks after reducing the deficit to just one frame but ultimately, his disastrous start proved insurmountable.
He said: “I’d have liked to have taken it to 5-5 because you could see he was starting to rock a little bit because nobody likes someone coming back at them, it’s unfortunate.
“It [going 4-0 down] definitely cost me. I just didn’t settle until the interval at 4-0. Then it’s too late. I put up a bit of a fight but I had lost in those first four frames sadly.”
Watch LIVE coverage of the UK Championship on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.