In the blink of an eye it was over, but the memories of what happened will linger long.
Judd Trump’s 4-3 victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of PTC9 in Antwerp tonight was close to snooker perfection: two charismatic, flair players demonstrating bags of guts, taking on their shots, knocking in all manner of long balls, making big breaks, displaying strong tactical nous, serving up visceral drama and all in front of a huge, enthusiastic crowd who lapped up every minute.
What more could the sport want? Well, only more frames. The match barely lasted 75 minutes but, for this brief time, Trump and O’Sullivan captivated the audience both in Belgium and watching around the world.
David Cameron once famously said to Tony Blair, “you were the future once.”
Ronnie must have seen in Judd the player he once was: the new kid on the baize, taking on the big boys with his talent and his panache. Fearless and walking the tightrope between audacious and dangerous in his shot making.
O’Sullivan is still brilliant when his mind is right, as it was all weekend. He missed a black off its spot in the second frame and was soon 3-1 down but responded in awesome fashion with back-to-back centuries.
Trump, though, was still going for his shots to the end. The only shame was that the winning ball was a fluke, but snooker is a mad game and its richness comes from such unexpected, often cruel, moments.
O’Sullivan had no complaints. He was gracious afterwards having more than competed. It bodes well for his many fans this season.
It’s a delight to see Trump not only owning the big stage as a player but being so relaxed as a man too. He has come out of his shell since moving to Romford and now occupies that crowd pleasing bracket where O’Sullivan has for so long dwelled.
And once again, a European crowd showed their voracious desire for top level snooker. As in Germany and Poland, the Belgian fans turned out in force and made the occasion even more special.
As I wrote last week, there’s nothing wrong with snooker as a game, especially when it is played like this in front of a crowd who appreciate what they are watching.
It was style. It was class. It was wonderful.