The omens are not good for the two underdogs in today’s Northern Ireland Trophy semi-finals in Belfast.

Dave Harold has played John Higgins nine times and beaten him only once.

Ali Carter has played Ronnie O’Sullivan nine times and never beaten him.

That said, neither Higgins nor O’Sullivan have been at their consistent best so far during the tournament.

O’Sullivan could well have lost to Barry Hawkins last night. At 3-0 and 4-1 up he was in control but Hawkins fought back superbly to force a deciding frame.

As has often been the case in his career, O’Sullivan grew frustrated when things started to go against him.

But as I said on commentary, it’s hard to keep your emotions in check when you’re an emotional person.

And Ronnie kept his composure well in the end to clinch victory after Hawkins had failed to take his chances.

Carter is very confident having reached the Crucible final last season but let’s not forget that he played O’Sullivan at the Waterfront Hall last year and Ronnie made five centuries in the five frames he won against him.

Harold is capable of beating Higgins but the Scot is a patient player with a good all round game and is not likely to worry too much if the contest gets bogged down.

An O’Sullivan-Higgins final would certainly be a great way to start the new ranking tournament season.

Only Carter and Harold can stop that happening now.


stuartfanning said...

If Ali Carter has taken on board the way things progressed during the Hawkins/O'Sullivan match he should be able to devise a strategy to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan. I think most people would agree that Carter is a better player than Hawkins, and O'Sullivan was very lucky to beat Hawkins.

To be honest I would be very surprised if Harold beat Higgins. John Higgins has a much better control over the way he plays than Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Anonymous said...

All Hail Harold.
Thanks for the article. Wasn't familar with him, although I knew he had been around a L-O-N-G time. Let this be an inspiration to the rankings-declining +40 year-olds (white, Parrott, Davis and Drago)-
don't go gentle....down the rankings!
Again thanx.

stuartfanning said...

Bravo Dave Harold. Proved me wrong good and proper!

Anonymous said...

Were Harold to win the final tommorrow, it could well be some sort of record - 15 years between ranking titles were it to happen.

Sam T

Anonymous said...

That would absolutely be a record.

The longest gap between first and second ranking titles is currently 9 years, 290 days by Dominic Dale (from October 26th 1997 to August 12th 2007).

If Dave Harold wins tomorrow he will set a new record of 15 years, 164 days (from March 20th 1993 to August 31st 2008).

It would also be the third longest gap between first and last (or most recent) ranking titles.

Jimmy White tops this list on 18 years, 90 days (from January 12th 1986 to April 11th 2004).

Stephen Hendry is second on 17 years, 104 days (from October 25th 1987 to February 6th 2005).

Dave would also break the record for the longest wait between ranking titles, which stands at 11 years, 134 days, also by Jimmy White (from November 29th 1992 to April 11th 2004).