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World Number 10 Slams Facilities At Northern Ireland Open

World Number 10 Slams Facilities At Northern Ireland Open
By PJ Browne
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Neil Robertson eased in the third round of the Northern Ireland Open a victory against Englishman Billy Joe Castle on Wednesday.

Though he won 4-0, Robertson was not happy with his preparations for the match. The Australian felt he was not personally at fault, rather it is the facilities at Belfast's Waterfront Hall which are lacking.

World number ten Robertson could not book a practice table ahead of his match against Castle. As a result, he said that he felt somewhat sluggish in his play.


Robertson, speaking to Eurosport, compared the 128-man tournament to Tim Robbins' character in The Shawshank Redemption crawling through a sewage pipe to escape prison.

It is garbage. You just have to battle through the mess. Like The Shawshank Redemption, you have to crawl through a lot of the crap to come out the other end a happy person. That is the reality of how it is at these kind of events.

I couldn't book a practice table before this match. Which might explain why I'm a bit rusty-ish in the match. It is very frustrating because as soon as you finish you book a table before your next match. There was nothing available. I got seven or eight minutes in which is not ideal.

Despite the lack of practice, Robertson fared well-enough. It was a different experience for others. Robertson highlighted the ordeal of Tom Ford who managed to score just 31 points in a 4-0 loss to Mark Williams.


Poor Tom Ford only had 10 minutes before he went on. He was standing there for about 20-odd minutes. Ali Carter was there for about 20 minutes watching. It is an unwritten rule that you do a shorter practice routine to let others play.

I don't mind the best out of sevens. It is impossible to play the best of nines and expect the matches to finish on time. None of the top players like the 128 system at all. Everyone would prefer it how it used to be. It is what it is.

Ronnie O'Sullivan also had a complaint about the venue, though his was not regarding the facilities. Instead, it was the atmosphere at the concert hall which O'Sullivan bemoaned.


"There's a decent crowd out here. The atmosphere's not brilliant, I must admit last year's venue had a much better atmosphere, I preferred that venue.

Obviously, this is a bit more plush but as snooker players sometimes you enjoy that gritty type venue that creates a better atmosphere. I'd rather have a better atmosphere but the venue's falling apart. It's very flat out there today so it's difficult to get going."

Watch: One Of The Most Deeply Satisfying Ronnie O'Sullivan Shots You'll Ever See

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