Snooker’s return to the Guild Hall in Preston appeared to be no big deal for current world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
In the minutes preceding his opening-round match yesterday of the Wyldecrest Parks Players’ Championship against 20-year-old rookie Scott Donaldson, the Rocket could be seen idly flicking through a magazine backstage.
And when he rose to his feet for a light stroll – with hands in pockets – you got the feeling if it wasn’t for the hushed tones demanded at events like these, then he would have broken out into a carefree whistle.
His relaxed demeanour was certainly evident when his match got under way and he walked to the table to play his first shot.
A thundering pink to the middle pocket soon set the tone for his performance as he cantered to the opening frame by 73 points to 17.
It was pure vintage O’Sullivan in the second, as he knocked in a century break – leaving his youthful-looking opponent staring at the table like a rabbit in the headlights.
The Scottish youngster put up more of a fight in the third frame but it was the five-time world champion who eventually prevailed by 92 points to 36.
O’Sullivan soon put the seal on a straightforward 4-0 victory in front of an appreciative audience at the Guild Hall.
O’Sullivan said: “I got off to a good start and I think that maybe put a little pressure on Scott.
“I still feel like I’m a little way off sharpness but as long as I can win my first match and my second match then it should click in. I’ll gather momentum and get sharper as the tournament goes on.”
Unlike the opening day there were not too many shocks around yesterday.
Current world No.1 Ian Robertson and China star Ding Junhui both suffered surprise defeats at the hands of Shaun Murphy and Ben Woollaston respectively on Tuesday.
In particular, world champion of 2005 Murphy, made one of his mates – who had decided not to bother attending his match because he predicted Murphy would get thrashed – eat his words with a fine 4-2 victory over the Aussie.
Welshman Ryan Day enjoyed his return to the Guild Hall yesterday.
Despite letting slip a 3-1 lead against Stuart Bingham, Day managed to find form in the seventh and decisive frame with a break of 50.
“It’s a good set-up here at the Guild Hall,” Day said.
“There was a good crowd in. Obviously Ronnie was following my match, so there were a few in.
“But yes there was a good buzz out there.”