Murphy ends Ronnie's reign to take Premier Prize

Well it had to happen sometime, five-time defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan has been defeated in the final of the 2009 Premier League by former world champion Shaun Murphy. More to follow…

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-7 Shaun Murphy

9-119 (Murphy 111), 36-87 (O’Sullivan 35, Murphy 38, 32), 11-100 (Murphy 40, 31), 65-51 (O’Sullivan 34), 88-0 (O’Sullivan 88), 67-61 (O’Sullivan 49, Murphy 34), 27-75 (Murphy 33), 3-126 (Murphy 47, 75), 0-63 (Murphy 63), 67-72 (O’Sullivan 67, Murphy 64)

Shaun Murphy has won the Matchroom Premier League for the first time in his career with a significant 7-3 victory over the man who has made the event his own since the 25 second shot clock was introduced in 2005, Ronnie O’Sullivan.

As said by commentator Clive Everton towards the end of the match, the key difference was that Shaun took his chances and this was evident in the first frame when a simple miss on a black by Ronnie allowed Shaun in to move into the lead with a century. Further breaks of 38, 47 and 40 made it 3-0 and O’Sullivan was faced with the unfamiliar situation of being behind in the final of this event.

Ronnie has not won the event for five straight years by accident however and he showed his class to get himself back into the match by taking the next three frames in no time at all. In particular a terrific steal in frame six looked like it could well be the turning point and pave the way for yet another O’Sullivan triumph.

Shaun had not read the script though and took his game to another level after the interval to surge into a 6-3 lead. Ronnie had not given up and looked like getting one back when he moved 67-0 ahead in frame ten with just 67 remaining. Shaun however played a great shot to snooker him behind the green and following two failed escapes, O’Sullivan let his frustration get the better of him and played a wild shot to leave Murphy a chance. Thanks to the penalty points gained he could now win the match and clearing the table he did exactly that.

For Shaun it has been a terrific weekend, defeating for me the two best players in the world in John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan to take a really impressive victory. Yes conditions at the event are not the norm with the shot clock, but one of my criticisms of Murphy during the last few years is that he has not won often enough against the elite players, but to win this title he has done exactly that. His win over O’Sullivan in particular is one to be savoured, given his domination of the event since the introduction of the shot clock.

O’Sullivan I’m sure will be disappointed but his reign had to come to an end some day and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back at the UK Championship in Telford next month.