Ronnie O'Sullivan (file pic). Alamy Stock Photo

Ronnie O’Sullivan tells fans to ‘sit down’ during defeat

It capped a fractious week for the star at the Northern Ireland Open.

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN crashed out of the Northern Ireland Open after urging fans to “sit down” midway through his 4-3 defeat to Masters Champion Yan Bingtao.

It capped a fractious week for O’Sullivan at the Waterfront Hall, having criticised the lack of atmosphere at the venue before feeling the need to clarify that his complaint had not been aimed at fans.

However, O’Sullivan’s frustration got the better of him during the third frame against the Chinese when he paused midway through a break of 129 to urge fans to keep to their seats.

His complaint prompted the referee to instruct stewards not to let fans enter the auditorium mid-frame during the best-of-seven match.

The 21-year-old Yan nudged in front for the first time at 3-2 but O’Sullivan hit back from the brink when he erased a 71-point deficit in the following frame to take the match into a decider.

Both players had their chances to claim victory and ultimately it was two costly errors from O’Sullivan that ended his hopes of returning to the final for a fourth straight year.

John Higgins fought back from 3-0 down to edge out Mark Williams in a seven-frame nail-biter.

In what was the 40th meeting between Higgins and Williams, who both joined the circuit in 1992, the Scot moved 21-19 in front in the head-to-head count.

“I was one ball away from losing at 3-0 behind. Mark will be kicking himself,” Higgins said.

“Mark has beaten me the last few times we have played so it was good to get a little one back on him.”

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey discuss depth in Munster, Nathan Doak’s Ireland prospects, and whether rugby is survival of the richest on The42 Rugby Weekly

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