Snooker: Players Championship hailed as a triumph at Preston Guild Hall

O'Sullivan won his first ranking title at the Guild Hall in 1993.

World Snooker bosses say they are delighted with the crowds at the Coral Players Championships, held at Preston’s Guild Hall.

The top 16 players in the world contested the event, in which Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan beat Australian, Neil Robertson 10-4 in the final.

O’Sullivan hit his 1000th century en route to his 35th ranking title, the first of which he won at the same venue in 1993.

There was a standing ovation when O’Sullivan his his 1000th century

World Snooker press officer, Ivan Hirschowitz, was thrilled with the tournament at the Guild Hall.

He said: “We’ve been staging events here since 1978. This is a superb venue – we’ve had great crowds this week – well up on last year. We know how much people love their snooker round here.”

A capacity crowd of more than 2,000 saw O’Sullivan lift his second Players Championship title.

The Guild Hall held the World Grand Prix in 2018 – but nothing has been confirmed whether snooker will return to the iconic venue next season.

Hirschowitz added: “Year to year, we always make decisions about venues at the end of the season. So let’s wait and see.”

The tournament will likely be remembered for the remarkable achievements of the Wordsley cueist, O’Sullivan.

The 43-year-old conducted interviews in an Australian accent after his matches – sparking the five-time world champion to be nicknamed ‘Aussie Ronnie’.

Snooker lover, Stuart Mercer, from Penwortham, spoke of the importance of elite sport coming to Preston.

He said: “I think it’s really important. Preston doesn’t attract that much elite level sport – we’ve obviously got [Preston] North End and we get other bits and pieces, but this was a top 16 event – that elite level we don’t usually get.’’

Mercer, 22, is happy that World Snooker have given the Guild Hall more snooker events in recent years.

He added: “It’s a venue that over the past probably 15 years, since the snooker initially moved away from it, has been a bit neglected in terms of its sporting events, so it’s good to see that world snooker have stuck by it – they have had the World Grand Prix for the past couple of years, which is a top 32 event.”

Mercer was pleased to see the locals support the event.

He said: “The World Grand Prix didn’t attract the crowds that it should’ve done, despite some cheap ticket prices. The crowd numbers for this one seemed to be pretty healthy, certainly when I was there, and hopefully that will continue, because it’s a great event and people obviously want to see the best players – snooker has a long, rich history with the Guild Hall and hopefully that will continue.”

The next ranking event on the circuit, starts on Wednesday, at the Gibraltar Open.