Barry Pinches beat Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-3 in the final of Star Xing Pai Players Tour Championship event four – and went top of the Order of Merit in the process.
Few would have expected 40-year-old Pinches, officially ranked 57th in the world, to be a contender for titles this season, but he has risen to the PTC challenge better than anyone and today’s £10,000 gives him a total of £17,100 in the four events so far.
Three-times World Champion O’Sullivan, who had shown superb form in dropping just four frames in six matches en route to the final at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield, won the first frame against Pinches with a break of 60 before his opponent levelled with a run of 50.
Chigwell’s O’Sullivan surged 3-1 ahead with 83 and 58 before Norwich’s Pinches took the next in two scoring visits. O’Sullivan had a chance for victory in frame six but broke down on 47 when 26 ahead with three reds left, and Pinches calmly cleared to the pink to force the decider. And he only needed one chance as a smooth 64 took him over the winning line. For Pinches, the pattern of the match happily mirrored his event two final against Mark Selby, when he led 3-1 but lost 4-3.
“I’m not usually very good in deciding frames so I was delighted to make a good break,” he said after being presented with the trophy by WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson. “I’ve made a couple of technical changes this season, but the main reason my results have been good is that I’m enjoying the game, and practising hard because I’ve always got something to work towards. To come to these PTC events and play in terrific conditions against top class opponents is just fantastic, I can’t praise these tournaments enough.”
Pinches earned just £19,630 the whole of last season so has already nearly matched that from the PTC series, which still has eight events to go. “The money is very significant for me, and so are the ranking points,” added the player who has never been past the quarter-finals of a full ranking event, in 21 years as a professional. “I’m also really pleased to beat Ronnie as I’d lost all three matches we’d played before. It’s great to see him supporting these events, he doesn’t need the ranking points but he just gets a buzz from playing the game.”
The next event is the Paul Hunter Classic, EPTC1, and runs from August 26-29 in Fuerth, Germany. The top 24 on the final Order of Merit who have played in at least three PTC and EPTC events go through to the televised finals in March.
Earlier today, O’Sullivan beat Dominic Dale 4-3 in the semi-finals, while Pinches saw off event one winner Mark Williams 4-1