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Pro snooker player banned for 15 months for spot-fixing

Professional snooker player Leo Fernandez has been banned for 15 months after admitting spot-fixing.

The Irishman received the ban and was ordered to pay £2,000 costs after a hearing on his 40th birthday on Tuesday relating to the first foul of his World Championship first qualifying round match in April.

Leo Fernandez admitted planning to deliberately foul first in his World Championship qualifier. Credit: PA

He had been provisionally suspended on May 27 and cannot now return to the sport until August 2017.

Fernandez has been an intermittent presence on the professional tour since first qualifying in 2007, though a run to the quarter-finals of last year's Haining Open on the Asian Tour had earned him a return.

Ding Junhui sees off McManus to reach world snooker final

Ding Junhui is aiming to become world champion for the first time. Credit: PA

Ding Junhui reached his first World Championship final in record-setting style as he saw off Alan McManus at the Crucible.

China's number-one player fired his seventh century of the semi-final, a classy 123, and completed a 17-11 victory over Scottish veteran McManus.

Before Ding's masterclass, the record in Sheffield stood at six centuries in a match, achieved by Mark Selby and Ronnie O'Sullivan, but he has rewritten that corner of the history books and also becomes Asia's first World Championship finalist, a landmark moment for the sport.

His earlier tons in the match were 100, 131, 100, 128, 138 and 113, and in a startling run of scoring he also fired breaks of 84, 62, 90, 97, 80 and 60.

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Hearn backs O'Sullivan over 147 snub

Barry Hearn has backed Ronnie O'Sullivan's decision to turn down a maximum break opportunity at the Welsh Open this week.

O'Sullivan chose not to go for the 147. Credit: PA

O'Sullivan potted an easier pink en route to his eventual clearance of 146 and said afterwards he thought the £12,000 total prize money on offer was "too cheap".

Hearn, chairman of snooker's world governing body, said O'Sullivan had not broken any rules and conceded his unpredictability helps give the sport a higher profile.

Hearn told BBC Radio Five Live: "Some have said he has brought the game into disrepute but Ronnie brings the game into fine repute.

"In his little head, he thought it would be funny. He is quite dry. The 147 is the pinnacle but Ronnie has made loads of them (13), he has got loads of money.

"He is the biggest character in the sport. When he breaks the rules, he gets punished, in this case, it was his choice.

"Without personality and characters, sport dies. O'Sullivan is the biggest character in the sport."

O'Sullivan had made a break of 80 he asked an official and members of the commentary box what the prize was for a maximum break.

To the groans of some in the audience, he then proceeded to play for the pink instead of an eminently available black off the 14th red before clearing the rest of the balls.

O'Sullivan said later: "I could have done it, but I didn't think the prize was worthy of a 147, so I've tried to let it build up until it's worthy and then go for it."

O'Sullivan dominates early in Masters final

Ronnie O'Sullivan chalks his cue. Credit: PA

Ronnie O'Sullivan is in line for his sixth Masters title after he dominated the opening session of Sunday's final against Barry Hawkins.

Playing in his first major tournament in nine months, O'Sullivan was in impressive form at Alexandra Palace in London as he bounced back from losing the opening frame to lead 7-1 before the evening session.

In their 10 previous encounters Hawkins has won only once, in their first meeting during the Scottish Open in 2002.

Neil Robertson records 147 maximum break in UK Championship final

Neil Robertson celebrates his maximum break. Credit: PA

Australia's Neil Robertson completed a 147 maximum break to secure a £44,000 bonus as he built a lead in the UK Championship snooker final.

Robertson punched the air in delight and received a standing ovation from the York Barbican Centre crowd after he potted the final black to take a 4-2 advantage against China's Liang Wenbo.

Wenbo also enjoyed the moment, clapping and then hugging his opponent, who now has managed three maximums in his career.

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Ronnie O'Sullivan to play in 2016 Masters

Ronnie O'Sullivan. Credit: PA

Ronnie O'Sullivan has announced his intention to play in the Masters next month after skipping the UK Championship.

O'Sullivan said two weeks ago his decision to pass up the chance to defend his UK title in York was to try "different things" and that he no longer desired the pressure of being snooker's "top man".

But the 39-year-old announced on Twitter that he will play in the 16-man Masters, which will be held at Alexandra Palace in January.

O'Sullivan has won the sport's most famous non-ranking event on five occasions, most famously as a 19-year-old in 1995.

His last competitive match was at the World Championship in April, when he lost in the quarter-final to eventual champion Stuart Bingham.

Stuart Bingham inspired by Mark Allen 'no bottle' jibe

Bingham was inspired by Allen's "no bottle" jibe. Credit: PA

Stuart Bingham has revealed how a casual jibe from Northern Irish cueman Mark Allen spurred him to become world champion.

Allen claimed in 2011 that Bingham had "no bottle", but it came back to haunt the Antrim man when he lost to the Basildon potter at the Australian Goldfields Open that year.

Bingham went on to claim that title, his first major victory after over ten barren years as a professional, and the 38-year-old has gone from strength to strength, adding another major trophy at the Shanghai Masters this season and now the World Championship.

I've got to give thanks to Mark Allen. He got my back up that week in Australia by saying I had no bottle, but since then that's all changed.

I'm world champion but I'm going to be the same person, I'll be playing in all the tournaments and hopefully I'll be a good role model as world champion.

Any kids out there growing up wanting to play should stick at it. That's what I've done.

– Snooker World Champions Stuart Bingham

Stuart Bingham wins snooker world championship

Stuart Bingham has beaten Shaun Murphy 18-15 to win the Betfred snooker World Championship at the Crucible.

Stuart Bingham has claimed snooker's biggest prize after 20 years of trying Credit: PA Wire

The 38-year-old from Basildon defied all expectations to reach his first final in Sheffield, and pulled off a stunning victory, finishing with a break of 88 as his family looked on. Before the break was finished Bingham punched the air in jubilation.

The win made him the oldest world champion since Ray Reardon, who won in 1978 aged 45.

Asked to sum up what the title meant after 20 years of trying, Bingham said: "Everything. Twenty years as a pro. Blood, sweat, and tears, on the road, qualifying in places like Prestatyn and Malvern, places like that.

"Everything rolled into one, so many family and friends backing me, it's just been unbelievable."

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