What a year this was for myself my family and everyone around me, as most people know i have been playing pool from a very young age and achieved quite a lot in my 20+ years of playing, including multiple world titles across all age levels but what came in 2018 was simply nothing like ever before, winning the IPA World Championship was the icing on the cake and what made it extra special was the fact that it was the first ever LIVE TV Pool event and what was to follow was quite incredible – i certainly wasn’t prepared for it, even though i had won world titles before, this one was completely different in terms of publicity etc as when i won others there was no such thing as social media those days ha ha. To say my phone never stopped for a couple of months after it would be an understatement, from exhibition booking to well wishes and local papers etc it was a bit manic, it definitely effected my game for a few months being on such a big high, don’t think i won a match for about 6 months after it ha ha. My mum and dad rang me straight after the final as they were watching in a bar in Spain and it was just a very special moment for us all, i never took the chance to thank everyone around me back then so i will do it now. None of it would be possible without the help and support from the people around me, my wife Sam who sacrifices a lot for me to go away and play but 100% supports me and my sponsor Paul Corrigan who was there supporting me, none of it would be possible without Paul as he gave me the opportunity to become a full time Professional and live a lifelong dream, which in turn gives me a better family life as well as pool life so i owe a lot to Paul for that, thanks.
The final was really incredible to be a part of looking back, and playing Simon is definitely one i don’t enjoy – they always go to the wire haha. It’s never easy against him as we have played against each other for 20+ years.
Following on from the World Championships was the IPA Premier League which was also live on tv. The Premier League is a great addition to the IPA calendar of events as all the Pro’s want to be in the Premier League and the only way to guarantee you are in it is to either finish in the top 5 of the rankings or to win the World Championships. If you don’t get in through these methods then you are dependent on getting in as a wild card that the IPA Team chooses, so a very suspense wait while your desperate to find out ha ha. 2018 Premier league i started off well but didn’t go to plan for me and failed to make the final stages.
I lost in the final of the Morocco World Series event to Craig Marsh – it was a bitter pill to swallow losing out to him in the final as i haven’t managed to win a World Series event but he played better on the day and deserved it. I thought i would try and get back quits on the beers afterwards but sadly he beat me at that as well ha ha.
Early 2019 i went over to china to help design the new IPA Pool Table that is being launched very soon along with a few other new bits of IPA equipment and upon having a sneaky peek recently of the nearly finished product i can say it is looking absolutely fantastic so exciting times ahead when they get finally launched. Its taken longer than expected but I think it will be well worth the wait.
Preparation for the World Championships went fantastic leading up to defending my title. I started off a bit slow in the event but gradually got going winning a few games to reach the last 16 and started to think maybe the double could be on the cards but unfortunately that was where it ended for me and just wasn’t good enough on the day and had to pass the baton onto Marc Farnsworth which was well deserved.
Tour 1 of the 2019 season over in Belfast was one to forget for me – i was playing well and felt really good until a recurring ligament injury re appeared and left me unable to walk and having to forfeit my Professional match and pull out of the event, which cost me a lot of valuable points that weekend.
A few months later back in Bradford i managed to bounce back with another win having not won since i won the World’s. I was really happy to get the monkey off the back with another win and becoming IPA English Professional Champion.
A few tours have gone by since where i have made a quarter final and semi-final but no more wins, a little disappointing if I’m honest as i know i could of done a lot better and also losing early doors in the Champions Cup – I guess I’ve had a steady year but could of been a lot better. Its impressive to Liam Dunster doing so well, having won back to back Champions Cup titles – some achievement – he’s simply solid as a rock, he doesn’t do anything fancy he just does the basics and does them well, very consistent. I’ve had some good battles with Liam and the last one probably hurt the most for me out of every game I’ve played over the last few years, losing out to him in a decider 8.7 in the IPA European Professional semi-final – I messed up a golden chance to win and make the final – i was kicking myself afterwards.
I would say the top 3 players on tour would have to be Raybone, Dunster & Farnsworth, the 3 toughest opponents in my opinion but the strength in depth on the tour now is crazy, so many class players. There’s definitely a few characters on tour and a few hot heads – my old pal Marsh is one for sure ha ha when the head goes it goes, his own worst enemy. Gav Robinson and myself have had a few close games, he bounces around like he has ants in his pants but he’s a good player and like i say we always have close games. You can bet your last pound on it also that you will get post mortem afterwards from Gav – loves a chat he does ha ha – it’s all good I’m sure he won’t mind me having joke with him, sorry Gav
Recently the 2019 Premier League has started and I’ve had a slow start so need to pick it up a bit over the coming weeks, having had 1 win, 1 loss and 2 draws so far which is not the best of starts so will be looking to start moving up the table.
Finally from me, I would like finish the year ranked no1. I’ve touched on the Number 1 spot a couple of times but have not sustained it and I’m currently in 2nd place but definitely looking to finish the season as no1.
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