Barnsley beckons

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hi Everyone It’s The International Championship Round 1 / Qualifying thingy this week in Barnsley and I felt it was a good opportunity to put a few pre match / tournament thoughts down.

I’ve been drawn against Lyu Chenwei on Thursday night and as usual, I’m really looking forward to playing. I’ve been working hard on my game since returning from Shanghai and I feel like I’m getting back to the form which helped make last season my best.
First things first - this is a massive tournament. Fourth biggest on our tour in terms of prize money with the winner walking away with 125,000 of the Queen's pounds. Only the UK Championship, Masters and World Championships are bigger. Which kind of brings me to my point. Does anyone else think it’s a bit odd to be playing the first round of this event in Barnsley in the UK? Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Barnsley or the Metrodome where we play but I just don’t get it. I guess it all centres around what you think of this flat 128 draw we now have in most tournaments. My opinion on it is that in general it’s a good thing. I do believe that all players should start the tournaments in the same round, because then and only then do you get the true winner. The problem is that our tour isn’t big enough to sustain itself at the moment and in my opinion there are too many players on it. For me it should be 64 and no more. This would ensure that if you qualify onto the main world tour it would mean something. It’d be something special. Being on the tour as a professional should in my opinion mean the end of qualification. You’ve already qualified. But I also understand that cutting a tour of 128 down to 64 would be a significant move. It would though enable the creation of a very strong secondary tour and maybe that isn’t such a bad idea.
Anyway it is as it is and no amount of blogging about it or writing about it is going to change it so we just have to do our bit as players and play. As a former World Champion and triple crowner once said to me, if you won all your matches it doesn’t matter what the system is. You only have to look at Kyren Wilson. What a fantastic achievement to go to Shanghai and win his first ranking event. It’s great to see someone else from the same neck of the woods as me continue Northamptonshire’s history at producing good players. The club where Kyren practices, Barratts, used to be my old practice base until I moved away from the area back in 2004 and what a great club it was, and obviously still is. My sincerest congratulations go to Kyren and all his team on a fabulous start and I wish him every success in the future. Until we play of course haha.
Anyway, my coach Chris Henry has just arrived from Bruges so we’d better make our way to the snooker room and do some work. I’d sit here and write all day but unfortunately duty calls.
Until next time
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