Busy times on and off the baize...
Just wanted to touch base with you all and keep you up to date with what's been going on at
Murphy towers on and off the table.
Since my last blog, my little boy Harry has gone from strength to strength and is now five months old! Where has that gone? For a very brief spell we thought
he was an extremely lucky charm as the first match he came to I made a 147 break - what a start to his career.
But then he came to the semi-finals at the UK Championships in York and unfortunately that didn't work out too well. More on that later. We're so thankful
for such a wonderful little boy and he's changed our lives forever. Not least because we no longer sleep, haha...!.
In autumn I made my annual daily pilgrimage to Coventry for the Champion of Champions, this time against John Higgins, who unfortunately for team Murphy
was in devastating form having just won the new China Championship and put me away easily too.
That was a really strange game for me as I didn't think I played that badly but didn't feel like I'd been involved in a game at all. I felt like I'd been
completely shut out and spent most of the game getting out of trouble. I can’t wait for John to retire, sometimes he's just too good.
My trip to York for the UK Championship was a good one and one that I was really looking forward to. I'd been working hard on my game and knew I was hitting
it pure. Over the ten days I played some really nice snooker in parts and was supported by my team mates from the Stapleford Golf Club scratch team.
I progressed nicely through to the semi finals where I faced my old adversary Mark Selby. I think Mark's now well into over 100 weeks as world number 1
and he played like it against me that day. He's extremely solid and very similarly to John Higgins, makes very few errors.
Even though I started well, it didn't matter and I eventually lost 2-6. Mark went on to lift the title for a second time and add another major to what
is now becoming a very impressive haul.
After the UK we had the German Masters qualifiers in Barnsley and then the Scottish Open in Glasgow. Unfortunately I lost in the qualifiers to Yan Bingtao
4-5 after making two centuries and three breaks over 60 - tough school. The Scottish Open continued that trend of playing quite well but getting back
and I lost again. So the Christmas tree went up and the cue went down.
Fast forward into 2017 and the Masters via Coventry for the newly homed Championship League where I finally managed to break the Coventry curse.
I was feeling very good about things. Having won the 2015 Masters and completing the Triple Crown, going back to Ally Pally always gets the juices flowing.
The problem was I ran into an inspired Barry Hawkins who played some amazing snooker potting long reds from all over the table and scoring very heavily
- so it was another early bath for me.
Couple that with missing out on the recent German Masters in Berlin and it’s been a quiet
few weeks for me; the silver lining being that I've finally found the time to take my cue back to John Parris and have some alterations carried out that
I've wanted for some time. Since then I've been practising every day working to get used to it.
For those of you wondering, I've had it shortened to 57.5 inches from 58. This has subsequently made the tip 9mm, up from 8.7. Doesn't sound much but snooker
as we know is a game of fractions. I’m hoping these fractions will give me the extra cue ball deflection or "throw" that I'm looking for.
This week see's my title defence of the World Grand Prix in Preston. It's always good fun going back to an event as defending champion and I cannot wait
to get going. After the WGP it’s straight to Cardiff for the Welsh Open before the next rounds of Championship League snooker in Coventry and then
the Shootout, where as you may or may not know, the players will be wearing microphones while playing. Can't wait to see how that plays out...............
Finally. many of you mayhave seen recently that I'm now the chair of the newly-formed WPBSA Players Commission. This Commission replaces the old players
forum and will become the sounding board for the membership as a whole. We will be striving to represent the concerns and ideas of the players to the
governing bodies of WPBSA and World Snooker Limited. It's an honour to be involved and together with the eight other members of the Commission we're
hoping to make a real difference.
All that's left for to say is thank you for reading, and I'll be back in touch soon.
Until then, all the best