Well, I've just about settled down after a really tough first round at The Crucible. You know it doesn't matter how many times you play there or how experienced you are, walking out there does really strange things to you. Playing there is unlike anything else us snooker players get to do and every time is an honour.
I felt I started my match with Jamie Cope quite well and was pleased to take a 4-2 lead but after that i didn't do too much wrong to trail 4-5 over night. In the eighth frame I did miss a terrible black to a corner pocket that my mum would've got and it felt like the game made me pay for it as a few shots later I potted the green and had to watch as the cue ball ran around the table covering nearly 25 feet of table before dropping into a corner pocket, handing the frame to Jamie. So overnight it was hard to know how to feel. Dinner with my team certainly would've been nicer if I had been leading but it wasn't to be and I had to just get ready to come back and try to get to 10 first.
From the start of the final session I thought the match had the feel of a 10-9 thriller about it. Neither of us really took it by the scruff of the neck but when leading 9-8 I had two great chances to win. With all the reds open I tried to snooker Jamie behind the black and left it short and then, later on clearing up, I missed a tricky red down a side cushion with the extended rest when I had the match at my mercy. Jamie took them and we were into a decider.
We both had chances in the last frame and it went all the way to the last few balls when I was able to lay a telling snooker, which gave me the chance of a winning clearance. I was so pleased that my hard work of recent months stood up under the pressure as there were a number of horrible very missable shots in that clearance to win but luckily for me they went in on the night.
I've now got quite a break between matches as I don't start round two until Sunday morning, so it'll be back to my practise table at Urmston Conservative Club this week to regroup and hopefully go back to the Crucible ready to go.
Until then all the best,