I've done a few miles recently so thought I'd drop by with some updates and a little look forward to the Champion of Champions in Coventry this week.
Three weeks ago, some of the lads and I went to an invitational event in Hong Kong. The General Cup has become a great little tournament for us amongst the very competitive ranking events that we play in all the time. It's a welcome break to play in a snooker tournament where we're not constantly looking at the rankings/order of merit and we can open our shoulders a bit and play a more relaxed style.
The hospitality our hosts in Hong Kong show us is amazing. They really do look after us well and aside from giving us great playing conditions they always show us a good time. This time they took me up to the Peak, a great tourist attraction that overlooks the city from the Hong Kong side of the island. The view was unbelievable and something I won't forget in a hurry.
I progressed to the final and locked horns with Ali Carter. It was great to see Ali again after what he's been through in the last few months and listening to some of his stories really put a lot things into perspective for me. Ali played some great snooker all week and in the final we both played well. |n the end, Ali won 7-6 and I couldn't have been happier. It was definitely the fairy tale ending to the week and just what the tournament and Ali deserved.
After there I went to Dubai for a few days to practise and have a rest before The International. I was helped out by the Dubai Snooker Club and would like to thank everyone there for looking after me and letting me use their tables to practise on. Whilst there I had to re-tip my cue, and so went to Chengdu a bit in the dark as to how it was going to play. Changing your tip is always a dodgy time for a snooker player as finding one that has all the right characteristics isn't that easy. I like one that's pretty firm but with a little give and so it always takes me a while to find the right one.
In Chengdu I made a good start beating Yu Delu 6-1 on the Monday. I've been in good form of late and was really looking forward to a good week. In the last 32 I played Robert Milkins and over the years we've had some great games. On the day Robert played very well and scored heavily when he got his chances and ran out the winner 1-6. I was very frustrated after the game because I felt I'd played better than the scoreline suggested. At least four times in the match I suffered terrible 'kicks' and each time they cost me. I think over a season stuff like that tends to even itself out but at the time it's very hard to take it on the chin.
So I've been home a few days now and been back on the practice table looking forward to this week's Champion of Champions event in Coventry. Last year I was invited into the event as one of the highest ranked non winners and that was a bit embarrassing. In an event that is meant to be for champions, it was quite difficult to feel like I actually belonged in the event. I was never going to turn the invite down but it would've been better to have been there on merit. In the 11 or 12 months since this event I've won three tournaments so at least I know that I've earned my place and go there deserving to be amongst the other winners.
Just back to kicks for a moment. This week I've been practising trying to chalk my cue less in an attempt to see if that has any effect. We know that the kick is caused by increased friction between the balls when they collide and I'm keen to see whether by chalking less and reducing the amount of chalk dust in play, will have an effect on the amount of kicks? It's over a year since I set out to find out the cause and solution of this big problem for snooker and I'm sure that we've all seen matches this year won and lost due to this phenomenon. I'm still on my quest to rid snooker of it and let's see what this week brings.
Oh and by the way, it'll be Christmas soon so to avoid the stress, get that shopping done now.
All the best,