As the Olympic Games Closing Ceremony encapsulated the worldwide audience last night, Martin Gould claimed his maiden professional title with a 4-3 victory over Stephen Maguire at UKPTC2 in Gloucester.
Gould had of course won Power Snooker at the tail end of 2011 but this was in a brutalised and widely bemoaned format. Still, it got the Englishman into a winning mentality and gave him a taste for silverware.
The Players Tour Championship series, first initiated at the start of the 2010/11 campaign is where Gould began to really make his name.
He had just performed brilliantly to reach the last 16 of the World Championship in April 2010 only to be narrowly defeated by Neil Robertson in a decider having led at one stage 11-5 – Robbo would go on to lift the title.
But during the PTC Series he strung together some memorable runs, including appearances in the finals of one of the satellite events as well as the Grand Finals in Dublin, both of which he lost, as well as the final of PTC 11 during the last campaign.
However, the 30 year-old’s displays were enough for him to force his way into the top 16 in the world ranking for the first time in his career early last season and he has remained there ever since.
The continuing defeats in finals, though, two of which came in deciders jut like against Robertson, left some to wonder if he had the capabilities to match his surge up the rankings with a few additions to his trophy cabinet.
That said, the speed of his ascent was something to laud. After failing on his first attempt on the Main Tour, Gould won the English Amateur Championship in 2007 and it took him only a few more seasons to break into the elite bracket.
In the final few months of last season, Gould appeared to struggle with his new-found top-dog status with a flurry of first round exits in major events.
The shock of not being forced to qualify for venues probably took some getting used to but a run to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open showed signs of a return to form.
Things looked a tad worrying yesterday when a brace of unbelievable flukes from Maguire gave him the ascendency having trailed 3-2 but Gould managed to eek out the victory and with it his most important taste of success so far – though he may disagree following his £25,000 winners cheque for the Power Snooker event.
It will be interesting to see now whether Gould can push on from here now that he is guaranteed a third crack at the Grand Finals next March.
The ranking points that come with the win should safeguard his Top 16 membership for another while at least and it is up to him now to make the most of it as the battle behind him for the last places is becoming ultra competitive.
Still, his victory last night was just reward for a guy who has been well-received on the circuit for his dry demeanour but attacking flamboyance on the baize.
Categories: Snooker News