Irish Snooker

Morris Wins Fourth Ranker

David Morris claimed the fourth ranking event of the Irish season yesterday with victory over Robert Murphy in the final in Carlow.

Morris, along with David Hogan and Michael Judge, had returned to the amateur scene for this campaign and it is all three of these former pros who have managed to take away all the silverware so far in 2012/13.

Kilkenny’s Morris had already knocked out two-time ranking event champion Hogan 4-1 in the semi-finals before edging an in-form Murphy 5-3 in the final.

Murphy, who had reached two semi-finals before this outing at the Ivy Rooms, saw off rising youngster Josh Boileau in the other last four clash 4-2.

It was a another tough weekend forĀ SnookerHQ‘s Johnny Williams – going down to Boileau in the last 16 – but the ‘Sniper’ was on hand again to give his account of the weekend’s action.

“I played really poor in this tournament to be honest but it’s what I deserved. I got very lazy after the Christmas period and never really had the drive to practice, and in the end I paidĀ for it. I scraped past my first round opponent Paul McGrane 3-2 in a very bad match. Neither of us had a break over 30 from what I remember, and if anyone did it was him. In my second match I played Daniel Dempsey and played a little better and got over the line 3-1. Then I played Josh Boileau for the fourth tournament in a row, and without going into much detail or giving out Josh played that little bit better. Had the run of the ball go my way it could have been a closer contest. He proved a worthy winner again by reaching another semi-final and maintaining his number two spot in the rankings.

“A stand-out player of the weekend would have to be James Bateman, a very good solid player over the years, and when I first started one of the best. But he slipped a little in the rankings over the past few seasons, mainly because he didn’t play many events if I remember correctly, but this weekend he showed fine form by beating some quality players along the way to reach his first quarter-final of the season.

“The final was contested by the two best players of the weekend hands down. Morris beat number one ranked player David Hogan along the way with Robert Murphy beating both Josh and Rodney Goggins to reach his first final of the season. I didn’t see the final myself so I cannot comment on its standard. I saw some of Morris’s earlier matches and he looked as sharp and as focused as I’ve seen him in a long time. I must ask him what he has changed. It was only a matter of time before he won his first event of the season as when he is on top form he is unbeatable.

“The event ran very smoothly but in fairness it wasn’t going to be that hard with once again a small number of entrants. The venue played very well this weekend. There was some controversy last week on my Facebook Banter page about the conditions of the tables for the Leinster Club Championship, and when I asked National coach PJ Nolan about the new tables that were supposedly coming in this month, he said he wasn’t sure it was happening now after the FB comments. Which was strange as I thought it would have the opposite effect to shut people up complaining. As the Ivy Rooms is our National Snooker Academy I really hope they do get these new tables (rumoured to be Shender) which I played on in Bulgaria and were the nicest tables I’ve ever played on. Not only for the Irish players but I’m sure it would increase their chances of holding international snooker events more often.

“To my surprise a small presentation was made to both Jim Leacy on becoming IBSF President and the Home Internationals winning team. It was a nice gesture and something that was expected from many players I’m told.

“It’s the halfway mark now in the Senior snooker calendar and I’m not close to where I need/should be. I haven’t had a good run in any tournament yet, haven’t had a nice draw in fairness and a good run is not far away for me I feel. I know I have to beat the best to be the best but before I can get my arm going or some confidence in any of these comps I’m on my way home early after a very hard last 32 or 16 match. The probability of me meeting the number 2 seed in the first four comps, at such an early stage, with the comps being groups, open, seeded etc were very slim but I somehow managed it! Josh is turning into such a quality player and his likeness to Vincent Muldoon when he was that age is remarkable. Smooth cue action, goes for and gets most shots, nothing is safe on the table, great break builder and great temperament. I’m just glad he is on my team for the All-Irelands!

“It’s going to be such a tight finish for the number one spot. There are so many top quality players in this year’s rankings that any of the top ten could potentially finish number one. Reason being that any of them, on their day, could beat each other early on in an event which leaves the door open for other players to have a good run. It’s going to be exciting. After this weekend’s event I think I’m going to climb to about 13th in the rankings. By the end of the season, taking into account the quality players we have, if I don’t finish top 10 I’ll be very disappointed with my season. My aim is still to reach a final and I know I’m capable – I just need a nice run and a bit of luck here and there and it will happen.

“Next stop on the Irish calendar is the All-Ireland Club Championship. I’m really looking forward to playing in this, as I think we have a decent shout to go far in this event after our performance in the Leinster Club Championship. I have never played well down in Killarney and this year I want to try change that. Being an ex-International and with the new rule brought in, I must play in the number one spot each game. This means every match I’ll have will be against a top quality player and I will need to play my A-game at all times.”


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