Irishman David Morris yesterday came through the third and final Q-School event in Sheffield to rejoin the professional Main Tour following a one year absence.
The Kilkenny cueist had been one of the most consistent players throughout all of the Q-School series this year but fell at the penultimate stage in event one and at stumbled at the last hurdle to Scotland’s Ross Muir in the second tournament.
However, the defeats only made him hungrier for success and he made it third time lucky with a 4-1 victory over Gareth Green in the final round on Wednesday.
The 24 year-old had earlier in the competition seen off Antony Parsons, Alex Taubman and Dylan Craig to set up the clash with Englishman Green – firing a 111 century break en route.
In fact, over the course of the three events Morris actually compiled an impressive seven centuries breaks, including a 140.
Sadly, that 140 will be most remembered as a break that saw Morris being added to a rare list of names that includes countryman Ken Doherty of players who have missed the final black on a 147 attempt.
At the time, Morris tweeted, “I’m going on record to say mine (missed black) was the easiest black! even the ref shouted haha.”
But all that despondency has been turned into joy as Morris, who won once on the Irish amateur scene this season, makes his return to the big-time having endured life on the circuit between 2006 and 2012.
Morris posted on Facebook shortly after his triumph, “Just want to say a quick thank you to everybody for the encouragement and support over the last 2 weeks. Got back on the main tour with a 2 year card and looking forward to the new season. Thanks again.”
Morris’ triumph is not only one of a personal nature but of national consequence as well.
Truth be told, it was almost an embarrassment for Irish snooker that only veterans Doherty and Fergal O’Brien were representing the Republic last term.
The withdrawal from World Snooker of the nomination to the best ranked amateur player was an untimely blow but the reality was that players were both not performing and also feeling the strain of the financial burden of the tour.
This success for Morris, and to a lesser extent the development of young talent Boileau, should offer renewed hope – especially as the calendar now offers so many chances under a two-year card.
There’ll be no rest and not much time to celebrate for Morris, though, as the upcoming campaign starts next week with the Wuxi Classic and Australian Open qualifiers, followed quickly after by the Bulgarian Open in Sofia.
Of course, Morris wasn’t the only player to have enjoyed glory in Q-School with eleven other names joining the professional ranks.
Scotland’s Fraser Patrick, who partook in most of last season’s events despite being an amateur – and also fared very well at times – has deservedly earned his right to mix it properly with the big names after coming through a tough decider against Ashley Carty, who in the previous round beat Ireland’s Josh Boileau.
33 year-old Lee Spick is back in the professional scene after edging talented young Welshman Duane Jones while unknown Englishman Chris Wakelin overcame Adam Wicheard following a bizarre sequence of events that saw the latter offer his hand after he accidentally snapped his cue while leaning on it.
Wakelin isn’t the only completely new face we’ll be catching a glimpse of next season.
Switzerland’s 17 year-old Alexander Ursenbacher and Ahmed Saif of Qatar advanced from Event Two alongside Muir and Ryan Clark.
While in event one, a quartet of Englishman emerged with Elliot Slessor, Alex Davies, Lee Page and Hammad Miah all coming through unscathed.
So most of next season’s line-up is now known.
Believe it or not, it all begins again in just four days. Here we go again!