David Morris continued his excellent return to the pro circuit by reaching the last 16 of the Wuxi Classic – the furthest he’s ever made in a ranking event.
The Kilkenny cueist enjoyed another great display that included a century to see off Northern Ireland’s Gerard Greene 5-2.
Morris, 24, impressively saw off Michael Holt to qualify for the flight across to the other side of the world and fought off a difficult challenge from England’s Gary Wilson yesterday to prevail 5-4 and equal his best ranking record.
But now the Irishman has surpassed his best, after only just making his comeback to the Main Tour following a year’s absence, he must surely be full of confidence and raring for any upcoming battle.
At the end of the last campaign I held the SnookerHQ Awards – a kind of fun-but-serious way to end and begin successive seasons.
My tip for the player to look out for during this campaign was Morris and, while there was a small amount of bias toward the decision, any regular reader will understand I’ve been just as much an attacker of Irish snooker in the past as I have been a defender.
However, with as good as six years experience already on the professional scene, and having come close enough at times in that period to breaking into the big time, Morris evidently has both the pedigree and the experience to understand life among the world’s best a little better during his second stint.
That’s not to mention the fact that the new format for tournaments should suit Morris more than most, a format where players can now earn money at a far earlier stage and therefore support their existence on the Tour.
Similarly, that the three-time Irish National Senior champion is still so young, despite seemingly being around for a long time, is telling.
There’s nothing to guarantee that Morris will surge into exciting heights yet – he has only won a few matches after all – but there is at least enough to suggest that he is on the right path, and equally in the right frame of mind.
Irish snooker has for too long been looking for a fresh face to follow.
Many, including Morris, have threatened but ultimately fallen short in the past. Josh Boileau is one who many look to for the future.
But Morris is, and rightly so, creating a lot of excitement at the moment and, whether he wins or loses in the next round is almost irrelevant, there’s a long season with plenty more opportunities to come.
Morris has fought hard through Q-School to get back to where he belongs and now he is acting like a player that belongs. The very best of luck to him.
For what it’s worth, he’ll play two-time World Championship finalist Ali Carter or 15 year-old Lu Haotian for a place in the quarter-final.