The last couple of weeks saw eight players emerge as Q-School graduates and thus earn their right to compete as a professional on the Main Tour for the next two seasons.
Unfortunately, a strong Irish contingent was unable to garner one of these spots, with John Sutton coming the closest following a run to the final round of event one.
Sutton was on hand to share his experience at Q-School and his plan for next season as he builds on the confidence of his recent strong performances.
“My preparation for Q-School was perfect as the Terry Rodgers lads got a star table in their club and I had a lot of tough practice with TJ Dowling and Marty McCrudden which helped get me sharp.
“The first event went well for me and I got to the last round where I lost 4-0 to Craig Steadman. I felt good in that match but was just outplayed in all departments. My second match against Liam Highfield was the turning point for me when I came from 2-0 down to win 4-2 and got a lot of belief that I could do a bit of damage over there. McCrudden got to the second last stage and was beaten 4-2 by the very good Chinese player Zhang Anda. Jason Devaney lost his second match to Adam Bobat which I know he was disappointed with and finally TJ lost first round to Jamie Clarke who is a super player with a lot of experience.
Overall it was two long weeks for all of us to spend without family and friends. It was tough but we kept ourselves busy by hanging out together, eating out with each other and just generally having a laugh to help the time pass by as quickly as possible.
“The second event started really well for TJ as he beat Welshman Duane Jones – one of the favourites who got to the final stage in the first event -and TJ now fancied his chances of qualifying. Devaney came up against a very in-form Liam Highfield and lost 4-1. Marty again won a couple of matches before losing 4-3 on the pink in a match against Martin Ball that he felt got away from him.
“Dowling and myself lost in round four. TJ to a good young player called George Pragnall 4-1 and me 4-0 again to Canadian pool player Alex Pagulayan who really caught me by surprise and everyone else there during the fortnight.
“I can’t speak for any of the other lads but I surprised myself with how well I was able to compete over there with a good field of players and I now have entry into the Wuxi and Aussie qualifiers starting soon. I plan to play in as many invites as I get this season.”
The very best of luck to John as he enters the Wuxi Classic qualifiers this weekend.