By Josh Boileau
The last you heard from me was just after the Bulgarian Open in Sofia, and since then I’ve been quite busy with a range of events. My next tournament was meant to be the second points tournament in Carlow on the Irish ranking calendar. I had entered the event but the day before it was due to start I went for a quick practice and my shoulder was playing up again. With India coming up for the IBSF World Championship I thought it would be best to sit Carlow out this time unfortunately.
So the week after I headed off with the Irish team for the world amateurs in Bangalore. India was a place I’ve always wanted to visit and I was excited to get out there. I didn’t mind the long trip at all as I like travelling but after a few days of being there I started to feel unwell, as did a lot of the other players as well. Obviously we weren’t used to the food and surroundings as it’s a different world over there altogether.
For the entire two weeks I never really felt comfortable and it reflected on my snooker. I had a difficult enough group and I finished fifth with four qualifying to the knockout stage. It came to my last match and I was only starting to feel comfortable with my confidence and technique thanks to my coach PJ Nolan. He could see what I was doing wrong and although I didn’t qualify I had fixed a minor error I was struggling with and went home with positives to take. I absolutely loved my time in India and, although the snooker didn’t go well, I still gained some more experience so it’s all a stepping stone in the right direction for me.
Just five days after getting home I then had the third points tournament at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow and I felt great. I just barely scraped past Greg Casey 3-2 on the black in the last 32 and then came through against Shane Bates 3-1. I played well to beat Robbie Murphy 3-0 in the quarters before I played Brendan O’Donoghue in the semi-finals, where I lost out 3-2 on the pink. I had breaks of 70,128 and missed on 53 in the decider which wasn’t enough and he cleared up to just nick it at the end.
I was playing quite well that day, though, so I felt good going to Lisbon for the PTC the following Wednesday. I beat Luis Alves of Portugal 4-0 in my first qualifying match and then came through Paul Davison 4-2 in the next round, which was a great win for me as he should really still be on the tour in my opinion. However, I played quite well and I stole a few frames so I think I deserved to win. I played Anthony Hamilton in the first round proper and I lost out 4-0 which was disappointing. I missed on 48 and 54 in two of the frames and he cleared up to steal them. He also had an 80 and a century in the other two frames so he played quite well to be fair and he deserved to get the victory really.
Overall this year has been quite a success for me where experience is concerned. I’ve played in the European and World Under-21s and got to the final in both. I played in the European and World men’s events for the first time and I’ve played in four of the first five European Tour tournaments. I haven’t travelled so much in one year before and, with my aim to get on the tour for next season, getting used to travel is what I need. It’s also great to visit so many countries playing something you love and I feel very grateful for what I’m doing right now.
In the new year I’ve got four chances of getting on the tour with the European and World Under 21s, Q-School, and the amateur play-offs for the PTCs, if I stay in the top 16 on the EBSA Order of Merit after Poland. I really think it’s been a great year for me and I’m growing in confidence all the time. Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout 2014 and hopefully 2015 is an even better one.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!
Follow Josh on Twitter: @Boileau147