By Jonathan Williams
My event this time around was quite short lived, although it did not feel like it. I was there from 10am supporting Peter “The Player” Dunne and my first match didn’t get going until 1:30pm. I didn’t feel drained or tired as I am a quick player and my matches don’t tend to last that long, but I hate the waiting around as I’m not very patient.
My first match of the day was against the up and coming superstar Luke Bateman. He had just come off one of the best wins of his career against the tricky Liam Brady – a player who has taken both myself and David Hogan to deciders this season. To make matters even better I think Luke came from 2-0 down to win that match. A great achievement.
In our match I think my experience and safety play paid off as he potted just as well as I did when he was in the balls. I didn’t run away with any frame with each going to the colours, hence the final scoreline of 3-0 was a little bit flattering for me.
I see Luke having a great future in the game, especially as he has the facilities and his father in his corner to practice with. Not to mention his talented brothers. His best quality I feel is his cue action, it’s lovely. Something he has to work on a little is his killer instinct. Respect no one until after the game. Play his own game and don’t worry about the opponent. With a season or two playing competitive snooker, he will be one of the juniors to look our for. Really nice kid too.
My next game was against my old foe David Hogan. I would like to say I played really badly in this game but I didn’t feel like that was the case. David’s safety game is one of the best on tour and he is very solid in the balls, takes care on each and every shot.
He had a 50+ break in the first to lead 1-0. In the second I was ahead and in control until he put me in a bad snooker and regained the lead on the final brown, but he did lash at the brown a few times and never left me and easy pot. This was a big frame as at 1-1 I would have taken confidence and probably would have been harder to beat. But he took that frame on the pink and that was it really. In the last frame he gave me chances and I missed very easy pots which he punished. Nothing more to say really only I could have had a lot easier last 16 match. That said, you have to beat the best to be the best.
I suppose the big shocks of the day all came via Philip “The Finisher” Browne. Like I have said before, he is a player improving with every event and full of confidence at the moment. Philly had two great wins against Masters king Colm Gilcreest and against the number one ranked Michael Judge. I’m told he also went 2-0 up against Rodney Goggins in the semis so overall an amazing tournament for him and a great way to reach his maiden semi-final. I have no doubt that this wont be his last time appearing in the last four either and he is now the player everyone wants to avoid in the early rounds. On his day I’m sure he can even go on and win an event if he keeps playing at last weekend’s standard.
It was a weekend of maiden journeys as a huge congratulations also has to go out to Ryan Cronin who, as far as I’m aware, was in his first ranking event final. This chap has been knocking on the door for about three or four seasons and now everything seems to be falling into place. He is getting to the latter stages of nearly every event he plays in and, even when he is knocked out, he doesn’t go down without a fight.
Ryan is a very gritty and determined player. I liken him to the ilk of Graeme Dott or Mark Selby, never gives up, always wants to win and gives every shot 100%. This of course will hold him in good stead for his European trip away to Poland this week. Ryan also has plenty of international experience and I feel last weekend will give him a huge confidence boost. He can go very far into the European Men’s event. Watch this space.
Naturally, a big well done to our champion Rodney Goggins, a player who continues to write the record books as I am told he is in the top three (maybe first) of most senior ranking event wins. I don’t know the exact stats to be honest but I know it’s quite a lot.
There is nothing more to be said about Rodney that hasn’t been said a 100 times over only that he is just a machine . He has the full package – an amazing safety game, amazing temperament and an amazing break builder. It’s just a shame he doesn’t do it at the speed of Martin McCrudden when he used to play. I hope Rodney continues until he is using a walking stick around the table because I am confident he could even use that and still manage to win at least one senior event every season.
Last but not least, a big thank you to the Ivy Rooms for providing their usual high-quality standard of playing conditions and food. A special big thank you to Yvonne Leacy who has served and put up with us snooker lads for God knows how many years. I remember her hanging about in the old Ivy Rooms when I started the events at 17 so it must be over 11 years anyway. Yvonne is heading to Canada for a year or two to spread her wings and I wish her the best of luck. Also thanks to the officials for a well run event.
I would also like to thank Jim Leacy and anyone else on the committee who pushed to get me a place in the upcoming European Championship. Although due to work and time constraints I cannot attend, I appreciate the effort and I was happy to have been offered a spot. I wish everyone on the Irish team the very best of luck and I have no doubt that one of them will take home the title. I now hope that I can finish high enough in the rankings to join them and hopefully make a European Men’s team for Romania in June and the Home Internationals team come September.
Until next time, Sniper over and out!