Q. How does it feel to finally win a Merseyside Major event?
A. First off, cheers for the “finally”! Yeah it feels great. I’ve always known I’ve been good enough to win these events but there’s a lot of great players in Merseyside and events are tough to win. I’m just glad I’ve got this one over the line and hopefully the floodgates open now and I can show everyone what I know I’m capable of.
Q. What was your toughest test throughout the event?
A. My toughest test throughout the event was probably in the semi finals when I was 2-0 down to Jamie Jones and looking in trouble. Jamie is a very natural and quick player who can dominate you if you’re not careful and it wasn’t looking good at 2-0 but I was proud of the way I battled back. Not necessarily with my best snooker but more so with some decent match play and a few good visits at the right times to win the next 4 frames.
Q. Did you ever think the first victory wouldn’t come?
A. No I always had enough self belief that I would win an event. I’m my own worst critic and I’ll always be frustrated it hasn’t come years earlier but as I mentioned previously these events are tough to win and it doesn’t take a lot to lose matches against the best players in Merseyside as the standard is so good in the latter stages of these events. Obviously as time went on you sometimes get the odd doubt if you’ve “still got it” so to speak, but deep down I always knew I was good enough and knew as long as I kept doing the right things I’d keep putting myself in contention to tuck one away, which luckily now I have.
Q. What if anything have you changed in the last year and how do you feel its helped your game?
A. The thing I’ve changed the most is probably making it a priority to actually enjoy playing the game. At the end of the day snooker is just that, a game, and down the years I’ve probably been guilty of allowing it to mean too much and putting too much pressure on myself. This undoubtedly hindered my performance at times as I’ve learnt this isn’t a game you can play to a high standard whilst angry, frustrated or in a negative frame of mind. So after a good 6 month break from the game earlier this year I’ve just made it a priority to enjoy playing and not forcing myself to play every single day if I didn’t feel mentally there. With working full time it’s not really possible to play everyday anyway so I just make sure I get the most out of the few hours a night I can get. Travelling around a bit more too and playing in English events and pro ams has definitely helped and sharpened my B/C game and allowed me to win matches I may have otherwise lost.
Q. What are your target and aspirations for the rest of the season?
A. If I’m honest at the start of the season I didn’t really set any specific targets, it was really just to enjoy my snooker and try to keep improving. I suppose now half way through the season if I was to set some more specific goals, I’d probably say to win another Merseyside major (MPL, NW open or Mersey Masters), and to make a deep run if I decide to/am able to enter Q School, knowing full well that if I play like I can I’d be well capable of securing a main tour place or a top up/Q tour place.
Q. What cue, tip and chalk are you using and why and Do they change at all throughout the season?
A. The cue I use is called a Stradarius, a lovely piece of wood which I got from ABCSnooker.com. As far as tips go I’m really not that fussy and will often stick anything on and just get used to it. Earlier in the season I had a century G3 tip, but now I have a standard elkmaster. With chalk, I’m working my way through the Taom chalks. After using their pyro one, I am now using the V2 and after this block runs out I will probably try the V10. After using Taom I definitely won’t be going back to any other brand any time soon.
Q. How do you think the tournament was as a whole?
A. As usual the tournament was well structured with dates/draw being clearly communicated weeks before the start. Hopefully it, and Merseyside snooker in general, can continue to grow and these events become bigger and better in numbers and stature.