7 weeks since PTC1, what have you been up to?
Well the break came at a good time for me because the first PTC wasn’t too long after Q School, and I wasn’t in a good place after that because my plan was obviously to get on the main tour. I felt like I needed a break to get my head together and also to get my cue extended but I didn’t have enough time to do that, so I was on a bit of a downer because I knew there was stuff I needed to get done before I could fully focus.
I’ve now had my cue extended, and it took a few weeks so during that time I did try and practice left-handed with my mates Peardon cue but that didn’t work out, mainly because the cue was crap! I realised it wasn’t going anywhere so I had a proper break from it and played other sports like football, tennis, golf, badminton and squash. I’m back on it now though!
Explain to the readers why you wouldn’t want to practice right-handed with a different cue.
It’s a risk because every cue plays different so you risk developing a bad habit. I knew my cue would be back soon anyway so rather than try to play with another one and start getting used to it I thought it would be best to wait for my own cue to come back.
Can you tell us about the cue, why you needed it extending and the difference since getting it back?
Basically it was too short. Frank Adamson who is Ronnie’s coach was down and he got me to put my extension on and cue how I felt comfortable, and it was a good inch past how I cued normally without the extension so I knew I had to get it done.
Now it’s back I’ve got more cue power, more control, I don’t feel cramped and I feel if I’ve got to hit a ball hard that I’ve got enough cue there to do it. But because I’ve now got more cue power I’m over screwing everything but that’s where I just need to sharpen up. Once I’ve got a few more weeks under my belt I know it will be really good.
Tell us about this excellent bit of PR you did on Twitter during the Australian Open qualifying event when a lot of your peers were beating seasoned professionals.
What has the reaction been like?
To be honest about 98% of the people who have mentioned it agree with what I’m saying. I’m not going to say any names because I don’t want to sound disrespectful but when you look at the names on the tour I would say there are at least 20 players who are coming towards the end of their career. There are quite a few who are starting to drop down the rankings and there are so many young players coming through like me and Kyren and Jak Jones and all that lot, and hopefully in the next year or so we’ll be on there and kick them off!
The tournaments seem to be heading towards the quicker matches with the Shootout and Premier League and shorter formats, and I don’t think a lot of them will be able to cope. It suits the new attacking modern day player.
But that is what I think, it’s my opinion and I’m not trying to be disrespectful to anyone at all. I know that a lot of people are reading and if they want to take it the wrong way then that’s up to them. Someone on Twitter said to me something like “you can’t even get a frame off Dave Harold” and I just ignored it because I think who are you to say that?!
PTC2: South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester
4-0 James Cahill
4-0 Marc J Davis
0-4 Dave Harold
Table position: N/A
4-0 v James Cahill
In this match I was just trying to get used to the table. I didn’t play that well, didn’t make any big breaks, just 30s and 40s but I played pretty solid. In the 3rd frame I was about 40 behind and I made a good clearance because when I came to the table there were 8 reds left and 7 of them were on cushions. When I cleared up I think it killed him off.
4-0 v Marc J Davis
I know Marc is a good player, he used to play a lot on the PIOS and he played well in his first match because he told me afterwards. I got a bit lucky in the first frame, it was a bit scrappy and I fluked the brown to win the frame which doesn’t usually happen, it’s nice to have a bit of run for a change! From then on it was just pretty solid, the odd 40 break and put him in trouble and I ended up winning 4-0.
0-4 v Dave Harold
I lost the first two frames on the pink and then in the next two he made two good breaks and you can’t really do anything against that and it’s why he’s 40 odd in the world. My tactic from the start was to try and get them open and leave a good cue ball. I wasn’t going to try and go for everything because he’s the not type of player who you can play like that against, so I was trying to be attacking but cautious with it.
The first frame killed me really because I was clearing up, potted a long green and then had a kick on the brown. It was a nasty little shot, I had to hit it hard to get on the blue which was on its spot, but the brown jumped a bit and jawed and went down the table and moved the blue and the pink towards pockets. Dave potted a good brown and the rest was easy.
The second frame was pretty similar and it went down to the colours and he pulled off some good pots and won it on the pink again. Then in the 3rd frame I got in first and had a good chance with a few reds around the black and I started to speed up to try and get going because the first two frames were a bit scrappy, and I was on 30 odd and landed too straight on the black. I ended up having to play safe and I thought I’d played a good shot but he could just get through a gap between green and pink to a long straight red. He was forced into going for it and he went for it, got it and made 90.
Then the last frame I potted a red and came just too far for the green so I could’ve rolled up to it. But there were no reds on so I thought right, let’s have this and played the green into the pack and screwed the white back to the baulk cushion, so the reds went everywhere. Unfortunately one of the reds landed over a corner pocket and stuck its head out. It was a cut back and he was tight under the baulk cushion and the white could only go into reds after potting it but again he was forced into it, potted it and the white went into the reds and the black nearly went in but landed right over the pocket and he knocked in a century.
(Dave Harold went on to beat Nigel Bond 4-2 and Steve Davis 4-0 before losing to Ryan Day 4-2)
Overall performance at PTC2:
6/10. Considering I only had 6 days to get used to the cue I did ok. I didn’t lose my head and I felt good and really wanted to win. I won a couple of matches not playing well and my safety was really good, I just struggled a bit with the reaction of my cue.
How was the experience?
It’s my local event so I wanted to save money and not stay up in Gloucester, but it’s an hours drive so having just one match on 3 different days didn’t work out that well in the end because it cost me about £60 in petrol! But I did get a few good nights sleep and ate properly.
Feelings about the PTC in general?
I think amateurs should get points for qualifying. At the moment, some of the amateurs are going straight into the main draw, losing and they’re in the same position as me yet I’ve won 4 matches! Even if it’s 20 points I don’t care, it gives you something for winning because otherwise you’ve won matches and paid all that money for nothing.
Plans between now and PTC3?
I’ve just had under table heaters fitted on my table because there’s no point in turning up at a tournament and taking a few frames to get used to the faster conditions, I need to be used to them before I get there.
I’m also thinking about having a video camera set up in the corner, the idea being that you keep it there all day and watch it back and see if you’re doing anything wrong.
I’m practicing with Adam Wicheard at the moment and that’s doing me a lot of good because he plays match snooker in practice. Like if he’s got a half risky pot then he won’t go for it, he’ll play safe and that’s exactly what I need.
PTC3 next week, first opponent Ryan Causton.
He’s a good player. I think he practices with Ali Carter now. It’s a long time since I’ve played him so it should be interesting.
It’s safe to refer to the opponent of the winner of that match as deadwood; it’s Les Dodd or Tony Knowles!
Haha I’ve got to win that or I’ll never hear the end of it! But I’ve got to beat Ryan first, he is a good player so that’s my main focus.