What have you been up to since PTC4?
I had a few days off immediately after PTC4 and since then I’ve been practicing so hard and putting so many hours in it’s unbelievable! It’s been hours and hours of boring stuff on my own, but stuff that’s got to be done. Adam Wicheard hasn’t been playing and Steve Lee has been away so I’ve had no one to play and it’s been really hard to be honest. In the end I noticed it in the match because my safety game wasn’t as sharp as if I’d had someone to practice with because even though you try to practice safety, you can’t really do it on your own.
When I spoke to Adam he said “I don’t know how you can practice all these hours, I don’t think you do yourself any good by it” and I thought well if you don’t want to practice that’s up to you. He thinks he can just start practicing a week before a tournament and get away with it.
I said to Martin Gould and Sean O’Sullivan that I’d like to pop over to Romford before the next PTC and have a bit of practice with them and the others down there like Judd and Jack so hopefully I can do that.
PTC5: Sheffield Academy
4-0 Stephen John Barton
0-4 Stephen Craigie
Table position: N/A
4-0 Stephen John Barton
We played on table 1 with the streaming set up so the lights were really bright which took a bit of getting used to. When I finished low on the black, the light reflecting off the black made it look totally different to what I’m used to and they were so bright I couldn’t see the pocket I was aiming at!
As for Stephen, I could tell he plays on club tables because he didn’t seem used to the cushions and was struggling with the table generally. I could tell he could play a bit but I did what I had to do, played good safeties and took the chances when they came.
He left you a nice message on Twitter didn’t he?
Yes he was a nice guy and wished me luck and told me I played well and I appreciated it.
0-4 Stephen Craigie
We both had chances in the first frame and we both missed easy balls and in the end it came down to the colours. I could just snick the yellow, but I fancied the one cushion escape to clip it thin on the way back. I played it and got a “club bounce” off the cushion where the white jumped and came off straight and hit the pink! I had a laugh with Stephen about it because we couldn’t work out how it happened, then he got me in good snooker and had me. Then after that frame he played two perfect frames and I didn’t score a point in either of them.
In the 4th frame I was 45 down, played a really good safety sending the white round the four angles and landing tight on the baulk cushion, but the red came off the cushion and hit the yellow and knocked it into the middle pocket. He put me back in and I had nothing to go at apart from a long red, and I hadn’t potted a ball for 3 frames remember, so back against the wall I slammed it in and somehow got back in the frame. But after the last red I got a thunderous kick on the green, the white didn’t travel far enough and left the yellow really thin. I had to go for it because I knew it would hurt him if I won the frame after he put me back in, and it was one of those where I had to send the white across the table a couple of times with side to hold for green. The yellow stayed in the jaws, and that was that!
I didn’t really play that badly, I didn’t have a chance in two of the frames. I think it came down to my safety game as I mentioned earlier.
Overall performance at PTC5:
5/10. I didnt do a lot wrong but didn’t do anything amazing either.
You know Stephen quite well, how good are the Craigie brothers in your opinion?
They’re both very good. People always thought that Sam had more ability and was better, but I think Stephen is better than many a seasoned pro. I’m not going to name names but there are quite a few pros who I would fancy Stephen to beat and to be honest I was surprised Dott beat him 4-0 because he was looking so confident when he played me. But they’re both very good and I’m sure in a couple of years a few of us will be rivals with them in the qualifying rounds for main tour events!
You’ve got him again in PTC7!
Yes we’ve got to play each other again in the qualifying rounds. I was thinking the other day about how I’ve got the worst draw in qualifying again, but then if you get through you’re going to have to play players better than you have to play in the amateur qualifiers anyway, so it’s not going to get any easier so you’ve just got to get on with it.
PTC6 is in Poland, how are you getting there?
Me and Stephen are still trying to work that out. It’s a long drive but the thing with driving is you’re free to leave whenever you want, whereas if you fly you’ve got to hang around till probably Sunday night. They cost about the same so money isn’t really a factor. I prefer to drive and if you do that you’ve got to be prepared to take the distance. I think Stephen is looking to see if he can get us an exhibition in Germany on the way which would be good because it could break the journey up and help pay for a bit of it as well.
So first up you will face ladies champ Reanne Evans. Any added pressure playing a female?
No I don’t think there is any more because everyone knows she can play. I’m just going to play the table anyway because if you start thinking about who you’re playing and thinking you should be winning, that’s when it can get to you.