Ben Harrison PTC8

by Roland Cox

(Cont’d from PTC7 blog)

Ben in action at PTC8 (photos by Monique Limbos)

PTC8: Killarney Convention Centre, Killarney, Ireland

Dates: 20-23/10/11

4-0 Kevin O’Leary
3-4 Craig Steadman

Points: 600

Table position: T95

4-0 Kevin O’Leary
I couldn’t concentrate at all in this match! I mean I was focussed on what was going on in the match, but his cue action was so bizarre; if you imagine Alex Higgins’ cue action then imagine 3 times as bad as that! So I lost concentration basically after the first couple of shots, and I felt like I couldn’t lose, but the thing that annoyed me was that he was smashing the long ones and nearly every red was going in! I was getting annoyed because I just wanted a bit of potting practice to get used to the table but he was slamming these reds in and then missing the colours and everything was going all messy. So I just tried to keep it together and get through it because all I could think about was playing Craig later on. But it’s frustrating when you’re playing in tournament conditions and you just want to get used to the table and you end up playing a basher! But that’s what can happen and you’ve just got to get on with it.

3-4 Craig Steadman
It was a big match because obviously Craig is top amateur on the PTC list. You see some of the amateurs getting through and it just makes you angry, I know Craig thinks he shouldn’t have had to qualify; we were talking afterwards and he said he was annoyed about it and then he saw he’d drawn me and he was even more annoyed!

I won the first frame and then in the second frame I needed 3 snookers, got all of them then I was dishing up and landed a little bit straight on the blue so just rolled it in for the pink and it kicked and landed me in no man’s land. I had to go for the pink but it was one of those slightly stretching shots and I missed it, and he potted a long one to get to 1-1. At that point I was bit annoyed because I’d just lost a chance to get 2-0 from needing 3 snookers.

He then went 2-1 up where I think I needed another couple of snookers and got them but he potted the last red. I won the next 2 to go 3-2 up with a couple of 50 breaks and then at 3-2 I played a bad positional shot on 30. The black was a bit tied up so I was just trying to clear the black and landed low on the red and missed it when going up for the blue. I thought it was in but somehow it stayed out and landed over the pocket and he made a really good 60 in the circumstances.

In the last frame I was about 30 ahead again and missed a real nasty low black trying to hold for reds. It’s not the type of shot you want to face in a deciding frame. When I missed it I looked at the table and the balls were terrible but he made a ridiculous 60 which was all blues. He was sending the white all around the table and kept landing just where he needed to be. It was a class break and he’s a class player and will be on tour next year and I can’t believe he’s not on the tour now to be honest.

Overall performance at PTC8:
6/10. My long potting was really good and I was proud of the way I came back in a couple of frames, especially the one where I needed 3 snookers because it’s not very often you need 3 snookers and get a chance to win the frame. But overall I played ok but not good enough really.

How was the experience?
Well the venue was about 10 miles from the airport so it wasn’t too bad just a taxi ride, but the prices over there were ridiculous. I probably spent £500 to £600 just for the four days if you include everything like entry fee and travel. I mean it was 3 Euros just for a small coke! I don’t think it was the fault of venue, it’s just how the Euro is at the moment. I did enjoy being there but when you’re there until Sunday and you’re knocked out on Thursday night, then you’ve got nothing else to do apart from spend money! Obviously I watched the snooker but you’ve got to buy food and drinks.

What was the vibe like because on television there didn’t appear to be too many members of the public there until the Sunday?
On the Friday when Ronnie was playing I had little peep and there were only about 15 people watching. I just think it needed to be promoted a bit more in Ireland. I’m surprised they haven’t got a ranking event in Ireland to be honest, there are a lot of good players over there and Killarney is a good venue.

Did you have chance to practice when you were over there?
No. You can’t practice once you’re there and it’s the same in all the PTCs which is what I like about Gloucester, because there you can book a practice table when you want.

How is the practice going at the moment?
Good, I’m hitting the ball really nice. I thought about having a break after Ireland, but then I thought if I have a couple of days off and get back to it and keep sharp then that’s the best thing to do. Adam Wicheard went up to see Terry Griffiths in Gloucester and Terry asked him how much he was practicing, and he said 3 to 4 hours and he told him it was too much and he should try only practicing on the Tuesday and Thursday before a tournament. That doesn’t make any sense to me because if I have more than a couple of days off then when I go back I feel completely wrong. I like practicing a lot because I keep sharp.

It sounds from your twitter feed that you’re enjoying your practice as well?
I am! This week I mixed the practice up and started playing left-handed and had a few 80 and 70 clearances. I don’t know how because my cue action is a bit pokey but it’s just fun doing it.

You had 3 total clearances in a row yesterday?
Yes I finished off with 3 total clearances and I’ve had 3 centuries in a row just now, one of them was a total clearance then I missed a shot with the rest on 70 in the next when I was on for another total clearance. I was so angry when I missed!

If you feel you’re benefitting from practicing a lot and you’re enjoying it then what’s the problem?
Definitely. I don’t think doing it the other way would have done me any favours at all. I think you’ve got to feel sharp, that’s how I look at it and there’s the old saying practice makes perfect. I can guarantee Robertson and Murphy and Ronnie all really put the hours in. I think it’s the way forward to be honest. Judd plays 7 hours a day and no one’s playing better than him at the moment!

How many hours do you practice in a day?
I’d say about 6 but it varies. If I’m playing really good and don’t feel I need to do any more I’ll probably do about 4 or 5 but other times if someone wants to play then about 7.

How do you break it up, do you have say 3 hours then a couple of hours off then another 3 hours?
That’s a pretty good way of doing it. Usually I’ll do say 12 till 3pm then gym for an hour then 2 or 3 hours after. I think before Belgium I’ll probably go across to Grove and play Judd and the others, and Martin Gould has asked me when I’m going over which is nice because he obviously wants to play me as well.

What do you think of your chances of qualifying for the main tour now there are only 4 PTC events left?
I know I’ve got to have a really good tournament and get to a quarter or semi-final to have any chance but I can’t really think about it too much. I’ve just got to take it event by event and match by match because if you start thinking you’ve got to get to a quarter, then you’re never going to win thinking like that. So I’ll enjoy the events and enjoy being around the players and if it doesn’t happen then hopefully it’ll happen at the Q-School. But I’m not putting pressure on myself because there’s no point.

(Click for PTC9&10 blog)

You can follow Ben on Twitter as well as Snooker Island for the latest up to date progress in the PTCs.

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