Interview with Allan Taylor

by Roland Cox

The Snookerbacker Classic kicked off in Leeds on Friday with the first leg of 4 to find the 8 players (2 players progressing from each event) to go through to the Grand Final which will be played at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester at the end of February. Jamie Barrett came through one side of the Leeds draw taking the high break prize of the day with a 127, whilst in the other half of the draw a certain Snookerbacker backed player, 27 year old Allan “The Albino Assassin” Taylor, gained his place. Surely a fix? This is what he had to say.

The Albino Assassin with his winners medal

Why did you enter the Snookerbacker Classic?
Why wouldn’t you? Its a great opportunity for players to enter a tournament, win a few matches and not only get your Q School entry paid for but you get your entrance fee back as well? Plus the fact that i know SB personally and if I didn’t enter then my Blog “The Assassin File’ on (nice little plug there) would be deleted and he would never speak to me again………….to be fair, why did i enter?

What did you think of the event and the venue?
I thought Mr and indeed Mrs SB both done very well. Not bad for a first attempt at running a serious tournament. They both made every player feel welcome with the goodie bags and cupcakes. As for the venue itself, I have played various tournaments at The Northern Snooker Centre over the years and have always held a soft spot for it. I just enjoy the club atmosphere there and the tables are generally in good condition. The 6 matches tables are all Riley steel block cushions so you know your going to have a ‘proper game of snooker’ when you go there so the standard is always high.

How much did you pay for the bye in round 1? (There was talk on SB’s blog about leaving a wad of cash at the front desk on arrival.)
Funnily enough it was cheap as………..cupcakes??!!! We already thought of someone who lives miles away and who would never turn up due to holiday season or ‘medical’ reasons (they don’t call me the Assassin for nothing!), I can understand how it may look to an outsider but it was genuine! Honest! I was merely paying Mrs SB for the cake ingredients!

I did have a little practice whilst other players were battling out their first round matches and to be fair I was hitting it like a blacksmith so I was glad of SB’s wizardry and of course the non-controversial BYE I received magically without any favouritism!!!

The match against Michael Rhodes where you came back from 3-0 down to win 4-3 was particularly impressive because he was playing so well having also just dispatched of event favourite Craig Steadman. What is your take on the match?
Rhodesy has always been a good player, a great scorer and he does it quick as well. I felt like I was a bit cold and hence slow out the blocks, however he didn’t give me much room to settle down as he kicked off with 93. I thought, “uh oh, here we go”!! His quick style of play suits my game so I knew if I could get a chance I could bounce back, however, it didn’t happen until i was 3-0 down! Luckily for me he started to miss the odd one and I counter attacked. From 3-1 I actually fancied the job and it showed in my potting. It was a quick fire match and before we knew it, it was 3-3. I remember having at few chances each in the last frame. I ended up taking on a long red knowing it was all over if I missed it, I knocked it in and cleared up, doubled the last red before snookering him behind the black! I was putting my points on the board thinking, “how have you just won that”?!! my mate Brad came with me and he asked me the same thing, i even turned him to drink; a pint of lager and a nail file was requested!

In the last match against 15 year old Elliot Slessor you raced to 2-0 and then seemed to lose a bit of focus allowing him to get back to 2-2 before you finished him off 4-2. Was pressure a factor or was it as it appeared; easing off and then knuckling down once he got back into the match?
I felt settled in the last match of the day, I made the most of my chances. I knew Elliot could play a bit so i had a lot of respect for him. I saw him play a few years ago and he will sure be one to watch out for in the future. He held himself well in his previous match with four one visits so i knew he had come on leaps and bounds. I remember missing an easy pink when i opened up a good chance to win the frame and he made it back to 2-2, maybe your right Roly lad, I needed a wake up call, luckily I didn’t fall asleep and came through. Always nice to complete a job when you’ve worked hard to give yourself the chance. I wouldn’t have enjoyed the rush hour traffic having come from 3-0 down in my 2nd round match only to throw it away! But its onto the Grand Finals for me, I just hope Mrs SB baked some fresh breaded treats for the trip down to SWSA, Pretzels perhaps??!!!!

Are you looking forward to the Grand Finals and who do you see as your main challengers?
Indeed, there seems to be a little buzz about the SB Classics now the first one is out the way. People will want to make the Final stages because there is a good prize up for grabs. With only one tournament gone it seems my only challenger is Jamie Barratt at the moment! I’m sure whoever it is, it will be a high standard as with all final stages of competition. I’m just looking forward to getting down there and hopefully getting the job done. A great opportunity for amateurs to get their Q School entry paid and obviously you’ve got a chance of winning it on match conditions. SWSA is a great facility and the tables always in good nick so its nice to feel nice when your playing, know what i mean Roly la!!!!!

Have you entered any more SB Classics or now you’ve booked your place in the finals is that it for now?
I did enter the Gloucester event however, I’ve achieved my place so I’m sure SB will swiftly take me out the draw. You never know, it could be him giving me a wad of cash on arrival this time. Just hope i can find my receipt!

How long have you been playing snooker and how did you start?
Playing snooker for almost 20 years now. Started when my brother who got a fold away snooker table for Christmas. He wasn’t really interested but I was never off it, always badgering him for a game! We ended up swapping presents, i got the table he got my action man or remote control monster truck!!!?? There was no way i was going to bed on time now it was in my room, parents nightmare!

Allan in action at the Northern Snooker Centre (photos by Monique Limbos)

What is your highest break in competition and practice?
Practice – 147
Competition – 138

How would you describe your style of play?
I am an attacking player, although over the years the experience has helped me control what some may have called rash, I thought it was run of the mill shots, and now I feel I am more solid and when I get my scoring boots on I can knock ‘em in pretty quickly!

How did you come by your nickname?
My old pal Maurice Jones, who I used to work alongside with in the police was saying i needed a nickname or multi coloured hair to get me noticed a bit more. I’m just glad we went with the nickname! It was around time of the film release The Da Vinci Code, he thought i looked a bit like Silas the Assassin. It slowly grew into The Albino and then the Albino Assassin! He said he wants royalties when i make it big time!

Have you enjoyed playing in the PTCs this year?
Although my results have not faired as well as last season or as I would have liked, I have still enjoyed the tournaments. Although the travelling can get you down a bit, living out of a suitcase isn’t the best scenario and the cost of the overall events, travel, hotels etc has been a real strain on a lot of the amateurs and professionals. I know first hand how tough it can be trying to keep up with all the extra events World Snooker are putting on. I mean if we see the big boys moaning about the time spent away, travelling and the actual cost of it all, its only going to be more of a sob story as you go down the rankings and into the amateur game. Having said that some of the experience you will gain from playing and winning against the top pros does come at a price. Its all worthwhile if you can get a few wins under your belt and recoup your expenses but we all know how volatile this game can be sometimes. However, I feel I’m getting a bit too serious now so thrrruupffttttt (raspberries)!!!

What is your best result or results so far?
PTC results, I would say although my only L128 win came against a strong Ken Doherty, I would probably have to say my win against T.Thirapongpaiboon in the previous round of the same event. I was 3-1 down in that match and ended up making a 134 total clearance in my comeback. Felt good to win in such a fashion and then go on to beat the Darling!

And worst?
The worst has to be a frame of pool against SB during our blog talks last season. I haven’t slept right since!

What are your targets for 2012?
Very positive thoughts for next year as a snooker season and otherwise. The obvious target is to get onto the Main Tour via Q School and then keep climbing the ranks as high as i can.

Who are your snooker influences?
When I was younger my idol was Ronnie. As many other players will agree he is probably the most naturally gifted player theres ever been in our game. As years have past and probably age has kicked in a little, you see the different aspects of peoples game that when all in sync is frightening. Old youtube videos of Hendry in his prime and now John Higgins, his attitude when trailing in a match is more stern than when in front. Great player. Lest not forget Paul Hunter though, a terrific aggressive player, great break builder and loads of bottle. People I looked up to and aspired to be as good as when I was a young’n!!

What is your dream and can you achieve it?
Well, Roly la, my dream!! My dream last night was about a flying crocodile who was trying to sell me a pair of genuine leather shoes?! Make of it what you will but i thought it seemed a bit dodgy!

Anyway, my dream has always been to turn pro and perform at the Crucible. I talk about goals and dreams. If you dream of doing something then you can turn that into a goal, e.g. playing at the Crucible is a dream, but once turned pro it becomes a goal. These will always be changing day by day and i feel to be successful you need keep setting yourself goals.

As for the dreams, i just hope that crocodile doesn’t reappear!!!!

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