LAST Friday I headed up to Barnsley for the UK Open qualifiers.
I was sharing a room with Justin Pipe this weekend, so knew that this could be eventful! Saturday saw me draw the Spanish No 1 Carlos Rodriguez.
This guy has reached a Pro-Tour final before, so a prelim against him was another cracking draw.
I didn’t play particularly well in the match but was hitting doubles, and I ran out a 6-2 winner.
I was pleased with that, and so my first round game would be against James Richardson.
James has been on the scene for around a year, and has quickly adapted to the tour. If you’ve never heard of him, he’s the one that knocked Raymond Van Barneveld out of this year’s World Championships. Another easy one!
I had chances in the first two legs but missed the double. He went on to win 6-2, and reached the quarters that day, taking out John Part 6-2, and Gary Anderson 6-0 on the way.
All things considered I don’t think I did too much wrong against a man in that form.
An evening out in the company of Pipey, Adi Gray, Ted Hankey and his wife, and also Ted’s manager Steve ‘O’ was a hilarious way to chill out.
Ted was holding court, and, contrary to his sinister demeanour, ‘The Count’ is a very funny man. Next day and back to the board. Another preliminary round, this time against Dennis Smith.
Dennis is a very slow and deliberate player, but slow play does not affect me. Dennis roared into a 4-1 lead, but I had had chances at doubles in those legs, so that was my fault.
I began to feel more confident, and soon I got back to 5-3 with two 180s back to back followed by a double 13.
This seemed to rock Dennis a bit, and the next leg I checked out 130 on the bull with him sat on a double.
But 5-4 was where he dealt the killer blow, and knocked me out 6-4. I’d hit 5 x 180s in the match so I’m told, so was pretty pleased with how I’d played, despite the loss.