As far as World Championship debuts go, I have mixed feelings. I am obviously gutted to have gone out, especially having played so poorly in the second session, but on the other hand, I think I played better in that first session than most debutants manage, so I’m pleased with that.
It’s harder than you think, playing at the Crucible. I’ve been there hundreds of times but never as a player, and the main thing was that it was so hard to focus. It’s difficult to concentrate with everything going on, the noise, the chatter and the ‘Oooohs’ every time a player plays a good shot.
But it was my first time there and I can use it all as experience. There are a lot of good players who have never even been to the Crucible before, and all the qualifiers you come up against are good players. It’s really not that easy to win a match as a professional.
Now I’m looking ahead to next season and hoping to get a strong start. I’ll put my cue away for a few weeks and relax, but then it’s back to work in June. I want to do well in the ranking events next season, reach a quarter-final or semi-final, and maybe win one.
I felt I could have run Ali Carter close in our first-round match. Being 5-4 down at the end of the first session couldn’t have been any worse for me, because I could have been 6-3 up. I was so nervous, but I think that’s why I played so well – when you’re nervous your concentration is much better.
But the second session was so disappointing, I really didn’t play well at all. If I’d got a frame or two on the board early on it might have been different, but I didn’t and that made me lose a bit of confidence.
I know that if I’d played like I had in the first session, I could have gone close to beating him. It wasn’t to be, but at least I’ll know what to expect the next time I get to the Crucible.
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