20 Jun 2008 13:11:00
The world No 35 from Flintshire goes under the spotlight...
How would you sum up last season?
Average. I worked hard, but things didn't really happen for me. I want to win tournaments and I've not done that yet.
What was the highlight?
I had a good run in the Royal London Watches Grand Prix, qualifying from the group stages, but then I lost to Gerard Greene. I actually hurt my back while I was out running before the event and I almost pulled out. But having got to Aberdeen, I played well in the group games. Then in the last 16 the pressure came back on because once I'd got to the knockout phase I expected to do well.
And the low point?
Losing 10-8 to Mark Allen in the final round of qualifying for the 888.com World Snooker Championship. If I had won that game and got to the Crucible it would have made a big difference to my season. I had my moments in the match but there was a big swing in the middle towards Mark - he played well and I had a bit of bad run. I played well but so did he so fair play to him.
What's your target for next season?
To win a tournament. I go into every tournament having practised hard enough to win it. I feel great in the big games and playing on TV. I've just got to get over the hurdle of putting too much pressure on myself. I've had enough of being on the edge, I want to be at the business end of events.
You've beaten John Higgins twice at a venue and very nearly beat Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Maplin UK Championship two years ago, so you're obviously not afraid of the big names.
No, and I really enjoy those games. I always feel as if I can do some damage when I get to venues.
You start the season 30th in the provisional rankings, so is making the official top 32 a target?
The last couple of seasons I've been trying to get into the top 32, but really my goal is to win tournaments rather than think about rankings.
Will you try anything different this season?
I've got a new cue, made for me by John Parris, which is lovely. I'm always open to suggestions from people who think they can help. When I was a teenager I was stubborn, but I've got a more open mind now.
Who are your main practice partners?
I go down to South Wales quite a bit to play Matthew Stevens and a few of the others down there. Otherwise I play Ian McCulloch, Jamie Cope and Dave Harold.
What are you up to over the summer?
I'm going to Florence with my girlfriend, Heather, for her birthday and I'm also going to Las Vegas for a few days.