Monday, 16 August 2010


It's interview number two for OnCue and we're back in Leicester, with PTC3 champion Tom Ford.

By his own admission, the 27-year-old has finally got the balance right between time on the practice table and being out on the town.

This has seen him start to produce his best, but surely more is still to come from this talented cue man.

In a down-to-earth interview, here's what Tom had to say...

We'll start with your PTC3 triumph. How did it feel to win your first ranking tournament?

Yeah, it felt good. I don't really regard it as a real ranking tournament though. Sure, it has ranking points but it's not one of the big ones. They're relatively small and have low crowds. Only about 12 people were watching me in the final. I think the televised events are the real ranking events. The funny thing about it is that I didn't really play well until the final. It didn't feel like a proper ranking title, but it was still a good win.

Is it fair to say you haven't produced your best snooker at the televised events yet?

Yes I'd agree with that. Everytime I get there, I always seem to get a very difficult draw. I know there's no easy games against players in the top 16, but I've come up against some players at the top of their form. Last year I met Neil Robertson at the UK Championship, and Mark Allen in Sheffield. They were difficult games.

I was at your match against Robertson actually. No offence, I expected a lot more from you. What went wrong?

Oh, don't mention that game. That was terrible. I tried everything but it wasn't happening for me.

Sometimes the harder you try, the tougher it gets, and it just didn't click then.

Do you feel more pressure at the televised stages?

No not really. Sometimes I think I need the pressure before I start playing my best snooker actually.

There's no real reason for it. It just hasn't happened for me yet. I'm just hoping that once I get a couple of wins, it'll get easier at the big events.

After winning the PTC3, you lost your first match at the PTC4. How disappointed were you not to build on your success?

I've got no excuses. It was my own fault. I play football every Wednesday and last week there was a bad tackle on me, and I got quite a bad cut. It was very uncomfortable playing, I couldn't walk properly. I was 3-0 down against Martin O'Donnell and eventually lost 4-3. He's an amateur I beat 4-0 in another PTC event, so I was really disappointed.

The snooker calendar is a lot busier now. How pleased are you with that?

Yeah there's more events and more money to win but there's still a few gaps in the schedule. I think in October there's a massive run of PTC events every weekend, then nothing for a month. I think the new events could do with being spread out more.

Do you see the increased number of events as a chance for players like you to climb the ranking quickly?

It can work like that. You can climb very quickly but it's dangerous because you can fall just as fast. I think after PTC3 I was up to world number 26, but I'm probably right back down after PTC4. I had a bit of a mare. So, I don't really think it makes much difference, Your ranking just changes more regularly now.

What targets have you set yourself for the season?

I haven't set myself anything specific. It would be nice to stay in the top 32 for a while. But I don't ever set anything because then you just set yourself up for disappointment. I never go out to lose a match so I'll see how I do. I'd like to make it back to the UK and World Championships this year though.

How did first you start playing snooker?

I first picked up a cue when I was 3. My dad and brother used to play on a fold-up table at the bottom of the stairs. I used to watch from the stairs but I always wanted to play. I would bug them for a go, and I guess the first time they thought they'd let me have one shot, I'd miss and go away. But I hit the ball first time. It was all quite natural.

Then when I was 8, not many clubs would let me play but my dad asked Willie Thorne's brother (Malcolm Thorne) if I could play in his club. He said as long as I was good enough, I could play there. I showed I could hit the ball and I was always welcome.

Being from Leicester, I hear you used to play with Mark Selby as a junior. How was that and do you take inspiration from where he is in the game now?

No, I don't take inspiration from him. We were always on par when we played. If anything, I was a little better than him, so watching him frustrates me. We used to play together but at 17, we went our separate ways, and he's doing well. I've always felt I was the more attacking player. I'm not the kind of player to want a frame to last an hour. I don't like sitting back. I enjoy attacking more.

Who do you practice with now then?>

I don't really. There's some local lads I play with sometimes. Mark Joyce and Dave Roe, but I'm not the best practice player. I can't go down the club and play for three hours. I get about half hour in, and start calling people on my phone. I get bored. It's something I've always found difficult to hit the table for long. I can't concentrate.

I've had a habit of going out on the town too much, but I've really knuckled down recently and found a better balance. I've got sick of going out all the time. And as a result, I've started playing more now. Over the last couple of seasons, I've gone to Romford before the bigger tournaments and had a knock about with the likes of Mark King, Barry Hawkins, Ali Carter and Joe Perry.

Talking about other players on the tour, who is toughest person to play, or who frustrates you the most?

There's not many players who frustrate me. Barry Pinches and Anthony Hamilton are tough. They don't go for much, and make a game difficult.

Who is the best player you've ever played?

Ronnie. He's the best. You don't many chances with him and if you make one mistake, you lose the frame.

I've only played him twice, and should have beaten him twice too.

I was 3-1 up against him in the Grand Prix and lost 4-3. Then I was 4-2 ahead of him in the Norther Ireland trophy, before losing 5-4. It's good playing him though. He brings in a good crowd.

Who do you get on with most on the tour?

All of them. They're all nice guys. You see everyone so often that you quickly make friends.

Who was your favourite player as a kid?

I didn't really have one. I never liked watching it. It bored me then and I don't watch it much now either. I enjoy playing when I'm at the tournaments but that's all.

What's your proudest moment in the game?

I was happy with winning the PTC. I also enjoyed getting to the quarter-final at the Malta Cup. I was playing well. I was only young but people said I could win it, but then I lost 5-0 to Stephen Hendry.

What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you?

It's not the funniest but the most shocking. I was playing football out in Shanghai, and I hit the ball from range and ended up breaking Graeme Dott's wrist. He was supposed to be playing the next day and had to pull out. I felt awful.

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