Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Hitman hits back

Failing to qualify for the Crucible is often the end of a player's season.

This campaign is slightly different because the new PTC series means there's an immediate chance for players to bounce back.

But such is the drain of missing out on Sheffield  that it wouldn't be a surprise to see the failing qualifiers fall into oblivion.

It takes real character to react to lows, and a year without Sheffield is pretty much down there for most top players who have tasted the tournament before

Defeat in the World Championship qualifiers ultimately means all a player's hard work has gone without the best reward of all.

But one of the game's biggest character's proved he's got the stomach for the fight today.

Michael Holt, fresh from losing 10-6 at the World Championship qualifiers on Saturday, chalked up an impressive 4-1 win against Marco Fu in the first round of the PTC Grand Finals.

It shows he's back in business.

It was perhaps fitting this result marked a good comeback from Holt, because after all, it was his ability to bounce back which earned him his place in Dublin anyway.

The Hitman endured a barren start to the season. Problems off the table, namely the illness of his father, prevented him producing the kind of snooker we all know he's capable of.

But then from nowhere, he went on an emphatic run to win one of the 12 PTC events. This title alone gave him the points to force his way inside the top 24 Order of Merit.

Losing a place at the worlds is always a tough knock to take for the professional players. The only cure is winning matches quickly after. Holt has enjoyed a fantastic start in Dublin, and he can forget about missing out by accumulating plenty of ranking points from now until Sunday.

It's only a small substitute for a place at the Crucible, but it's better than letting defeat fester.

Well played Holty!

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