Monday, 22 August 2011

Wonderful Woollaston wins maiden title

Promising-talent Ben Woollaston captured his first ever ranking title at the PTC3 this weekend - showing again how these tournaments can help players make their breakthrough.

The former European Under-19 champion battled back from 2-1 to beat Graeme Dott 4-2 in the final and put himself on the snooker map with his finest career moment to date.

While household names Ronnie O'Sullivan and Judd Trump have been the first to chalk up PTC wins so far this season, Woollaston's win came of some more of a surprise.

The 24-year-old from Leicester potter, ranked 69 in the world, came into the tournament in good enough form with three wins at the Australian Open qualifiers and a victory against Martin Gould in the PTC2.

He's long-threatened to produce the kind of snooker we saw from him this weekend  at the Academy, but never did anyone predict he would lift this trophy, having never been past the last 32 of a ranking event until now. Even going in to the final following wins against Rod Lawler, Kurt Maflin, Andrew Higginson, Ken Doherty, Alan McManus and Anthony McGill, Dott was the firm favourite as a fomer world champion and already having dismissed Stephen Hendry, John Higgins and O'Sullivan in the tournament.

But appearing unfazed by the pressure, Woollaston won the final three frames to secure his first title and collect £10,000 and 2,000 vital ranking points.

Now up to 59 in provisional world rankings, he's guaranteed his place at the end-of-season PTC Grand Finals and looks likes a good bet to break into the top 64, or even the 48, come the end of the season.

My immediate reaction is that even with the PTC series now established on the tour calendar and the top stars taking it more seriously than last season, Ben's win proves they're still a fantastic opportunity for lower-ranked players to make their mark.

Ben has definitely done that and as a result sees some of his vast talents and years of hardwork come to fruition.

He first broke on to the professional scene in 2003 as a teen sensation, but failing to retain to his spot, he next returned in 2009. This win gives him the points and confidence to ensure his professional status sticks long-term and should also provide great inspiration for other newer professionals.

His victory also means he joins the likes of Mark Selby, Tom Ford and Wille Thorne to make the honours list from Leicester. That in itself should give him great pride from an area so passionate about its snooker.

Well done Ben!

No comments:

Post a Comment