Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Well done to Walden

Ricky Walden has had a brief taste of life among the top 16 - and now he approaches the stage of the season where he'll be desperate to claim it back.
Picture by Monique Limbos

If his impressive 147 break at this week's PTC10 is anything to go by, he's right up for the fight as well.

Maximum breaks have been rather like buses this season. We waited several tournaments for the first, then got three at all once. First Mike Dunn hit a 147 in the German Masters qualifiers, then amateur David Gray jonied in an now most recently, Walden.

Ricky has escaped my radar somewhat this season. He's been going steadily about his business, currently just outside the top 32 on the one-year ranking list so far this season.

This shouldn't concern Ricky too much as that can all change quickly with the bigger ranking events now on the horizon. He'll be playing in the UK Championship next week and can stake a claim to be back among the elite with a decent run.

There's no doubt he has the quality to be there. His career highlight saw him win the 2008 Shanghai Masters, proving what a talent he is on his game.

What people struggle to undertsand was whether that was over-achievement or his form now is under-achievement. I can't help but go for the former because he's not consistently emerged as a realistic title contender.

On his A-game though, he's a precise player and a neat break-builder. He's ambitious enough to get back in as well. I remember reading when he first broke into the top 16 last season that his plan was to stay there and move up.

Unfortunately defeat to Rory McLeod at the Crucible in April saw him bomb out prematurely. But his inability to make his top 16 status stick may well drive him on to a quick return.

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