Monday, 12 March 2012

60 seconds with... Simon Bedford

It's been a turbulent season for Yorkshire's Simon Bedford on and off the table.

Suffering a fractured back in a car accident returning from the PTC in Poland threatened to derail his season.

Not realising the extent of his injuries, he battled on to achieve some solid results. This secured his professional status for next season despite missing out on qualification for all the later ranking events.

With his problems behind him, Simon is already switching his attention to the new campaign.  He's teamed up with 1986 world champion Joe Johnson in his base in Bradford ready to give life on the green baize a good go again.

OnCue caught up with the man who first turned professional in 1996 to ask him some quickfire questions...

How do you assess your season?

It's a strange one really because I was happy with how I was playing and enjoying some decent results in the PTCs early on. But it all changed on my way back from Poland. I had dropped Adam Duffy off in Sheffield and was heading back to Bradford when I had the collision. I'd fractured my back but didn't realise so ploughed on playing.

I got to the last 16 of PTC11. I lost there to Martin Gould and started to feel pains in my back. I then went to see a physio and was told the news about my injury. I was lucky to have already got enough points on the Order of Merit to return to the tour but it's been a difficult recovery. There were times where I couldn't even walk but now I'm looking forward to getting practising again.

Tell me a little more about where you're based...

I play at Cue Gardens in Bradford just off the motorway.

It's an amazing facility and is combined with a great darts academy. It's a good base for solo practice but I usually travel to Sheffield to go to the academy to play other players. Not many people realise I work full-time laminating fibre glass on top of my snooker. You can't be guaranteed a living from snooker so it's a good way to make sure I have something to fall back on.

You went through Q School to get back on to the tour last season. How relieved are you to avoid that this time round?

I'm definitely happy because it's a bit of a nightmare and a very stressful tournament. It's not a nice way to do it because it's so tough but at least you go into the season confident after beating other good players. After all that hardwork, it made my injury this season extra disappointing but I'm ready to have a real go again.

You've had some good results in the PTCs. They've had some mixed reviews but how have you found them?

I love them. It sometimes feels like you need bottomless pockets on the circuit because they're so expensice but they're enjoyable to play in. The events in Europe, in particular, had a special feel. If you can get a few results, I think it's easier to relax and enjoy them more.

Next season is a big one for you. Have you set yourself any targets?

I'm just going to see where it takes me and take it as it comes. It's good to have goals in mind but I always think it creates extra pressure, especially if you don't meet them early on. I'll be working with Joe Johnson. He's a great guy, so I'm optimistic.

How did you first get into snooker?

My brother, John Bedford, was a professional when I was 14-years-old. That was probably a little later than most other professionals starting playing but that's when I really got into the game.

Which player did you like as a youngster?

James Wattana. He came to play in Bradford when he was 18-years-old and I started practising with him; it was a great experience. I then went on to travel around to tournaments with him and he was my idol.

He was the bees knees back then and a great player to be around.  He's such a nice bloke. He probably taught me more than anyone along with my brother. I remember Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry fondly like everyone but James was always the player for me.

Mark Williams is up there as well. He's so laid back. Everyone can play at the top of their game during practice but, the way he plays matches like that, is phenomenal.

What is your career highlight?

A lot of people remember me for getting to the Crucible in 1998. That has to be my highlight. I played Davis there and lost 10-6. It was amazing to play such a legend at the World Championship but, once you taste that kind of big game, you want it more; but I haven't been able to get back there.

What is your career lowlight?

I qualified for the Grand Prix in 2008 after beating Williams. That was a great feeling but I went on to lose to Peter Ebdon in Aberdeen, and played poorly. It was so frustrating to know how well I could play but failed to deliver.

What are is your strength?

I'm a good safety player. I've built my career on being hard to beat and making it difficult for my opponents to win. I don't care if I win pretty or ugly, I just play to win.

What is your weakness?

It's probably break-building. I often create chances through good safety but go on not to score enough to make them count.

If you weren't a snooker player, what would you be? 

I've done lots of odd jobs down the years and I'm a little different to other players in the sense that I work while playing. If I didn't play snooker at all though, I might have been in the RAF. I always had an interest in that.

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