Friday, 29 June 2012

Life begins at 40

Mark Davis and Marcus Campbell have proved age is just a number this week at the Wuxi Classic.

Picture by Monique Limbos
These two veterans - fast-approaching their 40th birthdays - are both through to their maiden major ranking event semi-finals, showing you're never too old to make your mark.

Branded journeymen of the tour long ago, not many would say these two belong at this stage of a big event, but maturing like fine wines they seem to be finding a way in their latter years playing professional sport.

Barry Hearn deserves a lot of thanks for their progress. He has given them more tournaments to play in and with it has come consistent runs at the PTCs and regular qualification for major venues, which has seen them rise into the top 32 of the world rankings.

Have they hit their level? Maybe not. This flow of regular snooker has helped them become sharper and more confident than ever before, and they are now just two wins away from the dream of winning a major title.

This week, they've profited from many top players struggling to find their feet in the early stages of the season but have brought a solid, if not spectacular, game to the table to help them quietly through the rounds.

Now, people are taking notice.

Picture by Monique Limbos
They need to seize the opportunity. We all know they can play the game but these runs could help reignite hopes of a late burst into the top 16, while winning a tournament would be the chance to prove what they're truly capable of.

Can they go all the way? They probably won't get a better chance than this to win a title, but it still won't be easy.

Davis faces man of the moment, Stuart Bingham. He beat world number one Mark Selby today, in what was his third win of the week that went to a decider.

Bingham should be great inspiration to Davis though. He won his first ever major title just a year ago in Australia at the age of 36. That victory has given him great belief and his start to the season has been so good he's already won two trophies and will be favourite tomorrow.

Campbell's test isn't much easier.

Ricky Walden stands in the way of place in the final. He coolly dispatched of former world champion Graeme Dott in the quarter-finals 5-0 and has got something to prove himself.

I always class Walden as one of the great underachievers. Since defying the odds to win his first ranking title at the 2008 Shanghai Masters, he hasn't gone on to build on his success.

In fact, he's only just regained his place among the elite after struggling to make an impact during his last spell there. He doesn't lack the confidence and always gets better once he has a win or two under his belt.

For all four players, this could be the best chance they have to land a title this season. They won't want to let it slip.

Bring on the semi-finals.

1 comment:

  1. Life begins… when the youngest child leaves the home and you're free again ;)