Among the results from the final qualifying round of the Maplin UK Championship that may have passed you by was this one: Mark Davis beat Nigel Bond 9-2.
This was Bond’s fifth successive defeat in five ranking events this season.
There are only three left and he now faces a fight to keep his top 32 place.
Nobody goes on forever. Nigel is now 43 and so in the autumn of his career.
But I always find it slightly sad when big names start to slide down the rankings.
I well remember Dennis Taylor’s last ever match. It was in the World Championship qualifiers in 2000.
He fought back gamely from 8-4 down to 8-8 with Sean Lanigan before losing 10-8.
Dennis knew it was his swansong and was devastated. Memories of the glory days, of THAT black against Steve Davis, had long since receded.
All he cared about was that he had lost and would not be playing again.
Nigel reached a career high of fifth in the rankings and made the Crucible final in 1995, losing 18-9 to Stephen Hendry.
What a lot of people may not know is that his son, Daniel, was born with a rare heart defect.
When young, he needed a great deal of hospital treatment in what was obviously a very worrying time for Nigel and his wife, Caron.
He was born in 1997, at around the time Nigel was enjoying his best spell as a professional. His mind could quite clearly not focus entirely on snooker and his form was inevitably affected, although I know this pales into insignificance compared to the health of his family. Nigel’s most loyal supporter on the circuit for two decades has been his own father, Graham.
In 1996, he won one of the most dramatic of all finals in beating John Higgins 9-8 to win the British Open in Plymouth having got a snooker in the decider. He knocked in a terrific long black for victory.
Nigel has appeared in five ranking tournament finals in total, including the 1990 Grand Prix in only his second season on the circuit.
He won the invitation Scottish Masters in 1997 and invite tournaments in China and Malta.
And he clinched what was surely the most dramatic first round victory the Crucible has ever seen when he beat Stephen Hendry 10-9 on a re-spotted black in 2006.
Bond was seven ahead when he potted the last black of the decider. Hendry unscrewed his cue but they both watched as the cue ball found a pocket.
Nigel returned to eventually knock it in.
After dropping out of the top 32 in 2003 he returned two years later but it is becoming increasingly difficult to stave off decline.
I hope he finds some form again. You will not find a single person on the circuit with a bad word to say about him.
It would be nice if Bond could find a quantum of solace from an otherwise disappointing season.