Judd Trump’s second career victory over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the Premier League last night proved that he is a big occasion player.
His problem, conversely, is making it to the big occasions.
I confess I didn’t see the match so have had to rely on what I’ve been told, but to beat O’Sullivan before a large crowd live on television as he did in Exeter is something that will give him huge confidence.
It follows his win over the world no.1 in the Grand Prix last year.
Trump has impressed in the Premier League, yet in the qualifiers at Prestatyn this season he is 0/3.
He could conceivably win the League title and drop out of the top 32.
Ever since he was a boy he has been tipped for big things. He was a prodigious winner of junior titles and maybe he expected too much too soon as a pro.
Judd has done pretty well, making it into the top 32 as a teenager. Comparisons with other players are inevitable but unhelpful.
O’Sullivan won a ranking title at 17. Shaun Murphy was 22 when he won his first.
Players mature at different rates. Trump is attempting to make the next step by going to Sheffield, where he will practice in the World Snooker Academy.
I’d imagine this was a hard decision for him to make. Keynsham is all he has known so far but, like any young man, he is looking to spread his wings a little, be more independent and take control of his own life.
This is fine...as long as he continues to focus on his snooker.
Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry were not social animals as young men. You didn’t see them in nightclubs every weekend. They had that single-mindedness you need to succeed.
That said, comparing any player to those two is unfair: they are a breed apart.
Trump is practising with Daniel Wells and Jack Lisowski. I don’t know them personally but have interviewed them both and they seem like nice, down to earth lads and this trio is unlikely to turn into a sort of snooker brat pack.
They all love the game, they all love playing the game and the competition between the three could help each of them improve.
Trump’s next big test comes at the UK Championship qualifiers in a couple of week’s time.
He may go to Pontin’s bleary-eyed as Premier League champion.
I don’t believe he will simply fade away but it is pointless predicting what he will achieve in the future.
Better to just let the guy play. Because, as O’Sullivan will tell you, he can play.