What a difference a year makes for Ken Doherty.

12 months ago he was close to tears after he lost to Gerard Greene in the final qualifying round of the Betfred.com World Championship and was even contemplating retirement.

It says a lot about his character that instead of feeling sorry for himself he dusted himself down, put in the hard work and is now very likely to be back in the top 32 next season.

His 10-1 defeat of Joe Swail tonight underlined how he has turned things around.

"I’m just delighted to qualify. I’ve had to drag myself back up and it’s great to be at the Crucible again,” Doherty said.

“I was almost in tears last year when I failed to qualify. I didn’t know where my game was going and whether or not it was the end for me but everything has turned around this season."

Credit must also go to Tom Ford, who has qualified for the Crucible for the first time after a top drawer display against Judd Trump, who he beat 10-3.

Ford said he had been motivated to cut down his drinking and apply himself more after watching his fellow Leicester man Mark Selby's rise to the top.

"I see Mark on the TV all the time and it winds me up," he said. "That's nothing against Mark, who texted me to say good luck today, but it makes me realise I should be doing the same thing as well.

"Mark's very, very dedicated and doesn't drink that much. I took the wrong path when I was 18 and started going out too much while he concentrated on playing.

"You have to knuckle down but it's not easy to practise with a hangover. You can party in the summer when there are no tournaments."

David Morris won't be making his Crucible debut this year after losing 10-6 to Michael Holt, who won a big 15th frame on the black.

Barry Hawkins and Martin Gould are also heading back to the game's best known venue after respective wins over Ian McCulloch and Nigel Bond.



All the best Doherty. Well done so far.

Greg P said...

I can't believe Trump missed out again. What is with this guy? I thought he was supposed to be the next big thing? No disrespect to Tom Ford of course.

By the time Trump finally makes the Crucible again he's going to be the Tom Cruise of snooker - a 40 year old playing a 20 year old...

Demon Potter said...

Glad to see Michael Holt there this season – I hope he makes an impression this year. Too many false dawns to which he admits, now is the time to kick on. A bloody nice bloke as well.

Anonymous said...

At least we wont have to listen to Dennis Taylor going on about he look's like someone out of a boyband..

Anonymous said...

I see Ford has given up drinking to help his game.
Didn't stop Higgins (Alex).
There are no characters in the game anymore.

Claus Christensen said...

Characters = alcohol fueled bad behaviour?

You are a fool. Or being ironic.

Anonymous said...

The same old boring faces back at the Crucible. It doesn't say much for the so called emerging talent that they can't beat over the hill has beens.

CHRISK5 said...

There were more 'household' names in snooker in the 1980s,however that situation was helped by a strong & progressive structure of the tour.
These days,with the game struggling to find the formula for a similar 'boom' & players having to dress in identikit attire,it's no surprise at the percieved lack of 'characters' - There are personalities in the game,but the structure needs to give them 'carte blanche' to display that! - Oh yeah,congrats to Doherty - form is temporary,class is usually permanent!

kildare cueman said...

Regarding the household names and characters' debate between now and the 80s, it must be remembered that back then, big time snooker came out of nowhere and found itself with a diverse a cast of players, purely by accident.

Higgins, Reardon and Spencer were the best players of the 70s, and were joined by the 3 Canadians, Welsh Amateur Champion Griffiths and his friend mountjoy.

The best english amateurs, Virgo, Thorne, Johnson and Knowles also signed up, alongside the "misspent youth representatives of white and meo.

They were all after the same thing; cash and glory and an opportunity to trade the tedium of work for playing their favourite game.

Nothing new in that, you might say, but the difference is, they were all thrust into the televised snooker boom at the start with a variety of ages and backgrounds that will never be seen again.

Postmen, miners, barmen, money players, all of them became high earning celebrities overnight, and like many a young and not so young man before them, the high life beckoned, and many pubs, clubs and casinos entertained as they do.

Great copy for the journos but career defining lifestyles as some fell away and some thrived.

From that point, a natural path from youth to pro emerged, and as more young players [who can blame them] modelled their game on the Davis ultra professional style, the game changed, and with it the after match partying that was commonplace back then.

Players are reluctant to display emotion on table lest they give a psychological advantage to their opponent, and off table they are encouraged to rest and practise accordingly.

Many of the 80s players were top amateurs for years before the boom, and had time aplenty to develop their personality.

The young ones back then, to my memory, didnt exactly set the room on fire when being interviewed

Demon Potter said...

Does this mean we won't have to put up with dull Doherty on the BBC sofa or in the commentary box? I do hope so...

Anonymous said...

Well done to Tom Ford. It has often been said that he was always the more talented player between him and Mark, and I'm pleased to see his game getting the rewards as he finally realises what it takes to succeed. I just hope they don't get each other in the first round!

jamie brannon said...

Clive Everton must have been dancing in the Halesowen streets when he heard that Ken had qualified, it should hopefully mean more commentary work.

Trump still has time and fair play to the Racing Post for tipping Anda Zhang at 3-1.

Anonymous said...

i am hoping it means more guest appearances by players in the com booth personally, rather than have clive in for more!