Perhaps the most improved player on the circuit these last couple of seasons is Martin Gould, a deceptively talented cueist who is now heading towards the top 16.
Gould is placed 22nd in the latest ranking list and has qualified for the final stages of the 12bet.com UK Championship.
He beat James Wattana 9-8 last night after a match in which there was never more than a frame in it.
It’s been a memorable year for Gould. Earlier this season he reached his first ranking event quarter-final at the World Open, where his attacking style paid dividends.
He was, of course, very close to a last eight berth at the Crucible but saw his 11-5 lead over Neil Robertson turn into a dispiriting 13-12 defeat.
For this to happen at the World Championship, as high profile as snooker gets, was embarrassing more than anything. By his own admission, Martin panicked: he knew Steve Davis had beaten John Higgins and that he thus had a very good chance to reach the semi-finals.
It was a lack of experience that caused this anxiety but he’s learned the hard way and pressed on this season. He will be in the PTC grand finals next March.
Gone are the days when he worked as a croupier in a casino. Snooker is becoming a full time job and the more players play, the sharper they are.
The standard at Telford is likely to be extremely high because the field will have had so much recent competitive snooker under their belts.
Gould faces Graeme Dott, a touch match but I’m sure the former world champion would agree that the Pinner potter isn’t someone you’d want to play in the first round.
There is one mystery that remains, though: how exactly does he play in those glasses?