Rod Lawler’s career looked over at the end of last season. Relegated from the professional circuit and into his 40s, he was faced with a bleak choice: chance his arm in the Q School or get a job.

The latter didn’t appeal so much so Lawler paid the £1,000 entry fee and, at the third and final time of asking, qualified.

Even so, few could have expected what was to follow. Lawler won four matches to qualify for the final stages of the season’s first ranking event, the Wuxi Classic, where he beat Stephen Maguire and very nearly beat Graeme Dott.

Lawler had some good wins in the next few tournaments as well before his remarkable capture of Players Tour Championship event 3 in Gloucester last night.

Yesterday alone he beat four ranking tournament winners: Stuart Bingham, Stephen Lee, Dominic Dale and, in the final, Marco Fu.

His win over Fu was his 43rd match of the season, including Q School. Relegation appears to be the best thing that could have happened to the Liverpudlian. It refocused his mind and his priorities. He is now grateful for a second chance, match fit and his confidence is sky high.

Lawler grew up watching snooker in its UK heyday during the boom years of the 1980s. He started late by today’s standards, at 13. He looked up to Jimmy White but his own style has always been more methodical.

So what? It takes all sorts. What he proved in this PTC is how adept he is at playing the percentages. He likes to attack but, if he runs out of position, he doesn’t push the boat out but plays a good safety and tries to force a mistake and thus another opening.

Lawler said his previous best moment was beating Stephen Hendry live on TV at the 1996 International Open, after which he went on to reach the final, losing to John Higgins. He also defeated John Parrott at the Crucible in 1995.

But nothing beats winning a trophy and, after 22 years as a professional, that is what he has now done.

Lawler has some good practice partners with which he plays regularly: Dave Harold, Andrew Higginson and Ricky Walden.

He like them is the sort of dedicated professional who keeps his head down, works hard and treats the game with respect.

He has spent most of his professional career in the wings as one of the game's supporting cast. He thoroughly deserves his moment in the spotlight.

It’s been a long time coming for Rod but he has finally done it and in the process authored one of the most unlikely but heart warming stories of recent snooker times.


Monique said...

The only remark I have about this post Dave is this: being a professional snooker player IS a job. It isn't an office or 9 to 5 sort of job, but it's a job. They have to honour their commitments - be it playing or promo work - and they have to keep themselves at the best standard they can reach through practice and proper lifestyle. It's a job and that's why they are called professionals. Every single one of them who reaches the top or win events have put a lot of hard work in.
I know that this will trigger a lot of reactions like "I'd rather do that than what I do today, easy!". Well, everyone who thinks it's that easy and glamorous, why don't they do it?

Dave H said...

Rod's remark was tongue in cheek, as was my reaction to it

Jonathan Shaw said...

Really good post Dave. I can't say I am a huge fans of the PTC's but it's great that they have given the chance for someone like Lawler to earn a well deserved spot in the limelight.

Anonymous said...

Shame more of them don't treat it like a job then. Well done Rod.

Anonymous said...

Go on Rod the Plod! (taken from snooker backer blog i think)

Good to see one of the older guys getting a good run, Joe Swail last week, who is next???

Anonymous said...

Dave while i commend Rob for his win,if he was ever on tv,i would turn it off, gloss the back door and stare at it for several hours!

ddrIII said...

Also a good sight for Fu to reach the final.

Anonymous said...


Please tell the Live Snooker TV production team to turn your mike up - you were half the volume of the table & ref at best. We want to hear what you've got to say.

The commentator volume on the other stream was ok


Anonymous said...

"being a professional snooker player IS a job"

Right i'm going to take as much time off as ROS/HIGGINS have done in the last 6 month!

I bet i'm not still in employment come next March..

Anonymous said...

443 whispering ravey dave?

Anonymous said...

209....i can be "self employed" in a job


wild said...


being self employed is hard work i honestly cant think of many self employed people that can afford to take 6 months off.most self employed people work 7 days a week so that their business keeps earning.

snooker players want the freedom of being self employed with the security of being employed.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

wild, normally you talk a lot of sense, even if you post it in an extreme way at times, but although that which you posted is your opinion, it doesnt mean its anywhere near accurate outwith your bubble.

i know several self employed people who only work 4 days or less a week and the majority of them take at least 2 holidays abroad per year.

id have changed the word "several" for DOZENS if i was to include the people i know who work in IT/comp industry where ive been involved with at times over the years. they choose their own hours and take a lot more than the average holidays a normal person takes.

also, a snooker player doesnt get 6 months off.

if you think the majority of them in between tournaments sit of their hands then thats your call, but id say the majority of them practise daily, for 2/3 of what normal people work.

its easy to shoehorn your opinion to sound factual, but theyre only off for a maximum of 3 months and at that they should be pratising. if not, theyll play shite or not make enough for the job to be worthwile.

wild said...

i know several self employed people who only work 4 days or less a week and the majority of them take at least 2 holidays abroad per year.
i have no doubt your right some do but you look at some of the most successful people in the world even our very own Barry Hearn he made his millions by being Hands on 24/7.

Most self employed people are workaholics because its their Business and even on Holiday they still Working you cant just switch off.

Anonymous said...

wild, i was the guy that commented to you the first time.

since you basically said the same thing/made the same point again i was going to repost my post too, but i wont bother.

do you have a bubble postcode?

wild said...

i replied to you and made the same point for the simple reason i was hoping at some point you might get some common sense.

Anonymous said...

wild, i love hearing the same joke twice

your point was opinion and far from factual

sorry you missed the point that your opinion, although its often a very good read, isnt always factual.

and it was off the scale plucked from the sky imaginary "figures" this time.

Anonymous said...

while were at it wild

Most self employed people are workaholics because its their Business and even on Holiday they still Working you cant just switch off.

is your opinion, but its just plucked from your imagination. its what you believe to be the case.

id say almost exlusivle the oppositte with the people ive known in the situation....

and before you try a witty retort, yes their businesses are doing great and still going.

but hey ho, just keep plucking thoughts and opinions from your mind and some will believe you

wild said...

if that's your experience fine but its not mine so what makes your beliefs right and not mine ?

i know people who work 7 day weeks who are self employed that's fact not imaginary.

Anonymous said...

i never said your beliefs were wrong

when you start "most...." and youre just completely guessing thats the case, dont lose the plot when someone disagrees, especially when that person initially complemented you on normally being sound.

wild said...

have i lost the plot ?

In line with the literature on entrepreneurial motivation
(Locke, 2000; Shane et al., 2003; Smilor, 1997), we
assert that the self-employed (entrepreneurs) will score
higher than employees on both work engagement and
workaholism. There are two main reasons for this.
First, there may be dispositional individual differences
between both groups that are responsible for the
proposed differences in engagement and workaholism.
Individuals in entrepreneurial jobs are more often
characterized by achievement-related traits, such as
need for achievement, self-efficacy, and internal locus
of control than those working on payroll


Anonymous said...

yeah you have, and im not going to scour the net to post something in my favour, as its quite obvious the one site youve found is the be all and end all for any debate. hmm

wild said...

thats one site more than you have presented with something to back you up.

Anonymous said...

well done on being able to count, but not actually being able to read and not react.