After his great run to the Welsh Open final earlier this month, Andrew Higginson was today back on familiar turf at the qualifiers for the 888.com World Championship in Prestatyn.
The Widnes pro won eight matches and led Neil Robertson 8-6 in their Newport final before losing 9-8.
The £39,500 he picked up, including £22,000 for a televised maximum, was more than 50% of his previous career prize money in 11 unproductive years on the circuit.
Higginson's final against Robertson was watched by a near capacity crowd and many more on television. For his match against Mark Boyle at Pontin's there were around 20 spectators in attendance to see him come through 10-4.
“I felt more pressure in this match than I did in the final," he told me. "I didn’t want to go from doing so well in Newport to falling at the first fence, so it was a really big game for me.
“It was also very important in terms of ranking points but hopefully I can relax a bit now. I’m playing well enough to get through the qualifiers and I’m full of confidence.
“The feedback has been unbelievable since Newport . I’ve had loads of text messages and people wishing me well. I think I’ve inspired a few players to carry on because I’ve shown what can happen.
“It’s still a weird feeling. As I’ve been practising for the World Championship for the last week I’ve not really been out so it’s probably not until this is over than I can sit down and look back at what I’ve achieved.”
Higginson needs to win three more matches to reach the Crucible. He will have a great number of new fans cheering him on.