September 2, 2011

The Captain Logs from Shanghai

Filed under: snookerbacker @ 11:00 am

The Captain is back at the Flightdeck

It’s been a while since we had an update from Ali Carter so he’s found some time to let us know how he’s getting on ahead of his defence over in Shanghai. Below you can read his thoughts on the past few months, including his exploits in the World Cup with Mark Selby, why he will be sticking to snooker rather than pool and who has been getting a bit loud on the plane over to China….I’ll hand you over to the Captain

Hi everyone, this is your Captain speaking.

Firstly, I realise it’s been a while since I’ve posted a log entry and there has been plenty going on since my last one. I don’t intend to dwell too much on what’s gone before now although the last few months is worthy of a little summary I guess.

As I am sure you will all understand, the World Championship was a disappointing outing for me and I expected better from myself and really fancied going deep. It wasn’t to be and I had to take my medicine and say goodbye to another season gone. It’s difficult to sum the season up and I’m not really sure if I could consider it a good, bad or average one! It was great to start with a ranking title win in China but soon after that I had to have a further operation for my Crohns Disease.  Although the operation went well, the recovery was/is slow and it definitely affected my performance in a few events. The rest of the season was a bit of a mixed bag – at times I felt like I was playing good and confident and at others I found it tough going. Still, with the calendar looking like it is these days, there wasn’t much of a lay off before things would get going again so I took the opportunity to make as much of the downtime as I could.

Amongst other things, I continued with my project of gradually sorting a few bits and bobs around the house and garden and that’s work that’s all ongoing. I also managed to get out a few times with some mates and pluck off a few clay pigeons.  I used to do quite a bit of shooting – it was a hobby I picked up from my Dad who has always been a keen shooter but it’s hard to find the time these days. I was a bit rusty at first but soon found my range and it rejuvenated my enjoyment for the sport and helped me relax away from the table and take my mind off snooker for a bit. I also managed to get back in the cockpit a few times and take advantage of the decent spells of weather we had and get a few more flying hours under my belt.

The club has had a bit of a refurb too and looks much fresher and better for it – all ready for the Essex leg of the Snookerbacker Classic so remember to get your entries in and come on down. I hope to be around on the day myself to see how it all goes.

The trip to Bangkok for the World Cup was fun although myself and Mark were disappointed with our performance overall.  We were both delighted to have the opportunity to represent England and I was proud that my ranking meant that I was entitled to have the honour to do so. The Jester and I were confident going into the tournament – even more so having both reached the final in Wuxi just a day before the World Cup commenced.

There was a high standard of play against us and in my opinion, the format was a bit of a leveller. I think we only won one frame of doubles – we certainly expected to do better than that! Mark played well at the outset but I struggled to find my game throughout and although not an excuse, had a few days were my Crohns was playing up a bit and I was not feeling in great form.  The games were often scrappy and the tables weren’t playing as well as we are used to and it all made for some not very entertaining and free flowing snooker at times. We were very disappointed to lose to Hong Kong and although I think it’s fair to say that both HK and us felt that the wind was more behind them at times, they did play well as a team and ground us down for the win.

We headed out for something to eat and a few drinks on Sunday night to round the week off and I ended up having a few racks of pool with the locals in one of the bars. One or two of them recognised me from the TV coverage and before long I had a stream of challengers! I held my own but one guy was pretty good and took a couple of racks off me to the great delight of the locals! It was all very fun and friendly but I think I will stick to the snooker in future anyway.

Hendry - Troublemaker

So it was then on to Oz after another long transfer.  I don’t really have much to say about the Tournament (other than congratulations to fellow Essex man and long time sparring partner Ballrun Bingo for his win) as I played the afternoon I landed and left for the airport again the same day! I don’t think may people will have jetted into Australia and not even stayed 24 hours before heading home again!

For many different reasons I didn’t compete in too many of the PTC’s last year.  This was definitely to my detriment and I have every intention of playing in as many as possible this year.  I have won a few matches so far and was disappointed not to be able to get to Furth last week but it was important to rest up as much as possible in view of the long journey to China this week.

A few of us came out here early as we had some work to do in another city. Messrs, Cope, Ebdo, Kingy and Hendry were also on the flight to China and then we headed to Nanchang for some work.  We killed a few hours up at the bar on the plane on the way over and had quite a laugh actually – we even got a little telling off from the stewardess for being a bit noisy during a night flight – tut tut (I blame Kingy and Hendry!). There was plenty of banter and inevitably the talk got round to snooker and covered such topics as playing conditions, the PTC’s, rankings and Bazza, to name but a few.

On arrival in China we were given a great reception as always and it felt great coming back here as the reigning Champion. As ever, it will be a tough week ahead but I really feel like I am starting to hit the ball well again now and I feel a bit better in my health so I’m up for making a good run at defending my title.  (Please Snooker Gods – let me retain the title – I promise I won’t drop the trophy again!! He he).

Having just arrived back in Shanghai this morning I’m still a bit tired so need plenty of rest but the practice tables are up so I will be getting a few hours in between now and Tuesday when I kick off this years’ campaign.

Okay, better get some rest now then, enjoy the tournament….

Until the next time, over and out.

The Captain.

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