Buckle my shoe – it’s 32.
I thought it was high time I caught up with the World Champion again to talk about all things snooker and a few things that have absolutely nothing to do with snooker. Here’s the second installment of Bingo Calling, the World Champion’s blog.
SB: SB! How’s it going?
Ballrun: SB! Not too bad at all.
SB: First off from me Ballrun is another gushing thank you for donating £1000 to the SB Classic, I have to repeat again this was top drawer.
Ballrun: That’s OK SB, I was happy to help you out.
SB: Top man, I’d better not write anything bad about you now had I?
Ballrun: Yeah SB, that’s right, you ain’t got the money yet.
SB: Have I ever told you that you are my favourite ever player? The grace around the table, the cue action…the good looks, the ermmmm….
Ballrun: OK SB that’s enough, you’ll get your money don’t worry.
SB: I see you’ve got a new website?
Ballrun: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it for a while SB. I know a few other players have them like Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson and after winning the Worlds I just thought it was time for a more professional approach and that’s really why I did it.
SB: Did you win the World? You never mentioned it?
Ballrun: Careful SB….
SB: Just my little joke Ballrun, anyway back to on the table, what happened in the World Cup? Didn’t go to plan did it? Was it Selby’s fault or what?
Ballrun: Well, yeah, of course it was.
SB: I’ll move on then..
Ballrun: Nah, it was a good experience but we both struggled and the first match done us in really, we just never got going, it happens sometimes. But it was great to represent England, just a shame about the result that’s all.
SB: So then you went on to Riga….
Ballrun: Then we went to Australia SB.
SB: Ah well, not far off….Careless.
Ballrun: Well I went there and got Ferginated so I might as well have gone straight to Riga.
SB: You weren’t the first and you won’t be the last Ballrun.
Ballrun: Yeah SB, again I had chances to win and didn’t take them from 4-2 up and I managed to lose. Then I went to Riga and Liang Wenbo beat me 4-1, I was all over the place really.
SB: You had a decent match against Higgins in Furth, could have gone either way…
Ballrun: Yeah, but again I had my chances to win 4-1 and 4-2 and didn’t, but you are still playing John Higgins at the end of the day and that’s never going to be easy as he’s still one of the best players in the world.
SB: I remember looking at the odds for the match and you were favourite, proves that in the bookies eyes you are now one of the main men to beat given Higgins reputation.
Ballrun: I suppose so, I don’t feel any different to last season really though, I think there is some added pressure now as World Champion and one website said ‘a below par Stuart Bingham’ so maybe they are trying to create the pressure.
SB: That wasn’t me was it?
Ballrun: No not you SB, you’d not have got that grand otherwise. But you can’t help but read this stuff on Twitter and all that, people saying this and that but the season hasn’t really started yet and I only won in Sheffield 4 months ago and I’ve had 2 months off, I’m a bit rusty but I’m confident I’ll come good soon.
Ballrun and Ali go way back.
SB: Don’t listen to any of those websites or the tweeters Ballrun, except me of course. It’s early season, snooker’s a winter sport you know that.
Ballrun: Of course SB, I won’t let it get to me don’t worry.
SB: Good man. So would you like to say something about Ali Carter’s win at the Paul Hunter? You two go back a long way after all.
Ballrun: Brilliant SB. If there was ever writing on the wall it’s for Ali to win that after all he’s been through. I’m delighted for him, nobody deserves it more than he does.
SB: Me too, I think he should do an autobiography.
Ballrun: Me too SB, me too.
SB: So what’s your take on all these European venues given that some of them might not be holding events next season? Do you like playing the PTC’s?
Ballrun: I do SB, I’ve been a pro long enough to remember the six tournament calendar and having to flog your guts, living in a suitcase going to pro-ams to make a living, I of all people can’t complain about how it is now, maybe some people forget how bad it was or know no different and that’s why there are sometimes complaints. We’re playing in top class venues all over Europe in front of big crowds, so for me there is nothing not to like. The Paul Hunter is my personal favourite, but Riga was good and we’re off to Ruhr soon so all good, especially if I do well.
SB: It’s about right now isn’t it? Not too many of them. But you probably want more don’t you?
Ballrun: I’ll play in anything SB, with them cancelling these Asian Tour events it looks like I’ll be playing in everything this year. Not sure what’s going on with those.
SB: You’re even playing in the 6 Reds? You’ll play in anything won’t you?
Ballrun: I’ll always be the same SB, give me a table and a set of balls and I’ll play, doesn’t matter where it is.
SB: Or how many reds there are…
Ballrun: I’d play 1 red SB, way things are so far this season I’d have more of a chance…
SB: So to wind snookery things up Ballrun, you’re off to defend your Shanghai title soon, biggest event of the season so far wouldn’t you agree?
Ballrun: Yes, I’ve only defended a ranking title once so it will be an experience, I have a tough draw in Jamie Jones or a wildcard so I’ll need a good start and hopefully it will kick start my season. First time I defended in Australia I lost in the first round to Matt Selt so hopefully I can do better this time.
SB: Practice for ‘THE CURSE’?
Ballrun: Bring it on SB, but I’m not going to upset the snooker gods, I know better than that.
SB: Any off table news? I see you’ve got a new pair of fancy shoes?
Ballrun: Another freebie SB, you know me.
SB: I assumed so given your penchant for the free stuff, what’s the story there then?
Not what he ordered.
Ballrun: Well, every quarter finalist in the Worlds got a letter in their dressing room during the championship from a shoe company in Sheffield offering them a free pair of made to measure scoobies, I was round there like a shot the next morning SB, don’t even think they were open when I got there, got in there, they were delighted to see me so I got the old plates measured and my shoes have just arrived. I don’t know if any of the other players did it.
SB: You love a freebie Ballrun, I’ll give you that.
Ballrun: I do SB. Oh guess what? I’m also on a Question of Sport in October, that should be good and I’ve been doing some filming for the Ronnie O’Sullivan Show on Eurosport, that’s on in September I think.
SB: So he’s talking to you now you’re World Champion then is he?
Ballrun: That’s it yeah, I’m in Ronnie’s gang now SB.
SB: It was bound to happen Ballrun. Anyway, thanks as ever for your time, I know you’re a busy chap these days. Catch you in a few weeks yeah?
Ballrun: Yeah no problem SB, see you soon.
SB: OK, can I have my money soon? Ballrun? Ballrun?
Bingo Calling returns soon, assuming I get my £1000.