Bradford potter Simon Bedford (pictured)admits he is paying the price for having to focus on his full-time job after he crashed out in the first round of the UK Snooker Championship tonight.
Bedford was the only man to beat Ronnie O’Sullivan last year – though admittedly there was not a lot of competition as his opponent took a near year-long sabbatical before returning to retain his Crucible crown.
But the 37-year-old is down at 89 in the world rankings this season and has only competed in seven tournaments so far, winning six matches in all.
And, after a near two-month break from the game, he struggled to get going against Jamie Burnett in the first round at the Barbican in York.
Burnett led 4-0 and 5-1 before Bedford finally found some form but the left-hander left it too late and eventually ended up a 6-4 loser.
“The first four frames I just did not perform and that has cost me the match,” he said.
“I played well in the end but by then I had just left myself far too much to do.
“It was a bit of ring rust – I have not played for a bit, two or three months – so it was that which cost me.
“I can’t afford to play in every tournament so I have been working and trying to pay for tournaments as I go.
“I played better than him in the end but when you are playing good players you need to start off well or it will cost you.”
Bedford works for Quickslide Windows in West Yorkshire and his full-time employment means that he struggles to spend any time on the practice table.
The amount of tournaments he can enter is also severely hampered and Bedford admits that he is only thinking about the World Championship for the rest of the 2013-14 campaign.
After that he is not sure if we will continue playing the game that he loves.
He added: “It’s probably just the World Championship for me now and then I will have a big think about what I want to do next year.
“It’s too hard to work full-time and then come to snooker and compete. But that is a decision for next year.”
Bradford snooker champion Gareth Green (pictured) left the UK Championships with the belief he can cut it among the best players in the world.
Green was one of seven amateurs to enter the draw for the first round at York’s Barbican Centre and lost to former champion Judd Trump 6-2.
After slipping to a 3-0 deficit, the 23-year-old fought back to win two straight frames before the world No 4 took control.
But Green, who juggles snooker commitments with his job as an asbestos surveyor, just wants more opportunities to show he can compete at the top level.
“If I got to the venues more often, I think I could compete,” he said. “But if it’s on and off, then it is just hit and miss. I am confident that I can do it.
“I work full time so it is a bit hard for me to play.
“Overall I think we both played fairly poor. I missed a lot of chances and pretty much gave him the game.
“It was great to play here for the first time but obviously the pressure got to me a bit.
“It didn’t faze me by playing Judd. It was just more the venue and the build-up to it. You don’t really look at who you’re taking on – you just play the balls.
“I was feeling fine, just missing silly balls and it cost me. I left too many for him and he took them eventually.
“My aim is to concentrate on practising towards a Q School, when that starts again and, if I get on, I will take it from there.”
Keighley teenager Dylan Mitchell (pictured) admitted to feeling surprisingly comfortable walking out to play world No 1 Neil Robertson at the UK Snooker Championships.
Mitchell, one of seven amateurs in this year’s competition in York, faced the Australian yesterday evening, eventually losing 6-0.
But the 18-year-old was not convinced the scoreline accurately reflected the contest and he is already excited about returning for another crack next year.
Mitchell said: “I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. I think I expected so much more, so then it wasn’t as bad – but it was obviously nervy.
“I wasn’t fazed – it’s a good venue to play. I’ll definitely come back and hopefully have a good season this year in the other qualifiers.
“It was closer than the 6-0, I thought. I had my chances but I just didn’t take them really. That’s the difference at this level.
“I’ve learned you need to take your chances because you are only going to get one or two at this level – maybe you don’t even get a single chance, so ’you’ve just got to take it when it comes.”