Egyptian no-go for champ Wallace
As part of his reward for becoming Northern Ireland champion for a fourth time eight days ago, Patrick Wallace is entitled to a free trip to Egypt in November for the IBSF world championships at the exotic holiday resort of Sharm el Sheik. But the Dungannon man won’t be going.
Wallace, a former quarter-finalist in world professional championship at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, lost his place on the world tour last summer.
He initially decided to retire completely from the pro circuit, but had a change of heart and retained his membership of the professional body, playing in a number of minor ranking tournaments last season as well as trying to qualifying for some of the major tournaments.
Now, however, he isn’t interested in getting back into the bigtime, citing it as too demanding - both financially and in terms of the time and physical aspects.
“Not long ago there was a ticket onto the tour for the Northern Ireland No.1 but not anymore. If I was to go to the world championship and win the title, a bit of a long shot anyway, there would be an automatic place on the tour. But that would only be the easy bit over” he explained.
“For the first time, new entrants will be on the tour for two years instead of one and it would cost a minimum of between £35,000 and £40,000 to participate because of the travelling and other costs involved in getting to the growing numbers of tournaments.
“When you consider that there is absolutely no prize money whatsoever for winning in the first two qualifying rounds, it becomes all too obvious that it could turn out a very expensive exercise. For me, it’s just not feasible” explained the St.Patricks player.
Wallace won the Northern Ireland title on Sunday week in the Fountain Club in Antrim, defeating his old adversary Dermot McGlinchey from Castlederg 10-4 in a match refereed by Liam Hughes, the former Dungannon bus driver who now lives outside Cookstown.
Having reached the final with wins over Belfast players Michael Kane, George Vance and Anthony Heaney, he defeated Drumaness player Darren Dornan, the reigning Northern Ireland billiards champion, by six frames to five in a marathon six hour semi-final.
There was never much chance of the final becoming a saga after Wallace established a 4-0 interval lead. helped immesnsely by an 87 break, and then increased the gap 100 per cent when they returned, before McGlinchey won the last frame of the first session against all the odds.
Wallace had fired a 63 break to look hot odds-on to make it 9-0, only for McGlinchey to respond with a 54 break to snatch his first frame on the pink, the least he deserved as the four hours of snooker were far from one-sided.
The players then relaxed for an hour before resuming, with McGlinchey suddenly stepping up a gear. Two 50plus breaks gave him the first frame and it was 9-3 when he compiled the only century of the match, a 109.
His comeback looked set to end when Wallace left him needing a couple of snooker in frame thirteen but the underdog somehow managed to claw his way back and make it 9-4 with another interval for Wallace to think about another frame that got away.
However, that was as good as it got for McGlinchey and a fine 58 break dismissed any impending fears for Wallace and a great pot on a long red left McGlinchey in the snookers-required situation and the customary handshake followed soon afterwards.
Thus, it’s title number four for the man from The Willows, on the back of wins in 1993 over Portadown’s Mickey Duffy, in 2000 against his late, lamented best pal Barry McNamee - see them in the picture above before the start- and, in 2007, Banbridge’s Joe Meara.
The world championships may not be on the radar, but one event Wallace can look forward to playing in is the All-Ireland final and he’ll be bidding to make it three wins in this annual shoot-out against the champion from the Republic, having beaten Colm Gilchreest in 1993 and Vinny Muldoon in 1997.
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Weather for Dungannon
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 17 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 9 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: North