Two times World Champion, Mark Williams has not lifted a title since 2011. Following his run to the final in the China Open toward the end of last season, he then failed to qualify for the Crucible although he has returned into the Top 16 for the 2017/18 Season.
A place in the Dafabet Masters is one of Londoner Martin Gould’s main targets as he looks ahead to the new season.
Gould enjoyed the best season of his career in 2015/16, winning his first ranking title at the German Masters when he beat Luca Brecel in the final.
That helped him climb to his current position of 15th in the world, and if he’s still ranked among the top 16 at the end of the UK Championship in December he’ll be in the field for the Dafabet Masters, which is snooker’s most prestigious invitation event and runs from January 15 to 22 at Alexandra Palace.
“I’ve only played in the Masters once before and I didn’t do myself justice,” said Gould, recalling a 6-2 defeat to Shaun Murphy on his 2012 debut. “Hopefully I’ll make it again this season and give it a better shot.
“Last season was very consistent, I got to a lot of quarters and semis and got back into the top 16. I’ve got to build on that and keep it going. Once you’ve won your first ranking title it’s amazing how different you feel as a player. I feel more confident and less edgy when finishing matches.”
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“Stephen Feeney has taken Stuart Bingham from being a good player to being a winner. He’s taken him from being one of the pack to becoming World Champion. Having followed snooker for over thirty years, I think it is the greatest coaching feat in Crucible history.” That is the assessment of a man who got to the top of his high-profile profession by making excellent judgement calls. Darren Cann is one of the World’s top assistant referees in professional football and has officiated at both the World Cup Final and Champions League final.