John McBride’s 6-Red Diary: Part Two

Hot on the heels of yesterday’s opening instalment, please find below the second part of John McBride’s diary from Killarney at the 6-Red World Championship. Thanks to John for taking the time to write such a comprehensive account!

Wednesday 16th December – 2 wins & your through John!

My alarm clock rang, at 10am, I lay there waiting for the hotel call to go. I didn’t have to wait long. I jumped out of the bed. Breakfast awaiting I thought, after I have a quick wash & shave. I normally shave in the shower but this time round, I didn’t want to take any chances of cutting myself shaving in the shower so I used the bathroom mirror. God I must be trying I laughed to myself. I had breakfast, but before I did, I don’t enjoy eating alone, without company or reading, if I can. I’m a London Times Man so I bought the Daily Mirror as a bad second. There I was on page 47. I rang my beautiful wife. “Cathy, I’m in the papers”. I know Darling”, all the local papers have you in them” came back the reply. I said “Genuine Darling, I’m in the papers, & Ken Doherty is saying this….

“Ken Doherty made a winning start to his bid to win the first ever Six Reds World Championship, in association with, in Killarney today.

“I’m pleased with how I played but I’m more pleased that after six months of hard work the tournament is underway,” said Doherty, who is also one of the event organisers.

“It’s a great set up and all the players seem to be enjoying it. The snooker is fast and fluent, which makes it attractive to watch.

“You will get cagey frames but I won one in about six minutes and all John had done was break off.

“I think this will come over well on TV and I hope people come along to watch during the week because they’re in for a great spectacle.”

I ate my breakfast. Now I knew I was involved & used this to motivate myself even more. How many times I knew that I had played many finals, poorly, not even turned up & listened to people that I shouldn’t have, & here I was, back again in the mix of it, & now I knew I was back on the table, respecting everything about me. How could I qualify I secretly confided in myself?

I quickly looked at the BBC 606 Snooker website along with the Twitter website & people were being genuine towards me, still full on wishing me well. I put €2 in this time, for 20 minutes, even though it was 11.10am & knowing I was on the table @ 12 noon, a positive always deserves a positive back, in my book. I run up to my hotel room afterwards, knowing that people can be kind. I was smiling too. I jumped in the shower, had a quick reflection on Andre Agassi’s words, again, was dressed & ready @ 11.55am as I jumped in the lift. Game on I thought to myself.

I signed in at the players lounge, I was on table 9 this time. No issue. I was playing Lee Gorton. I went 2-0 up, Lee was missing lots of balls but more to the point, was shaking, visibly shaking. Between the 2nd & 3rd frames, I opened up conversation with Lee. Lee told me he was Ricky Walden’s Manager. As we all know, Ricky Walden is a world class player. Lee told me he woke up that morning, shaking, had picked up a bug & weren’t feeling too good. He came across as a genuine man. Automatically, I changed my shots, & lost the 3rd frame. My break off was still poor, so I changed my break off & starting playing the same break off that we all normally do, in between the pink & blue with a ‘flicker’ of left hand side (I always break off from the green side of the table). I won 4-1, convincingly? No. I won, struggled, but I won. Trust yourself were the words I used all the way through the match. Lee Gorton is another nice honest man to play, all be it he was ill, but a gentleman all the way through.

So now I was 2 up, 2 down & had a chance to qualify. I don’t normally look at other people’s results that effect me, but this time I thought, it was time to look. And what do you know, my last match, was against Lewis Miles, he, had just lost to Ken Doherty 4-2, playing out of his skin & was 2-1 up. I was in the arena when he was playing, watching Reanne Evans play, who I also watched beat John Higgins 4-3 the night before funny enough. Get mentally fit Lady would be my advice, you have all the bottle in the world. Great cue action with it too, nearly as good as mine.

I worked out the qualifying stats & it looked to me that if I won 2 frames, I’d qualify, 3 definite. I went 3-1 up. Lewis was talking to me, I was talking back, him asking me the qualifying positions. Lewis said if he beats me then he qualifies. Not great words to say to an opponent, but he said them. A nice guy he was, but of course that got me thinking & motivated as well. Lewis was genuine I felt though. I went 3-1 up, I was confident I qualified, & I got beat 4-3. Not bothered, honest, I knew I had qualified. Math was always kind to me when I needed to draw on it in the past.

I went back to the players lounge looking for confirmation, & I was told unofficially that I had qualified & I’ll be playing @ 10am on Thursday. “When do I find out who I’m playing & when?” I asked. “When the draw is done” I was told by Geraldine, who I now knew as the Tournament Director”. Fair enough I thought & said, & off to the bar I went, & waited. In the interim, I got pretty friendly with a referee, being Mathew Lowson. A young 19 year old ref, kind & serious with it, who, more importantly, is in Love with the game. Matthew introduced me to a few of the other ref’s, as I did to him a few of the players, all with one thing in common, Snooker, & joined at the hip by our love for the game.

We had a drink together, Barry Pinches was very nice, I had to explain to Bazza that Norwich had got knocked out on penalties over the previous days against Southampton in the nonsense Cup, I think they call it, but Bazza was very pleasant, sound with it, & a genuinely nice Snooker playing Professional to speak with & a Top Man. We talked about the ‘old’ Pro-Am’s’, boy did he win a few.

One of snooker’s good guys – Barry Pinches

I qualified, official.

The draw was to be made, so I hit the bar looking for Guinness was I too early? I walked back into the players lounge around about 11pm expecting to see a name. I knew matches were still being played, a very serious & professional atmosphere with it, but it was real. Not yet, no draw. Back to the bar I went, Guinness being the choice as per. Chris, who I mentioned above, was on the firm at this stage, & Chris was in good company, including introducing me to Kevin Kelly, Jimmy’s Manager. A giggle was shared. Chris was extremely interested in my proceedings & was well pleased to hear that I had qualified, Kill or be Killed he told me. Not that I’m that serious about winning anymore, but if someone is trying to beat you, then, its definitely worth trying back. Pretty simple science in my book. I spotted Dave Hendon. I introduced myself, Dave was very pleasant back, we shared some thoughts on the game, which were fairly even keeled, I enjoyed Dave’s company, thanked him & I carried on wondering about what lay ahead.

At 1am, all matches over, the draw was being made. I went back to the bar, ordered another Guinness, smiled, gave it 15 minutes & went out to see if the draw was done. It was easy to work out that the draw had been made all the players were huddled around the notice board, including the great Stephen Hendry, amongst others.

I Looked at the draw, it was a last 64 draw, & I seen my name, I was drawn against Mark Williams. “Is he any good ?” I asked. Everyone who heard me looked at me if I was mad. I went back to the bar with my new knowledge, & texted my beautiful wife the news, I’m coming home Thursday. The match was at 11.45am, I wasn’t playing Mark Williams on an empty stomach so the clock was set for 10am & this time I knew I couldn’t roll over.




Thursday 17th December – John MBE v Mark Williams – Hats off.

I got up, well I woke up, when my alarm went off, which was 10am. Mark Williams stared me in the face in my thoughts, as I lay there in my bed. I hadn’t cancelled the hotel room call & that went soon after. It startled me. I answered the phone not expecting what to hear. It was room service reminding me to get out of bed. I thanked them. I felt like asking the lady on the other end of the phone if she fancied playing Mark Williams today? I didn’t, got up, phoned my beautiful wife & went down & had breakfast. This time, again, I bought the Daily Mirror newspaper, though no mention of the 6 Reds World Championship this time round. I had breakfast, trying to make myself strong. I had my necessary cups of tea, with cigarettes, & went for a walk.

I got me shower, thought of Andre Agassi again, & smiled. Roll on I thought.

I got dressed, went down to the players lounge & quickly login into both the Snooker 606 Website &b Twitter. A member on 606 has opened up an article which he’s called “John mbe v Mark Williams, as my username on 606 is John From London Town MBE. It makes me laugh reading it. Once again I think how nice it is of someone to do this. I thank the person who created the article & everyone else on there who has wished me well.

As I head to the players lounge, I wonder if this is the last time off asking? I quickly reminded myself that the weak always stay weak when negativity springs to mind. I looked at Mark Williams, who, as per, had his long legs stretched out looking like nothing bothers him, ever. Poxy draw I thought to myself,. Your getting beat John I told myself, how does that feel? Lets have a look at him I said to myself, see if he is respectful, & if he is, play the balls. Where do these negative thoughts come from I kept asking myself? Is it lack of practice? I’m confident in most things that I do in life but now, when I need it, its not there. Just get on with it McBride I told myself.

Eventual finalist – Mark Williams (Global Snooker)

We walked into the arena, together, & he disappeared, I sat there, & sat there, its Mark Williams, double world champ, give him space I thought, he turned up, didn’t use his chair, set up the other side (black side) of the table & settled down there. Good luck mate I thought, I only wish I had a few more people behind me as you’d be in trouble

I called heads, it was a tails. I got a smile from Mark Williams, I, as always, said “Have a Good Game”. I had my chances in the first frame, plenty of them. Mark left me in, I potted the red & black, stunning up for the yellow. I kissed the blue, bad shot. Now I was in a quandary. I didn’t have an extension with me as I thought they would be with the tables. Problem. I stretched over the side of the table, I couldn’t see the shot. I get up. I stretch over the table again, when I think I’m on the shot, I play it. I jaw the yellow. Once again the ball decides to live over the pocket. Mark clears up. 1-0 down. I didn’t pot a ball in the next 2 frames as Mark twice was on a mini max, breaking down on 48, both times. About 15 minutes later it was all over, beaten 5-0 & knocked out in the last 64. I later learn that the prize money starts at the last 32 stage. I walk outside, have a cigarette & phone my wife saying “I’m coming home Darling”.

I go up to my room & pack. Before I leave, I decide to have one last look inside the arena. I meet Ken who is on his way to play. He stops, asks me how I got on, I tell him. Ken asks me if I’m hanging around. I explain that I’ve already told my wife I’m coming home. Ken shakes my hand again, wishes me well, which I respond to in kind & asks me if I’ll be back next year. “For sure” I answer, this time the family will definitely be coming with me, school or no school, because this is fun.

John McBride