Name: Adrian Gunnell
DOB: August 24th, 1972
Turned Pro: 1994
Highest Ranking: #36 (2008/9)
Highest Break: 147 (1999 Thailand Masters)
Career Highlights: Four Times Ranking Event Last 16, 9-7 victory over Matthew Stevens in qualifying for the 2007 UK Championship, 5-3 victory over Shaun Murphy at the 2008 Grand Prix
During his first few years on the tour, Gunnell was most notable for his maximum 147 break at the 1999 Thailand Masters. Indeed four years later when practising with friend Ian Duffy at a club in Telford, he did even better with three maximums in the space of four frames, a terrific achievement even though not in a competitive match.
As far as Adrian’s competitive form was concerned, this also began to improve following the 2003/4 season which he ended ranked at 73. During the coming years he was able to move up the rankings for five consecutive seasons to leave himself in contention to break into the top 32 for the first time in 2009.
His stand-out results to date have been his four runs to the last 16 of ranking event tournaments, the first coming in at the 2001 Thailand Masters while the second also came in Asia as he defeated Joe Jogia, Barry Hawkins, John Parrott, Zhang Kai and Chris Small before going down 5-2 to Mark Williams at the 2005 China Open
Adrian in action at the 2008 Grand Prix
At the 2007 Shanghai Masters he completed a trio of last 16 spots in Asia with victories over Judd Trump, Anthony Hamilton, Cao Xinlong and Ali Carter. Again though he was to then come up short, this time against eventual winner Dominic Dale who beat him 5-1.
His most impressive result during 2007/8 though had to be his 9-7 qualifying win over former world UK Champion Matthew Stevens to qualify for the 2007 tournament which was to be held in his home town of Telford. Unfortunately his run came to an end in the last 32 with a heavy defeat to Chinese star Ding Junhui.
His start to the 2008/9 season was mixed, though at the Grand Prix in Glasgow he was to make the last 16 stage of an event for the fourth time as he recorded probably the most impressive result of his career in seeing off world number three Shaun Murphy 5-3 to earn a tie with Steve Davis.
Following defeat to Davis however Adrian’s season began to unravel as he again lost out to the six-time champion in qualifying for the UK Championships in December too. From then on lost his first round matches in both the Welsh and China Open, before seeing his season come to an end with a heavy 10-2 defeat to Lee Spick in the World Championship.
Having just retained his place among the top 48, Adrian knew he needed to stop the rot heading into 2009/10 and he did so by winning his opening match at five of the six ranking events staged.
Adrian during the 2011 World Championship qualifiers
While he could not go further at any of them and qualify for a venue, notably losing once again to Davis at the season-ending World Championship, he had at least consolidated his position in the rankings and in fact earned around 1,500 more than during 2008/9.
With a large amount of points to defend from his strong start to the 2008/9 campaign, it was always going to be difficult for Adrian to maintain his position in the rankings heading into the first seedings revision and so it proved as he struggled to string wins together in the PTC. He did however manage to just about cling on to his top 48 place, in fact finishing 48th as the seedings were shuffled and so would not have to win an extra match in order to qualify for the UK Championship.
From there however Adrian’s season was to enter freefall and he would win just one more match in qualifying for the German Masters before eventually seeing his season ended by Liu Song in the World Championship qualifiers. As a result of his loss of form Adrian would finish 2010/11 ranked 56th.
Adrian continued to struggle during the PTC events in 2011/12, winning just four matches during the series as his ranking dropped to 61st at the time of the first mid-season seedings revision.
Importantly however, Adrian’s form in the full ranking events was very good as he won at least one match during each of the first four tournaments held, qualifying for the venue stages of both the UK Championship and the German Masters tournaments in the process.
Adrian’s best performance during the second half of the season was to prove his run to the final qualifying round of the China Open before he lost out to Mark King, but a 10-8 defeat to Adam Duffy at the World Championship qualifiers was to confirm his relegation from the tour at the end of the campaign.