Name: Barry Hawkins
DOB: 23rd April 1979
Turned Pro: 1996
Highest Ranking: #9 (2013)
Highest Break: 147 (2010 PTC Event Three)
Career Highlights: 2012 Australian Goldfields Open champion, 2012 Shoot Out champion, 2007 Masters Qualifying Event Champion, 2005 & 2006 Welsh Open Semi-Finalist, 2007 China Open Semi-Finalist, 2011 & 2012 World Championship last 16, 2012 Championship League semi-finalist
Turning professional in 1996, it was to take Barry a number of years to really make an impact on the game with his first big result coming at the 2002 Scottish Open when he knocked out Ronnie O’Sullivan in the second round.
Slowly moving up the rankings, he was to improve dramatically in the 2004/5 season when he reached his first semi-final at the Welsh Open, as well as the last sixteen of three other events. This put him up into the top 32 of the rankings and meant that he would only have to win one qualifying match to reach the final stages of the events.
Better was to come in 2005/6 however as he reached the semi-finals of a further two ranking events at the Grand Prix and again the Welsh Open. He also managed to qualify for the World Championship for the first time, though this was to end in an embarrassing 10-1 defeat to Ken Doherty in the first round. Nevertheless he was to break into the top 16 for the first time at a career high position of 12.
Barry at the 2010 World Championship qualifiers
Dip in form
As can happen to some players however, with the pressure now on him as one of the seeded players, Barry struggled to cope with this as his form dipped dramatically. A semi-final appearance at the China Open was his only highlight as he dropped out of the top 16 after losing a dramatic match at the Crucible 10-9 to Fergal O’Brien, ending the season in 19th position.
2007/8 was marginally more consistent with three runs to the last 16 of events, but he again fell at the first fence in the World Championship. He was somewhat unfortunate here however as having found himself 9-6 down again Ali Carter, he fought back well to level the match at 9-9, only to see the match suspended until later that evening at a time when the momentum was with him. As it would transpire, Carter was able to regroup during the interval and take the decisive frame, before eventually going on to make the final.
He was at least able to win the Masters Qualifying tournament but as a non-ranking event, this did not prevent him from slipping down to 27th on the list for the new season.
After a tough couple of seasons the 2008/9 campaign saw a return to the kind of consistency that took Barry into the top 16 in the first place as he won six of his last 48 matches and progressed to the quarter-finals of both the Northern Ireland Trophy and the Bahrain Championship.
Having experienced a mini-slump towards the end of the season he came into his opening World Championship qualifier needing a win to keep his hopes of a return to the top 16 for 2009/10 alive and his match with young Welshman Daniel Wells proved to be a thriller.
During the early stages it was Hawkins who forged into a 6-3 lead but despite continuing to score well, a succession of missed frame balls allowed Wells to fight back and eventually level at 9-9. Barry though kept his focus and clinched the decider with a brilliant break of 80 and earn a last 32 tie with Graeme Dott.
Arriving in Sheffield for that match, Barry knew that he would have to beat the 2006 champion to stand any chance of moving back into the top 16 but unfortunately despite leading 5-4 after the first session, he could not see it through and slipped to his fourth successive last 32 defeat at the Crucible.
Well placed provisionally to fight for a place back in the top 16 at the start of 2009/10, Barry got his season off to a decent start with victory over Simon Bedford in the Shanghai Masters qualifiers, before receiving a bye through to the last 16 following the withdrawal of Stephen Maguire.
Once there however he lost out 5-4 to Ken Doherty and subsequent defeats to Mark Joyce and then Tom Ford saw him fail to qualify for either of the next two events.
Photo courtesy of Janie Watkins
The second half of Barry’s season was also a struggle as whilst he did manage to win all three of his qualifying matches, he could not go further than the last 32 stage in any of the events, his season ending with an opening day defeat to John Higgins at the Crucible Theatre. This meant that Barry would drop four places to 21st in the rankings for 2010/11.
Barry began the 2010/11 season well as he was a regular match winner at the new Players Tour Championship events, twice reaching the quarter-final stages of events. His most impressive victory however came at the inaugural World Open when he was able to defeat the in-form Mark Selby in the first round before eventually falling to Mark Williams at the last 16 stage.
The real highlight of Barry’s campaign however was to come at the Crucible as at the sixth attempt he was finally able to win his first match at the venue, resisting a strong comeback from former world number two Stephen Maguire to defeat the Scot 10-9 thanks to an excellent break in the decider.
Though he was to give Mark Allen a real scare in the next round however as he at one stage led 7-3 before winning three frames in a row to make it 12-12, a poor break-off in the 25th frame proved to be his last shot as Mark won with a break of 96.
Barry experienced a mixed start to the 2011/12 season, semi-finals at PTC3 and PTC5 helping to off-set the loss of points following opening round qualifying defeats at the Australian Goldfields Open, Shanghai Masters and UK Championship tournaments.
Improvement was to come after Christmas however as he was able to successfully qualify for the final five tournaments of the season, again reaching the last 16 at the Crucible for a second successive year, before losing 13-11 to Welshman Matthew Stevens.
Arguably Barry’s finest performances however were to come in invitational events as he reached the winner’s group of the Championship League, making it as far as the semi-finals before losing out to eventual winner Ding Junhui. He was not to be denied at the Shoot Out tournament in Blackpool though as he defeated Graeme Dott 61-23 to become the second winner of the tournament, succeeding Nigel Bond.
Following a last 32 run at the Wuxi Classic, everything was to come together for Barry at the Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo, where he was able to defeat Xiao Guodong, Matthew Stevens, Matt Selt and Mark Davis, to reach the first full-ranking event final of his career.
There he was to meet former world and UK champion Peter Ebdon, who entered the final as the favourite, despite an inferior head to head record against Barry over the years.
2012 Australian Goldfields Open champion
As it turned out, the final would be relatively one-sided, as Barry recorded a comprehensive 9-3 victory to capture his first ranking event crown, both an emotional victory for Barry as was evident during the trophy presentation and a popular one in the world of snooker.
Following his Bendigo success, a quarter-final run would follow at the UKPTC1 event, before he reached the semi-finals of the ET1 event in Germany, only to run into an inspired Joe Swail.
The results kept on coming for Barry, quarter-finals at both the APTC2 and UKPTC4 events, as well as a further two last 16 runs at PTC events helping him move back up into the world’s top 16 by the end of 2012.
Barry continued to be successful in 2013, reaching the semi-finals of the German Masters in February, as well as winning the sixth group of the Championship League at Crondon Park.
By far his biggest achievement however, was to come at the 2013 World Championship, where he defeated Jack Lisowski, world number one Mark Selby, China’s Ding Junhui and Ricky Walden to reach the showpiece final for the first time in his career. In particular, his wins against Selby and Walden from 9-6 and 12-8 down respectively were hugely impressive and helped set up a final against defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.
World Championship finalist 2013
Though some outside of the game were talking of O’Sullivan taking victory with a session to spare, that is not what materialised, Hawkins produced some of the finest snooker of his career to stay with the four-time world champion, at one point becoming the first man to lead him as he moved 3-2 ahead during the opening session.
Though Ronnie would eventually ease clear to take an 18-12 victory, Hawkins earned both the praise and respect of many onlookers and would be rewarded with a career-high ranking of number 9 following the tournament.
Ranking Event wins (1)
|Australian Goldfields Open||2012|
Non-Ranking Event wins (3)
|Masters Qualifying Tournament||2007|
|Pro Challenge Series Event Five||2010|
|Snooker Shoot Out||2012|