Name: David Gray
DOB: 9th February 1979
Turned Pro: 1996
Highest Ranking: #12 (2003/4)
Highest Break: 147×2 (2004 UK Championship, PTC10 2011)
Career Highlights: 2003 Scottish Open Champion, 2002 Scottish Open Finalist, 2004 UK Championship Final, 1998 B&H Championship Champion
David Gray was an outstanding amateur as highlighted by runs to the final of the 1994 World under-21 Championship (losing out 11-10 to Quinten Hann), the final of the European Amateur Championship, and victory in the final of the English Amateur Championship in 1995.
Turning professional for the 1996/7 season, David immediately made a mark on the main tour with appearances in the last 16 of the German Open and the last 32 of the UK Championship which helped him move up to 152nd place in the rankings.
The next season he was to become a very solid player, consistently reaching the last 64 of events and also qualifying for a début at the Crucible where he lost out to Scot Alan McManus 10-8 in the last 32.
1998/9 was not quite as strong overall, but he did at least win the invitational B&H Championship to qualify for prestigious Masters tournament at Wembley for the first time where he lost out 6-2 to Thailand’s James Wattana at the first hurdle.
1999/2000 was to be an up and down season, but having qualified for the final stages of the World Championship at the Crucible again, he produced a sensational display to overcome Ronnie O’Sullivan 10-9 in the first round. Making nine centuries between them, the match was one of the all-time Crucible classics and although he fell to a 13-1 mauling at the hands of Dominic Dale in the next round, he had made himself known to the public, as well as pushing his ranking up to number 52.
The next season saw him continue to perform consistently, reaching the TV stages of a further five tournaments which lifted him up into the top 32 of the rankings for the first time.
Although he was performing well, things were about to step up a level for David as he defeated John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Peter Ebdon to reach his first ranking event final at the 2001 Scottish Open. Although once there he lost out to Stephen Lee, this and other good performances moved him up to the cusp of the top 16 at 19th position in the rankings.
In 2002/3 it was to be Scotland again that brought out the best in David Gray as he again defeated a string of star names to reach the final for the second year in a row. This time coming up again Mark Selby he was to make no mistake, capturing his first ranking event title and at the end of the season moving up into the elite top 16 for the first time.
Spending a total of two years in the top 16, David initially looked to be comfortable there and in 2004 he reached the quarter-finals of the World Championship for the first time with wins over Ali Carter and Lee Walker before he lost to eventual finalist Graeme Dott.
He also went on to make his third (and so far final) ranking event final at the UK Championship, though he was battered 10-1 by Stephen Maguire once there. He did at least make his first career 147 earlier in the event, the 50th ever in professional play by anyone.
Unfortunately for David however, following this point he began to seriously struggle after another 13-1 defeat at the Crucible in 2006, slipped out of the top 16 and down to 23rd position in the rankings.
Since then his fortunes continued to decline with the result that he was to fall out of the top 32 for 2007/8 before finding himself out of the top 48 for 2008/9.
Although he got off to a decent start by winning a couple of matches in qualifying for the Northern Ireland Trophy, David was to endure a miserable season overall which would eventually see him line up at the China Open (the only other event where he did not lose his first match), needing to defeat Tian Pengfei and Marco Fu to keep his place on the tour. Though he had performed well in qualifying to even reach the venue, he could not reproduce that form against Tian and lost out 5-1, not just crashing out of the tournament, but appearing to lose his main tour status as a result.
He was however later awarded one of the four wildcard places for 2009/10 by the WPBSA at the end of the season so was to be given a second chance.
Unfortunately David was to fare little better in 2009/10, winning just four matches all season as his relegation from the tour for a second consecutive season was confirmed.
His best run came at the season-ending World Championship as he defeated Daniel Wells and Andy Hicks to reach the third round, but the damage had already been done and an emphatic 10-2 defeat to Jimmy Michie saw him exit the tournament.
Having fallen off of the main tour at the end of the previous season, David was to enter the 2011 World Championship at the preliminary stage and was able to win two matches against David Singh and Ali Bassiri to qualify for the last 96.
David in action at the 2011 World Championship qualifiers
He could not reproduce that form against young Chinese player Liu Chuang in the next round however, eventually losing 10-3.
Competing in the PTC events as an amateur, David’s best run came at PTC12 where he was able to defeat Jimmy Robertson, Alan McManus and Ian Burns to reach the last 16 stage and a match with Stephen Maguire in Munich.
His most impressive achievement however was to come at PTC10 when he was able to make his second career maximum break during his amateur qualifying round clash with Robbie Williams.
Ranking Event wins (1)
Non-Ranking Event wins (1)