Name: Gary Wilson
DOB: 11th August 1985
Turned Pro: 2004
Highest Ranking: 68th (2014)
Highest Break: 147 (2014 German Masters qualifiers)
Career Highlights: 2015 China Open finalist, 2015 Welsh Open quarter-finalist, 2013 Indian Open last 16, 2013 UK Championship last 32, 2014 German Masters last 32, 2014 ET2 semi-final, 2013 AT3 quarter-finalist, 2014 AT4 quarter-finalist, 2004 IBSF World U-21 Champion
IBSF World U-21 Champion
Widely regarded as one of the most promising juniors in the game, Gary Wilson made his international début at the European U-19’s Championship in Latvia, before he then captured the prestigious IBSF World U-21 Championship in Ireland.
Having won all seven of his round robin matches, dropping just two frames along the way, to ensure that he would become the top seed as the tournament reverted to a knockout format.
Following a 5-0 victory against Scotland’s Mark Owens, Gary then defeated reigning world amateur champion Pankaj Advani in the last 16, before seeing off future professionals Aditya Mehta and Liang Wenbo to reach the final.
Once there, Gary was able to see off Thailand’s Kobkit Palajin, top breaks of 142 and 135 helping him to an 11-5 victory.
First Tour Spell 2004-6
During his first two years on the main tour, Gary’s best performance was to come at the 2005 Irish Masters, where he defeated Paul Wykes, David Roe and Nick Dyson, before losing to Ian McCulloch at the last 48 stage.
He followed this up with a further two victories at the China Open qualifiers to ensure that he would remain on the circuit for a second season, but his subsequent performances were not enough to keep him on tour beyond 2006.
PIOS Years, Q School
After his relegation from the tour, Gary was to spend the next four years attempting to regain his place via the PIOS tour, coming close without quite being able to finish inside the top eight.
Following the introduction of the Q School Gary again came close to turning pro, twice reaching the fourth round in 2011, before again making it that far at the second event in 2012. He also reached the final of the IBSF World Championship that summer, losing 10-8 to Muhammad Asif.
He was not to be denied in 2013 however, as thanks to his consistent performances at PTC events during the 2012/13 season, he was able to finish as one of the top eight amateurs on the circuit and earn a two-year card from 2013/14.
Gary told the Chronicle
“Because I finished top of the English amateur rankings, I had the chance to go to the World Amateur Championships in Bulgaria in November. If I won there I was guaranteed professional status so I wanted to win – not only just to turn professional but because it is the biggest amateur title you can win. I reached the final and lost 10-8 but I had a good go at it and it was the first time I had ever played in the event.
“I was also involved in the PTC Series. All of the professionals play in that and I had been taking part in all of them throughout the year. In those events I was not playing brilliantly but good enough to beat certain players here and there. I was defeating the likes of Dave Harold and in the last one in Scotland I reached the last 16 before losing 4-3 to Mark Joyce. I had had two centuries and a 70 break to win three frames in that match – and I still lost 4-3.”
“I knew if I went quite far in that last event I would be able to turn professional off that, so losing the world amateur final did not end my dreams. Out of all the amateurs in the PTC I finished joint second behind Joe Swail.”
“My goal is to gain sponsorship. It would be great paying for entry fees and the expenses – it would be a massive help.”
“I just want to show people what I can do this time, more than I did first time.”
Gary’s return to the main tour was to prove a successful one, as he was able to consistently win matches throughout the course of the season and finish the season as the highest ranked player to have started on zero points.
His best result at a full-ranking event was to be his last 16 run at the Indian Open in New Delhi, while he also reached the last 32 of the UK Championship and German Masters events.
- Click here to read my interview with Gary (August 2013)
During the season’s smaller events, he recorded a best result of a semi-final at the ET2 event in Rotterdam, losing out in a deciding frame to eventual champion Mark Williams, while he also made it to the quarter-finals of two Asian Tour events.
Although his campaign was to end with a shock 10-4 defeat to James Cahill at the first round of the World Championship qualifiers, he had done enough to end the season ranked at a career high 68th position.
The 2014/15 season saw Gary break new ground as he reached the first ranking event final of his career at the China Open in Beijing.
Having qualified for the venue stages with victory against Jak Jones, he then defeated Liang Wenbo, Ricky Walden, Dechawat Poomjaeng and Barry Hawkins to reach the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time.
He then came through a dramatic match against defending champion and home favourite Ding Junhui 6-5 to make it to the final, but found world champion Mark Selby to be a match too far, losing 10-2.
Despite not being able to go all the way, together with his quarter-final run in Cardiff at the Welsh Open, the run was enough to see him vault up the rankings to a career-high position of 34th, a rise of 34 places from the start of the season matched only by Finland’s Robin Hull.