Davis v Gunnell, a fan’s perspective

When I went to the final day of qualifying matches for the UK Championship on Monday, I managed to catch most matches, save for the one involving Steve Davis and Adrian Gunnell. Luckily though, ‘dannyboy’ was there and has kindly left me a report on the match for you all to read…

“I went to see Steve Davis in his qualifier against Adrian Gunnell and I am surprised by his post match comments regarding this match. He stated that he should never have lost! Playing Steve Davis these days is usually a roller-coaster as he dips in and out of form from one extreme to the other quite dramatically! Going into this qualifier Steve had won 7 matches this season with 6 of them going to the deciding frame! However in reaching 2 quarter finals he had struggled to make a break over 60! He came through the close games purely on his desire to win and his battling qualities plus safety nous.

However in beating Gunnell 9-7 this week he had breaks of 64, 92, 100, 75, 87 and 53! The first four frames of the evening session were awful from Davis’ point of view. He went from 5-3 up to 7-5 down and played like a club player and worse! Gunnell didn’t make any 50+ breaks he just happened to be the opponent who gained from Steve’s inept start to the session. However anyone who has watched Steve play knows he will dig out his best snooker when it matters and his best is better than most players (hence his record!). He certainly isnt going to be put off by Adrian going out of the arena for 5 minutes longer than Davis at 7-7! Steve won the last four frames comfortably and showed break building qualities where he had total control of the cue ball. It was encouraging to see and gives him a chance at beating top 16 players if he can cut out the dramatic loss of form he showed for four frames! It was like he went walkabout. It does give opponents the feeling that they should wipe the floor with him, but as with all great sportsmen/women when the heat is on they get better! From 5-7 Steve got better, more focused and showed his mental desire to win. Why else turn up and play at his age and with his success? No point playing dross and losing to a journeyman pro! Mr Gunnell your comments lack an appreciation of the real issues that night. You wanted to win too much and when the winning line approached you got tense and lost any form you might have had. I saw it at the Grand Prix and again on Monday night. You will never make a top 32 or top 16 player unless you consistently perform at your highest level when the winning line approaches. Steve Davis has done that for years – got better when the winning line approaches. Tiger Woods is the ultimate winner – watch his mental strength when it gets close to the end.

I wish Adrian Gunnell all the best as I felt for his partner and friend (possibly relation Dad?) in the audience going through the full set of emotions. The crowds are small and sometimes noisy which is not helpful and his partner was trying to keep them quiet on behalf of Adrian. He is a talented player but I think it is more than concentration that cost him this match.

Come on Steve you can gain revenge for the UK final and beat Ding. Play more attacking as you long pot success has improved recently and you can get Ding all moody and upset! He’ll start missing and self destruct when you get on top. Another good run and the top 16 is two more winning qualifiers away! A true legend keep it up Steve!”

Thanks very much for that! Not sure I think Steve will beat Ding unfortunately but stranger things have happened I guess 😀