May 16, 2021

Gould puts retirement on hold after Crucible win

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Gould: “For about a year and a half, I didn’t enjoy being out there, and when you’re not enjoying what you’ve loved doing for so many years it’s time to go and do something else”

Last Updated: 06/08/20 11:08am

Martin Gould cruised into the second round of the World Championship Martin Gould cruised into the second round of the World Championship

Martin Gould cruised into the second round of the World Championship

Martin Gould ripped up his retirement speech after cruising into the second round of the World Snooker Championship with a 10-3 victory over ninth seed Stephen Maguire.

The 38-year-old was all set to quit the game after enduring what he described as a “dark place” and also being far from certain of retaining his professional tour card for next season.

But after wrapping up a crushing win over recent Tour Championship winner Maguire, which included four centuries in the opening session, Gould revealed he will hold off on his decision to leave the sport.

Gould said: “It was all in my head – I knew exactly what I was going to say and there was going to be no changing my mind whatsoever.

“But now it’s in the bin – I can get it back out if I need to, but hopefully that won’t be necessary. I loved it out there and that’s a big part of it for me.

“For about a year and a half, I didn’t enjoy being out there, and when you’re not enjoying what you’ve loved doing for so many years, it’s time to go and do something else.”

Barry Hawkins believes lockdown has helped him refocus Barry Hawkins believes lockdown has helped him refocus

Barry Hawkins believes lockdown has helped him refocus

Gould built his first win at the Crucible since 2011 on the back of a stunning opening session on Tuesday, and managed to get over the line when play resumed.

Maguire’s only resistance came in the 12th frame when he looked set for a maximum after potting 12 reds and 12 blacks before running out of position, and Gould took the next to wrap up victory over one of the tournament’s strong contenders with half a session to spare.

We’ve played so much over the last few years. I think it was just starting to drain me a little bit. It was nice to put the cue away. I didn’t hit a ball for three months.

Barry Hawkins

Like Gould, 2013 finalist Barry Hawkins admitted the lockdown had come at a good time for his game after struggling for motivation in recent months.

Hawkins won the three straight frames required to finish off a 10-2 win over Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher then said he had been “getting a little bit sick of snooker” prior to lockdown.

Hawkins said: “It (lockdown) came at the perfect time for me because I was just at that point where I was just getting a little bit sick of snooker, and I think to be honest with you a lot of players were.

“We’ve played so much over the last few years. I think it was just starting to drain me a little bit. It was nice to put the cue away. I didn’t hit a ball for three months.

“It was nice just to spend some time at home – although after a month or two, you are starting to go a bit stir crazy. I was actually looking forward to playing again. I’ve got a new cue now and it’s given me that little extra incentive to go and practise.”

Neil Robertson of Australia will play Hawkins next Neil Robertson of Australia will play Hawkins next

Neil Robertson of Australia will play Hawkins next

Hawkins, who will face Neil Robertson in round two, punished mistakes by 24-year-old Crucible debutant Ursenbacher, the first Swiss player to appear in the tournament’s finals.

The 41-year-old, who posted a break of 84 in Wednesday’s opening frame, said: “I’m pleased with how I concentrated. A couple of mistakes, but I’m pleased to get through.”

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