Hornchurch snooker star Gary Filtness believes the senior circuit will become massive
- Credit: Archant
As the World Seniors Snooker Tour continues to grow both in stature and prize money Hornchurch potter Gary Filtness believes the over 40s circuit will eventually become the sport’s equivalent to golf’s US PGA Champions Tour, writes Ziad Chaudry.
The 47-year-old finally got to play at the Mecca of snooker, The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, for last week’s ROKiT Phones World Seniors Snooker Championship. The Whirlwind from south London, Jimmy White, retained his crown after coming back from four frames down to topple Ireland’s former world champion Ken Doherty 5-4.
And despite playing in front of an empty auditorium and losing to late call-up opponent Wayne Cooper 4-2 in round one on a table described as “damp and sticky”, Filtness enjoyed the pre-match atmosphere.
He had gone in to the event as the world number one due to winning two “super” seniors titles.
“The actual build-up to the competition, being behind the scenes, was very emotional,” he said.“It was everything I expected it to be, just lovely.”
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But the poor table conditions and his opponent’s slow play tactics contributed to Filtness’s defeat.
“Playing in front of no crowd helped Wayne really,” he said. “He was very nervous. I wasn’t nervous at all really, I just didn’t land correctly on the balls.
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“I basically outplayed him but the balls just didn’t feel kind towards me. We ended up bogging ourselves down.
“I tried to stay positive but the table just didn’t allow it. If you looked at the early round matches everyone was struggling. The only player who never struggled really after a couple of frames was Darren Morgan.”
Filtness, who works full-time as an upholsterer, along as being a snooker coach, reckons he can see top main tour players such as Ronnie O’Sullivan (a player Filtness helped during his schoolboy years), Mark Selby, John Higgins, Stuart Bingham, Mark Allen, Judd Trump, Neil Robertson, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy all joining a lucrative big-money over 40s circuit in years to come.
“I think another five to ten years it will be massive. It will be like the seniors golf in America. I can see Ronnie O’Sullivan having a little go at it if he gets invited at the big tournaments.”