Hawkins: fewer pints and more snooker can propel me to World Championship glory

·3-min read
Hawkins reckons keeping out of the pub can fuel his assault on the Crucible
Hawkins reckons keeping out of the pub can fuel his assault on the Crucible

Beer lover Barry Hawkins reckons fewer pints and more potting can intoxicate snooker fans far and wide, writes Will Jennings.

But the Ditton potter knows he’ll have his last 16 work cut out against ‘ultimate professional’ Kyren Wilson.

Hawkins, the world No.11, kicked off his World Championship tilt with a convincing 10-3 win over Matthew Selt on Wednesday.

The Kent ace has been making serious lifestyle changes since lockdown and says sticking to the baize – and not beers – can bolster his hopes of Crucible glory.

The 41-year-old said: “I’ve just been practicing and trying to do things a bit more professionally.

“Staying out the pub five days before a tournament helps! I’ve been trying to be a bit more disciplined and winning matches breeds confidence.

“I felt I finished off well tonight. Yesterday I was a bit edgy at the start. It was a bit of a strange match – I thought I played well in patches but Matt seemed to get in first in quite a lot of frames, especially the first couple, which I nicked. Today I felt strong and felt I was going to score every time I got in.

“I feel I’ve been playing well for the last few months. I’ve had a couple of tough defeats to get over, against Ronnie [O’Sullivan] and Judd [Trump], but I’ve been pretty consistent this year.

“My main aim was to get back in the top 16, which I have, and have a good few runs. I’ll keep trying my best and enjoy a good break afterwards.

“It [being in the top 16] is not the be all and end all but it’s a nice place to be. You want to be at the Masters and this place and being out the top 16 you don’t get either of those guaranteed. I’m pleased to creep back in there but the hard thing is staying there.”

Hawkins has reached the semi-finals of the German Masters, Tour Championship and Players Championship this season and continued his impressive form in his World Championship opener.

The 2013 Sheffield finalist cracked in breaks of 137 and 126 to down Selt, the world No.32, in two straightforward sessions.

Hawkins, a three-time ranking event winner, also struck five half-century visits to down the 2019 Indian Open champion and book a last 16 clash against world No.6 Wilson.

A tired Wilson finished runner-up at the Crucible last year after going down 18-8 against six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan.

He beat Gary Wilson 10-8 in the first round earlier this week and Hawkins, who has toppled Wilson on 12 of the 24 occasions they’ve met, knows he’s in for a tough task on the Sheffield baize.

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The 2017 Grand Prix champion added: “[Kyren] is a great all-round player and it’s only a matter of time until he’s winning big tournaments.

“He’s a top player and he loves this place. I’ve got my work cut out there, but I’ll look forward to it over three days – I’ve been there and done it before.

“[Kyren] is the ultimate professional. Sometimes you can go too deep into it all but if you feel good, you play good – he treats it with the utmost respect and deserves everything he gets.

“I have the utmost respect [for Kyren]. He dedicates himself, does everything properly and treats everyone with respect. He’s a great player and he’ll be at the top for many years.”

Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3