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A Pinch Of Selt

Matt is feeling positive about his new beginning on and off the table.

Hi everyone and Happy New Year.

I hope you all had a great Christmas. I didn’t get up to much, in fact I’m not really a huge fan of Christmas, I find it annoying the way the whole world stops for that period. I think it’s ridiculous, the way people have to spend money that don’t really have just to keep their children and family happy, I just think it puts unnecessary stress on people and families. Rant over 🙂 However as snooker players, we are away from home a lot so it was nice to have a break and see my family. I stayed with my sister for a few days which was great. She has just had a beautiful little girl called Darcey who is two months old now. I enjoyed holding her and feeding her, although when she started crying I didn’t know what to do so I just gave her back to my sister and left the room.

I am now living in Atherstone in Warwickshire, I’m loving it there and hopefully this will be a long term base for me. I have moved to a place where all I can do during the day is play snooker, which is what I need. It’s nice to be around friends because when I was back in Essex it was getting boring and never really saw much of my friends. I hated it and I was pretty depressed for a few months. Apart from my family and a few friends there was nothing there for me.

Snooker-wise there is no doubt about it – I have gone backwards over the last 18 months, and it’s no co-incidence that over that period I have been moving up and down the country without a settled place to live and practise. Since the Grove snooker club in Romford shut down, I have not had a permanent base. Up until then I moved up the rankings every year and got to 37th in the world, but since then I have gone back down. To be honest I have been poor, I have felt bad and played rubbish. Winning my qualifying match against Liam Highfield to get to the Haikou World Open was important because otherwise I’ve done nothing this season and at least it gives me one extra tournament to look forward to. Apart from getting to the Crucible, the whole of 2013 was pathetic. The only thing I need to concentrate on for the next five or six years is snooker.

I had always been a hard worker in the past and I’m looking forward to getting back to that now. The only event I really prepared properly for last season was the World Championship, and I got to the venue. I’m now playing at the Atack club in Nuneaton. The owner Ian White has been really good to me and said I could put a table in. The club is really nice and it’s very busy which is surprising these days, with four competitive leagues running as well. I have started playing really well in practice and hopefully that will reflect itself in my performances.

Atherstone is in the middle of nowhere, but from the train station you can get everywhere – London, Manchester, Leicester and Sheffield. So I can get around a lot for matches with other players like Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy, Ben Woollaston and Dave Gilbert, although mainly I want to just practise on my own. I so badly just want to get my game back in shape. I’m looking forward to playing again because when you are playing badly you don’t enjoy it, but when your game is coming together it’s much more fun and it just gives you the desire to want to get up and go a practice all day every day. The UK Championship last month was the worst I have ever played and the worst I’ve ever felt. There are no excuses apart from me messing about and being an idiot and not focussing on what I needed to be doing. But that’s behind me now. The target for the rest of the season is just to win as many matches as possible.

In the evenings I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and getting right into it. I’m marinating things on a Monday to cook for the rest of the week. I do a lot of stir fries which are beautiful. The poultry I’m having is so soft, so tender haha… it is insanely good and you’re all welcome to come and try some!! I’m trying a few different things and I asked Hendry for a few tips as he thinks he is a good cook just because he watches Masterchef. Dave Gilbert is a decent cook as well and being a top farmer he cooks a mean sweet potato. It helps health wise to eat the right things and I have seen a massive change over the past six months since I’ve been eating properly. I recommend you all to get involved.

All the best until next time.