Norwich snooker ace Barry Pinches relishing his China chance
06:30 24 June 2014
Barry Pinches never imagined he would be playing in China when he turned professional in 1989 – but he is now embracing snooker’s new culture.
Today the Old Catton-based potter will get started in the Wuxi Classic, having beaten 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon in the qualifiers.
Pinches, 43, will also be competing in an Asian Tour event before the tournament and he hopes that snooker’s worldwide appeal will continue to grow.
“I don’t think anyone really expected snooker to be as big [in China] as it is now when I first turned professional,” said Pinches.
“Ding [Junhui] was one of the best players in the world last year and his rise to fame has been incredible – he’s done really well.
“Without him there wouldn’t have been the knock-on effect of the other Chinese players coming through and I don’t see it slowing up over there now.
“We’ve got a couple of good Indian players on the tour as well so with a bit of luck perhaps something similar will happen out there.
“We’ve definitely got the best man for the job in Barry Hearn running the game now, he’s worked wonders since he came in and long may it continue.”
Whereas you can hear a pin drop in most British venues, Chinese spectators are less inhibited – but Pinches insists the players must learn to adapt to a different environment.
“The Chinese crowd is a little different to the British ones,” he added.
“A lot of the time there aren’t huge numbers, but if you do get a few people watching they tend to take pictures on their mobile phones and things like that.
“I think the players should realise that we are going to a different environment.
“Even though we’ve been going there for a while now there’s got to be a bit of give and take on both sides that that is the way they do things and you can’t expect things to change.”
Pinches could be flying to far-flung places for a while yet as after a change of club – to the Woodside Snooker Centre – and coach, the veteran says his love for the game has been revitalised.
“I’m still keen on my snooker and I’m playing as well as ever,” explained Pinches. “A couple of times in my career I’ve had spurts of good form over a season or a couple of years and done well.
“My biggest issue is that I’ve tinkered with my cue actions far too much, but I’ve been working really well with Steve Feeney at Sight Right for the last three or four months.
“I have been playing better – just look at my results at the end of last season and the beginning of this one, there’s been a complete turnaround.”
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