Barry Pinches ready for Mark Williams clash
Barry Pinches insists he is as hungry as ever for success after setting up a mouth-watering clash with world number one Mark Williams – in Australia.
The 40-year-old beat Matthew Couch and Stephen Lee to come through the qualifiers for the first ever ranking tournament to be held Down Under.
It marks a healthy start to the new season for Pinches, who has moved up a place from his season-starting ranking of 42 in the world after a mixed time of it last year.
And while he may have missed out on the season's higher-profile events, Pinches insists there is plenty of fight in him.
'I have still got a hunger to do well, no doubt,' he said. 'I am certainly willing to play three or four hours on my own every day to keep sharp. Some of the big name players who have won everything perhaps get to a stage where they perhaps don't feel like doing that, but I am in a position where I have to. I can understand some of the senior pros, but I still have to fight and try and make a quid out of the game.
'There is definitely a big incentive for me.
'I am 40 years old but I still play all the time and I still think I can cut it. I don't see any reason for age being a problem in snooker.'
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The Australian Goldfields Open runs from July 18-24 and Pinches is hoping the long journey will be worthwhile.
'The standard of snooker is so good and the margins between players is so tight at the moment,' he said. 'I played Mark Williams twice in smaller events last year so know what he is about. He had a good season last year and played some of his best stuff for a long time, so you have to be at your best against players like him.
'I know it is a long way to go and while I want to win, it will be a great experience as well.
'It is the first big ranking event and I hope it will kick-start something.'
Pinches became something of a household name after his exploits in the 2004 World Championship when, wearing his trademark yellow and green waistcoat, he beat Jimmy White in a marathon game before being edged out by Stephen Hendry. He may not have hit the headlines very often last season, but in the smaller events he picked up some notable scalps, beating Williams in the semi-finals and then Ronnie O'Sullivan 4-3 in the final of the fourth event of the Players Tour Championship. That victory earned him the top prize of �10,000.
'Overall I had a good year,' he said. 'I won some of the smaller tournaments. I beat Ronnie in one final and Williams in the semis, but in the big tournaments I just missed out.
'In that respect it was a bit of a disaster because I had such a good start.
'Now I'm hoping this good start will lead to better things.'