David Gilbert, making it count now in snooker

David Gilbert now has a changed approach towards life and that is there to be seen in his game.

David Gilbert is hopeful of making an impact at the Indian Open snooker tournament in Kochi.   -  Stan Rayan

A few years ago, David Gilbert appeared to have lost his way in life.

“I felt that snooker was not relevant to me then, I’d turn up and play but I wasn’t really there. I wasn’t playing really well, I wasn’t practising. As long as I had enough money in my pocket for a pint of beer and a pack of cigarettes, I was happy,” said Gilbert, the World No. 16 from England, in a chat with Sportstar here on Tuesday.

“There were many bad decisions and I was off the rails for a bit of time.”

He was into potato farming for around six years and played in tournaments now and then without making much of an impact. And then it all changed after a close friend advised him about the value of life.

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“He really helped me, sadly, he passed away five years ago, he had cancer,” said Gilbert who is now in Kochi for the fifth Indian Open world-ranking snooker tournament which begins at the Grand Hyatt, Bolghatty Island, on Wednesday.

“And then I met my wife, Abi, she was also a big factor for the big change in me.”

Gilbert, known as the 'Angry Farmer' in world snooker, is now playing the best snooker of his life.

Last year, the 37-year-old led 9-5 against World champion Mark Williams, before losing the World Open final 9-10 in China and earlier this month, he finished runner-up to World No. 7 Kyren Wilson after a dramatic German Masters final.

This season has been a wonderful one for Gilbert. At the start of the year, he got snooker’s maximum break, the 147, in a Championship League match, it was the sport’s official 147th 147. Now the Englishman feels he is very close to his maiden world-ranking title.

“This season has been my best, I’ve won a few games which I wouldn’t have won in the past.”

Will Kochi turn out to be a life-changing event?

“I’d love that obviously, the biggest goal of my life is to win one.”

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