Phil Haigh ✍️
There is no doubt in Michael Holt’s mind that he will head to Q School and will be confident of bouncing straight back onto tour after falling off the professional circuit for the first time in over 20 years.
The Hitman – who started his current stint as a pro in 1998 – has had a season to forget and defeat in the third round of World Championship qualifying to Tom Ford on Sunday confirms that he will end the season outside of the top 64.
There are some extremely unlikely sets of circumstances that could see Holt remain on tour through the one-year list, but it is fair to say that the 43-year-old has accepted that he will be heading to Q School to regain professional status.
Such has been the nature of his season, this has been on the cards for a few months, but it is still a hurtful day after playing pretty well in the 6-3 defeat to Ford.
‘I didn’t play too bad, I missed two or three balls that you’d have back,’ Holt told WST. ‘He had the rubs today, I think he’d admit that himself, it’s 6-3 but I’ve probably made less mistakes than he has, he’s probably missed more than I have, but that’s snooker.
‘It’s disappointing on a day like today which is a big match for me. The rubs today is not why I’ve dropped off, it’s because of the matches I’ve lost before.
‘It’s obviously disappointing because I got up for it, did all the right things, attitude was good and played alright. I just missed a couple and didn’t get away with anything.’
Remarkably, Holt went into the 2021 World Championship ranked 28 in the world, but pinpoints his defeat in his first qualifying match to Jamie Jones as the start of his demise.
‘It’s the last year, because I was doing alright last season and then lost first match in the Worlds,’ he explained. ‘That was one match that was £15k or nothing. I genuinely didn’t think I’d be anywhere near it at the end of last season. But it’s all gone now.’
Q School is a gruelling tournament that runs from 16 May to 5 June and will see 12 players book their spots on tour for next season.
Holt remains confident he has more than enough quality to be on tour and will head to Ponds Forge, Sheffield confident that he will be there again.
‘I’ll go to Q School. While I’m capable of the level that I am in practice, and in matches at times, it would be silly not to play,’ he said.
‘Obviously I’ve got to contemplate not being on tour next season if I don’t get through, which is what it is. The world will keep spinning.
‘It’s disappointing because I’ve put a lot of work in, I’ve not shown myself really. I’m better than that, my level is better than that. But that’s sport.
‘I’ll keep playing, always keep playing. I’m always confident in any match I’ve ever played. I know what I’m capable of. It’s whether I do it or not.
‘I’ll be trying my best. The game’s actually there, so if I let it happen I’ll be tough to beat.’
The former Shoot Out champion will not be suffering any dent to his pride if he comes back through Q School, not caring about the route required to be on tour, just that he wants to be there.
‘At the minute the rankings are meaningless,’ he said. ‘Number 64 or 17, there aren’t many perks. If you’re in the draw that’s all that matters. If I do get on through Q School, I don’t care being 128, gone are the days where I care where I’m ranked.’
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