RUGBY’S Chris Wakelin believes reuniting with his old coach can haul him back to the snooker big time.
Rugby-born Wakelin went down to a 4-1 defeat against China’s Tian Pengfei in the second round of the Scottish Open last week as his turbulent start to the season continued in Milton Keynes.
The world No.62 recently re-joined forces with elite level coach and long-term friend Gary Morris as he bids to rediscover the form that saw him reach ranking event quarter-finals in 2015, 2016 and 2018.
Upbeat Wakelin is yet to reach the last 32 of a tournament this season but reckons Morris’ influence is propelling him in the right direction.
“I feel fantastic,” the 28-year-old said.
“I’ve just started working with my old coach Gary Morris, who helped me from a young age to get onto the tour in the first place. There’s a lot of positives at the minute.
“We’ve been on and off together for the last 15 years. He’s done so much for me – it’s not so much a case nowadays of him telling me what to do or showing me new shots or ways to improve.
“It’s just we’ve worked together as a team and find one per cents and two per cents we can improve my game on. It’s that teamwork and camaraderie that’s got me back to feeling like I’m going to be winning matches again very soon.
“I’m putting a hell of a lot of hours in and am trying in everything possible to better myself. The last 12 months just haven’t been that great since the Scottish Open last year – I’ve either not played well, people have played phenomenal against me or things haven’t gone my way.
“It’s one of those things – I’m not disheartened at all and I’m giving it everything I’ve got.”
Wakelin, whose highest ranking on the professional tour was world No.44 back in September 2018, beat minnow Fraser Patrick 4-0 in his first round match at the Scottish Open but was unable to follow that up against Tian.
The Nuneaton-based player made a fine third frame break of 124 but visits of 85 and 56 from Tian, ranked eight places above Wakelin, hauled him over the line at the Marshall Arena.
Wakelin currently lies 70th on the one-year ranking list and is unable to qualify for this month’s World Grand Prix, an event where the season’s top 32 players are invited to compete.
He’s looking to hit the baize hard over the festive period and reckons continual improvement is the key to ranking success.
The determined Wakelin added: “I still believe that I’m improving, which is obviously the biggest key to making your way to the top of the rankings.
“It’s: are you still improve day on day? And I believe that I am. I’m struggling in matches recently, but hopefully come next year that will all turn around.”
Will Jennings, Sportsbeat – 0203 026 3780.