World number 38 Mark Davis appeared in his maiden ranking final at last year’s English Open and the 47-year-old is looking forward to returning to the K2 in Crawley next month.
This year’s 19.com English Open will see 128 of the world’s top stars, including Mark Williams, Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy with a top prize of £70,000 up for grabs. The event runs from October 14th-20th. Click here for tickets.
Sussex’s Davis relished competing in front of a local crowd on the world stage 12 months ago, as he saw off the likes of John Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan to earn his place in the showpiece match.
There he faced Stuart Bingham in a showdown for the Steve Davis Trophy. Despite leading 7-6, Davis eventually succumbed to a 9-7 defeat.
For Davis it was his stunning 6-1 win over O’Sullivan in the semis which stands out as one of his most significant showings on the baize.
Davis said: “I’ve been a professional since 1991 and I’ve played in lots of events, but I haven’t been in that many big matches simply because I haven’t reached the latter stages of enough events. That is just a fact. I played really well against Ronnie. He missed a few, but even the top players miss when you put them under pressure and punish their mistakes.
“To beat him in a long format match was fantastic and probably the best result I have been involved in. Any time that you play Ronnie it is a different experience. He is the man and always will be as long as he keeps playing. As good as John Higgins and Judd Trump are, Ronnie is a little bit special to play against and it is amazing when you beat him.”
After coming up just short in the final, Davis has been left to continue his hunt for that first piece of ranking event silverware. Despite the blow of narrowly missing out on his dream after 28 years as a professional, he hopes that he can take advantage of his experience in Crawley.
“Belief is what I have lacked throughout my whole career. I’ve never been one to say I can do this or I should have done that. There are too many talkers in the game. If you are going to talk then you have to do it. If I end my career having not won a ranking event I will have nobody to blame but myself,” said Davis. “Getting to that final did give me extra confidence and I am now working with Chris Henry and was with Terry Griffiths before that. They have helped me in terms of the mentality. I just need to be more consistent.”
With just over a month to go until this year’s 19.com English Open, Davis is already looking ahead to his return to the scene of his best ranking event showing to date. He hopes that he can once again take prosper in front of a local following.
“It was a really good week and one of the best tournaments I have had in terms of how I felt. That must have been in part down to being so close to home. I never really get to play events near to my family and friends. I had people coming to watch me in nearly every round last year. It will bring back good memories and hopefully I can play some decent stuff again.”