Having won two PTC events and climbed into the world's top 32, Tom Ford is making strides forward in his snooker career.

 

Bizarrely, breaking his wrist in a friendly football match in 2011 turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the 29-year-old from Leicester. "It was a five-a-side game with some friends, I got challenged and landed on my wrist," he recalls. "The next day I found out it was broken and I couldn't play snooker for two months. Luckily it was just after the World Championship qualifiers so I had some time away from the game. It made me realise that I had to be careful so I've stopped playing football now."

 

Ford went on to have the best season of his career in 2011/12. He won his second Players Tour Championship event at PTC11, beating the likes of Judd Trump and Graeme Dott to reach the final then edging out Martin Gould 4-3.

 

He also got to the semi-finals of the one-frame Shoot-Out and showed a high level of consistency in the main ranking events, reaching the last 16 of three tournaments and the last 32 of four others.

 

In fact his only first-match defeat came in the World Championship, a tournament Ford has a relatively poor record in having reached the Crucible just once - in 2010 when he beat Trump 10-3 in the final qualifying round before losing 10-4 to Mark Allen in the first round proper at Sheffield.

 

Last season he was up against China's Cao Yupeng, and a 10-9 defeat proved particularly galling for Ford as he was docked a frame for arriving late to the table after the interval with the score at 2-2.

 

"I had a coffee then went to the toilet, and when I came out my referee and opponent had gone back to the arena," he said. "When I got to the table the referee told me I was late and I'd been docked a frame. I was cheesed off and I couldn't play my normal game for the rest of the match as I felt I was playing against the referee. I found it very difficult to put it out of my mind and I was gutted to lose.

 

"I sometimes get down on myself too quickly if things aren't going my way, and that's something I need to work on."

 

Ford has continued his steady form into the current campaign, reaching the last 32 of the Wuxi Classic and the last 16 of the Australian Goldfields Open and he has qualified for the Shanghai Masters, though he missed out on the International Championship after losing his qualifier to bogey man Cao Yupeng.

 

He's back in action at UKPTC3 this Saturday and is hoping that changes to his cue will help his progress. "The ferrule was too small at 8.7mm so I've had it made up to 9mm, plus I've had an extra inch added to the cue," said Ford. "The changes were made a few weeks ago and it feels different, I'm still getting used to it. I'm going to stick with it as getting a new cue would take even longer to adjust to. Hopefully I'll see the benefits soon.

 

"I'd love to win a big ranking tournament, because although I've won two PTC events, they don't feel like major tournaments," said Ford, whose first PTC triumph came in the third event of the 2010/11 season when he beat Jack Lisowski 4-0 in the final.

 

"And I'm hoping to get into the low 20s in the rankings this season. I think the top 16 is too far off as the top seeds are too protected. It will be interesting to see what happens when the rankings change to prize money, one problem might be that whoever wins the World Championship is bound to be number one."

 

Ford is known as a high calibre break-builder having made well over 100 professional centuries. He also made a 147 in exceptional circumstances at the 2007 Grand Prix in Aberdeen. He had been hospitalised with gastroenteritis in the early hours of the morning of a match against Steve Davis, but discharged himself, made it to the venue and won 4-0 with a maximum to boot.

 

Now Ford, whose main practice partners are Rory McLeod, Michael Holt and Mark Joyce, is aiming to build more of an all-round game. "My safety game has never been the best, that's no secret," he said. "Hopefully I can improve that and I fancy playing well for the rest of the season."