THE CORAL UK CHAMPIONSHIP began for Graeme Dott with him comparing the Sports Hall arena with a toilet but, based on today’s performance, it may end with him flushed with success.
Dott compiled three centuries in beating Robert Milkins 6-0 to reach the last 16 and set up a re-match of the 2010 World Championship final with Neil Robertson.
The usual words used to describe Dott are ‘tenacious,’ ‘gritty,’ ‘determined’ and so on, but well meant those these are, they don’t really cover his full range of skills. Like any top player, he is a heavy scorer, a fine tactician and possesses the temperament to succeed on the big stage.
Graeme’s never been shy of voicing an opinion, often a critical one. Sometimes he gives the impression that if he found a winning lottery ticket in the street he’d be gutted that it wasn’t a rollover week.
But this is someone who had it harder than most as a kid growing up in a rough part of Glasgow and has had his problems as a professional, notably depression following the death of his long time manager and father-in-law.
Dott has bounced back time and time again from adversity and, though he’s often shunted on to the side tables, has earned his place centre stage as the UK Championship field thins out.
Today’s display proves he has the game to challenge for these major events. It also helps him in his quest to claim a spot in the Masters.
It’s true there are more naturally talented players around but they don’t all have Dott’s application, nor his poise under pressure. Surely nobody in the game is still daft enough to underestimate him.
He’ll still be the underdog against Robertson but that’s how he likes it. The ‘I’ll show them’ attitude has served him well throughout his career and, allied to some encouraging form, it makes him hard to beat.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.