DAVE Gilbert was well beaten by Barry Hawkins in the first round at the Crucible, and his run of eight losing frames had given him some extra cause for concern.
The 32-year-old Gilbert, arguably one of the tour’s underachievers and by his own admission guilty of poor attitude and discipline in the past, is one of a minority of top professionals not to practise on a Star table as used in tournaments everywhere.
At a rough estimate perhaps 80 per cent of players do have regular access to Star tables, either through using hubs such as the Romford, Gloucester or Sheffield Academies or in their own homes or clubs. A select few have been given them for various achievements or sponsorship deals, and others have the option to buy new or second-hand through advantageous rates set up by World Snooker or the WPBSA.
Gilbert still uses a Riley table in Tamworth, and suggested after his loss that extra difficulty adjusting to the table was beginning to cost him when it matters.