David Grace confirmed his tournament sensation status at the Betway UK Championship in York with a stunning quarter-final comeback win over Martin Gould on Friday night.
For a player like the 30-year-old Grace from Leeds, on his second crack at the tour, reaching the semi-finals is not just all about trying to win the title, although that will be the dream.
It is about a minimum £30,000, a biggest ever payday. It is about a first major semi-final. It is about trying to stay in the top 64 and on tour, trying to make sure he can afford to stay on tour as a professional and pay large expenses, and paying for April’s wedding to girlfriend Gemma.
While Gould was left utterly devastated and probably should have won the match 6-1 before losing the next five frames, he once again showed for long spells what a good player he is.
And no one should forget the supreme moment of sportsmanship in the horribly tense decider when Grace was in a potentially match-deciding snooker.
Seven fouls came the way of Gould with Grace in terrible trouble until eventually Terry Camilleri judged one attempted escape so close that he did not call a miss as before.
Gould accepted the critical decision with good ‘grace’ knowing full well what was at stake, and it was his opponent that emerged victorious.
Earlier victories in the event had seen the spotlight cast on Grace’s abilities as a talented artist and portrait painter, and part-time job cleaning tables at the Northern Snooker Centre to boost meagre earnings. But Friday was all about sporting drama.
An emotional Grace said afterwards before the semi-final against Liang Wenbo: “Of course there are times when you don’t think the big breakthrough will come.
“When you are on the tour as long as I have been and had one last-32 ever coming into this – that’s not a career, is it?
“But deep down you do believe it is in there somewhere, it’s just no use saying it and believing it until it actually happens.
“My tour place has been on my mind as I have been going through the rounds, I know I have been closing the gap on the top 64.
“There are lads that have been loads more consistent than me but under this system you can have one good week and get yourself in there, and that is what hopefully I am doing.”