MICHAEL Georgiou reaped a rich reward for giving snooker one more try by reaching the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time at the BetVictor Welsh Open.
The 27-year-old from Forest Hill in south east London had an initial crack at the professional tour in the 2008-09 season but fell off straight away.
Georgiou, of Greek Cypriot descent, took the agonising decision to drop the sport he loved for a more certain income at that time and became a recruitment consultant.
But placing thousands of temporary contract staff with the Royal Bank of Scotland left him cold and after three years and seeing more tournaments and more hope, Georgiou decided to give Q-School a whirl.
He did not make it in 2013, but played in some European Tour events, and that paid off at Q-School in 2014 when he sealed a place back on the circuit.
Now based at the Frames Academy in Coulsdon, Georgiou has been the scourge of Graeme Dott in February, beating him in Berlin and then again 4-3 in the last 32 in Cardiff on Wednesday.
The world No89 said: “I came into the match knowing I had beaten Graeme already recently in the German Masters, 5-1 – so that was a lot more comfortable than today. It was your average, tense, decider.
“But I have been cursed this season until today, I had never won a deciding frame and this was the first. So that was one milestone, and then of course my first time into the last 16.
“You have to try and blank things like your record in deciders out of your mind, I went to the toilet, felt fresher and played it like it was the first frame.
“They are new things and it hasn’t sunk in yet. It is weird how well it has gone this month after giving it up for three years and having a 9 to 5 job.
“And when I saw the game explode under Barry Hearn I thought I’d give it another go in Q-School. I got myself a club base in Coulsdon, Frames Academy, which I had never had before.
“And the club has really helped me, I wouldn’t be here without them.
“I was in recruitment and payrolling temporary contractors for the Royal Bank of Scotland, I was in charge of about 4,000 contracts, filling jobs.
“It was mind-numbing but I learned a lot – mainly how much I missed and appreciated snooker. The day I had to stop was a really bad day, but things are going better second time around.
“It is the first time I have got to the last 16 and I promised to be good and not have any crazy celebrations as my mum and my uncle are up here. I can’t misbehave too much.
“I am a Londoner, south east London near Forest Hill – and very handily near cuemaker John Parris, so I can drop round the corner any time I need to.
“And I am of Greek Cypriot descent, I haven’t been over there recently. Last time I was over there I was in a car accident, so that left a few scars.
“But my March is quite free not having qualified for India or China and I have a little cousin just been born, so I’ll be going back then before the world qualifiers in April.
“I think they can see the snooker on Eurosport in Cyprus so I hear I am getting a bit of a fan base now, which is great.”
Photograph by Monique Limbos