Published: 14:38, 18 October 2017
Rejuvenated Gerard Greene's return to snooker is going to plan after he beat former world champion Ken Doherty at the Dafabet English Open.
After a year spent delivering tyres, Greene bounced back on to the professional tour and is now desperate to get on a roll.
The Kent cueman dropped off the circuit in May 2016 after 23 years as a professional – and 12 months of doing odd-jobs in order to make ends meet provided a stark glimpse into life outside the snooker bubble.
It wasn’t a glimpse the 43-year-old enjoyed but after keeping his hand in by practising at Jordan’s Pool & Snooker Lounge in Rainham, he won the EBSA Amateur Play Offs in April to earn a new two-year tour card.
Results since have been steady and, after making three half-centuries to beat 1997 world champion Doherty 4-1 in the first round of the Dafabet English Open in Barnsley on Tuesday, Greene is loving life back in the fast lane.
“When I fell off the tour, I was devastated and didn’t really know what to do,” he admitted.
“The year off was a killer, doing silly work – it wasn’t for me. I was doing all sorts during that 12 months. I was driving cars, delivering tyres – I had to pick up about 400 tyres per day – it was ridiculous. I was cream-crackered!
“But I’m back on tour, putting the practice in and playing all right, so hopefully I should stay on tour for a few more years now.”
Greene wasn’t the only Kent cueman to find success in round one as Ditton potter Barry Hawkins wasn’t at his best but did enough to beat Peter Lines 4-2.
It’s been a lean season for the 38-year-old but as he gears up to face world No.95 Chen Zifan in round two, he is hopeful a good run in Barnsley could kickstart something.
“My form has been a bit scrappy at the start of the season and isn’t really there at the moment,” admitted Hawkins. “But I’m trying hard and that’s all you can do really.
“I just need to get some matches under my belt and really get involved.
“I’m practising hard again now – my mind wasn’t really on snooker because I was having a terrible time at home. But now I feel better in myself.
“Hopefully it will turn around, there’s still plenty of the season left – although it doesn’t always happen of course.
“I’ll just keep working hard and hopefully something clicks. If I win a couple of matches I’ll start to get a bit of confidence and away you go.”
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