When I got back from Egypt, I took a week off snooker to relax and recharge the snooker batteries. I think it freshens you up sometimes taking a break as you get stuck into a routine and become stale. There hasn't been a tournament this month so I spent a weekend working with my coach Craig Harrison from St Helens which was beneficial to me ready for the new season starting in Riga on 6th August.
From Riga I will be going to Leeds playing for Wales at the Home Internationals. We won it last year so I hope we can defend the Prince of Wales Shield.
After Leeds I'm playing in another European Tour event, The Paul Hunter Classic in Fuerth, Germany. It's a great tournament in honour of a great player that's unfortunately no longer with us. I really enjoy playing in Germany as the crowds are always very big and the atmosphere is electric inside the venue.
On 29th August I'm flying out to Bangkok in Thailand for the Sangsom 6 Red World Championships featuring the Top 32 ranked professionals and selected amateurs from around the world. I am really excited to play in this event as there is 2.5 million Thai Baht for the winner which is around £46,000 and it's also broadcast live on Eurosport. From Bangkok, I'm flying to Singapore for a week to meet up with my sponsor Chris from Eden Resources. He's organising some matches there for me and some sight seeing. Been told great things about Singapore so I'm really excited to go as it will also be my birthday while I am there.
I'm currently looking for a company that wants to advertise a logo on my waistcoat for either a season or for the events where I may be televised. Please contact me for more details if you or know someone who may be interested.
June has been a very busy month for me having spent 2 weeks in Bulgaria then followed by 2 weeks in Egypt with some success.
Firstly I played in the European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. I got to the final of this event last year but this time I got knocked out in the last 16 by Mitchell Mann of England who went on to win the event and qualify for the professional tour. A huge congratulations to him, he played some good snooker and is very worthy of his tour place. I played some good snooker myself that week making a century and topping my group undefeated. I hope I can qualify to play in the tournament next year which will be played in Prague.
I returned home for 4 days before I flew to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt for the World Team & World 6 Red Championships.
In the Team event I played with Jamie Clarke and we got beat in the semi final by Hong Kong who went on to win the event. We topped our group losing only 2 frames in the process. We beat a very strong India team 3-2 who had Pankaj Advani, a top 64 professional, playing for them. This event had a scotch doubles frame in every match. Scotch doubles is when you take alternate shots with your partner. Jamie and I constructed a break of 87 together in one of our matches.
In the 6 reds event, I topped my group without losing a match but then lost out in the Quarter Finals 5-2 to Boonyarit Keattikun from Thailand. I also made a break of 70, 5 points off a maximum with 6 reds on the table. If I had reached the semi final I would have qualified to play in the 6 red professional event in Bangkok, Thailand on my birthday in September so I was gutted to say the least!
While we were in Sharm El Sheikh we got chance to go snorkeling on the reef, go on a boat trip to see more of the marine life which is amazing, sunbathe (got a nice glowing tan!), swim in the many pools the resort had to offer and see a camel walk down the road as if it was normal! I have taken a fair few pictures which can be viewed if you like and share my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/garethallen
I want to thank Mohammed Kammah, The IBSF and The Egyptian Snooker Federation for putting on a wonderful tournament, an experience that I will never forget. I have been made an Ambassador of Sharm El Sheikh which will have some perks I am sure! Hopefully a 5 year contract can be sorted and we can keep returning to play there every year.
As for July, I have a month of no tournaments so I'll be taking a bit of time off before getting back to practice ready for the new European Tour season which kicks off in Riga on 6th August.