World Ranking: 20
Order of Merit: 21
|2022/23 SMPT season record
Despite only playing in half of this season’s ranking singles events, Ian managed to secure two SMPT medals.
His first event was back in September at the Irish Open in Belfast. In group 24, Ian started confidently with two wins but was then undone in a very close 6-4 defeat to England’s Steven Roberts. Two further victories, however, ensured progression to the Cup knockout. An impressive win first up against former SMPT silver medallist Paul Canning was followed by wins against Ivan McClintock, Michael Gallagher & Terry Crawford. This set up a Semi-Final match against World No 8, Joe Beattie. The former Irish Open silver medallist was once again, looking for another final appearance, but it wasn’t to be, as Joe made it through by the narrowest of margins, 9-8. Still, yet another well-deserved bronze medal for the 34 year old.
In November, Ian attended the World Pairs & Fours Masters in Chelmsford. In Saturday’s fours, Ian teamed up with James Shaw, Adam Dyche & Steven Clarke. Four wins from four in group 3, saw the lads progress to the Last 16. However, a narrow 7-6 loss to the eventual winners, skipped by James Trott, would see their quest for glory end in the first knockout round.
In Sunday’s Pairs, Ian was playing, once again, with James Shaw. The 2019 winners were hoping for a return to the top spot of the podium and made a solid start. Three wins in group 5, saw the pair progress to the Cup knockout as planned. A first round bye didn’t help their preparation and they were defeated in the Last 32 by Jonas Hager & Lawrence Moffat, 9-6.
Straight back into singles action and Ian impressed once again in January’s British Open. A demolition job in group 12 saw Ian rack up a massive haul of 95 shots and just 19 against on his way to Cup qualification. His fine form continued in the Last 64 of the Cup knockout with a dispatching of World No1 Mark Beattie 8-3 and then a 9-6 win over World No2 Peter Roberts followed in the next round. In the Last 16 however, Ian was finally beaten by World No14, Jorgen Karlsson of Sweden, who would go on to take a bronze medal.
Onward to Belfast, and first up was the Belfast Open Pairs, where he teamed up, this time, with Steven Clarke. In group 29, they opened up with defeat to Philip Dennison & Andrew Leckey by 11-8. This meant they needed a victory against Cennydd Howell & Andrew Jones of Wales to ensure qualification. An 11-6 win put them top of group on shot difference from the other two pairs, with Phil & Andy also making it through. In the last 64 of the Cup, a win against Vera Mohan & Ann Patton, set up a match against the strong Swedish pairing of Dick Almen & Magnus Nordin Aronsson. A close 8-6 victory was enough to move forward to the Last 16 and a game against compatriots and defending Champions, Robbie Foster & Adam Rankin. And it was to be the latter that triumphed, 8-5 in a high quality match.
In the SMPT blue ribbon event, the World Masters, Ian was hoping to emulate his run to the final, as he did in 2018. Another highly impressive group run, which saw Ian only drop 12 shots in five matches, was obviously enough for him to breeze into the Cup knockout. Wins against Alan McCombe and Devon Wallace put him through to the Last 16 where he faced Englishman and former Swedish Masters Champion, Steve Proctor. An 11-6 win here put him into the Quarter Finals where he edged out another SMPT former champion in William Boggs. In the Semi-Final, Ian would face the in-form, Alex Kley of England. Another high class match with both players playing some excellent stuff saw Alex clinch the match 8-5. Alex would go on to claim the title and Ian had to settle for his second bronze medal of the season.
A short but successful season for Ian, who would clearly be in the World’s top 10 if he played more tournaments.
The Short Mat Players Tour’s (SMPT) selection of short-listed players is final. Voting is open to all players who have a SMPT Player Profile on our website.
Players who have previously played in a SMPT event but do not have a Player Profile can register for one by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – any player wanting a profile should send their email from the email address that is to be used for their profile, confirming the name of the last SMPT event they entered. Once a Player Profile has been set up, the player is eligible to vote.
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All votes must be received by the SMPT in the required format before 8pm on Sunday 2nd July 2023. The winner will be announced on our website on Tuesday 4th July 2023