Gary Wilson was not impressed with the Crucible conditions (Picture: VCG via Getty Images)Gary Wilson has been left with a bitter taste in his mouth after his Snooker World Championship semi-final exit, the taste of dodgy chalk and ropy cloth.
The world number 32 upset the odds to reach the final four at the Crucible, where he was beaten 17-11 by Judd Trump over four sessions.
The Tyneside Terror was quick to admit that he didn’t perform at his best on the one-table set-up, but he was also extremely frustrated with playing conditions.
‘I was not good enough the last two days and that’s why I lost,’ said Wilson, when asked to assess his performance.
‘Judd deserved it, he played better, but I felt the table spoiled the game a little bit as well, I noticed in the first three frames we were getting the odd daft bounce and it was drifting.
‘I thought, “this doesn’t look good,” it should be playing really well, but frame by frame it was getting worse and worse, and heavier.
‘It’s not an excuse, I didn’t deserve to win, but I felt I struggled with the table as well. I was struggling with certain shots and they were made harder.
‘It shouldn’t be acceptable, and it’s been said enough over the last couple of days about drifting and bad bounces.’
Wilson has a theory as to why the table was playing so badly and it comes down to chalk.
Taom chalk, a Finnish brand, started being used regularly on the circuit a couple of years ago and many players believe it has vastly reduced kicks and bad bounces.
Some players, though, still use the more traditional Triangle chalk, partly because of the cost of the Taom option, but Wilson believes that the Finnish option is so vastly superior that it should be made compulsory.
‘I’m 100% sure the bounces and the kicks are down to the chalk that John [Higgins] and Judd [Trump] use, the Triangle chalk, that’s the way it used to be all the time, until players started using the Taom chalk.
‘That doesn’t happen anymore, I can’t remember the last time I got kicks or bounces like that when both players were using Taom chalk, it brought me back to two years ago, when people were playing with Triangle all the time.
‘It’s 100% the reason that it happens a lot more, I don’t know what more proof anyone needs. It’s 100% that it happens more than when we’re not using the Taom chalk.
‘I think there should be a rule brought in soon where you have to use that chalk or similar chalk because it’s just ridiculous, people who aren’t using it, they’re still getting kicks and bounces and it’s absolutely plainly obvious to see.’
It was put to Wilson that some players do not want to get on the Taom bandwagon because it is thought to produce more miscues, however, the Geordie disagrees.
‘Sometimes, on certain tips, the Taom chalk is a little bit harder to apply, it doesn’t stay on some tips as well. People say you get more miscues, but that’s because they’ve not made sure they’ve put enough on. It’s not the chalk, that’s a load of rubbish.’
It is a debate that has raged between top players in the game, with a number of the stars of the baize on each side of the argument.
The likes of Neil Robertson, Mark Williams and Mark Allen are all fans of the Taom chalk and have mentioned so on Twitter.
Haven’t miscued for 16 months using @taombilliards chalk version 2 was a big improvement from #1
— Neil Robertson🌱 (@nr147) April 21, 2019
Williams called Taom ‘the best invention in 25 years I’ve been a pro’ and joked, ‘I’m gunna go back to the triangle chalk myself , I’m fed up with no kicks and no mess on the table.’
However, Wilson had one more dig at the table, saying that, while the chalk caused some issues, it can’t be blamed for them all.
‘It’s why the table can play like that, but also the heaviness of the table and the driftiness of the table is nothing to do with chalk,’ Gary continued. ‘It’s not been set up properly or the cloth’s not playing well enough.
‘It’s disappointing, all I’ve got is disappointment. Half of it’s me own self, I didn’t deserve to win, but it’s also disappointing that the table wasn’t up to standard as well.’
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