Undercooked Joe Perry suffers quick call-up and exit at the Masters snooker tournament
- Credit: TESS DERRY/PA
Chatteris snooker player Joe Perry admitted that a total lack of practice left him "blagging it" in his unexpected Masters appearance against David Gilbert.
The Fenland potter was a late call-up for the top 16-only tournament after world number one Judd Trump tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday.
But the 2017 finalist was unable to take advantage in Milton Keynes as he fell to a 6-2 defeat against world number 13 Gilbert.
Perry, ranked 19th, had taken an extensive break from snooker over Christmas and says his lack of preparedness for the event cost him dear.
The 46-year-old said: “He looked very strong out there and I played as I expected to. I was blagging it. In the balls and up close I was okay, but safety and anything from distance was a bit of guesswork.
“I’m not making excuses, I’m lucky to be in the tournament, but I wasn’t prepared to play someone in that sort of form and that good in those conditions.
“The tables find you out if you’re not in good touch. The tables are beautiful but if you slightly mistime one, it really shows up.
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“Had this event fell bang in the middle of the season, I probably would have been match sharp because I would have played a tournament a week ago. But I haven’t played in a tournament since the World Grand Prix before Christmas.
“I knew I wasn’t playing again until the end of January. We don’t get much time off anymore so I took the opportunity to have three weeks off and come back refreshed.
“It hasn’t backfired, because I’ve just been given £15,000 for turning up, but it didn’t give me a great chance of competing out there.”
Gilbert knocked in five half-century breaks to down the Cambridgeshire man but Perry did land the only century of the game, 108 in frame seven, and he also had the second biggest break of the match with a 73 in frame six.
Attention will now turn towards the World Championship where Perry will look for a 17th appearance at the Crucible.
He was planning to resume practice this week anyway and hopes runs at the upcoming German Masters and Welsh Open can gear him up for a crack at Sheffield glory.
“The plan was to have an extensive break and start practicing during the Masters,” he added.
“Watching the boys on TV would have given me the bug and the incentive to get back out there again.
“I’ll try and push on, build up now and get all my confidence and my game back.
“I felt it was coming back before Christmas, so I’ve got to build on that and keep working towards the big one at the end of the season.”
Watch the London Masters live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from Jan 10