PLAYING the pressure game can earn Gloucester potter Michael Wasley a place in the World Championship quarter-finals.
Wasley will break new ground at the Crucible Theatre today when he takes on Dominic Dale in his first ever best of 25-frame match.
Playing for the first time over three sessions, the former Beaufort Community School pupil has spent the past four days back in Gloucester preparing for a new test.
And with his shock win against world number two Ding Junhui finally sinking in, Wasley believes he has the blueprint to claim victory in his last 16 clash.
Three final-frame victories in his five-match World Championship campaign has given the 24-year-old confidence that he can last the distance and earn a spot in the last eight.
“I feel better the longer a game goes on. No matter what happens in a match I am prepared to win the hard way, be it 10-9 or 13-12,” Wasley said.
“If my opponent isn’t prepared to do that then that’s fine by me.
“I’m more than ready for the match to go into the final frame or to the final ball. I’m ready to win the hard way.
“I am going to be preparing for the longer sessions.
“I want to make sure that I am fully prepared for what’s coming up so nothing comes as a surprise to me.
“I had a bit of a taster about what a three-session match is like because I had that against Ding and I got used to stopping and starting again.
“Even when I was behind after the first session I was prepared to do what it would take to come back in the next.
“I got better as the game went on and got used to upping the ante as the match went on and applying pressure to my opponent.
“Although Ding wasn’t at his best I think that was down to the way that I played.
“I wanted to put him under pressure and not give him anything easy.
“I wanted to keep that pressure up, take my chances to score when they came and I made him buckle.
“There was pressure on me too, but I felt I dealt with that really well.”
Since that landmark win, Wasley has become something of an overnight sensation with countless television interviews revelling in his underdog story.
And while he is happy to share those magic moments with those that have supported him throughout his career, Wasley’s mind was quickly back on the job in hand.
He is desperate to be remembered for much more than a huge one-off victory and having sampled the unique Crucible atmosphere, he can’t wait for another taste.
“It’s great to tell people that you are playing well and that you have won matches and there is no better place to do that than live on the TV at the Crucible,” Wasley said.
“I settled in well on my first time there and it’s nice to prove to people that I can win matches on the big stage and I’ve got a big taste for it now.
“A lot of people have believed in me have been really pleased for me. To take out the number two in the world and the favourite for the tournament is some payback for them.
“I ‘m not going to put any pressure on myself in the next round. I am just going to prepare well for every eventuality and be ready to play when the time comes. Then my snooker can do the talking.”
The action gets under way at 7.00pm