Craig Steadman’s love for snooker may have finally hit rock bottom after crashing out of the Dafabet Northern Ireland Open in the first round.
The Farnworth potter cut a dejected figure both on and off the table in Belfast, surrendering to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Yu Delu in the Waterfront Hall.
But it was the manner of defeat which most concerned the world No.86, struggling to get any rhythm into his game against his Chinese opponent.
And with this a tenth loss in what has already been a difficult season to date, Steadman admits the game he once cherished is no longer giving him the same feeling of enjoyment.
“Getting my cue out of my case was where it all started to go wrong,” he admitted.
“I made a decent break to get to 3-1, but it was a little bit half-hearted – I just felt I was struggling and nothing much was going my way.
“If all honesty I’ve not enjoyed playing snooker for quite a while, if you’re getting results and you’re winning then it can be a lot better to cope with.
“I had too much to do, normally if I’m two or three-nil down I still fancy winning but if I’m honest I didn’t fancy coming back at all in this one.
“I got two chances in the next frame but ran out of position, didn’t land quite right and it felt like one of those days where nothing I tried was paying off.”
Steadman was 3-0 down before having chance to blink, a break of 90 helping China’s Yu to within one frame of victory.
He was to show some fight however, scoring his own 90 effort, though that was to be as good as it got for the Farnworth cueman in Belfast.
But with the UK Championships coming as quickly as next week, the 35-year-old won’t have long to wait to get back in competitive action.
“You’ve got to dig your heels and grit it out when things going against you, but it seems to be a common occurrence for me,” he said.
“We’ll see what happens next week, I don’t think I’ve felt this bad ever.
“But it’s not too far from home, I’ll go back and brush myself down and then we go again next week.”
Watch the Northern Ireland Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds