A KEIGHLEY pool player believes he would have reached the World Championship final if he had not missed a crucial ball which led to a deciding game not going his way.
Chris Melling is a two-time eight-ball world champion but will once again have to hope next year will be his year after crashing out of the nine-ball worlds at the last 32 stage.
The 42-year-old started well, surviving a scare against American female April Larson (9-7) and "not missing a ball" against Denmark's Bahram Lotfy (9-3) to fly through the group stage.
A tight 11-9 victory over Badar Abdullah Alawadhi meant another Kuwait potter stood in his way from a quarter final spot.
Omar Al-Shaheen, 28, raced away to a 6-4 lead before Melling rallied to win the next five games. A mistake allowed Al-Shaheen to create his own remarkable comeback, eventually setting up a tense decider.
Melling said: "The last game I had a chance on the three. I threw the game away myself.
"No matter how much experience you have got, you are always taught if you are down on a shot and feel uncomfortable, to get back up.
"You only get 30 seconds on a shot; I was thinking I will play this quick because I don’t want the referee to shout 10 seconds when I am on my back swing. I ended up missing that and he cleared up."
In what did not provide much solace, Al-Shaheen went on to reach the final, losing 13-9 to the experienced Austrian Albin Ouschan.
"He is a brilliant player," Melling said on the player who knocked him out.
"A lot of people might not have known him, but he has been in America a long time, playing money matches against the top players, so he is always improving.
"I was disappointed to lose because I was in the best half of the draw, which is unusual for me, I am usually in the worst side.
"If I beat him, I genuinely think I would have got to the final at least. Then playing Albin it would have been a flip of a coin."
When evaluating his 2021, Melling said: "All things considered, I have not had a bad year.
"I finished third in the Championship League, in the World Masters I lost 7-5 (second round) I missed a ball to go 6-6 there at the end. The World Cup of Pool, me and Jayson (Shaw) lost 7-6 (second round), he potted the eight ball and went in off.
"It is only small margins, if I can get them in my favour then we could be talking about me winning a world title."
Melling will next be in competitive action in July, but it is an event across the border tomorrow which could prove to be tasty.
"I have got an exhibition on Friday night in Glasgow, it is just after the game (England v Scotland at Euro 2020). It could be a bit hostile.
"Me and Jayson are doing it at his brother in law’s club, so it should be alright."