CRAIG Steadman is starting to come to terms with the fact this could be his final season as a professional snooker player after crashing out of the Betway UK Championship in the first round.

Another disappointing result for the Farnworth potter saw him battle back from 3-0 down to level his first-round clash at the York Barbican against Jamie Jones at 3-3, before the Welshman reeled off three frames on the spin to clinch victory.

Steadman admits he has fallen out of love with snooker, and with his provisional end-of-season ranking currently 91, the 35-year-old’s chances of climbing into the top 64 and retaining his tour card are beginning to look bleak.

And he is far from convinced a change in fortune is just around the corner.

“I’ve not really enjoyed playing for a while,” said Steadman. “If you’re not winning a lot, it does take away the enjoyment.

“I have still been practising but I’ve been playing because I have to, not because I want to. My form doesn’t show any signs of changing on this evidence but who knows, maybe it will.

“I wish there wasn’t another tournament next week, I really do. I wish there wasn’t another tournament ever.

“That’s strange for me to say because I used to love snooker but for the last 18 months or so, I haven’t been enjoying it.

“Even if I’ve been winning – and I haven’t been winning a lot – the enjoyment of winning doesn’t last very long. The rest of it seems a bit of a slog.

“For me to say that, there must be something wrong. I don’t know whether this will be my last year on the tour – it could be.”

World number 47 Jones was hardly at his best to reach round two and Steadman admits a match in which the players made just one half-century break each left him frustrated.

“For me to be 3-0 down was probably a bit unfair but that’s the way it is for me at the minute – if I can find a way to lose or if something can go wrong, it will do,” he added.

“I stuck in and battled back to 3-3. I still didn’t feel fantastic but it was going my way and you start to fancy winning it. From 3-3, the next three frames were all very similar – scrappy-ish frames that he won.”

The UK Championship defeat completed a forgettable two weeks for Steadman who went out of the Northern Ireland Open at the first-round stage the previous week.

He lost 4-1 to Yu Delu who raced into a 3-0 lead in Belfast. Although Steadman made a break of 90 to narrow the deficit, Yu quickly wrapped up the win.

“Getting my cue out of my case was where it all started to go wrong against Yu,” joked Steadman.

“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.

“I had too much to do, normally if I’m 2-0 or 3-0 down I still fancy winning but if I’m honest I didn’t fancy coming back at all in that 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.”

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