Welshman Andrew Baggett can’t wait to return to the Bizz after a difficult year of illness that forced him to postpone his tourist ticket for next season.
Paget, who previously spent six seasons as a professional, relegated from the ring in 2015. Five years later, he returned to the World Snooker Championship by winning the 2020 EBSA European Snooker Championship in Albufeira.
However, he fell ill shortly after his victory in Portugal, when he suddenly developed a digestive disease, diverticulitis, resulting in a perforation of his intestines. Due to these circumstances, it was agreed to postpone the Baggett Tourist Card until the beginning of this season.
Fortunately, he is now fit and able to resume competition, although at times Paget was suspicious that a return to the Tour would be possible.
“It came on all of a sudden and I basically couldn’t absorb anything. I realized there was pain in the groin area and went to the hospital,” Paget explained.
“The doctor said it was fortunate that I came in, because everything was coming out of me. He admitted that if I had not gone to the hospital that night, I would have gone in the morning. There was no doubt not to go to the hospital, because the pain was unbearable.
“They were going to do the surgery there and then, but it was decided that it would be best to try to let the intestines heal. Luckily, he said because I was young, we could try to heal it, which it did in ten days. Three weeks later, another hole appeared on the other side.” They had to have the operation this time but they waited for it to heal first and then they took ten inches of my intestines, which was sick. There were a few dark days after that, and I don’t even know if I would recover. I went from 11 stone to just under eight stone and four ounces Within six weeks.
“There were times when I just thought about giving up. I couldn’t handle it. Any illness gives you good days and bad days. I’m a guy of good standing and I think there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It really happened. Now I’m off the other side and I’m looking forward to going and throwing myself away. In tournaments and play.
Paget lost 10-4 to Alan McManus at the 2015 World Championships, causing him to drop out of the ring, after which he chose to quit his job. Instead, stick entirely to his discount store, which he owns in Aberdare.
Although Paget was content with the idea of walking away from the sport, he admitted in hindsight that the draws of competitive snooker were too big to keep him away permanently.
After a successful season on the Challenge Tour, which saw him qualify for a playoff on the Professional circuit, he won the EBSA European Championship and earned his return to the World Snooker Tour.
“My business, AP Discounts, opened in 2008 and that started to get my attention from snooker. My dad had a discount store before me and I decided to do the same. It’s all retail stuff like pop and chips,” said the 39-year-old Baggett. “I lost my love for the game.”
“Snooker is always in your blood and you’ll always get back to it in the end. You go back to the table and put the hours in. There’s no point in getting into snooker impatiently. If you’re going to do anything, you need to be fully committed. If you have another side job, it’s tough.” My dad Andrew and my mom Marilyn run the shop now.They help out and I can overlook everything.Everyone mingles and allows me to continue my snooker career.My fiancé Gemma, my parents and a couple of close friends around me have been amazing for the past year.
“Winning the European Championship put a lot of weight on my shoulder. I didn’t have to go to Q school and didn’t have to do the playoff. I could just let the others go and fight him in the minefield. It was great to win this, but unfortunately, it all started to go downhill.” Thank God all is well now.”
Baggett brings with him the experience of playing in the largest sports scene ever. He qualified for the Crucible at the 2011 World Championships and negotiated one of the most dramatic qualifying matches to be played in recent memory. With a score of 9-9 against Nigel Bond in the third round, Baggett required two snooker players in the clincher and earned them a 10-9 victory over the Black Final. He went on to defeat Andrew Higginson to qualify, before succumbing to a 10-7 loss to Jimmy Cobb at Theater of Dreams. He hopes that experiences like these will put him in good stead.
“That was a pretty crazy match. I actually needed two snookers in a frame that I won earlier in the match and needed two snookers in the break. For some reason the lines seemed to be for me. I just found it really easy to get Snooker I soldered him into two snooker games he was still out there trying to get out now. Those kind of moments are the things I can relate to and rely on if need be. I never remember losing if I’m honest Maybe I should. I always think In the pros and cons.My glass is always half full.
“If I knew the kind of publicity you get just by playing the Crucible, I probably never would have qualified. It was just another tournament for me. I didn’t realize its history or its importance. I don’t watch snooker, I’m not a fan of watching it all. If I had known what was going on About it, it sure would have been more difficult. Now I know what I am because it will be really hard to get to. It’s a big deal. I hope I can get there again.”
Paget’s return to professional action is set for just over a month, when he faces Mark King, Ross Muir and Matthew Stevens in the BetVictor Championship. He is fully confident of the upcoming campaign and says that after trying it over the past year, he is determined to make the most of it.
“I’m just going to enjoy it. I won’t let people tell me how to play the game. I’ll pick up my shot choices, as in the past people have questioned things. If I ever feel like getting red and smashing 14 other reds, I’ll do it. I’ll see where it takes me. I know where My game I’m a bunch of anyone and I definitely don’t care who I play for. I’m happy to be among the top players again. There are big rewards with the ring and I’m excited to see where this second chapter of my career goes.
“I have a range of experiences. When they say Mark Selby is the greatest safety player in the world, I’m happy to challenge that. I’m a great tall potter too. My game is as good as any of them you see. It’s inconsistent, but none of these 16 big boys would want to.” Play with me. There is no doubt that I will be attacked many times because I have been away from it. Once I get my nails in them, I will be a bunch of people.”