Dave Harold is a better player than a lot of people realise, as he demonstrated today by beating Stephen Maguire 5-2 at the Northern Ireland Trophy to reach his first ranking event semi-final in five and a half years.
At 41, Harold has bags of experience. He has only one ranking title to his name – the 1993 Asian Open – but the top players regard him as a tough opponent.
Harold is one of snooker’s hard men. You have to scrape him off the table.
He has a deliberate style. His cue action is unorthodox in as much as he doesn’t ‘feather’ the cue ball at all. Instead, he punches at it.
This means that he does not appear as fluent as many players but it has been effective for him and he is more than capable of winning in Belfast this weekend.
Harold is one of only 26 players to have compiled a century of centuries in professional competition.
This is not the mark of an unremitting grinder.
I watched him make three centuries in four frames against Ali Carter at the Championship League last season. It was awesome stuff and he equalled his highest competitive break, 143.
Snooker takes all sorts. Most fans would understandably prefer to watch Ronnie O’Sullivan or the other fast, attacking players.
But the game’s tough guys deserve respect too and they don’t come much tougher than Harold.