Updated: SNOOKER might be the last thing on Ali Carter’s mind at times but at least he can always take solace in being able to have a curry and a pint.
The world number 15 nearly quit the game after losing in York a year ago – crippled by the effects of Crohn’s Disease.
It’s an ongoing battle for the 33-year-old, who booked his place in the quarter-final of this year’s williamhill.com UK Championship after seeing off Judd Trump’s conqueror, Mark Joyce, 6-2.
But, despite admitting to still not feeling on top form and yet to find top gear on the table either, the Tiptree potter said the most important thing was that he was still winning.
“I don’t feel that well presently,” he admitted after his win. “At the moment, I am controlling things with my diet which is working and it isn’t.
“It’s an ongoing problem where I don’t feel great. It’s just something I have had to deal with in my career and what’s the alternative?
“At the moment, I can’t seem to live normally and feel normal on a day-to-day basis.”
He added: “I’ve eliminated a lot of stuff in my diet and it’s just brain damage. It is so hard to stick to, especially when you are on the road like us travelling all the time.
“My stomach is on my mind all the time, even more than my snooker.
“I’ve stopped red meat now, and I like steak. I’ve stopped dairy and wheat and gluten, which is just about everything.
“When I am at home, I eat salads and a lot of fish now and I’m all right on rice so I can have curries, if they are not too spicy and don’t have too much cream in them.
“Some beer is okay, but not all beer. It depends. This is where I used to work behind a bar so I know this.
“If a beer is brewed by Heineken, it’s okay because it has a very low wheat content and is as near to gluten free as possible.
“I’m all right on a curry and a lager.
“I try to get in the gym a little bit and keep myself fairly trim so I don’t live on curry and lager.”
Carter jumped into a 4-0 lead, breaks of 58, 57 and 73 the highlights, but Joyce, when shocking Trump in the first round, had recovered from 5-2 behind and he made the game interesting by taking the first two frames after the interval.
But Carter, a finalist at the Crucible in May, won a scrappy seventh frame and finished the match with a classy 73.
“4-0 was a dream start for me but we all saw what happened with Judd Trump in the first round so I was determined I wasn’t going to let that happen to me,” Carter said.
“I haven’t really played great but I am in the quarter-finals and maybe there is a bit in there yet.
“In many ways it was as tough a match as if I had played Judd as the expectation totally changes.
“I was pleased with my stickability and pleased to be in the quarter-finals of another big event.”
Joyce explained that the after-effects of a vicious attack two years ago, that left him with a fractured elbow and eye-socket, had hindered him on key shots during the match.
“Ali played well and I left myself three or four tricky balls,” he said. “Every shot that was half tricky, I missed it.
“I had a chance to clear up in one of the frames and missed a tricky red down the rail and I missed a blue cueing up the side rail and Ali seemed to punish every mistake.
“I felt more comfortable than I did on Sunday. When I was in the balls I felt I was going to score a few, but I missed a black cueing off the rail and he has punished me again.
“That (shot) is one of the things I have struggled with. I have got a slight tremor and I’ve still got a pin in my arm and, when I am cueing off the rail, I can’t keep my arm still.
“You can’t dwell on it. I take a lot of confidence from it. The last 16 of a ranking event is a good result for me.”