Scott Donaldson has admitted he feared he ‘might die’ in a 40-minute medical break during his victory in the final of snooker’s Championship League Group Four last month.
The Perth cueist was leading fellow Scot Graeme Dott 2-0 when he suddenly encountered difficulties breathing and was forced to temporarily request a halt to play.
When he returned Donaldson, who suspects the issue was an allergic reaction, summoned an almighty effort to return to the table and claim a hard-fought third frame to wrap up an unlikely 3-0 win.
When asked if it was the toughest frame of his life, Donaldson answered: “100%. Your health comes first. It doesn’t matter how bad you are playing, if you aren’t feeling well health-wise, then it doesn’t get much worse.
“I’m not joking, when I was in the toilet during that break I felt like I might die, because I couldn’t get any air into my lungs. Thankfully I managed to get up whatever was blocking things.”
The 25-year-old has recovered and is currently competing at the Betway UK Championship in York, after which he will turn his attentions to his home event, the 19.com Scottish Open which takes place from December 9 to 15.
World number 26 Donaldson has never gone beyond the last 64 at the Glasgow event. He faces Chinese teenager Lei Peifan in the opening round this year at the Emirates Arena. Donaldson hopes that he will thrive in front of his home crowd.
“You cannot run away from it. There is a lot of pressure at your home event and that is just the way it is. I have all my friends from the club I practise at and all the people who work there coming to support me.
“This is an event that I have never played well in, so I feel that in some ways I am due a run, although I know it doesn’t work like that. Even just to get to the last few days would be nice. I will need to look at why I haven’t performed yet in this tournament.”
Donaldson has rapidly improved his standing in the sport in recent years. Since his maiden ranking event semi-final appearance at the 2017 Welsh Open, he has gone on to reach the last four of a further three tournaments. He now feels the next target is logically to aim to go one step further.
He said: “I am delighted to have made four semi-finals but I want to try and get to a final now. The difficult one is getting into that final. The semis are such a hard round to get beat in.
“You are so close yet so far away at the same time. I have decided that unless I am three or four balls away from winning a tournament, I won’t even think about the idea. Even the semis are such a long way from the trophy. I am practising hard and there is nothing else I can do.”