John Astley in action. Photo by Anna Gowthorpe/PA Archive

John Astley, 28, is closing in on his target of breaking into the top 64 ranking spots and is pleased with the snooker he has produced this season.

He started the season in the 70’s but estimates when the rankings are published ahead of next season he’ll be around the 66 mark.

Astley has just completed the first year on a two-year Tour Card and recognises achieving a rank below 64 is the safest way of staying on the tour but knows he’ll have to work for it.

“It’s been excellent! If someone said at the start I’d finish the season on the points I did I would’ve snapped their hand off!

“It would keep the points ticking over. I am pretty close to the 64 but in prize money terms, it’s still quite a jump.

“If I have another season like I did this year it should put me comfortably inside the top 55.”

Despite the disappointment of an opening round exit at this year’s UK Championship in York, a big highlight for the Gateshead potter was reaching the quarter final of the Riga Masters.

“There’s quite a few players lower down the rankings that’ll maybe never get to a quarter final so it was a decent achievement,” said Astley.

“It was the first quarter final I’ve been to in a professional tournament so that was a bit of a milestone.”

Astley enjoyed many good finishes this season but the incredible comeback from 4-0 down to beat Kyren Wilson, and qualify for the German Masters, was a particular standout match.

“I think that has to be my best result of the season,” he said.

“To beat anybody from that position is good but to beat someone from the top 16 was a massive result and gave me a lot of confidence.”