Good luck to all those starting out in the new ranking tournament season at the qualifiers for the Northern Ireland Trophy at Pontin’s in Prestatyn today.
In particular, good luck to the eleven players competing on the main tour for the first time.
They are Stephen Craigie, Andrew Pagett, Daniel Wells, Vincent Muldoon, Li Hang, David Grace, Andy Lee, Michael Georgiou, Lewis Roberts, Adiyta Mehta and Kuldesh Johal.
Craigie could be one to watch. At 18, he is already the EBSA European under 19 champion and comes from a talented family – his younger brother, Sam, is also a very promising junior.
Craigie senior began playing at the age of six and made his first century break using the line up routine in practice at just eight.
At 12, he represented England for the first time in an under 14 international match and won all but one of his 18 frames.
At the same age he made North East snooker history by becoming the youngest winner of a pro-am.
Stephen and Sam were given a full sized table by Wallsend police station and their parents have built a snooker room at home where it has been installed.
Stephen’s progress continued apace, winning more junior titles. At 14, he received a Rising Star award from Sir Bobby Robson, the legendary former England and Newcastle FC manager.
Four years on he’s a professional and, although the circuit is notoriously tough for newcomers, could prove a handful.