I first saw Judd Trump play when he was 10. It was in an English national junior final and he made a couple of 50 breaks as if he were a seasoned pro.

It was obvious then that he had bags of potential, which he further proved through his various junior title triumphs.

In 2003, he became the youngest ever winner at 13 of the annual Pontin’s Spring Open at Prestatyn, beating former top 16 player Mike Hallett 4-1 in the final.

There are no definitive stats for this, but I’d guess Trump was the first winner ever to celebrate by going on the swings.

He was given a wildcard for the main tour for the 2005/06 season in recognition of his junior accomplishments but it is, of course, a huge step up to the professional ranks.

His first match as a pro was against Fergal O’Brien, a vastly experienced former British Open champion, Masters finalist and ex-top 16 member.

His second was against Ding Jun Hui, already the winner of one ranking event who has gone on to win two more.

But Trump did qualify for the final stages of the Welsh Open and did enough to keep his place on the circuit – no mean feat in the dog-eat-dog scramble of Prestatyn.

At 14, he superseded Ronnie O’Sullivan by becoming the youngest person to compile a competitive 147 break.

Trump has been constantly compared to O’Sullivan, but to me he is more reminiscent of Stephen Hendry at the same age: shy, quietly driven and possessing bundles of talent.

Next week, Trump tackles James Wattana in the final qualifying round of the 888.com World Championship. If he wins he will become the third youngest player to compete at the Crucible when the Big One kicks off in Sheffield next month.

Hendry was the first 17 year-old to play there in 1986; O’Sullivan became the second in 1993.

Trump has already beaten Jamie Cope in the qualifiers and has every chance of beating Wattana, who has endured a poor campaign.

He will certainly add something to the final stages, representing as he does a bright future for the game. His prodigious talent suggests he will be around for many years to come.

The draw for the Crucible will be made live on BBC1’s Breakfast programme on Monday, March 19.

Will Trump be in it? If not this year then at some time very soon.


Anonymous said...


I too have watched him progress and would really like to see him in Sheffied.

Can you think of any other great players that have come out of Bristol, where Trump hails from?

Why is the draw on in the morning? They usually put it on a night time with Radio5 live hosting it.

Thanks, Joe

Dave H said...

Mark Johnston-Allen is from Bristol and was twice European Open champion as well as having a 100% record of three victories over Stephen Hendry from three matches.

Andrew Norman is the other Bristolian currently on the tour.

The draw is in the morning because BBC Breakfast have agreed to show it - it can't be on Grandstand because it's been axed.

Dave H said...

EDIT: Mark was twice European Open runner-up, not champion!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering the queries!

I always thought there was another Burnett. Of course twas the other way around in that match.

I do remember after White crushed Hendry, he punched the air in delight and gave a roar of 'Oi,Oi!!' Crowd of course gave him a standing ovation. It was like he had exonerated all his finals against Hendry in that moment.

M-J-Allen helps his dad run the snooker stall/shops at tournaments as well as presenting for Matchroom Sport these days.

Is Robert Milkins from Bristol or Gloucestershire?

It would be nice for a different angle on Snooker in the form of a book or dvd. But you're right, they don't see up against other sports.

Thanks, Joe