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Junior Stars Enjoy Incredible Sheffield Experience

Home » Junior Stars Enjoy Incredible Sheffield Experience

Eight of England’s top junior snooker players took part in the second day of the EPSB Elite Junior Performance Programme in Sheffield during the Cazoo World Snooker Championship.

The Programme, launched at the start of this season, aims to provide the next generation of players with education and development on a range of topics to stand them in good stead for a potential future career as a snooker professional.

Day one of the Programme took place at Q Bar Walsall Wood back in November. Eight elite junior cueists, selected based on their achievements in the English Junior Tour, World Disability Billiards & Snooker (WDBS) and World Women’s Snooker (WWS) tours, headed to Sheffield for day two of the Junior Elite Performance Programme.

  • Daniel Boyes
  • Ellise Scott (WWS)
  • Jake Crofts
  • Matthew Haslam (WDBS)
  • Mitchell Berry
  • Nicholas Ayers
  • O’Shay Scott
  • Paul Deaville

The day began at Ding Junhui’s Snooker Academy, a short walk from the Crucible Theatre, where the players received expert talks on sports psychology, nutrition and gaining sponsorship from qualified WPBSA coaches and former World Snooker Tour (WST) professionals Rebecca Kenna, Nigel Bond and Andrew Highfield.

The young players were also given the opportunity to question former World Championship finalist Bond and recent WST professional Rebecca Kenna in a Q&A session.

John Cox, one of the lead sponsors of the scheme as well as a sponsor of multiple ranking event winner Gary Wilson, then offered further advice on how to gain sponsorship before WST’s Head of Media Ivan Hirschowitz gave a talk on the media requirements of a WST professional, as well as how to utilise the media and make best use of personal social media platforms.

The group then headed to the Crucible Theatre, where the first day of the Cazoo World Championship semi-finals were taking place, for a backstage tour of the sport’s most iconic venue.

In the press conference area, BBC broadcaster and MC Rob Walker grilled a selection of the players in mock post-match interviews before offering up some advice on how the snooker media works in his usual charismatic manner.

Finally, the players visited the arena floor – walking through the famous curtain and down the steps in an unforgettable moment that they will be hoping to repeat for real in the coming years.

After a photoshoot with the historic World Championship trophy, the day concluded with a speech from WPBSA chairman Jason Ferguson – who talked about his own experience of playing on snooker’s grandest stage and offered a few words of advice for the budding young stars.

The EPSB would like to thank everyone involved in making this year’s Junior Elite Performance Programme a success this year – including our sponsors John Cox and John Parris Cues, all the expert speakers across the two days, the teams at Ding Junhui’s Snooker Academy and Q Bar Walsall Wood and all the players who have taken part in the scheme.

Details on next season’s EPSB Junior Elite Performance Programme will be announced in due course.