EPSB tournament regulars Liam Pullen and Manasawin Phetmalaikul have both graduated from their respective Q-Schools and are set to realise dreams as they move up to snooker’s professional circuit for the first time.
In the opening events, Pullen qualified through the UK Q-School in Leicester last week, while Manasawin made the cut at the Asian Q-School in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday. Both youngsters can now look forward to their rookie campaigns as they secured two-year World Snooker Tour cards for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons.
Pullen has enjoyed a sensational season, with his game having seemingly reached a new level over the past 12 months.
The 17-year-old won this season’s English Under-18 Snooker Championship after a 4-2 victory against Oliver Sykes in the final at the Cueball Derby during which he made breaks of 139 and 122.
Earlier in the domestic season, the York-based star comfortably finished the term as the number one ranked junior in England having come top of the Under-21 Premier Development Tour – a circuit on which he incredibly won three of the six events.
Further afield in international competition in early 2023, Pullen reached the final of the EBSA European Under-18 Championship in Malta, and narrowly missed out on professional status when he lost to compatriot Stan Moody in the final of the World Snooker Federation Junior Championship in Australia.
One of the country’s hottest properties over the last few years having previously made the national under 14 and 16 finals, Pullen showed grit at the Morningside Arena as he defeated Mark Lloyd 4-2, Jed Mann 4-3 and Gary Britton 4-3 in close matches during the early rounds.
The teenager then staged a remarkable recovery against Q-School specialist Craig Steadman, coming back from 3-0 down, hitting breaks of 70, 69 and then 109 in the deciding frame for a 4-3 win.
He denied another former professional Sydney Wilson 4-2 in the penultimate round before a 4-0 victory against Alex Taubman at the last hurdle.
Despite going back to his homeland of Thailand this season, Phetmalaikul has been a very familiar face on the English amateur scene over the past several years having based himself in England to further his snooker education.
Only last year he reached the final of the English 6-Red Snooker Championship, and he has been to the latter rounds of many national events in the past.
At the BSAT Academy in the Thai capital city, 24-year-old Phetmalaikul eliminated opponents representing different countries in each round – Iran, Pakistan, The Philippines, Thailand, India, and then Hong Kong’s Ka Wai Cheung 4-1 in the qualification round. During that final match, ‘Quid’ crafted breaks of 99, 82 and 65.
Special mentions also go to the English players / former EPSB members who reached the final rounds of the UK Q-School: Barry Pinches, Haydon Pinhey, Ryan Davies and Rory McLeod.
Everyone at the EPSB congratulates Liam and Manasawin on their achievements over the past few days!