The English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) is delighted to announce promising youngster Stan Moody as its nomination to compete at next month’s Q School in Sheffield.
The reigning English under-14 snooker champion is one of junior snooker’s brightest prospects with a high break in match play of 133, whilst in practise he has already compiled a maximum 147.
This year’s World Snooker Tour Q School takes place at Ponds Forge where there are 14 golden tickets onto the professional circuit. Aiming to become the youngest ever player to graduate from the event, Moody will draw inspiration from fellow teenager and former EPSB tournament regular Jamie Wilson, who claimed promotion last year.
Moody’s love affair with snooker started when he was just nine years old whilst on holiday with his family. “Our room was next to a pool table and when I saw it, I was interested, so my dad showed me how to do a bridge,” said the 14-year-old.
It has been quite a rise for the talented Halifax cueist since then, claiming the 2019 English Under-14 Snooker Championship in dramatic circumstances when he potted a re-spotted black in the deciding frame of the final.
“I would say that’s my biggest achievement, so far; to win that out of all the under 14s in the country, and there were some very good players in it as well. Plus, I was only 12 at the time.
“I was 3-0 up in that match but my opponent (Liam Pullen) came back. At one point I remember looking over to my dad thinking I’d lost it, but I managed to hold myself together.”
Moody – who has represented his country at the prestigious Home Internationals – is on course to defend his national title, reaching the last 16 of the competition with the loss of only one frame before the 2019/20 EPSB season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ‘current’ campaign has been a very fruitful one for Moody. He won two events on the Under-20 Regional Development Tour North, finishing second in the overall rankings and gaining promotion onto next season’s top tier Under-21 Premier Development Tour.
Like for so many junior, amateur and social players across the country, the last year has been very difficult for Moody with the lack of competitions.
“I have missed playing in tournaments a lot because I just love competing – I thrive in competitions and it makes me play better,” said Moody. “During lockdown I’ve only been able to play on my own; it hasn’t been boring, although it’s difficult to get up for, but you’ve still got to practise.”
As an aspiring professional, Moody has recently been granted ‘Elite Sportsperson – Access to Training/Competition’ status from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association. This has allowed him more freedom to play at other venues with practice partners and prepare for the challenge of Q School.
“During the last year, I’ve mainly played alone on my sponsors’ table – which is a 100-year-old Burroughes and Watts table in a new build – but I usually go to Levels in Huddersfield and at Ding’s Academy in Sheffield.
“I try playing against quality practice partners, but I also do solo practise – when you’re on your own you can work on your game.
“Recently, I practiced with Yuan Sijun – losing to him 5-3 in a session. I’ve also played with France’s Brian Ochoiski and Nigel Bond, who has been helping me with my safety game.”
Recognising the aspirations and talents of one of its pupils, Moody’s school allows him to have Mondays and Fridays off to further hone his skills as he attempts to make a full-time career out of the sport on the multi-million-pound professional circuit. The school has also allowed him time off to compete in Sheffield in the coming weeks.
Moody was delighted to receive the EPSB’s nod for the free Q School entry. Whilst ambitious and confident, he appreciates the task ahead of him when he mixes it with the world’s top amateur players.
“I felt great when I heard the news, but I’ve still got to do the business on the table.
“Obviously, you want to get on the professional tour – that’s why you’re playing in it – but I’m not getting too excited; anything can happen.”
As well as world number one Judd Trump, Moody names newly crowned four-time world champion Mark Selby as one of the players he looks up to most in the sport.
“I really admire Mark Selby’s all-round game. At first, I didn’t fully engage with his style of play, but as my own safety game is getting better, I know how hard the game is both mentally and safety wise. I just appreciate how good they all are.
“I think my strengths are potting and break-building. I’ve been a good potter since day one – I just wanted to pot balls like anyone else from a young age and I’m now regularly making breaks above 70.”
Moody’s nickname is ‘The Action’, a moniker he was given a few years ago whilst playing Mark Allen in an exhibition at Cue Gardens in Bradford.
“It was Robbie Watson from The Ambassadors of the Green Baize who gave me the nickname when he watched me play in an exhibition with Mark Allen after he had not long since won the Masters in 2018. I think he was impressed with my cue action and said that I was ‘The Action’.”
As Moody puts the finishing touches to his preparations for Q School, he is thankful and appreciative to all his supporters.
“I want to say thank you to all the people who believe in me, including my sponsors Ian Ringrose from Double Vision, Kev Ellis from Levels and Robbie Watson from The Ambassadors of the Green Baize”.
Longer term, Moody’s overall ambitions within the sport are clear: “I want to be world champion and world number one.”
EPSB Chief Executive Officer Simon Berrisford is thrilled that another talented youngster from the EPSB ranks will be competing on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
“We were unanimous in our decision to select Stan for the Q School spot that we were offered, and we would like to thank the World Snooker Tour for accepting him.” said Berrisford. “We all know how talented and hard-working Stan is and that he will represent us proudly.
“Here at the EPSB, we provide support, assistance and opportunities for aspiring youngsters and amateurs who have chosen snooker as their desired profession. We want to help achieve dreams.
“The EPSB circuit is an official route to get into major international competitions – whilst also representing your country – and then potentially onto the professional tour. Our junior circuit is two-tiered, catering for those who are just starting out in their competitive snooker careers and those who are perhaps older and more experienced.
“The last year has been tough for us all. Youngsters like Stan have missed out on valuable playing opportunities – a year and a half of junior events that they can never get back. We are determined not to lose these players when we’re back running our events. We are serious about junior snooker.”
Learn more about the EPSB’s commitment to junior snooker and the competitive opportunities available.