Billy Castle: Professional Snooker Player

CUESTARS Championship Tour winner Billy Castle has won a place on the professional snooker circuit.

The 24-year-old won the six most important matches of his career at Q School in Preston to earn a two-year tour card.

It was a dream come true for the Reading cueman who always had the belief that this day would eventually come.

“I was laid down that night trying to get to sleep and I was thinking am I still dreaming,” he said. “I was trying to pinch myself.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamt of and to actually do it is just unbelievable. But I’ve always believed in myself.”

Castle earned a free Q School place worth £600 – sponsored by Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon – by winning the Cuestars South of England Championship Tour. He needed to reach the semi-finals of either of the two events to join the pro-circuit.

Following a 4-2 first-round victory over Adam Brown (Liverpool), Castle clawed back a two-frame deficit to prevail 4-2 against Jason Tart (Blackpool), the nephew of seven-time World Champion Stephen Hendry.

Now on a roll and with his results being followed on mobile phones by friends and family across the south of England, he overcame Mateusz Baranowski (Poland) 4-3, Troy Brett (Ilkeston, Derbys) 4-1 and former professional Zhang Yong (China) 4-1.

He now needed one more win. And that became one frame as he led another ex-pro, Paul S Davison (Pickering, Yorks), 3-0.

However, Davison pulled two back. Castle compiled a 51 break in the sixth frame but nearly threw his chance away when his opponent needed snookers.

While playing a safety shot on the brown, Castle cannoned the black into a pocket and left himself snookered. He failed to escape and left a free ball. But after a subsequent safety shot was poorly executed by Davison, Castle potted the brown and rolled the blue in deadweight for a famous 4-2 victory.

“There were a lot of good players up there,” he said. “It was a good standard.

“I knew all year that if I played up there the way I can play, I’d be all right.”

Proud dad Derek said: “I’m over the moon.”

Cuestars director John Hunter said: “The aim was to find someone who could progress through the whole structure to the professional game.

“For it to happen in the first year we introduced the Q School place, I can’t really take it in.

“Billy plays such an exciting brand of snooker. He’s got a great nature. No one has a bad thing to say about him. He’s a great role model. But he’s had to work hard at it.”

Castle said: “I’d like to thank John Hunter and Cuestars. It just goes to show what the Championship Tour can do for you.”

The dad-of-two, who is based at The Crucible Sports & Social Club, Newbury, returns to the Guild Hall, Preston, on May 31 for the qualifying rounds of the Riga Masters.

Originally from Marchwood, Castle made his competition debut in the Eastleigh & District Under-13 League at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club at the age of ten or 11.

In his second Cuestars season, a 14-year-old Castle won his first regional tournament, an Under-15 Handicap Open at Stoke Snooker Club, Gosport, on December 3, 2006.

Picture: By Tim Dunkley

Billy Castle - World Snooker Tour

2017Round 1
31 May - 02 JunKaspersky Riga Masters QualifiersPrestonQualifiersSponsored by CuestarsLost 0-4 to Alexander Ursenbacher
03 - 06 JunChina Championship QualifiersPrestonQualifiersSponsored by CuestarsLost 0-5 to Stuart Bingham
01 - 10 AugIndian Open QualifiersPrestonQualifiersSponsored by Cuestars Lost 1-4 to Daniel Wells
01 - 10 AugWorld Open QualifiersPrestonQualifiersSponsored by Marchwood Cue T's Snooker LoungeLost 1-5 to Michael Holt
01 - 10 AugEuropean Masters QualifiersPrestonQualifiersSponsored by CuestarsWon 4-3 against Jimmy White
23 - 27 AugPaul Hunter ClassicFurth, GermanyRanking EventSponsored by Chandlers Ford Snooker ClubLost 2-4 to Jamie Jones
26 - 30 SepInternational Championship QualifiersPrestonQualifiersSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic LifeLost 5-6 to Ricky Walden
02 - 08 OctEuropean Masters Lommel, BelgiumRanking EventSponsored by CuestarsLast 64 - Won 4-3 against Martin Gould, Last 32 - Won 4-3 against Aditya Mehta, Last 16 - lost 3-4 to Cao Yupeng
16 - 22 OctEnglish OpenManchesterRanking EventSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic LifeLost 0-4 to Neil Robertson
13 - 18 NovShanghai MastersShanghai, ChinaRanking EventSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic LifePre Qualifier Won 5-2 against Zhang Jiankang, Last 128 - lost 4-5 to Rory McLeod
20 - 26 NovNorthern Ireland OpenBelfast, Northern IrelandRanking EventSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic Life Last 128 - Won 4-2 against Declan Brennan, Last 64 Lost 0-4 to Neil Robertson
28 Nov - 10 DecBetway UK ChampionshipYorkRanking EventSponsored by Carl McCulloch of 147 Snooker Club, SwindonLost 1-6 to Joe Perry
11 - 17 DecScottish OpenGlasgow, ScotlandRanking EventSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic LifeLost 2-4 to Ricky Walden
19 - 22 DecGerman Masters QualifiersBarnsleyQualifiersSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic LifeLost 1-5 to Robbie Williams
26 - 29 JanChina Open QualifiersBarnsleyQualifiersSponsored by Salisbury Snooker ClubLost 3-6 to David Gilbert
08 - 11 FebCoral Shoot OutWatfordRanking EventSponsored by Jesters Snooker ClubBeat Chris Wakelin and Jimmy White then lost to Stuart Carrington in Last 32
26 Feb - 04 MarWelsh OpenCardiff, WalesRanking EventSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic LifeLost 2-4 to Yu De Lu in last 128
07 - 11 MarGibraltar OpenGibraltarRanking EventSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic LifeLost 1-4 to Zhang Yong in last 128
11 - 18 AprBetfred World Championship QualifiersSheffieldQualifiersSponsored by Neil Herd of Attic Life