BEATING the world’s greatest snooker player in front of a raucous crowd live on TV is the stuff of dreams for any youngster who has held a cue in their hands.
But Billy Castle is living the dream.
Well-known professionals like Judd Trump and Mark Selby have played in Cuestars events. And there are many others when you delve deep into the archives.
But only one has progressed through our junior events to the Championship Tour to Q School and onto the World Snooker Tour.
Now in his third season as a professional, Billy headed to Watford last month for the BetVictor Shoot Out.
After beating Andy Lee in the first round, the 27-year-old was buzzing when he was drawn against five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan in the last-64.
Following his famous victory, Billy told cuestars.co.uk: “It was a night I’ll never forget. The adrenaline kept me going in the end of the break and he said some nice words afterwards to me.
“To say I’ve played and beat the best live on TV in a ranking event is something no one can take away from me.”
Billy, who eventually lost in the last-16 to Zhou Yuelong, reckons joining up with coach Stephen Feeney will help him retain his tour card at the end of next season.
He said: “I feel in a good place with my game. Working with SightRight has helped massively.
“If I can put myself in a good position this year, next year I’m confident I can stay on tour because I’m only going to get better with experience.”
Billy started his green-baize career in the Saturday morning junior sessions at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club. A three-time Under-18 Premier champion and a regular in the Under-21 Roll-Up, the predecessor of the Open Series, he followed the well-worn path to the Cuestars junior competitions.
He won a Q School place for topping the Championship Tour rankings in 2016/17 and the rest, as they say, is history.
Returning to his roots, Billy had these words of advice for the new generation of young potters at Chandlers Ford SC.
“Follow your dreams, believe in your own abilities, work hard at your game and good things will come.
“The only person to tell you that you can’t do it is yourself.”
For more information about Billy’s main sponsor, go to http://www.atticlife.co.uk/.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)