A WORLDWIDE television audience of more than 100 million people could be watching Mike Finn if he reaches the third round of the World Open.
The Mighty Finn (left) is one of 32 amateurs who qualified for the first professional round of the world ranking event at the World Snooker Academy, Sheffield, on August 21.
If he wins one match, he’ll pocket £1,500. If he wins two matches, he could be playing live on BBC TV in Glasgow in September.
Finn said: “It’s not about the money; it’s about the chance, the opportunity, the test.
“But I have got to be realistic. These are full-time snooker players we are talking about so I just have to use the three weeks I have and prepare as well as I can.”
The FA Cup-style random draw has pitched the 24-year-old against world No 84 Kyren Wilson.
A victory there would set up a second-round clash with Stuart Pettman, ranked 36th.
And the winner of that faces world number five Stephen Maguire, in his home town, in a match chosen as one of the 11 kept over for television coverage in Glasgow on the afternoon of September 18.
A World Snooker spokesman said that as the tournament is also being shown on Eurosport and in China, the potential global audience is more than 100 million.
“It’s an absolute dream,” added Finn. “I’m really looking forward to it. It’s an opportunity, a chance and an experience that I intend to take advantage of.”
Finn, Southampton’s Town Champion in 2009, will travel north after winning a qualifying tournament at Keynsham Snooker Club, near Bristol.
In the final, he disposed of Gloucester’s Michael Wasley, 20, who was runner-up at the 2009 European Under-19 Championship.
Finn insists he won’t change his style of play.
“My game won\’t change,” he said. “I play modern attacking snooker and always will because that’s how the game should be played in this day and age. I’ve beaten top-16 players before and I’ve beaten top amateurs before.
“To play on television is the dream. But the reality is it’s a hard, hard school. It’s good for Southampton snooker that we have a player in the mix – no matter who it is.”
Finn, who pocketed £200 in Keynsham, needs to fork out £300 for the World Open entry fee.
And Southampton businessmen Adam Nash and Kevin Knight, joint owners of London Rd estate agents The Home Agency, have stepped in as sponsors.
Nash, who is also Finn’s team-mate at Woolston Conservative Club, said: “We’re going to make it easier for him so he can just go up there and concentrate on his snooker.
“For the first time ever there’s a real chance that a local guy, probably the right guy, could be very close to a TV appearance. If you were going to pick someone to go up there and compete, he would be the one.
“Can Mike Finn win two matches at that level? Well, I’d have to say yes. I’ve always said he’s a world beater. And he’s got the chance to prove it now.”
Picture by Kevin Legg