IT HAS taken him 48 snooker tournaments and more than five years to get his hands on one of these.
Ally Pollard has collected his first major Cuestars trophy in his final season on the under-21 circuit.
The 21-year-old from Alderholt admitted he was riddled with self-doubt after receiving the runner-up award at the seventh leg of the Silver Tour at Fareham Snooker Club.
“I always knew that I had the ability to compete at that level but I’ve just always struggled with believing in myself when it mattered,” he said
“I played poorly in the group stages and managed to get through by the skin of my teeth.
“I played a lot better in the semis and I’m glad I managed to hold it together to get into the final which felt great.
“There’s three events left so I’m hoping I can go one step further and get a winner’s trophy by the end.”
Pollard finished second in his round-robin group and beat Chloe White (Havant), the women’s world number 30, 2-0 in the last four before losing 2-1 to new rankings leader Brett Wallace (Gosport) in the final.
Now sixth in the rankings, Pollard made his Cuestars debut in October, 2012. He spent two years on the Bronze Tour and is now in his fourth season in Silver.
Elsewhere, Neil Herd’s excursion from Frome to London, for the World Seniors Tour event did not have the greatest of starts.
He eventually arrived at Upton Park after getting on the wrong train in Bath.
Herd defeated Dean Sycamore 3-1 and took the first frame of a 3-2 victory over James O’Sullivan with a 65 clearance from 64-0 down.
The following day, he lost 3-1 to Sean Halligan.
“I was a bit gutted as it was a very winnable game,” said Herd. “But, in the whole, it was a good weekend.”
Neil Carroll (Rownhams) went out 3-2 on a re-spotted black to Darren Mirza (Croydon) in the first round but was kicking himself after dropping two places to 18th following a trip to Leeds.
The 53-year-old defeated David Greenley (York) 3-2 in the penultimate event at the Northern Snooker Centre.
But a missed match-ball blue at 2-0 means he slipped down the rankings on frames lost.
Carroll was then defeated 3-0 by Cuestars Seniors Tour (40+) colleague Neil Craycraft (Didcot).
Meanwhile, John Hunter needs one frame in his final match against David Rice to clinch his 12th Cuestars South Wilts Snooker League title.
The Andover cueman beat second-placed Anthony Rice (Fordingbridge) 3-2 at Salisbury Snooker Club while Paul Burt (Britford) sent Steve Ashton (Salisbury) home “for his Ovaltine and slippers” after a 4-1 victory.
Results: John Hunter 3-2 Anthony Rice, Paul Burt 4-1 Steve Ashton, Richard Arnold P-P Neil Herd.
Highest break: John Hunter 76
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)