IT WAS a nightmare draw for two Cuestars youngsters who made a 500-mile round trip for the last-16 stage of a national competition.
Olly Clark (pictured left) and Jamie Wilson arrived in Leeds only to be told they had to play each other in the English Under-14 Championship.
The pair, who often meet in the Saturday morning junior leagues at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club, progressed through the regional qualifiers last September and then spent months preparing for the biggest match of their careers.
Waistcoats and bow-ties were sourced and skills were honed during hours of practise.
“I still can’t believe I got Jamie in the first round,” said Clark, after a 4-2 victory over his nine-year-old opponent from Portsmouth It was the worst thing in my opinion. The match just took everything out of me emotionally.”
But the 14-year-old from Gosport, who missed the black off its spot while attempting to develop reds on a break of 39, added: “It was a great game. He fought all the way.”
Clark then lost 4-1 in the quarter-finals to Adam Stacey on the Northern Snooker Centre’s match-table that was used during the 2005 World Championship.
“It was an experience and a half,” he said. “This is where I want to be. Hopefully this will give me the confidence boost to take me to the next level.”
Picture by Tim Dunkley