Mum battling two debilitating illnesses collects maiden WLBS trophy

A CUESTARS snookermum who is at risk of losing her mobility won a trophy on her debut on the World Ladies Billiards and Snooker circuit.

Jackie Ellis overcame the effects of two debilitating illnesses to finish runner-up in the Seniors (40+) event during the two-day Eden Masters in Gloucester.

And just 36 miles away on the same day, her 13-year-old son Riley reached his first final on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Silver Tour at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.

Jackie was beaten 3-1 in her final by world number ten Jenny Poulter (Maidstone) at the South West Snooker Academy.

Earlier, the 50-year-old from Clyffe Pypard, north Wiltshire, overcame Ronda Sheldreck (Ireland) 2-0 in the last-four.

Ellis suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which causes widespread pain and affects balance, coordination, concentration and short-term memory.

“I was told at the beginning of this year that I’m at risk of losing my mobility,” she said.

“This scared me and having been pretty much housebound for many years and having spent the last 20-plus years trying to conceal my symptoms when I do go out, it gave me the push that I needed to try something that I am very passionate about.”

Nine months ago, she started working with World Snooker coach Tim Dunkley at Chandlers Ford SC.

And eventually she plucked up enough courage to join the women’s international circuit.

Dunkley said: “I know the agonies and self-doubt that Jackie went through in the build up to this tournament.

“To actually get to Gloucester was a massive achievement in itself.

“But to collect a trophy was far beyond what either of us imagined was possible.”

In a revealing insight into her conditions, Ellis added: “Functioning every day is already an exhausting and painful battle, often ending in tears and frustration at home.

“Adding the snooker into that makes for a major daily struggle and I could not do it without the high level of help, support and patience from my family.

“I am a very competitive person. Playing snooker seems to be ticking quite a few boxes and gives me a reason to get out of the house more.

“The build-up was very intense – full of worries, insecurities and anxiety – and I really didn’t know if I was going to make it right up until hours before I had to leave home.

“I constantly questioned whether I should be attempting this.”

Ellis, who is based at the 147 SC in Swindon, lost 3-0 to Laura Evans (Wales) and 3-0 to Yee Ki Ho (Hong Kong) in the group stages of the main event.

Picture by Tim Dunkley

Riley Ellis (left) and mum Jackie

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)