Castle makes professional debut

BILLY Castle was buoyed by the words of a former world champion after his baptism of fire on the professional snooker circuit.

The 24-year-old lost both of his first-round matches at Preston Guild Hall but vowed “to improve” before the Indian Open qualifier in August.

Castle scored just 73 points in a 4-0 defeat by Swiss pro Alexander Ursenbacher in the Riga Masters but competed far better in a 5-0 loss to the 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham in the China Championship.

He said: “In the first game, I was a bit nervous and getting used to the environment but my game against Bingham was really close. It could have gone either way.

“Stuart said after the match it was a really tight game and that I’ll be fine on the Main Tour when I get used to it all.

“I wasn’t expecting much in my first two games as it came really quick after Q School for me. I’ve gone from amateur to pro overnight but I’m more than ready for it all. I’ve seen where I need to improve and I will.”

Castle earned a free place at Q School by winning the Cuestars South of England Championship Tour last season. He then reached the semi-finals of the first event in Preston to claim a two-year tour card.

Picture by Tim Dunkley.

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)