DESPITE mixing with professional snooker players on a daily basis, Tony Thompson talks with refreshing enthusiasm about the grass-roots game.
But Tony doesn’t just talk the talk.
The owner of Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon, is sitting on a comfortable settee in one of his club’s two private practice rooms that are used by Marco Fu, Swiss professional Alexander Ursenbacher and national treasure Jimmy White.
In the main hall outside the door of the Surrey Room, the fourth legs of the Cuestars Under-21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Tours have reached the knockout stage.
And Tony loves being part of it.
“You can see the production line that you’ve created here,” he told cuestars.co.uk. “It’s brilliant. It’s lovely to see. It’s really, really nice to see the kids doing so well. There’s some excellent prospects.”
Frames Sports Bar sponsors the Cuestars Championship Tour as well as individual Cuestars tournaments.
Tony bought the south London club seven years ago. It now boasts 15 snooker tables, including four Stars, upstairs and ten pool tables downstairs.
The 52-year-old, whose highest break is 110, explained why he puts his hand in his pocket on a regular basis to support Cuestars events.
“I want to see the kids develop,” he said. “I’m very interested in the grass roots of snooker.
“There’s no better buzz than seeing a tournament going on, whether it be professional or the kids.
“When you’re a youngster, that’s where you start – waiting for the draw to come out, seeing what table you’re on.
“It’s a fantastic buzz and I love being part of it. And being able to support it is wonderful.”
Turning his thoughts to the Cuestars organisation, he added: “What Cuestars has done has been absolutely amazing.
“I believe you’ve got it right with the Bronze, Silver and Gold – the way the kids can compete at their own level and hopefully get promoted. It’s very well run.”
Picture by Tim Dunkley
Tony Thompson (centre) with Coulsdon Gold Tour finalists Jamie Wilson (left) and Bradley Cowdroy.
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)