A HOTSHOT pool player from Hucknall has pocketed the under-21s title at the World Eight-Ball Championship.
Ashley Radford (20), of Nottingham Road, stormed to the prestigious trophy at Blackpool.
Immediately after his victory, he dedicated it to his best friend, former pool player Wayne Paysonage, of Kirkby-in-Ashfield, who was killed in a tragic road-accident in Derbyshire last winter.
“Wayne was a great guy and is sorely missed,” said Ashley. “This win is for him.”
The route to victory was a long one for talented cueman Ashley, who now skippers the England under-21 team.
First he had to go through trials to win selection for England because players must be picked for their countries before being cleared to compete at the worlds.
After making it into the 16-man England squad, this had to be whittled down to eight, through another trial.
Ashley then went through qualifying at Leicester before taking his place in the main 64-player draw.
But once he was there, he lived up to his billing as one of the pre-tournament favourites.
After taking advantage of a bye in the First Round at the Imperial Hotel, North Shore, Ashley raced through to the final with wins of 7-2, 7-1, 7-3 and 7-4.
It wasn’t until the showpiece that he was put under any pressure — by Scotland’s Ryan Fleming.
In a ding-dong battle, there was never more than one game between the pair and it went down to a final-frame decider, which Ashley won to secure an 8-7 victory.
“It feels really good to have won,” said Ashley. “I am very proud.”
Ashley plays competitively five days a week for clubs including Spot-On in Hucknall.
He also plays for Nottinghamshire but is hoping to make a real name for himself in the sport on the International Pool Association’s (IPA) International Tour, which is based in England.
He currently plays in the six-competition tournament as an amateur but is hoping to turn professional next year.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Ashley can call him on 07921 088098 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.