When the dust finally settled and the large Welsh contingent had lost their voices from cheering so loudly, I finally persuaded new British Open Champion Jordan Shepherd to spare me a few minutes to ask a few daft questions and get his opinions on one or two things regarding pool…………
How does it feel to win your first major pool tournament?
Amazing – but I really want to dedicate this win to my Grandad who used to take me everywhere when I started out playing pool but sadly isn’t here to see me win my first important competition.
When and how did you start playing pool?
My Mum used to run a pub so I was in the pool environment form about the age of nine but I took it seriously when I was about 14. In Wales we have a good pool set up with youth and junior tours, and I just moved up through the ranks, playing as a Wales junior for my Country when I was just 14.
What do you do when you are not playing pool?
I am lucky because I work in Vetz Snooker and Pool Club in Bridgend behind the bar but they support me as well giving me free pool and snooker which is a massive help so thank you Andrew Tucker. I still live at home (I am only 22!), and although I went to London for a while, I am happier where I am now thanks, though I could not be on tour without the backing of Paul Bushnell who also deserves a mention.
This is your first really big win – what are your new ambitions in the World of 8-ball pool?
I am not really bothered by titles and trophies but I would like to be recognised as the number one by my fellow players and to entertain while playing pool – its such a great game to watch as well as play.
Tell me about your cue?
It’s a Trevor White with a 7.5mm tip that I have had since I was about thirteen or so. I don’t use a break cue (too lazy to get one out of the case!), and wouldn’t change it for the world – certainly not now!
And how did you cope with the IPA switch to Blackball rules?
I was brought up on Blackball rules so it was perfect for me, but to be honest I don’t really mind what rules there are as long as I get to play pool. Given a choice I do prefer blackball as there is always a way to win a frame and I do feel I can express myself more than under World rules. Lets face it, the IPA tour is THE place to be, with the best players and the best intentions of moving the game in the right direction. It is the only place to test yourself at the very highest level, and all the top players know that, and I can’t wait for the next tour event in Bradford.
To round things off nicely if you could wave a magic wand what changes would you make to pool as it stands today?
The obvious ones I suppose, more TV coverage, more prize money, and more respect for the players!
Sports journalist Sean Trivass was speaking to Jordan Shepherd, the newly crowned British Open Pool Champion 2013.