Well it all started for me when I was about 7/8 years old. My dad and his brothers owned an arcade, which had 6 pool tables. O be honest I can’t really remember playing much there but my dad says I was on the table longer then the cloth! My dad was a pretty good pool player himself – maybe that’s why I liked playing – I’m not sure, but a lot of kids want to be like their dad, so I think that was my excuse!!
After a few years the arcade shut down unfortunately, so from the arcade my dad bought one of the pool tables and built a pool room in the back garden – that’s where it really started for me.
At the age of 12/13 I joined the Nottinghamshire junior team. I did pretty well in the first couple of seasons. In my third year when I was 15 years old, I managed to qualify for the junior England team which was a massive achievement thing back then. It was so hard to do. I did really well with the England team – I think in the 3 years I played we won every event bar 1!!!!
Then when I was 18 I qualified for the men’s England team but just missed out on qualifying for the world championships, so I went to the under 21 trials and managed to get in. I went to the world champs with the under 21 team had a great run in the men’s singles and I ended up losing to Chris Melling in the last 16 8-4. If I had beaten Chris that would of got me on to Sky TV. That year I think Mark Selby went on to win the event!!
The year after that I joined the IPA. It took me about 4 years to get my Pro status which again was unbelievably tough – the amount of really good players was a joke. Then in 2014 the first IPA World Championships took place at the famous Lakeside venue, the week after the Darts had finished, and what a comp it was for me. My draw was awful but I kept on winning and winning and winning until the final! I ended up losing to Gareth Potts in the final 2-1 in sets.
Think I had 3 years of being a Pro before I won my first Pro event which was 2015. I think after getting that first win under my belt kind of kick started my career – I won the IPA World Doubles Championship with my good friend Jack Whelan. I think the season after I won the first two IPA Open events and then in 2017 I won back to back to back events – 2 Pro events and 1 Open. That’s probably one of my proudest moments, to win 1 event is hard enough but to win 3 on the bounce like that was an unbelievable feeling. So for the whole of the next year I was the IPA World ranked No1 Professional (also one of my proudest moments).
The best trip with the IPA is hands down the World Series event in Gibraltar in 2016. What an amazing place and even better people!! I ended up losing to Simon Ward in the semi finals, obviously disappointed to lose but I played the best skill shot I have ever played in my career. After all the pool was over we ended up going into Gibraltar ( think it was me, Marsh, Ward and Ronan), had a few drinks then we come across the Marina. The boys bet me £200 I couldn’t jump across and land onto the jet ski. So off come the clothes just in case it went south – luckily for me I made it across and I was £200 better off and then just to top the trip off Marsh won me about £800 in the casino, he couldn’t miss!!!
The next 2 years 2018 & 2019 where pretty average for my liking – myself and Jordan Church won the IPA World Doubles and also won the IPA Mixed World Doubles with Deb Burchell. I also managed to win the joy Chinese 8ball UK championships which in my opinion is one of my greatest achievements.
At the end of 2019 I managed to get to the final of the IPA Premier League losing out to Neil Raybone who played brilliant in the final. That one really hurt as the final was held at my home venue so I had huge local support. I really wanted to win that for them!! I am grateful to have such huge support both at home and abroad – they keep voting for me every year for the Fans Player of the Year at the IPA Awards.
2019 will always be remembered thought for bumping into the IPA Chairman whilst on holiday in Turkey – Thankfully it was my last day!
2020 was pretty much a non starter, hopefully we can get back at it this year at some point.