Stan Moody, a 14-year-old snooker prodigy from Halifax, hopes to achieve his ambition of turning pro when he competes in Q School later this month.
Moody was nominated by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB) to play in Q School and will be among the field at Ponds Forge in Sheffield, battling for one of 14 two-year cards to the World Snooker Tour. The event starts on May 27th.
The reigning English under-14 snooker champion is one of junior snooker’s brightest prospects with a high break in match play of 133, while in practice he has already compiled a maximum 147.
Moody first played snooker at the age of nine, while on holiday with his family. “Our room was next to a pool table and when I saw it, I was interested, so my dad showed me how to bridge,” he told the EPSB.
In 2019 he won the English Under-14 Snooker Championship in dramatic circumstances, beating Liam Pullen 5-4 in the final by potting a re-spotted black in the deciding frame.
“I would say that’s my biggest achievement, so far, to win that out of all the under 14s in the country, and there were some very good players in it as well. Plus, I was only 12 at the time,” he said. “At one point I remember looking over to my dad thinking I’d lost the final, but I managed to hold myself together.”
Moody – who has represented his country at the prestigious Home Internationals – is on course to defend his national title, reaching the last 16 of the competition with the loss of only one frame before the 2019/20 EPSB season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He has also won two events on the Under-20 Regional Development Tour North, finishing second in the overall rankings and gaining promotion to the top tier Under-21 Premier Development Tour.
The last year has been tough for Moody, without competitive action.
“I have missed playing in tournaments a lot because I just love competing – I thrive in competitions and it makes me play better,” he said. “During lockdown I’ve only been able to play on my own.”
However he has had the chance to visit Ding Junhui’s academy in Sheffield and practise against the likes of Yuan Sijun, Brian Ochoiski and Nigel Bond.
Looking ahead to Q School, he added: “I felt great when I heard the news, but I’ve still got to do the business on the table. Obviously, I want to get on the professional tour – that’s why I’m playing in it – but I’m not getting too excited, anything can happen.”
Moody names newly crowned four-time World Champion Mark Selby as one of the players he looks up to most in the sport.
“I really admire Mark Selby’s all-round game,” he said. “As my own safety game is getting better, I know how hard the game is both mentally and safety wise. I just appreciate how good they all are. I think my strengths are potting and break-building. I’ve been a good potter since day one – I just wanted to pot balls like anyone else from a young age and I’m now regularly making breaks above 70.”
EPSB Chief Executive Officer Simon Berrisford is thrilled that another talented youngster from the EPSB ranks will be competing on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
“We were unanimous in our decision to select Stan for the Q School spot that we were offered, and we would like to thank the World Snooker Tour for accepting him.” said Berrisford. “We all know how talented and hard-working Stan is and that he will represent us proudly.
“Here at the EPSB, we provide support, assistance and opportunities for aspiring youngsters and amateurs who have chosen snooker as their desired profession. We want to help achieve dreams.
“The EPSB circuit is an official route to get into major international competitions – while also representing your country – and then potentially on to the professional tour. Our junior circuit is two-tiered, catering for those who are just starting out in their competitive snooker careers and those who are perhaps older and more experienced.
“The last year has been tough for us all. Youngsters like Stan have missed out on valuable playing opportunities – a year and a half of junior events that they can never get back. We are determined not to lose these players when we’re back running our events. We are serious about junior snooker.”
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