Leeds teenager Oliver Lines was crowned European champion at Under-21 level yesterday after a stunning display in Romania.
The 18-year-old beat Irishman Josh Boileau 6-1 in the final of the European Under-21 Championships – snooker’s top tournament for non-professionals in Europe.
The prize for Lines – who follows in the footsteps of players like Mark Allen, who has lifted the trophy beforehand – is a coveted Tour Card for the next two seasons, which will open the door to competing in the elite tournaments.
That will mean an increase in costs, for travelling and accommodation, with events spread around the world in modern day snooker and Lines hopes his victory will attract potential sponsors.
“I am very proud,” said dad Peter Lines, himself a professional snooker player, currently ranked world No 58 on the money list.
“He really does deserve this because he is very dedicated. He practices hard and puts the effort in.”
Snooker chiefs have seen unprecedented ticket sales for next month’s Dafabet World Championship.
With over 34,000 tickets already sold, the only seats available are for the first week of the 17-day tournament at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, which runs from April 19 to May 5.
This week’s Wyldecrest Park Homes Players Tour Championship in Preston will be the final event before the seeding cut-off.
Ronnie O’Sullivan will be top seed as defending champion, set to battle for the coveted Crucible trophy and record £300,000 top prize.
The world’s top 16 will be joined by the 16 players who come through the qualifying rounds, which run from April 8-16 at Ponds Forge.
“We are overjoyed by the high demand for tickets this year and we are well on the way to setting a new record for the number sold,” said a World Snooker spokesman
“Year after year we’re thrilled with the support from the people of Sheffield and those who come from around the globe to enjoy the unique Crucible experience. We look forward to a wonderful fortnight of top class snooker.”