WORLD number one Judd Trump has been among his scalps on the green baize – now Steve Gregson is hoping he can get a second chance to carve out a career as a professional snooker player.
The 23-year-old has again picked up his cue in a bid to pot his way to glory having being forced to give up the game four years ago after failing to find a sponsor to help him to realise his dream of making the World Snooker tour.
Gregson only came back into amateur competitive action a couple of months ago after being coaxed out of his self-imposed retirement to play in the Thursday night York CIU Snooker League for division one club Huntington ‘A’.
He has quickly rediscovered his love of the game and has set his sights at performing at the highest level – admitting his “jealousy” at watching the junior players he used to beat on the youth and former Pontin’s International Open Series tours make it as top players.
Gregson, whose top break in competition is 144, has already been knocking in the centuries in practice and is targeting amateur spots in Players’ Tour Championship events, and even a spot at Q-School at the World Snooker Academy in Sheffield in the summer, as ways of getting back into the professional game.
“They are only one frame matches but I have won four out of four,” he said of his early excursions back into snooker at Huntington WMC. “It’s just been about getting back used to it. I have had a few centuries in practice and I want to get back into the game and give it another go.
“The tour is a bit different now and the money certainly is. There aren’t as many qualifying rounds so I wouldn’t mind entering a few tournaments. Q-School is in May and it is just a case of getting match practice in tournaments. I don’t think it will take me long at all.
“I’d like to get on this year and play some tournaments to get back into it. It’s a two-year card now as well. There was a bit more pressure before when it was only one year. This looks like it could be the best time to be playing.”
Gregson continued: “There’s been a bit of jealousy to be honest. I look at some of the players on the tour and I was beating them as a junior. I used to play Judd and was in the same tournaments as him nearly every week and he is not doing badly for himself.
“I’ve beaten Jack Lisowski quite a few times and he is an up and coming player.”
With entrepreneur Barry Hearn having massively expanded the main tour in his role as chairman of World Snooker, Gregson now feels there are opportunities in the game that didn’t exist when he was first trying to break through half a dozen years ago.
The move of many qualifying tournaments to the World Snooker Academy, from their previous base in Prestatyn, Wales, would also be a benefit for the Huntington-based player as he tries to look after the pennies.
Gregson still needs a sponsor and is appealing to organisations or businesses to help him to achieve his ambitions.
He said: “Sponsorship is vital and it’s the only way you have got a chance of getting into a tournament.
“It’s £150 for a PTC and £1,000 for Q-School. Obviously you’ve got travel and hotels on top of that.
“At the moment I am just trying to get my name about. I’m only 23 and there is still plenty of time for me to make it in the game.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring Gregson can phone him on 07585 070100.