SNOOKER player Ashley Hugill has won a place among the game's elite for the first time in his career.

Hugill, 22, from Melbourne near Pocklington, secured his place on the World Snooker Tour by winning six games at the Q School event in Preston.

It means he will now assume professional status and receive automatic entry for all 19 ranking events in the snooker calendar for the next two years including the UK Championship held at York Barbican in November.

"It feels incredible and still hasn't sunk in," he said. "I have been trying to make it as a professional for years and this is a step in the right direction."

Only three months ago, Hugill reached the last 32 of a ranking tournament for the first time in the televised Coral Shoot Out. He had reached the last 64 in five other tournaments.

"My target now is to win as many matches as I can and hopefully challenge for the 'Rookie of the Year' award," he said. "The two year aim is to get into the world's top 64 - but I only want to look ahead one year at a time."

Hugill divides his time between Melbourne and Sheffield where he trains at the Star Academy. As a youngster, he played regularly at the Cueball Snooker Club in James Street, York, which is now closed.

Only four players out of a total 206 entrants won tour cards at last weekend's Q School first round.

Germany's Lukas Kleckers, Southampton's Billy Joe Castle, and Merseyside's Allan Taylor were the others.

Another four will qualify from the second and final event this week.

The first ranking event of the new season is the Kaspersky Riga Masters qualifiers which takes places in Preston between May 31-June 2.