New 2022 Interview: Cuestars Star Riley Ellis…
RILEY ELLIS is yet another star on the Cuestars tour that has grown into an exciting prospect in the game.
The 18-year-old from Wiltshire, who has been playing snooker since the age of 7, was one of the youngest people to receive a WPBSA coaching badge last year at the age of 17.
SnookerZone caught up with Riley to find out a bit more about him and his snooker journey and some of his views on the game.
Like many, the Cuestars tour in the south of England develops a framework for players to see how far they can go in the game, should they so want to.
Ellis says he is currently seeking a new coach to expand his game further and progress to the next level.
He explains what attracted him to snooker in the first place: “Something that attracted me to snooker was seeing that I wasn’t the youngest player in the club when I first started playing at Chandlers Ford. It definitely gave me the confidence to keep working and practicing.”
“I’d like to see how far I can progress my own snooker game and get on the tour.”
Ellis is also looking to play more billiards, he said, and enter some more international billiard events in the future.
He also told SnookerZone he is striving to improve other people’s games through his coaching – and it’s great to see youngsters wanting to give back to the game at an early age.
Where to go with snooker after 21?
He explains that from a young age, the likes of organizations such as Cuestars run by John Hunter and Tim Dunkley are great for providing regular tournaments for youngsters to the age of 21.
However, after 21, Ellis believes that there is less for players to play in, and one of the reasons some stop playing is because they don’t know where to go next or believe they won’t make it in open events.
He added: I see so many players stop playing competitively because they’re too old for all the junior events, but don’t feel they’re a good enough standard to compete in events open to all ages, which is sad.”
He has a point there because this is a dilemma for players of all ages. Many players feel they aren’t good enough to compete in events such as the EPSB Open Series, but it all comes down to a mindset and the growth mindset.
But there are a lot of factors at play in this, such as costs, sponsorships and not enough support networks.
Ellis’s highest break so far is 81, and he comments; “I’d like to say that one of my biggest assets has always been my technique, along with my safety.”
More snooker clubs now realize the need to develop and nurture young talent…
However, Ellis acknowledges that many clubs now realize that for the sport to progress, more focus needs to go on the youngsters as they’re the future.
Clubs like Brighton Castle and many others hold junior events which are proving popular on weekends.
Woking in Surrey has also begun development in junior clubs as well as holding an Under-18 Coaching Day for girls next year in February.
Ellis remarks: “Young players in our region have definitely been given more opportunities to become some of the best in the game. Clubs are starting to realize now that they really need to push the new generation. There are lots of tournaments and venues to help them go as far as they can.”
He has built up a solid group of friends in the clubs in Hampshire, and regularly plays more at Waterlooville as well as Chandlers Ford.
He adds: “I often travel down there for friendlies and some help from Connor Benzey (another bright talent) whom I have respected and admired as a player since 7 years ago.”
The standard of play coming from there is phenomenal and is really helping my own game too.”
When Ellis was 7, he was playing snooker at the 147 Club in Swindon. At that period, he was actively taking part in 2 other sports. A busy bee. He said however he found that it was all a bit too much and decided that he wanted to focus his full attention on snooker.
He remarks: “I’ve had less than 10 Saturdays off since I was 7 years old.”
That’s dedication for you.
SnookerZone thanks Riley Ellis for his time and we wish him well in his development as a snooker player and a coach.
The Cuestars Academy training app is used by lots of snooker players of all abilities and has a range of routines to suit the beginner through to the professional.
Here is a video of one of the routines demonstrated by founder John Hunter.