New 2023 Interview: John Gillard…
John Gillard on potting his very first ball: “The feel and sound it made pretty much got me hooked.”
WPBSA coach John Gillard first got hooked on snooker when he was 11 after watching the 1988 World final.
The now 46- year-old coaches at The CASTLE CLUB in Brighton and is doing the best he can to pass on his passion and knowledge to others, especially the younger generations.
He told SnookerZone: “I entered my first competition when I was 12. It was a Frank Sandell southern series event. I won the plate with my good friend and won the under- 13 player of the day. They are my prized trophies.”
Gillard hails the Cuestars series events in the south which aim to give every player from junior to senior a chance to gain experience of match snooker.
”Nothing has quite replaced the monthly Pot Black Magazine competition calendar in the 80s/90s,” he added.
Top juniors would travel to Willie Thorne’s club in Leicester and build up vital experience of the craft of match snooker.
Gillard believes there are a few things that could improve participation in the game.
Keeping frames open and fun. He said novice players should play more six red frames. Fifteen red frames can get too messy.
“Young players can get bogged down.”
After a foul, cue ball should be in hand from anywhere on the table.
Once snookers are needed, the frame should end. SnookerZone not quite sure about that one, but we’d agree that cue ball in hand after a foul would speed things up a bit.
The amateur scene is a wash with talent but Gillard cites Connor Benzey from Eastleigh as one to watch out for for the future.
“He strikes the ball extremely well which is something I look for in a player.”
Outside of snooker, Gillard informs SnookerZone of his love of football.
”I’m a big collector of vintage football shirts. All different teams and countries from the 1980s to present day – mainly Adidas.”
We thank John Gillard for his time and wish him well in his coaching, and his other sides of writing and illustrating.