The new snooker season has kicked off with the Riga Masters qualifiers and International Championship qualifiers at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield.
It wasn’t long before the new pros, barely out of their graduation clothes at QSchool, would get to the grind of the professional ranks and be playing seasoned pros.
This part of the season is fairly quiet but any new pro and rookie wants to get off to a good start by winning matches and gaining confidence for the long season ahead.
One such graduate on the tour for the very first time, is Louis Heathcote, 21, from Leicester who has won his first two matches as a professional and will be appearing in the main stages of both the Riga Masters and the International Championship.
Heathcote defeated Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 6 – 4 in the IC qualifier – despite Noppon making two centuries against the new pro. He managed a ton himself though and seems to be unphased by the new situation he finds himself in as a rookie on tour.
He is yet another Midlands snooker man making a name for himself already.
Last year’s English Amateur Championship winner Joe O’Connor made great strides as his first time as a professional almost reaching the Crucible last season and reaching the semi-finals of a ranking event – the Welsh Open.
Leicester is the hotbed of snooker with the likes of Mark Selby and Ben Woollaston as top ambassadors in the sport.
The main stages of the Riga Masters don’t begin until the end of next month, the 26 – 28th July with the International Championship beginning in August from the 4th – 11th.