43-year-old David Lilley has joined the World Snooker tour as a full pro for the first time – despite reaching a World ranking quarter-final as an amateur – the 2016 Indian Open.
England’s Lilley has been a regular amateur “top up” on the tour over the years but has never been one of the 128 players as a full pro – but after winning 6 matches at this year’s annual qualifying school, where over 200 entrants entered, 16 of which will join as a full pro, Lilley saw off the 16-year-old talent Sean Maddocks in the grand finals.
Maddocks, a talent from Liverpool, is the youngest player to have made a maximum in an open tournament but ran out of steam in his last match against Lilley.
A mixture of newbies and oldies cruised through the rounds of the qualifying event in Robin Park Leisure Centre Wigan, as China’s Xu Si was the first player to regain his tour card after falling straight off the tour last season.
Lilley, who has played on the World seniors tour, where you have to be over 40 and an amateur, whitewashed Maddocks 4 – 0.
But Maddocks played his part after a brilliant display against former professional Barry Pinches previously.
The Englishman missed out by a whisker on a tour card earlier this year in Israel at the EBSA European Amateur Championships to Poland’s Kacper Filipiak.
But he has been a winner of the English Amateur Championships three times in 1997. 99, 2004 and was a runner-up twice!The Englishman missed out by a whisker on a tour card earlier this year in Israel at the EBSA European Amateur Championships to Poland's Kacper Filipiak. Click To Tweet
There are three events as Qschool, as 12 players will qualify and four more from the Order of Merit and those outside lower down will get on to the second Challenge Tour which started last season. Lilley finished fourth in that.
Here are the three who’ve qualified so far…We’ll update the final one soon…
- David Lilley, England, 43…
- Xu Si, China, 21, regaining a tour card
- Soheil Vahedi, Iran, 30, regaining tour card…
- Jamie O’Neill, 32, a former professional is now back on the tour. Highest ranking previously 80 and last 16 finish in 2014 China Open.