Snooker’s rise in Asia may seem inexorable but Sheffield potter Nigel Bond is keen to expand the game to an even less traditional heartland.
Following a recent tournament in Bulgaria, Bond crossed the border into neighbouring Macedonia, where he gave youngsters the opportunity to try the sport.
Having coached throughout Eastern Europe, the 48-year-old is somewhat of a trailblazer but admits that spreading the sport he loves is something that he enjoys.
And the 1995 World Snooker Championship runner-up’s visits to Macedonia are becoming somewhat of a regular occurrence.
“I was over there for a couple of days last year to do a coaching seminar and an exhibition,” said Bond, who practises at Fulwood Sports Club.
“The organiser of the event last year was keen to have me back there and Sofia is only 150 miles or so from Macedonia, so I did that. I’ve been over to Russia as well this year to coach some more Russian players, so I’m doing a bit of that as well – I keep myself busy. Hopefully young kids will see the coverage of snooker over there and think I wouldn’t mind trying that.
“I’d definitely encourage them to pick up a cue and have a go.”
Despite his dabbles in coaching, Bond is adamant that he won’t be retiring from the main snooker tour any time soon. And the cueman, who has been a professional for 25 years, admits that training alongside younger players helps maintain his appetite for the game.
“The practice on my own is difficult at times,” he added. “But I’ve got Joel Walker based at the same club as me and I practise quite a lot with him.
“Michael Holt and Mark Joyce are within a short drive, so I sometimes play with them as well.
“I never put pressure on myself by setting myself goals or anything – so I just want to play well really.
“And if you play well you get the results and shoot up the rankings.”
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