The 2022 World Snooker Federation Junior Championship was held at the Ding Junhui Snooker Academy on Haymarket last week and saw 69 of the world’s most promising junior talents from 20 different countries battle it out for a two-year professional tour card.
Sixteen-year-old Jake Crofts from Deepcar was just two frames away from being crowned the overall winner in his first international competition, but was edged out 5-3 by Ukraine’s Anton Kazakov, 17, in Friday’s final.
“I’m mega proud,” said Jake’s mum Emma, whose son began playing snooker aged 10.
"Andrew, his dad, used to watch snooker on TV and Jake just got hooked. That’s all he’s bothered about.”
Former Stocksbridge High School pupil Jake practices four times a week at the Star Snooker Academy on Scotland Street – located inside Victoria’s Snooker Academy – alongside the likes of 2021 Masters champion Yan Bingtao and Zhao Xintong, who won the UK Championship in December.
“It’s not often he can take many frames from them but it’s all good practice,” Emma added.
The youngster is currently completing a painting and decorating course at The Sheffield College, but dreams of playing snooker for a living.
"There’s a lot of talented kids out there but he’s just got to keep working hard,” said Emma.
"He’s definitely practising in the right place.”
The senior World Snooker Federation Championships is taking place in Sheffield this week with more than 300 players from 40 different countries battling it out for another coveted spot on the World Snooker Tour.