SNOOKER player Gareth Allen is looking to pot his way into the professional ranks.
The 21-year-old from Ewloe has been picked for the Welsh amateur side for the third time to compete in the home internationals at Prestatyn next month and later this year he is due to travel to Syria for the World Amateur Championships.
Last season Gareth, currently ranked third amateur in Wales and the best in North Wales, was just one place away from breaking into the professional game and remains “on cue” to get his big break soon.
He currently combines his many hours of playing and practice with working for Flintshire Council’s finance and social services department.
The former Hawarden High School pupil said: “My only aim for now is to become a professional.
“I’m getting established, being ranked third in Wales and I want another good season on the Welsh tour.
“As I am working full-time it means a lot of my spare time is taking up with practising and playing.
“Most of my annual leave has been taken up with snooker commitments.”
Gareth, who now works with coach Craig Harrison, was initiated in the ways of snooker by his grandfather Ian, an ardent fan who has played the game for most of his life.
With the sport enjoying a boom period during his childhood there was no shortage of TV coverage for Gareth to feast his eyes on and he was picking up a cue from a very young age.
He recalled: “Stephen Hendry was my hero when I was growing up, he seemed to be winning everything. These days I look up to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“I started playing on a small table when I was three years old before going on to a bigger table and playing in leagues when I was 12.
“I took it from there and began to want to go as far as I could.”
As well as being a finalist in the Welsh Amateur Championships, Gareth has demonstrated his versatility by being the Welsh winner of the six-red championships, snooker’s answer to Twenty20 cricket.
Away from taking on the best of British, Gareth continues to play for his grandfather’s team, Airbus, in the Chester and District League and also turns out for Corus in the Deeside League.
Ian, 66, who regularly watches and supports Gareth in tournaments with his wife Tina, said: “Once I got him playing on a bigger table I began to see the potential was there for him to do what he has. I just wish he was able to do this full-time.
“I’m very proud of what he has achieved. I think he’s past the stage now of following my advice.”