Snooker ace James Silverwood is looking to take his Q

Craig Salmon talks to snooker ace James Silverwood who is hoping to qualify for the World Tour this year

Saturday, 22nd May 2021, 4:45 pm
James Silverwood

James Silverwood believes time is still on his side as he aims to finally fulfil his potential as a snooker player.

The Lancashire potter was tipped for stardom at the age of 11 when he picked up a cue for the very first time and displayed a natural eye for the sport.

It was not long before he was knocking in century breaks and was touted as a future star of the green baize.

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James Silverwood's waistcoat showcasing his sponsors

Unfortunately, joining and competing against the very best players such as Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Selby and John Higgins on the World Tour has so far proved elusive for the 30-year-old.

A serious car crash in 2015 certainly had a major impact on his career.

The collision in his home city of Lancaster left him in a coma and close to death.

Happily, he has made a full recovery although his rehabilitation from several broken bones was a long and painful one.

The crash put his snooker career on hold but Silverwood accepts that the accident is only part of the story.

A number of times he has been close to securing that coveted two-year Tour card at Q-School – snooker’s qualifying event for hopeful players.

But the pressure of realising his boyhood dream has up to this point got the better of him and he has failed at the final hurdle.

There is no doubting his ability as several 147 breaks testify while he holds the world record for the fastest clearance of all the colours – a sizzling 19.04 seconds filmed by Eurosport last year.

And now that he has entered into the fourth decade of his life, Silverwood believes he has a greater mental fortitude nowadays to deal with the high pressured stakes of competition.

He is hoping to combine both when he takes part in Q-School , which begins next weekend at Ponds Forge, in Sheffield.

To earn qualification to the World Tour, Silverwood must reach the semi-final stage once out of three competitions being held over three weeks.

Unlike other years, there are also two places available for the players who have posted the best results across the three tournaments – so three or even two quarter-final finishes could see

Silverwood earn that golden ticket.

In one year, he was ranked 11th overall out of all the players at Q-School but that coveted semi-final spot eluded him.

“I have had my issues,” he said. “Obviously the car crash was well publicised and I have other issues as well.

“But I have kept going and I don’t feel like I am fighting a losing battle.

“Some of the results I have had have shown that I can do it but consistently my results at Q-School – I haven’t been able to do it.

“I have always fallen short at Q-School and there has been no reason for it.

“Maybe it’s always been me putting extra pressure on myself and putting extra emphasis on it.

“I think it’s meant that I have played within myself rather than express myself like I have done in other competitions.

“I have gone to Pro-Am competitions and won them, then gone to Q-School and fallen flat on my face and I’ve just not performed.

“But the results I have had at amateur tournaments and the way I play in practice means I always have that fire in my belly to keep on going.”

The fact that some of the best players in the world are playing their best snooker in their 30s and 40s gives Silverwood hope that his peak years are still ahead.

Indeed, out of the top 15 players in the world, only three are below the age of 30 while players such as O’Sullivan, Higgins, Mark Williams and Stuart Bingham are well into their 40s.

Current world champion Selby is aged 37 while the man he beat in the final at The Crucible earlier this month, Shaun Murphy, is 38.

While all of those names have been world champions at some time or other in the past and emulating those achievements would be a tall order to say the least, Silverwood is adament he can break on to the World Tour and ruffle a few feathers.

“I think the hardest part of it all is qualifying,” said Silverwood, who has played against former world champion Neil Robertson and beaten snooker legend Steve Davis in a one-frame shootout.

“I think once you’re on the Tour, it’s a lot easier to stay there than drop out of it.

“Once upon a time, snooker was a young man’s sport but I don’t think that’s the case any more.

“A lot of the younger players are coming on the Tour and they’re struggling.

“It’s certainly become more of a middle-aged sport if you look at the top players.

“I have just turned 30, so I am hoping I can finally qualify and make up for lost time really.

“I have underachieved and that’s not just other people saying that, I know I have underachieved.

“I haven’t done what I want to do, but I am determined to make it happen and win a place on the World Tour.”

Snooker ace James Silverwood would like to thank his sponsors who are helping him in his attempt to win a place on the World SnookerTour.

They are Mr Attire, Transpares car parts, Ado’s Kebab and Pizza, Janet Silverwood Fitness and Wellbeing, Daniel Merrigan Construction and Allan’s Bobcat.

They can all be found on instagram.

Silverwood would also like to thanks his family for all of their support including mum and dad, Janet and Duncan, girlfriend Helen, his two children, Rae and Rory, and his partner’s two children, Casey and Darcie.

“Helen has been a great support for me,” he said. “She understands snooker is very important.”

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