A 19-year-old snooker prodigy from Caerphilly is to compete in the Welsh Open for the first time.
Dylan Emery currently plies his trade on the Challenge Tour, but he is just a cue’s length away from securing his tour card.
Emery competed in the game’s Shootout, recently held in Milton Keynes – the first time he has ever played live on TV.
But it is the Welsh Open that holds significance for Emery, with his spot in the tournament confirmed by World Snooker on Thursday, February 4.
“I go and watch it every year and I have always loved the thought of playing in it,” the 19-year-old said.
“It’s a shame that there is no crowd. That’s one of the biggest parts of the home venue; when you can bring all of your family and friends down to watch and support.
“Even though it is different, it still doesn’t take away from the significance of the home tournament.
“It’s in my top three of tournaments I want to win. I want to win the World Championships and the Masters down the line, but It’s definitely one I need to win.”
Newport’s Celtic Manor is playing host to the event for first time this year after the event was moved out of Cardiff due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But in preparation for the Welsh Open, the snooker player reached the round of 32 in the Shootout. Emery defeated Luke Pinches, before he was knocked out by tenth seed, Mark Allen.
Speaking before the event, the snooker player expressed his excitement.
“It’s my first time playing in the shootout,” Emery continued.
“I got told I could play in it a couple of years ago, but I was away so I couldn’t play.
“I have heard that it’s tough, usually it’s first to four, five or six and it can take hours, but this is just one frame and ten minutes and it’s gone in the blink of an eye.
“It’s also my first time live on TV. I have been on Eurosport before but it’s my first time live on the box.
“I’m just looking forward to my first time out there.”
For the Caerphilly youngster, 2020 was uncertain and full of cancelled events, but there is more hope for this season.
“It wasn’t a normal year,” Emery added.
“On the Challenge Tour, there should have been eight tournaments around the UK and Europe.
“Before now, I last competed in June or July in Q School.
“It’s hard to motivate yourself when there’s nothing to look forward to and no tournaments to prepare for.
“It’s a lot more enjoyable now things have started back up again.”
Before the Shootout, Emery’s previous competitive event was back in August in Qualifying School. The snooker player needed to win six matches to be handed his tour card, but he fell to a 4-3 loss in his fifth game.
“I have been close to turning pro a good three or four times,” Emery said.
“If I keep working hard and putting the hours in, then hopefully it won’t be too long before I get there.
“Turning pro is my main goal for this season, and then it’s a step up again and then I need to work even harder.
“But that is what I want to do, and I’m prepared to do that.
And it is that hard work and dedication that Emery will need if he is to get there.
“Even though I am not a pro yet, I treat it like a job,” Emery continued.
“I spend my life practising, so I’m doing what I need to do to be successful once turning pro.
“When you are pro, there are more tournaments, and you can earn enough money to live off, so I can make a career out of it then.”
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