Josh Hands will tonight launch his bid on the first of two world championships, 16,000kms away in the UK.
Hands, 16, is one of four Australians at the World Snooker Federation Junior (Under 18) Championships and World Championships in Sheffield, the sport’s spiritual home.
Described as the “most significant amateur competitions held globally”, the back-to-back tournaments have prizes including a World Tour Card for two years.
Hands spent his summer holidays practicing hard every days while also working as a Christmas casual in JB Hi-Fi North lakes.
“I have a chance but it’s definitely going to take a lot of hard work. I just set small goals, win the first frame of the match and go from there," Hands said.
“If I make the finals … that would be huge, but (the trip) will definitely help my game in terms of experience.”
Both tournaments are at the Ding Junhui Snooker Academy – the Junior titles from February 15-19 and World Championship on February 20-26.
As a result Hands, who trains at Redcliffe Snooker Club, will miss the first three weeks of his Year 12 at North Lakes State College.
However, he is the reigning Australian under 15 snooker and billiards champion – a title he won in 2020. The 2021 tournament was a victim of COVID lockdowns.
“I’ve been doing all the practice behind the scenes,” said the former Bounty Boulevard State School student.
“A lot of players in the UK and China have made century breaks as 13-year-olds. I’ve had a few 80s in practice and 50s in tournaments.
“But, it really depends on who plays the best on the day over there.”
Hands started playing six years ago – following his father’s love of the game - and is coached by Trevor Mortimer from Caboolture. Both have snooker tables at their houses.
Hands’ heroes are six-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson, the Australian professional who won the 2010 world title.
“My goal is to go professional,” Hands said, “I like Ronnie, he’s a potting machine and Neil – he went the same way (to becoming a professional) as I hope to.”