Promising teenager Jackson Page scored a dramatic 4-3 win over Jason Weston in his first match in a professional tournament at the Coral Welsh Open.
By James Lloyd
The 15-year-old amateur was granted a wild card place in the event at Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena and slotted a respotted black to take a last-gasp victory over Portsmouth’s Weston.
Page is the World Under-18 Champion and learns under the wing of veteran Mark Williams – who has tipped the youngster for stardom.
The Ebbw Vale born potter showed signs of his talent with some outrageous pots, notably a stunning pink in the deciding frame.
Page won the first frame on the last black before experienced Weston, ranked 123rd in the world, won three frames in a row with a top break of 58. Page then fought back to 3-3 with a top run of 40.
Weston led by 27 points in the decider when he missed the final yellow, and Page made an excellent clearance which included a cracking long pink. And when his opponent played a weak safety on the respotted black, Page thumped it into a baulk corner to the delight of his army of fans in the crowd.
An ecstatic Page explained his joy after a memorable afternoon in the Welsh capital.
He said: “I had to dig deep. I played a bad shot on one of the reds and at that point I thought it was over as he was in. But when that last black went in, it was just unreal.
“I knew that it was in my favour (on the respotted black). He played a good shot at the start, but he eventually left it over the pocket which was great for me.
“The crowd was great, especially being on one of the main tables. I definitely didn’t expect that, I thought I was going to be on one of the other tables, as you would expect being a 15-year-old.
“When I found out I was on one of the main tables, I thought: ‘this will be fun.’”
Page balances his time playing snooker and studying for GCSEs at Ebbw Fawr Community School.
And the whizzkid admits his academic ability is key to the school allowing him time off to enter tournaments and bump shoulders with snooker greats.
“I am quite lucky to be in the top set in school,” Page said.
“Without revising I can still manage to get a C grade which helps really. That’s why they give a bit of leeway with that.
“It is great to be good at both school and at snooker. Snooker is definitely the better one, though.”
Page also praised the impact of two-time world champion Williams on his playing development.
He said: “Mark is great. We have a lot of games; and he has helped me a lot. It is the way he goes about the game; that is where I learn.
“How he plays is unreal, his positional play around the black is superb, you couldn’t ask for better. When you see these players like Mark playing those shots, it triggers the way you play and you learn from it.”