Moody pictured centre left with fellow youngsters Liam Pullen (left), Liam Graham and Liam Davies (right)
WSF Junior Champion Stan Moody hopes to prove that snooker’s young guns can prosper on the sport’s biggest stage, alongside Q School graduate and Yorkshire rival Liam Pullen.
Moody and Pullen have grown up battling against each other in the youth ranks and they faced off in the title match at the WSF Junior Championship in Sydney earlier this year. It was Moody who eased to a 5-1 victory, which earned him a two-year card on the World Snooker Tour.
Since then, 16-year-old Moody has been the subject of vast media attention, as one of snooker’s brightest prospects. He was the subject of a CBBC Documentary called Taking My Shot.
Moody was also invited to travel out to Bangkok for the Six Red World Championship and his group included seven-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan. Although Moody lost out 5-2 on that occasion, the Rocket is a man he has a point to prove to. Moody took issue with suggestions from O’Sullivan that young talent is lacking in the sport.
“When people like Ronnie say there is no young talent coming through, that is a load of rubbish to be honest. As well as myself and Liam Pullen, the likes of Iulian Boiko and Liam Davies are the same age as us and they will be on tour very soon,” said Moody, who made his professional debut last week at the BetVictor Championship League.
“When I hear things like that on television, I think to myself that I am going to prove it wrong. It isn’t just me though. I know that the other guys will also do well. Hopefully we can then inspire the next generation to come along after us. Even playing against Ronnie at the Six Red World Championship, I was thinking that I wanted to prove him wrong. Although I lost, I wanted to show him what I could do.
“I love the travelling. I’ve always enjoyed that. Even if it is just a couple of hours to a junior event. Going over to Bangkok was amazing. Having people flocking round asking for autographs, it is a different world out there. I’ve never experienced that and it was good. That is hopefully the first of many more trips in the future.”
Given that Halifax cueman Moody and York’s Pullen have a history of doing battle with each other, it seemed appropriate that they met in the WSF Junior final. Despite suffering defeat, Pullen subsequently came through Q School to earn his tour berth. Moody is happy his rival is turning professional at the same time, as he believes it can give him an extra impetus for success.
“It was surreal in Australia. We used to play in the same club as each other and we grew up playing against each other in tournaments. We didn’t really practise together. I tend not to like practising with my arch rivals, as I don’t want them to know how I’m playing. I’ve never been a fan of that.
“When I won in Sydney, it was more a feeling of relief than anything else. I wanted to win desperately and at the same time I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself. It is what I’ve been working towards since starting playing this game, so it was a big deal.
“When Liam got on tour I was happy for him, but it was a good thing for me as well. I think it pushes me on. If I draw him in a professional tournament I want to be ready for him. It is great for me to have that incentive.”
One of the positives to come from Moody’s involvement in the CBBC documentary, was working alongside 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy, who has acted as a mentor for him. The documentary involved long hours of filming, which isn’t something which Moody was used to and he was advised by BBC pundit and world number seven Murphy with how to deal with the media world. Although Murphy is someone who Moody holds in high regard, he is keen not to afford too much reverence to any of his opponents this season when on the table.
“Shaun is the best at engaging with the media. I’m not just saying that because he helps me. When we were at Alexandra Palace he just said to me to come across strongly. He said not to be quiet and to speak my mind. So that is what I try to do. He’s also given me loads of advice for what to do in matches. He said not to put myself under pressure in the first few tournaments and to just go into battle by giving my all. I can see what happens and try to find improvements from there.
“It was a lot of filming. Some of it can be a bit mind numbing because you don’t realise when you are watching what goes into it. You need to play the same shot over and over again to get things right. However, when you watch it back the programme came out really well. It took 12 days of filming for half an hour of coverage on television. I’m quite shy, so doing interviews and speaking isn’t really my thing, but hopefully if I achieve what I want to do then I will have to get used to that in the future.
“I don’t want to sound disrespectful, but I try not to look up to any of the players on tour. I respect everyone on tour, but if you start looking up to your opponents it can scare you a little bit. You can start thinking negatively and about who you are playing. I just have to try and play the balls and I will do better I think.”
Moody will have the backing of a sponsor this season on tour, which came about through his father Nigel’s connection to truck racing. Nigel used to race for a team run by Halifax haulage company Collett and Sons. He got in touch with them to see if they could support his son and they obliged.
“It will be a massive help. My dad got in touch with them, because he used to do truck racing in a team that they had. They said they were happy to help and it will be so important for me this season. I can’t thank them enough.
“My dad did truck racing 20 years ago, for a period of five or six years. The team wasn’t great then, but it is a lot better now. He came second or third and did quite well in a few races despite his truck not being the best. He drove from a young age, my grandad taught him. My dad likens snooker to truck racing. The dedication and the fact that when things go wrong you have to keep calm otherwise you will go off track.”