James Silverwood believes his time has come. The promising Lancaster snooker player admits he has under-performed in his biggest tournaments so far.
But now the 22-year-old is confident he is more ready than ever to make his mark in the professional game, starting this month where he has the chance to take on the world’s best at two Players Tour Championship events in Gloucester and Belgium – his first international trip.
“I’ve beaten some big players but I’ve got beaten by not performing myself, which is a bit disappointing,” said the Squires Snooker Club-based player, who has made 272 147 maximum breaks in matches and practice since taking up the game at the age of 10.
“I think from now on it’s going to be different. My mental game wasn’t my best when I was a teenager but I’m stronger than ever in my mind now.
“There’s a few things that have happened in my personal life over the last three years. And although they weren’t good I’ve toughened mentally.”
He has played in “around half a dozen” of the PTC events over the last couple of years but has now upped his practice to such a degree that he believes he can reproduce his sparkling form behind closed doors on the main stage.
“My practice is going better than ever,” said James, who lives in Torrisholme. “I’m practising every day but it’s getting that level of consistency to take it to the tournaments.
“I’ve been doing it now and again but not to the degree I’m satisfied. Between practice and tournament form the gap is too big for my liking.
“I’ve got six events in November (including four amateur ones) and I said to myself about two months ago just put in six to eight hour days to get that consistency. So when I go to these tournaments, I’ll hopefully be more prepared than anyone else there.”
The PTC format means if James makes it through the qualifying rounds he could take on any one of the world’s top players in the 128-man tournaments.
The short-form set-up also suits the lower ranked players who can cause an upset against the game’s stars.
“If I drew Ronnie (O’Sullivan) or (John) Higgins in the first round, although they’d be favourites, over the best of seven frames I wouldn’t have any doubts about beating them,” said the former Ripley St Thomas pupil.
“I could beat them in the shorter format – I could just have one of those days. It would also mean I’d be straight onto the TV table on Eurosport so I wouldn’t mind playing one of them.”
He also hopes the two pro events this month will act as a springboard into the world’s top 96 players which would see him automatically make it to the qualifying rounds of the Masters, UK and World Championships.
At the same time he can also exercise some demons of past poor performances.
“I’ve underachieved in the PTCs. I’ve not done as well as I’ve hoped to do,” said James, who once beat former world champion Shaun Murphy at Squires.
“A couple of good performances could shoot me up the rankings. I’m confident of making that step into the top 96 and I think I’ll do it.
“If I get there I’ll just be touring for nine months of the year like you do in golf and tennis. Barry Hearn’s (chairman of World Snooker) opened it up globally. I am a home bird and I do like my comfort zones but if I’m travelling to Australia to play snooker there won’t be any qualms.
“This year I have made a change in my life. I’ve always loved the game but now I’m very confident this year in winning events and doing well. I can play in the majority of the professional events and depending on how I do in them I could be eligible for the BBC events.
“The Masters, UK and World are the three you want to play in. That’s what I’m striving for and I’m feeling good enough in my own game to do it now.”
James is first in action at the Kay Suzanne Memorial Cup starting in Gloucester this Thursday, November 7, before the European Tour 7 event at the Lotto Arena, Antwerp, Belgium a week later.
He would like to thank sponsors Cash in a Dash, LCD Window Cleaners, Reid Hamilton Insurance and Transpares. Anyone wishing to sponsor James should contact his dad Duncan Silverwood on 07515 566484.