Snooker: Silverwood lucky to be alive but his sights are now set on the top

Snooker player James Silverwood.
Snooker player James Silverwood.

James Silverwood counts his blessings every single day.

The reality is, the Lancaster snooker player could have died on May 6 last year.

Leaving a Leyland street in bad weather, he crashed into a tree, with many at the scene fearing the worst for the promising potter after he spun off the road as he headed for a tournament.

Two days in a coma and several broken bones later, Silverwood, who plays for Lancaster Railway in the Lancaster and Morecambe Snooker League, knows just how lucky he is to be concentrating on releasing his snooker dreams.

“I don’t remember any of the 6th of May,” he said.

“I don’t remember getting up and saying goodbye to (partner) Sarah or giving my daughter, then just three months old, a kiss.

“I don’t remember the weather in the morning but apparently the rain was torrential.

“I went round an S bend going at the speed limit in Leyland, only about five miles away from where I was going.

“I aquaplaned into the other lane, hit a car and my car span down a trench and into a tree, and it’s the tree that did the damage.

“The paramedics and the guy I hit thought I was dead at the scene.

“I was in a coma for days and everyone wasn’t sure how I would be when I woke up, whether I’d remember anything.

“But I was totally fine, apart from the breaks.

“I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I’m blessed, I’m very lucky to be here.”

The accident came just days before Silverwood’s latest attempt to reach the main professional tour at the annual Q School.

Despite a realisation he is lucky to be alive, the Lancaster man felt at the time it was his best chance yet to seal his snooker future, having knocked in maximum 147 breaks in the run up to the accident.

Now though, with the 2016 Q School looming on May 11 in Burton, he is hoping his snooker breakthrough will have been put back just the 12 months, having hit top form with help of Bolton coach Jon Farnworth.

“I should have been on the world tour by now,” said the former Ripley St Thomas pupil, who works at Slyne Lodge.

“Having a daughter and being settled, I was ready.

“I was in best form of my life, and I’m sure I would have qualified at Q School.

“I can’t have seen anyone beating anyone over two tournaments to take that place off me.

“And I will still get on that tour, because now I’m playing better than ever.

“Jon’s just helped me out with a few things here and there, but it’s made a real difference.

“If I get a two-year tour card, I won’t come off the tour.

“I personally think this is the hardest step. I’ve been around in the lower ranks, but I really believe I can get to the top very quickly.

“This is the year. I feel like everything happened for a reason.”

Silverwood’s confidence is perhaps surprising, given the list of injuries he suffered in the crash.

Bleeding on the brain, a fractured right eye socket, a broken collarbone and three fractured ribs only start to cover the toll the accident took on his body.

It has been a long road back for a man who was attempting to pot balls at Torrisholme’s Jubilee Club on his way home from hospital.

His progress has been steady, and included a couple of disappointing tournaments at the end of last year, with the Lancaster potter having headed out to Germany for one event.

But if he ever does get frustrated about his progress, Silverwood needs only to think back to May 6 last year.

“I’d forgotten how to sight the ball, I’d forgotten my cueing, forgotten how to stand,” he said, recalling how he had to take 20 weeks off playing snooker.

“I’d have to watch videos of myself, watch videos of other people.

“I’ve had to start again from when I started playing snooker aged 10.

“It’s been hard to deal with mentally, but I just had to tell myself to stop being frustrated because I’m thankful to be here and thankful to see my little daughter grow up.

“I am very grateful and I tell myself that every day.”