A Morecambe snooker player is hoping to be a cut above the competition after sponsorship from his barber helped him realise a big tournament dream.
Liam Taylor will travel to Poland this weekend to take part in the Gdynia Open, a pro-am event won last year by former world champion Neil Robertson after he beat Welsh great Mark Williams in the final.
The 21-year-old, who plays for table-topping Jubilee City in the Lancaster, Morecambe and District Snooker League, has received support from Colin Drew from Thee Barber Shop on Yorkshire Street in order to make the trip.
Taylor, who will be one of more than 100 amateurs hoping to mix it with the world’s top players, said: “He’s been my barber since I started primary school and has always been one of my biggest supporters.
“The money is a massive help to get over to Poland.”
The trip to Eastern Europe will be the culmination of several years’ work for Taylor who believes his game has come on leaps and bounds in recent months.
He said: “I was on the World Snooker website looking at how you could enter events quite a few years ago now and noticed amateurs could apply for the European Tour events.
“I left it a few years to work on my game and thought why not give it a whirl?
“My game has come on so much since I applied, maybe it’s mentally knowing I’ve got a big tournament coming up.”
Taylor will take on Polish junior star Antoni Kowalski in the first round next Wednesday, Feburary 24, and while he admits he is going for the experience first and foremost, the Morecambe potter hopes he can progress through a round or two. He said: “I want to go out there and enjoy it.
“But I’ve got to go there with a bit of ambition and try and do the best I can.
“The draw’s good because I’ve got Antoni Kowalski and he’ll be playing in front of a home crowd.
“It would be really good to beat him.
“I’m going for the experience first and foremost but I’ve got high hopes given how I’ve played this season.”
Ultimately Taylor’s aim is to go from Dunelm Mill sales assistant to full-time snooker pro and a good showing on the Baltic coast can go a long way to helping him achieve that.
He said: “The ultimate goal is to get the to the last eight and that gets you a two-year tour card.
“That would get me into the qualifiers for all the big tournaments.
“It’s the goal I’ve had since I was eight years old. The hardest part is getting that bump start onto the main tour. It’s just so hard to do.”
Taylor travels out to Poland for the Gdynia Open, the sixth and final event on the Kreativ Dental European Tour series, on Sunday with his first round match against Kowalski taking place on February 24 at 9am.