Welsh Snooker’s Next Generation
Anthony Davies, the former world number 26, now combines his role as Wales’s national snooker coach with a day job working at an autistic college for 16-24-year-olds in Sully near Cardiff.
Two of Davies’s snooker pupils, Jacob Boyle and Oscar Vaughan, have autism, and recently made their debuts for Wales in the under 14 team at the Celtic Challenge.
Davies, now aged 46, said: “I have to approach coaching them in a slightly different way. I explain to the other youngsters that Oscar and Jacob are a bit special and they sometimes lose their tempers when frustration kicks in.
“I’m lucky because they’re both passionate about it. They want to be here, they love being here, and I try to make it fun.”
Boyle, 12, from Cardiff, first became interested in snooker as a toddler while watching the World Championship on TV alongside his father, Joe, who said: “I don’t know whether it was the colours or the numbers that first sparked Jacob’s interest, but he quickly became very enthusiastic, and started commentating in front of the TV.
“We bought him a miniature table, and by the time he was six or seven he was playing on a 4ft table. About a year after that, he wanted to play on a full-sized table, so I took him to the [now closed] Riley’s club on City Rd near our home, and I saw a poster for a boys’ coaching club. We turned up one Sunday and it went from there, and now a few years later he’s about to represent his country.”
As well as commentating on the game in front of the TV, Boyle is avid recorder of results and statistics for both snooker and darts.
Vaughan, 14, attends Cantonian High School in Cardiff and began playing snooker around five years ago. He said: “My favourite players are Ronnie O’Sullivan and Judd Trump. I don’t have a career plan but I’m really looking forward to playing for Wales.”