Snooker sensation Ash Carty is full of confidence, after great results both at home and abroad.
The 18-year-old from Thurcroft, who trains at North Notts Arena, reached the semi-finals of the European Under 21 Championships, before going one better in the English Under 21s.
He travelled to Bucharest, Romania for the Europeans, and sailed through his group with four wins and only one defeat.
In the round of 64 he took on Frenchman Niel Vincent and breezed past him with a 4-1 win, following it up with a 4-0 victory over Ireland’s Daniel Dempsey.
Carty defeated Darryl Hill of the Isle of Man 4-2 in the last 16, booking a spot in the semi-final against Leeds based Sanderson Lam.
Despite going 2-0 down Carty played some tremendous snooker, pulling it back to 2-2 before knocking in two consecutive 100-plus breaks, 115 plus a 130 which was the highest break in the tournament, to take a 4-2 lead, eventually winning 5-3.
Another Irishman stood in Carty’s way in the semi-final, and it was Josh Boileau who progressed, beating the Yorkshireman 5-2.
Despite the disappointment of getting so close to a major final, Carty was upbeat about the European trip.
“I enjoyed the experience, it was a nice place and a good tournament, and I liked competing against the best players in Europe,” he told the Guardian.
“It gave me confidence, which I took into the English Under 21s a week later.”
That confidence shone through at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds, where in a twist of irony, Carty beat the newly crowned European Under 21 champion Oliver Lines in the semi-final.
Carty came back from 3-0 down to win 5-4 in a see-saw affair, and will now take on Leicester’s Joseph O’Connor in the final in June.
He says victory would be the highlight of his snooker career to date.
“I’ve proved I can compete with the best players, it’s just doing it consistently,” he said.
“It would be a great achievement to win the English Under 21s, it would be the biggest win of my career so far.”
Carty’s training base, North Notts Arena, will host ‘King of the Crucible’ Stephen Hendry next Friday night.
Hendy will be the special gust at the Junior Snooker Academy’s annual presentation evening.
Tickets are only £5, in aid of the academy, and available on 01909 480164.