Snooker legend Steve Davis believes North Notts Arena is an ‘ideal’ facility for introducing youngsters to the sport.
The former world champion spent a day at the Worksop venue on 31st January, visiting the Snooker Academy and headlining an event to raise funds for junior development.
Helping Davis to entertain the crowd, and raise £700 for the academy, were local snooker prospect Ash Carty and professional county cricketer Luke Wood.
General manager of North Notts Arena Nigel Turner paid tribute to Davis and said the event was a roaring success.
“What a day and evening it turned out to be,” he said.
“In many people’s eyes Steve Davis is regarded as a true sporting legend; his visit on Saturday certainly confirmed this to the many people who met him during day.”
“Steve showed as much dedication to the sport of snooker as he did when he playing in his pomp in the 80s.”
“He spent just 45 minutes shy of 12 hours with us, always had a smile on his face and never turned down a hand shake, autograph, selfie or conversation.”
Davis himself was impressed with what he saw.
“The Arena is an ideal facility and environment for introducing youngsters to snooker, with its unique friendly atmosphere, a great alternative to the pub atmosphere I experienced in the working men’s clubs.”
The six time World Snooker champion started his day in the Arena’s Junior Snooker Academy.
Coaches Daz Presgrave and Steve Mallender have spent seven years building the academy, and routinely welcome 45 juniors to sessions.
There were 26 local kids booked into the first session with Davis, all getting the chance to take him on in doubles action.
Turner said: “Steve was a true gent and nothing was too much trouble, he gave the kids an afternoon to remember, even setting the younger ones up so they potted some balls as well.”
To begin the second session Davis showed off his famous trick shot routine, before he treated 19 of the more advanced junior players to coaching and strategy tips.
And the obligatory signing of cue cases, autographs and pictures ended the legend’s time with the academy kids.
Mallender was not only delighted with Davis’ visit, but proud of his young charges.
“From start to finish it was a privilege to be part of something that the juniors will never forget,” he said.
“The Academy is booming at the moment and there are some very talented youngsters coming through, as their coaches, we are proud of each and every one of them, they are a pleasure to coach.”
The fundraiser event followed, with Davis revisiting his time as world champion with an insight into life at the top of the sport.
Local sporting talents Carty and Wood were involved a in a question and answer session with MC for the night Barry York, before an auction and more autographs.
Any youngsters interested in joining the Academy can call the Arena on 01909 480164 or turn up on Saturdays at 1pm.