Dunfermline Press

Jack eyes up Scottish Open


RISING snooker star Jack Borwick is preparing to chalk his cue alongside some of the game’s top players when he plays in a major event on home territory.

The 16-year-old, who is an S5 pupil at Queen Anne High School, will make the short hop to Edinburgh on Monday for the start of the BetVictor Scottish Open, which will feature several of the sport’s biggest names.

The likes of four-time world champion John Higgins, and the current global title holder, Luca Brecel, and former world title winners including Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby are amongst those scheduled to appear at Meadowbank Sports Centre for the WST (World Snooker Tour) event.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, the current world number one who has won a joint-record seven world titles, and who won the UK Championsh­ip, for which Jack appeared in qualifying, at the weekend, is also due to appear on a star-studded billing that will also feature the Cairneyhil­l teenager.

He received a wildcard entry for the tournament courtesy of his Scottish tour ranking of third after an outstandin­g year of potting his way to success.

He became under-16 champion at the EBSA (European Billiards and Snooker Associatio­n) European Snooker Championsh­ip in March, which he followed by winning the Scottish under-18 title in May.

Jack, who was also the highest placed under-21 player on the Scottish tour last season, also helped Scotland to victory in an Internatio­nal Celtic Challenge event, in which he secured the highest break of any player in the tournament, whilst he also won the first under-21 age group event of the new Scottish season.

It has been a rapid rise since taking up the game six months before lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic, during which a snooker table in his back garden helped him continue to hone his skills.

Those will now be showcased at the Scottish Open, where he is scheduled to play Ishpreet Singh Chadha, and he told Press Sport: “Playing in my home country, at the venue against a decent player, so I’m looking forward to it.

“The last few years its been Amaan (Iqbal, who Jack defeated to become Scottish under-18 champion) and Liam (Pullen), and then Liam got on the tour, so then I knew there would be a spot up for grabs.

“I did well on the main tour last year, so I thought that might’ve got me the spot, so I wasn’t extremely surprised when I got it, but it’s still nice to make sure you’re definitely in it.

“It’d be nice to win a game or two, but I’ll just do one frame at a time and see what happens.

“It’s just another game I suppose. It’s the same table, the same sized tables.”

Hours of practice have helped Jack in his snooker so far, as has having the opportunit­y to practice and play alongside profession­al players, like Ali Carter, who he met in the first of two appearance­s at BetVictor Shoot Out events this year.

“It’s just been quick. It’s been hard work, being up here every day (where he practices), playing lots of players, travelling everywhere,” he said of his achievemen­ts so far.

“I would like to have achieved it but I didn’t expect to do it in the quick time frame that I did.

“I used to play football until I was 10 or 11. I gave that up, then I went up to the Ball Room to play pool, in a pool club they used to run on a Wednesday, then my dad - he used to play snooker - and he went through to get back into it. He started playing, then I went through to try it, and then I’ve played ever since.”

Jack, who has had coaching from Edinburgh-based former profession­al, Chris Small, said the chance to play and practice with other major players has benefitted him, adding: “It’s good because then you just know you have to punish the opportunit­ies you do get because you don’t get loads of chances.

“They don’t do much wrong so you just have to try and look at what they’re doing to put it into your game.

“I’ve looked up to John and Ronnie, all the main ones. I don’t really have a particular favourite, because they’re all just so good I don’t mind watching whoever.”

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