A RISING snooker star has started mixing with the big guys and his progress is already getting him noticed.
Ryan Clark, 21, from Hartlepool, has already played against Mark Selby, Barry Hawkins and Matthew Stevens in a meteoric snooker career which has made him the first person from the town to qualify for the main tour of snooker.
He is a professional at just 21 and has been described as an “ambassador for future youngsters.”
Now, his achievements have won him a nomination for a Pride of Hartlepool award.
And when he was told the news, Ryan replied: “I had no idea. That’s a bit of a surprise”.
The nomination came from town resident Gemma Rhead who said: “He is an ambassador for future youngsters who want to make it. At present he has visited various places on the tour but his greatest ambition is to be the best he can, and, in time, climb up the rankings and become the world number one.”
Ryan added: “It sounds great to be nominated even though I knew nothing about it.”
The former Dyke House student won his first professional match last May in the Australian Open with a 5-3 victory over Vinnie Calabrese.
He is now looking forward to his next challenge which will be the World Snooker Championships qualifying tournament at Ponds Forge in Sheffield.
He needs to win four matches to make it through to the main competition.
Ryan joins a fantastic list of entrants for this year’s Pride of Hartlepool competition. But we want more and time is running out for people to put forward names..
We are calling on our readers to nominate that special person or people who have done something that you believe deserves recognition.
It could be anyone from 999 heroes to community champions – help us celebrate those who have done their town proud.
You have until early March to put forward your favourites and we want to make this a record year for entry numbers – but the only way we can do that is with your help.
So come on. Fill in the nomination form in the Hartlepool Mail today, or visit www.hartlepool.mail.co.uk and complete the online entry form.
Let’s reward those heroes who deserve our praise.