Centre to welcome England pool star

Andrew Ritchie is looking forward to exciting times at Bridlington Snooker Centre. (PA1345-7)

Andrew Ritchie is looking forward to exciting times at Bridlington Snooker Centre. (PA1345-7)

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A Bridlington venue is looking to put itself in the frame to become the best of its kind in the region.

Bridlington Snooker Centre is already midway through an individuals tournament which offers a prize of £1,000 to the winner.

Another big-money competition is scheduled to start in the New Year and the venue will welcome England number one Gareth Potts in February.

The centre in Promenade has also been earmarked by the International Pool Association as a venue to hold qualifying tournaments for its six national competitions in 2014.

“That will allow people to get through and play in really big events,” said manager Andrew Ritchie.

“Predominantly, we are a winter venue, we are about to enter what is traditionally our busiest time of year.

“But we are noticing that people are travelling from further afield to play at the centre.

“We recently held a 32-man competition and it was a 50-50 split of locals and players from Leeds, Scarborough and Hull.

Earlier this year, one of the hall’s snooker tables was removed so two extra pool tables could be installed, reflecting customer demand.

Ritchie said: “The business has changed in the four-and-a-half years we have been here, and we have had to diversify by starting to sell cues and hold regular poker nights.

“We may only have five pool tables but they are really well looked after and it is a well-established venue.

“No-one else around here is offering prizes of £1,000, so people are seeing that there is big money to be won.

“It is great to have the local lads coming in but it is also brilliant to see our reputation is spreading.”

Such is the interest in pool nationally, the centre is looking to stream its inividuals presentation night in December online, so people can watch it across Britain

“Emails are to-ing and fro-ing about getting it out there on our Youtube channel. There is a big pool fraternity out there,” added Ritchie.

The introduction of the IPA qualifiers, which will potentially allow local players to make it through to events in Warwick, Glasgow and Liverpool, will increase its profile further.

The visit of England pool star Potts is another coup.

The 30-year-old from Stoke-on-Trent is nicknamed the Golden Boy and is a three- time eight-ball pool world champion.

Although the format of the evening, on Saturday 1 February, is still being decided, local players will be able to take him on.

“He is the top of the pile in England and local players will have a chance to play against him. Pool always has an element of luck, so you or I could take a frame off the England number one.

“Compare that to snooker, where if a good local player played a top class professional 10 tyimes, the chances are they would lose all 10,” said Ritchie.

Ticket details will be announced soon.