Burnley’s teenage snooker sensation Lewis Ullah was hoping that admission in to the European Championships would be just the ticket for his career trajectory.
The 16-year-old flew out to the U Magic Palace Hotel in Israel alongside fellow countrymen Luke Pinches, Hamim Hussain and Jed Mann to compete against some of the best amateurs in the sport on the continent.
The highest ranked players from 25 nations took part in the Under-21s tournament, with each individual vying for the prize of a two-year pass on the professional circuit.
The Burnley College student opened his Group C campaign with a 3-1 defeat to Germany’s Richard Wienold and then lost out to Ireland’s Ross Bulman, who had earlier squeezed past him in the round of 16 in the Under-18s event.
However, he finished on a high when beating Netherlands youngster Hugo Van Houten 3-0.
That victory was enough to see Lewis make the cut for the knockout stages of the tournament.
At the time of going to press, with games still going on in the group stages, the youngster was still waiting to hear who he would be going up against in the next phase.
His dad, Matt, said: “I’m really happy for Lewis. He’s shown youngsters that no matter who you are, whatever your background, colour, creed or religion, it’s possible to achieve your dreams.
“You don’t need a parent with a big cheque book. All you need is belief and for others to believe in you. The holder of the Under-21s tournament, Jackson Page [Wales], now practices with World champion Mark Williams. I could never have dreamed this.”
Lewis had started well in the first instalment of the competition on the Under 18s pathway.
He beat Bulgaria’s Peter Zorovski 3-0 and Albania’s Kledio KaÇi 3-1 but lost out to Iulian Boiko (Ukraine) in his final group game.
In the knockout stages he beat 15th seed Germanos Nestoridis (Germany) 3-1 but just lost out to Bulman.
Lewis, who reached the semi-final of the National Junior Premier Tour in Chesterfield last year, losing out to Portsmouth’s Mark Lloyd, has been working with Chris Henry in a bid to strengthen his all-round game.
The Burnley Snooker Club star, who is determined to emulate the success of Yan Bingtao, the youngest player to win the Amateur World Snooker Championship, also captained the England B team to glory for the second year in succession at Leeds Northern Snooker Centre for the Home Internationals.
“Last year it was the UK, this year it’s Europe,” said Matt. “Who knows, maybe next year it’ll be the World Championships. Snooker doesn’t get any bigger than this if you’re 16. Lewis is getting these opportunities to make it in to the big time.
“Lewis just needs help from sponsors. He’d like to thank Mick Cookson, Bradley’s Building Supplies, John Parris, Brandon Parker, who is Paul Hunter’s manager, Chris Henry, Chris Lovell and Duncan McNally for their ongoing support.”