RISING snooker star Jordan Winbourne got the chance to take on snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan in a ranking tournament.
Winbourne, who plays in both the Gosport and Portsmouth snooker leagues, won two amateur qualifying matches to draw the three-times world champion at the Players Tour Championship in Gloucester.
Although the 15-year-old lost 4-0 in a match streamed live on the internet, he was unlucky not to take a couple of frames.
For proud dad Chris, one of more than 100 people watching in the main arena, it was time for a ‘reality check’.
‘It was incredible,’ he said.
‘You look up and see Ronnie O’Sullivan and Jordan on the screen and you’ve got to do a bit of a reality check.
‘To play Ronnie in an exhibition game is one thing but to play him in a proper tournament when it really matters, well, there’s not many people that get to do that, is there?
‘Jordan’s proved, if it needed proving, that his technique and temperament can stand up to anything.’
While admitting to being a bit nervous in the first frame, Winbourne said: ‘I didn’t really mind who I played.’
And when the players shook hands after the match?
‘I said “good luck in the next round” and he said “thanks”.’
Ronnie went on to win the tournament.
Less than 48 hours later, the teenager, who lives in Hedge End, was in action on the 2011-12 Cuestars South of England under-21 Gold Tour at Salisbury Snooker Club.
He edged his friend, club-mate and south-coast rival Shane Castle, 13, 3-2 in the semi-finals.
In the final Winbourne, who dropped just four frames out of 21 all day, dispatched Ben Tanner 2-0.
Mark Lloyd, from Stoke Snooker Club, Gosport, won the plate competition.