Blackpool snooker star James Cahill’s amazing performance at last week’s UK Championships attracted plenty of positive headlines and an important surge up the world rankings.
And now the 18-year-old hopes it helps him attract some much-needed sponsorship.
The former Highfield School pupil from Division Lane, Marton, thrilled snooker fans around the world by reaching the last 16 in York last week courtesy of a nail-biting win over world no.3 Ding Junhai.
James’ achievements as a junior earned him a two-year place on the elite World Snooker tour, giving him the opportunity to pit his wits against the game’s biggest names in the grandest tournaments.
It also landed him with some serious financial pressures as James learned quickly that living his snooker dream comes at a price.
Without sponsorship, James has needed to rely on his snooker winnings and the help of a supportive family to subsidise his quest for green baize glory.
James told The Gazette: “I am looking for a sponsorship and it would be great if someone came along.
“It has been difficult. You need to do well in tournaments just to cover the expenses of entering. And you need to keep winning to make sure you can enter the next one.
“I have had to miss certain tournaments because I just couldn’t afford it. I won a bit of money last week, so hopefully that will keep me going for a while.”
Proud mum Maria, who was a top player herself and now runs a snooker club in Preston, has done all she can to help foot the bill for James to pursue his dream.
She explained: “Half of the tournaments are abroad and we can’t afford to travel to them all. The sport has really taken off in the Far East but it costs around £3,000 to get to China.”
Anyone who assumed James would be inundated with offers after last week’s exploits would be mistaken.
“Everyone seems to assume he has sponsorship already,” added Maria.
“There has been some interest but it’s really about finding the right person.”
But after last week’s profile boost, Cahill can perhaps expect the phone to ring with greater frequency.
“I must admit I hadn’t really kept in touch with people I knew from my schooldays,” he says,
“Although one or two people have been in touch since I’ve started doing well.”