Snooker prodigy Dylan ready to move up to next level
by Andy Tong | 24th April 2019
WEST KENT snooker prodigy Dylan Smith has taken an important couple of steps in his burgeoning career.
The 11-year-old from Paddock Wood has won his first tournament, taking on players several years old than him. And he will now move up to playing longer competitive matches.
Dylan enjoyed a highly successful weekend, winning the Kent Under-16s Summers Cup and then reaching the last eight of the All Sussex Handicap Championship on consecutive days.
The Kent event at Welling Snooker Club featured two other players, both aged 14, and the trio played a round-robin best-of-three format.
In his first match Dylan beat Nicky Trowell 2-0. He began confidently, winning the first frame 70-15. He was in ruthless mode, and at one stage put his opponent in three consecutive snookers, taking the second frame 78-30.
'Winning a tournament will make me better. It will give me quite a lot of confidence. It makes me know that I can do it'
His match against defending champion Jimmy Matthews was a much tougher contest.
Dylan made an emphatic start, running away with the first frame 80-27.
The second was a much closer affair with some excellent safety play and inspired potting.
Leading by just five points, Dylan needed the final black to take the title. He potted it under pressure but was unlucky to see the cueball follow through into the same pocket, handing the frame to Jimmy 54-52.
Neither player held back in the decider and both had their chances before Dylan held his nerve, winning the title on the final pink.
Adrian Frisby of the Kent County Billiards and Snooker Association said: “Many congratulations to Dylan for becoming Kent Under-16 Champion for the first time at just 11 years old and for achieving his first ever tournament win.
“We hope we’ll see him again when he moves up to play in the Under-21 championship.”
Dylan told the Times: “I felt very good, and I’m extremely happy because it was my first win ever, which made it that much more special.
“Winning a tournament will make me better. It will give me quite a lot of confidence. It makes me know that I can do it.”
At the Sussex Handicap Championship at the Castle Snooker and Sports Bar in Brighton there was a much bigger field, with 38 players in the main draw – of all ages and abilities.
He beat Fred Mitchell 3-0 in a best-of-five format, then defeated Spencer Flowers 3-0.
But he bowed out at the quarter-final stage with a 3-1 defeat to Paul Norris.
Norris, who has represented England at Senior and Masters level, has won five county titles.
Patrick Adams, general manager at the Castle Club, said: “Dylan played with the composure of someone well beyond his years.
“Paul was a bit too experienced for Dylan but he said how hard he had to battle to win.
“Both Paul and everyone at the Club can see what a bright future Dylan has ahead of him, both on and off the table. He’s a great lad with an attitude and composure that belies his age.”
'It is hard work but obviously I like playing a lot. When I’m on the table I’m happy'
Back-to-back competitions made for a rigorous weekend, involving five hours of play each day and 19 frames in total.
“It is hard work but obviously I like playing a lot. When I’m on the table I’m happy,” he said.
Dylan believes he is making rapid progress. “I think I’ve improved in a few ways. My positioning has got better, and so have my long pots.
“I guess there’s always room for improvement but maybe I need more playing under pressure. But I am getting better at that."
He will now move up from playing best of three frames to the best of nine, and could find himself up against rivals almost twice his age in Under-21 tournaments.
Meanwhile he is avidly watching the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible.
Dylan recently took on Mark Williams, last year’s champion, at an exhibition evening at the Victoria Snooker Club in Tunbridge Wells.
But this year he is rooting for Mark Selby, the world No 2 who has won three world titles.
“I like him because he’s got a lot of fight and spirit and he doesn’t give up,” said Dylan.