By John Ballard
23 June 2006
A SEVEN-YEAR-OLD snooker prodigy from Westbury is already dreaming of playing his idol Ronnie The Rocket' O'Sullivan in the World Championship.
Despite only just being tall enough to see over the table, Thyas Evans displays a talent for the game far beyond his age. This year, in his first full season of competitive snooker, the Year 2 pupil from Bitham Brook Primary School played against, and beat, other youngsters in under 12s tournaments across the south west to finish in third place overall for this age group.
He has even triumphed against people more than twice his age, with victories against under 15s and even under 21s in a final end-of-the-season event. His father Paul Evans, who is also a snooker fanatic, said: "We bought him a two-foot table when he was two or three years old and then after about six months we had to exchange it for a four-foot one, because the smaller table was no longer challenging enough.
"He just picked up the game very quickly and has such a passion for it." Thyas started going to Trowbridge Snooker Club, joined the Cuestars snooker scheme and immediately took to playing on full size tables.
Cuestars is based around a universal handicap system and provides snooker players with the opportunity to play in competitions, which Thyas has been doing very successfully. On the back of this success, the Westbury youngster has been selected to go to an assessment day in Swindon this summer, where Ronnie O'Sullivan's coach Frank Adamson will cast his eye over some of the region's most promising young snooker players.
Mr Evans said: "If Thyas continues to develop the way he has been doing, I would say that 10 years down the line he should be close to being on television, and I reckon in about four years he will be banging in centuries. "We'll probably give him another season playing at this level, and then we'll have to look at him going into national competitions."
Players Bar in Westbury provides Thyas with unlimited use of the full size tables, so he can get in the many hours of practice needed to enable him to compete at a high standard.
Players are also helping the seven-year-old star with tournament travel costs, and general manager Ken Bowman is encouraging other young snooker fans and their parents to take the opportunity to play the game at the bar on the West Wilts Trading Estate.
In addition to enjoying playing on the green baize, Thyas is an avid follower of snooker, and likes to watch the best players in the world in action. While Trowbridge's Stephen Lee is the local star, Thyas has always supported Ronnie O'Sullivan. He said: "I need to practice as much as I can because the more I play the better I get.
"I hope I get to play against Ronnie O'Sullivan one day, and I'd like to beat him so then he can ask me for my autograph."