One of the district’s leading players has become one of the UK’s leading coaches.

And now he is trying to develop the junior game in the Wharfedale district.

David Horrix of Ilkley, who made a return to snooker recently after a long break, gained his coaching qualifi- cations at a recent residential course in Cambridge run by both the English and the International Billiards and Snooker Federations.

He was one of the few to pass with distinction. after the practical and written examinations.

So good were David’s results that he exceeded the performances of one or two well-known professional players who were also taking the exam- ination.

Horrix is aware that it has always been a struggle for juniors interested in playing snooker to gain access to appropriate clubs and to receive guidance on how to play.

One of the major barriers for young players is that many clubs do not permit them access to the tables and there are also the problems with the presence of alcohol.

There are places in the county where junior players can receive coaching but these often are at inconvenient times and involve a great deal of travel. Recently Ben Rhydding Snooker Club have allowed junior players of seven years and above access to their tables and obtain free professional coaching provided by Horrix in order to stimulate membership.

The interest in the coaching has been encouraging with 15 juniors from eight years old and above benefiting from the free coaching programme called “Program-Me”.

So far four of the juniors have advanced into development squads where they will receive coaching that will give them the technical skills to play at the highest standard.

Horrix’s long term aim is it to duplicate the activities at Ben Rhydding with other interested clubs in the region with the objective of formulating a junior league and competition structures which could, in time, produce top-class players.

In addition to providing a worthwhile activity for youngsters the Program-Me can help participating clubs secure the long-term futures which may otherwise decline.

In addition to the junior program Horrix intends to hold some group sessions for adults where he can assist players to improve their game. He has a growing list of individual’s whom he is tutoring.

Wharfedale Billiards and Snooker Association and Otley League chairman John Waite has offered the full support of both organisations to Horrix’s plans.

Waite said: “We are lucky to have some excellent players in our district but we also have a large number of keen players who could benefit from some guidance from David as their aiming, and delivery of the cue can be inconsistent.

“If these small faults can be ironed out the player’s enjoyment of the game can be enhanced.”

With regard to the junior development Waite added: “If young players can be shown how to cue correctly from an early age the opportunities are endless.

“At a recent exhibition match at Northern Snooker Centre former World Champion Neil Robertson was beaten by 14-year-old James Pearson.”

Pearson has been receiving coaching since he was eight years old and is now in the national junior squad, a pre cursor to becoming a full time professional in a few years time.

The coaching for the juniors is free and once it is clear that the player has the desire and ability to progress to the development squad there may be a small charge to cover costs for items such as lights.

Anybody interested in the junior coaching should contact David Horrix on 07519 210021 for further details.