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About Me

I was born at the Lydia Beynon Maternity Hospital in Newport, South Wales on 30th July 1970. The Lydia Beynon shut down as a hospital later in the 70's but is now better known as the Celtic Manor Resort - venue for the 2010 Ryder Cup, Golf's biggest event!

I attended Eveswell Infants and Junior Schools in Newport and then on to Hartridge Comprehensive.

I have been interested in snooker from a very early age as my parents ran the Pioneer Club in Newport and I was mesmerised by the full sized table they had there. I had a small table as a child and eventually a six foot table when I was 13. About that time my Dad started taking me to Maindee Cons. Club in Newport and I played most Saturday afternoons with a real old gent named Ted Yates who taught me loads about the game.

I went for some coaching in 1985 with a local referee and coach called Vic Jones who suggested I take my referees exam because if I understood the rules better it would help my playing ability. In November 1985 I sat a Grade C exam at the home of the local examiner and former TV referee, Gus Lillygreen, and Failed! I waited the mandatory month and re-took the exam on 15th December 1985 and passed, Gus admits he already wrote out the pass before I turned up as he only failed me the first time because he couldn't believe someone my age was genuinely interested in refereeing.

I joined the Welsh Billiards and Snooker Referees Association and every chance I got I travelled with Vic Jones to amateur events all around Wales. I had a fabulous time and learned so much, especially things NOT to do! The Welsh Snooker Association rewarded my efforts in 1988 with a trip to Hemsby in Norfolk to represent Wales as the referee for the Junior Home Internationals. A young looking, pony-tailed English lad by the name of Peter Ebdon made his International debut there that week! I applied to Join the Professional Referees Association in 1991 and was amazed to be accepted. In July 1992 I was asked to go to The Norbreck Castle Hotel in Blackpool to referee the first set of Block Qualifiers for the 1992-93 season. My first match was between 2 thai players, Noppadon Noppachorn and Suriya Suwanasingh. I had great fun saying those names for 3 hours in my first proper Pro. game.

I was in awe of some of the established  referee's I worked with including John Williams, John Street, Len Ganley, Alan Chamberlain, John Smythe, Colin Brinded and made long lasting friendships with Lawrie Annandale and Stuart Bennett to name but a few. I was initially booked to referee for the first two of the three months scheduled play. Two days before I was due to go home Sadly Len Ganley suffered a stroke at his home in Blackpool and was unable to work for several weeks. Thankfully Len made a full recovery but his illness gave me a chance to stay for the last month as his replacement.

During that refereeing marathon the BBC filmed Pot Black Timeframe. A new computer company called Alston Elliot Ltd. were booked to provide the on-screen scoring graphics and they asked me to help them. I had a great time and they offered me a full-time job. I spent the next 9 years working for Alston Elliot as a TV graphic systems operator. I travelled the World working at some fantastic sporting events including Football, Cricket, Snooker and Rugby World Cups but still managed to keep doing a week or two refereeing every season to 'keep my hand in'.

In September 2001 whilst working at the Regal Scottish Masters I had a telephone call from Lawrie Annandale, the new Head of Referees at World Snooker. He offered me a full-time refereeing contract and after much thought and soul searching I accepted, the rest, as they say, is history !

 

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