ACCRINGTON snooker ace Chris Norbury is back in the big time - and he is not going to throw this chance away.
The 22-year-old was on the Main Snooker Tour aged 18 for two years - and at his highest was ranked at World Number 61 - but dropped out and has spent two years trying to get back onto it.
He has finally done it, being ranked World Number 80 at the moment - and now wants to take his chance back in the spotlight.
"I was in the Main Tour when I was 18 and I guess, because I was in it so young, I didn’t really appreciate it.
"I was up against the world’s best snooker players but I lost a lot of games 5-4 and ended up falling out of the Main Tour. It was just one of those seasons although I was gutted.
"I have been on the Challenge Tour for the last two years. The first year back I hadn’t really got my head around it all but the second year, this year, I knew I had to get back into the Main Tour."
To get back among the best, Norbury needed to finish in the top eight of the Challenge Tour with various events throughout the year.
"Once the Tour was over, the rankings put me ninth and I was devastated. It was the worst possible finish," he said. "The the chairman of the English board came over and said that one of the lads who finished in the top eight was not eligible to play and that they were looking into it but I had to keep quiet.
"It was agony as I couldn’t tell anyone for a couple of weeks or else I would jeopardise my chance. I couldn’t even tell my coach.
"I applied for a wild card but then I got a phone call to say I had now finished eighth and I was elated. I was buzzing and still am."
He continued: "I don’t want to let this chance go as I realise how much being on the Main Tour means to me. I now know how lucky I am.
"I want to get back into the World 64 and it is a big season for me. The qualifiers for the big competitions start soon such as the Shanghai Masters and it’s the UK Championships this year.
"I need a good start to get my confidence up and perhaps to get on the television and make a name for myself. I am ready to go for it."
And he is ready to put in the hard work, having a snooker table at his Accrington house.
"It’s hard in the hot weather as the last thing you want to do is stay indoors but I am practising about five or six hours every day. I am determined and so excited about the new season."
Chris has managed to support himself in part thanks to sponsorship received from North Lancs Training Group for the fourth year running.
They give him financial support for his running costs and also supply a dinner suit and polo shirts.
"They have been superb for me. I have been lucky as they have stuck with me all the way," added Chris.
NLTG’s Chris Lovell said: "We continue to sponsor local talent in any way we can."
Meanwhile, UK Snooker champion and World Number Three Shaun Murphy spend two days at NLTG.
One of the NLTG’s charities is the Paul Hunter Foundation, set up in memory of the snooker star who died of cancer, and its aim is to encourages youngsters to give snooker a go.
Shaun visited the Accrington Academy, Torr View Specialist School and met the Mayor and Mayoress of Hyndburn.
He also received a cheque from Rishton Conservative Club for £800 for the Paul Hunter Foundation.