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Byline: SAM YARWOOD @SamYarwood89

AT just nine-years-old, snooker player James Bradley is already taking on the greats.

Only a few days ago, the youngster played his firstever match in front of a crowd - and who better to play against than the legendary Jimmy White.

James, from Gee Cross in Tameside, even had his own 'walk-on' girl.

The schoolboy's promising snooker career began on his sixth birthday after his dad, Neil, bought him a small-sized table to practice on.

"He was on it every day," Neil said. "It's always been my favourite sport, I got into it in the 80s, so I decided to get him a little table for his birthday.

"He loved it, and after a few months he wanted a bigger one so I got him one. A few months after that he wanted an even bigger one.

"There was no way we were going to fit a full-sized table in the house, so I rang the snooker club in Hyde and asked if I could bring him down to play with me.

"At first they were a bit unsure about it because he was so young, but eventually they agreed and I started taking him down.

"He was too small to reach the table when he first started playing, he'd drag this milk crate around with him to stand on.

"But James really took to it, he was brilliant, and it just went from there really."

" The youngster, who has the nickname 'Supercu',' started practising three or four times a week - after school and at weekends. He also now attends Star Snooker Academy in Sheffield every Sunday.

Over the years, James has rubbed shoulders with snooker legends such former world champions Steve Davis and Ken Doherty to name a few.

And on Friday, while hosting an event at The Moor Club in Heaton Moor, Stockport, six-time World Championship finalist Jimmy 'The Whirlwind' White invited James to play him. Neil, 42, added: "Jimmy had been playing amateur adult players but he wanted to play James.

"The crowds absolutely loved him, he went down brilliantly. He was dressed the part, and had his own walk-on girl.

"Jimmy beat him obviously, but I was so proud of how well he did. He got 29 points, Jimmy got 60-something.

"It was his first proper match and he played against one of the greatest players of all time in front of a crowd of 150 people. Afterwards people were coming up to him, shaking his hand.

"Two guys asked him for his autograph - James had no idea what to do. People just kept saying to him, keep it up, you'll go far.

"It was a truly amazing experience for him and definitely a proud moment for all the family - it's not every day you get to meet your sporting hero let alone play a match against them. Definitely a night we won't forget."


James Bradley with Jimmy and 'walk-on girl' Jade. Left: James in action during the match

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Jun 3, 2019
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