TEENAGE snooker player Ben Fortey faces a tough challenge to keep alive his dreams of turning professional.
The 17-year old is aiming to compete at the 2014 World Snooker Q School Tournament where the prize of a two-year professional card is on the table for the semi-finalists of the three events.
But the former Whitecross School pupil must raise £2,000 to cover the entry fee and expenses for the two-week tournament in Gloucester.
“My dream is to turn professional and I have a chance to achieve that if I enter and do well at the Q School, “said Fortey.
“Last year I was sponsored by the South West Snooker Academy which helped cover my expenses but when my scholarship there ended the funding stopped, which was a real blow.”
He added: “It’s very difficult to find sponsorship at the moment so I’m trying to raise the money by putting as much as I can aside a week but it’s going to be a struggle to raise £2,000 by April.”
Despite struggling financially it’s been a very good year for the potting star who won event two of the Gold Waistcoat Tour in Gloucester.
This followed a strong performance in the Junior Premier Tour’s first event of the year at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds, where 13th-ranked Fortey reached the last 16.
Steve Canniford, the head coach and co-founder of the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation, believes Fortey has all the tools required to forge a successful career in the sport.
He said: “Ben definitely has the potential to make it in the professional game, he’s an incredibly talented player and his recent performances show he is starting to fulfil his promise.
“His main strength is that his overall game is very strong as he is an extremely good potter and also has an impressive safety game, he has very few weaknesses.”
He added: “The only thing that could stop him is a lack of money because it is very tough for players to attract sponsorship at the moment.”