Yarrawonga local Adrian Ridley recently won the 2018 Oceania Snooker Championship but wanted to keep it quiet, however he got the shock of his life last week in a call telling him he had been given a wild card into the World Championship in Sheffield, England.
The catch? He had to decide within the hour and confirm his acceptance with the World Professional Snooker Association then he would have to leave the next day on a flight.
The next few hours were madness arranging commitments, flights, accommodation and packing but there was no way he was going to miss out on this opportunity of a life time. Adrian has won every event on the Australian calendar, currently holds both the Australian and Oceania title and was the first amateur Australian to win a match against professionals in the Australian Open Goldfields in 2015 as a wild card.
His second match against well-known professional Robert Milkins was streamed worldwide on Foxtel.
Adrian joked that the only thing left was to play in the World Championships but in reality he would have had to live and play in the UK for years normally to achieve that.
There are four Australians doing just that over there at the moment, so Australia will have five entrants in the World Championship this year: Adrian, Matthew Bolton, Ryan Thomerson, Kurt Dunham and Neil Robertson.
Why the World Snooker Association decided to give him a wild card is uncertain but he wasn’t turning it down, as it is every snooker players dream.
Adrian has no expectations as to how the match will go.
He will arrive over there with jet lag, no practice and no time to get used to their star tables which run very differently to ours in Australia.
Also these players are the best in the world and are there for a reason.
His goal is to win one game of the 19 so that he can say he won at the World Championships in 2018.
Thanks to the board and management of Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort in granting last minute leave, his winnings from the Oceania and maxing out a credit card, it was all green lights and he was on that plane Thursday night.
He is probably playing his match (the best of 19 games) as you are reading this article.
We all wish him the best of luck and hope he achieves his dream of winning that one game.