Manship takes a frame from world number eight Kyren Wilson

Kyren ‘the Warrior’ Wilson may well have won the war at Jackson’s lounge at the weekend – but there was one battle that he lost.

By Duncan Browne
Wednesday, 22nd June 2022, 12:00 am
Jackson’s owner Ben Jackson welcomes Kyren to the King Street club.
Jackson’s owner Ben Jackson welcomes Kyren to the King Street club.

Jackson’s regular Ben Manship was on fire chalking up 70 against the world number eight’s score of 45.

The crowd cheered the local hero who walked around with a big smile on his face for the rest of the evening.

The other challengers didn’t fair quite so well as Kyren showed why he was at the top of the game with some impressive break building and scintillating shots.

Ben Manship, left, with Kyren Wilson.

The 30-year-old, from Kettering, made three century breaks and was on for a 147 only to miss a red by a small margin ending the thrilling run on 88.

The first century finished with a touch of class from Kyren when he asked opponent Jack Steel If he’d ever made a century.

When Jack said no Kyren invited him to pot the last black taking the break to 101.

Kyren brought along legendary snooker coach Barry Stark who has been his mentor since he was a youngster.

Barry Stark chats with one of Kyren’s challengers Rhys Coleman.

Seventy-nine-year-old Barry entertained with some words of wisdom, coaching tips and anecdotes, gleaned from his many years as a World Snooker senior coach.

Referee for the evening was Patricia Murphy who made a name for herself on the professional snooker tour and currently officiates professional pool and snooker exhibitions.

Kyren said he’d loved playing at Jackson’s and that it was great to be doing exhibitions again after all everyone had been through with Covid.

He said: “This is a really nice community club, perfect for a snooker exhibition with a friendly atmosphere and the people have been warm and welcoming.”

Referee Patricia Murphy sets up the table.

And he was full of praise for his challengers especially Ben Manship.

Kyren said: “Sometimes you do exhibitions and there’s a lot of people who struggle but the standard of the amateurs here is really good.

“I lost the frame to Ben - he played really, really well. He’s not had a century break yet but I think it won’t be long before he does.”

With TV viewing figures on the increase snooker is enjoying a bit of a revival.

Kyren added: “Through Covid we were extremely strong.

"We were the first indoor sport to welcome back crowds when things were starting to get going again.

“Things are improving all the time - it’s looking rosy for the future and I feel very lucky to be a part of it.”

As for his own ambitions, he said a while ago he would have said winning the World Championship would have been top of the list but added: “With how the world has gone just recently I would say family and health are the most important things.

"As long as those things are in order everything else is a bonus.”

Winner of the one-hour practice session with Kyren on his table in Northampton was Lee Hurst.