Promising pool proteges Kieran Lennon and Cameron Easton are leading the way for club and country.
The Lennon’s Pool an Snooker duo have been called up to represent England at the EPA World 8 Ball Pool Championships at Blackpool’s Imperial Hotel in June.
Kieran, 18, from Wingerworth cemented his place in the five man England team which brought home the European Championship from France in February.
He has now set his sights on achieving a double at the world championships and will also be playing in the junior singles event and the men’s world masters.
Following on from Kieran’s success, 17-year-old Cameron earned his waistcoat and will play in the junior singles world championship and the men’s world masters.
Derbyshire junior team coach and owner of the Stephenson Place pool and snooker hall Sean Lennon has high hopes for both teenagers this summer and beyond.
“They are both really good players and can do well for England,” he said. “Kieran did ever so well with England in France and finished as highest ranked junior player in Europe.
“He did really well and has been rewarded with a place again for the world championships. Both he and Cameron enjoy playing the game and it shows when they’re at the table.”
Kieran began playing pool at the age of ten in the local leagues and his dad Sean remembers the first year when they reached the final of a mixed doubles competition.
“He had an interest from a young age,” said Lennon senior. “From 13 he was playing at the snooker academy in Sheffield and got professional coaching there. Though his love was pool, not snooker, and it was his decision.
“He was coached by Nigel Bond and he recommended making a decision to concentrate on either snooker or pool. A lot of the lads at that age like pool because it’s a smaller table. And he has gone on to do very well.
“You look at Mark Selby, who is the current world snooker champion, but he was the world pool champion before that in his younger days. He moved into snooker and there’s no reason why you can’t make the switch at some time.
“It’s Kieran’s decision. I’d never have a say in it. He couldn’t have done any better as a junior. There’s no better player in England or in Europe in my mind in the junior ranks. He’s thoroughly enjoying it and he’s got as high as he possibly can in his chosen game.
“The team won the European championships and now the target is to win the world championships in the same year. We’re quietly confident of bringing it home. It’ll be difficult but Kieran is quite capable of doing well.
“This is his last year as a junior. He has his targets and I’m sure he can reach them. He’s towards the top of the ladder in the juniors and when he gets to the adults he has to work his way up again.”
While club-mate Cameron only joined Lennon’s two-and-a-half years ago.
“He’s grown in to it,” said Sean. “He got in the county team last year and this year he has done really well and progressed quickly in his game.
“He finished sixth place in the region’s stats which meant he got a trial for England. When he got to the trial for England he did really well and managed to get in to the squad. It was brilliant. Two players in the squad is brilliant.
“Cameron plays with Kieran a lot and when one of the lads can see the other one do it they have a target to aim for. It can happen. Cameron is where Kieran was last year with the England set up.
“I see it as two very similar situations. They both play in the local leagues and are in the top teams. Some established players are starting to look over their shoulders now at these young lads winning competitions.
“They’re playing in the Chesterfield charity league doubles final this year together in the next few weeks. To get to the final at their age is very promising.
“I’ve been playing since I was 17, I’m 50 now, and I’ve only ever been in one singles final. These lads are getting in them. The standard is very high. It’s all down to hard work, determination and playing the game properly.”
Lennon’s is celebrating its fourth anniversary next month and a lot of the success can be attributed to the popular Saturday morning youth academy, where young players can develop their skills against each other.
Chesterfield now boast nine players from the town in the county team and a cluster of further England hopefuls.
Sean said having Kieran and Cameron around rubs off on the younger players.
“When we first started having Chesterfield players playing for the county, I said to them then that the next target is playing for your country. I always remember them laughing and joking and I said ‘I’m serious about it’.
“When Kieran got in they then realised it was feasible to do that and now Cameron has got in they’re taking note. We’ve got a young lad in called Bam-Bam. He’s 13 years old and knee high to a grasshopper. He can go far too.
“It’s all down to them. Someone’s got to encourage them; pat them on the back or ruffle their hair and say ‘hard luck’ sometimes and I’m happy to do that but they’ve got to have the talent and we’ve got players with talent.”
He added: “One of my proudest moments was when Kieran picked up the European Championship, but I’d be just as proud if it were one of the other children because of the amount of time we spend with them round the table.”
- The Saturday morning academy runs from 10am-12noon. For more information contact Sean at the club on 01246 201888.