Brandon Sargeant has taken charge of snooker’s brand new Challenge Tour with victory at event one in Burton and he is now aiming to press forward with his early advantage.
The top two ranked players after this season’s ten events will gain a two-year card on the World Snooker Tour.
Sargeant defeated Luke Simmonds 3-1 in Sunday’s final to claim the £2,000 top prize. We caught up with the 20-year-old to find out more about his professional aspirations…
Brandon, congratulations on a fine win at the weekend. Challenge Tour Event One came off the back of three gruelling weeks at Q School. How satisfying was it to round it all off with some silverware?
“It was such a great feeling to get over the line and win. I was disappointed not to perform in some matches at Q School, so this went some way towards making up for that.
“He needed three snookers in the second frame and got them. It would have been very easy for me to lose it after that, but I am so pleased with how I held myself together.
“There were a lot of ex-professionals in the field and I now know I can compete with these guys. I am looking ahead now for the next couple of years, as this has given me the confidence and I just have to get a place on the professional tour now.”
How much of a difference do you think it will make for those on the fringes of the World Snooker Tour to have somewhere to hone their skills in a matchplay environment?
“It’s going to make a huge difference. I probably haven’t played in proper professional conditions for a year, since the 2017 Q School. To be able to get regular match experience against some of the players I have faced will really stand me in good stead.”
You practise with current professional Liam Highfield. Has he helped you to pinpoint the areas where you need to improve to reach the highest level?
“It certainly helps getting to play with Liam. I often go and watch him play and that allows me to familiarise myself with the environment on the circuit. I used to find it a little bit daunting looking at the TV cameras, but now I look forward to playing in front of them.
“It was great to see Liam qualify for the World Championship this year and he played really well to get there. I didn’t go along to the Crucible, but there was a big group of us watching and cheering him on from the club. Although he lost out 10-5 against Mark Allen it was a good game to watch.”
As the standards of the professional game continue to rise, do you feel that fitness is becoming more important?
“Yes and I think especially in events like Q School where you are there for nearly three weeks. I try and get to the gym as much as I can and I do a lot of running. I think when there are such fine margins, you need to do everything you can to get an edge over your opponent.”