Mitchell Mann was delighted to score his first professional win last week, beating Peter Lines 6-5 to qualify for the International Championship.
Mann missed the first few tournaments of the season, having qualified for the circuit by winning the European Championship in mid-June. And the 22-year-old from Birmingham lost his opening match in the Riga Open, Paul Hunter Classic and Shanghai Masters before breaking his duck with a hard-fought win over Lines – the match lasting over five hours.
“It was just a big relief to get a win under my belt,” said Mann. “It was a long and tough game and I was 5-3 down but I ground it out and made a good break of 72 in the last frame. I like the tactical side of the game – Peter probably felt as if he was playing a mini version of himself. Hopefully being able to compete on that side will stand me in good stead.
“I’ve been to China once before as an amateur, but to a different part so I’m looking forward to seeing Chengdu for the first time.
“Missing the first few events this season was not ideal but I have put that out of mind because I’m just happy to be on tour. My main goal over the next two years is to keep my place. I’m learning a lot from my coach John Farnworth, and hopefully improving as a player.”
At the age of eight, Mann was diagnosed with Perthes’ disease, a rare condition which rots the hip bone in young boys. That forced him to stop playing football for the Aston Villa Academy and led to him taking up snooker instead.
“I’ve had a lot of operations over the years and I’m due to have another one which is similar to a hip replacement,” said Mann, who has a 13-month-old daughter called Evie-Rose. “But at the moment it doesn’t bother me while I’m playing, and it would be difficult to fit the operation in because the calendar is so busy. At some point I’ll have to find a date in the diary when I can get it done.”