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HomeSportMeet Peckhams’s snooker wonder

Meet Peckhams’s snooker wonder

Connie Stephens, who lives in Nunhead, has reached number 18 in the world at women’s snooker. Now she has her eyes on the top spot. 

The 27-year-old spends nearly five hours a day playing the sport, in between her job as a teaching assistant and university degree in business management. 

“It’s a busy schedule and sometimes hard to manage,” says Connie. “But I always find the time to fit snooker in.” 

“I am always on the table,” she added. 

Next week Connie will be competing in the women’s world championships in Sheffield, with her sights set on winning the contest and eventually reaching the top ten.   

“I have put the hard work in with my coach. I hope I can at least reach the quarters or go even further.” 

Connie has previously been a runner up in an English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards tournament, and is commonly in the last sixteen of most contests she throws her hat in. 

Thousands come out in support of threatened Canavan’s Pool Club in Peckham

Despite her busy schedule, Connie often heads straight from working at St. Paul’s Academy in Abbey Wood to the snooker hall, alongside dedicating her weekends to the sport. 

The world number 18 was first introduced snooker when she was thirteen by her father, who took Connie and her brother to the British Legion snooker club in Clapham, although Connie admitted she had first started playing pooled aged just ten. 

And it did not take long for her to start mopping the floor with him. 

Aged fifteen Connie first beat her Dad 4 – 1 on frame scores, with the first on the black. 

“Actually he was happy for me,” said Connie. “My dad was glad that I was improving.” 

Connie, who “always knew she had good cue action”, took up snooker professionally after she found out about the women’s tournaments, entering her first in her early twenties.  

“I have never looked back since,” she said.  

Snooker has taken Connie all around the world, with her playing tournaments in Australia, Belgium and even Thailand.

This last country was her favourite as she said “they take snooker well seriously over there.”

“I am improving all the time,” says Connie, who is now into her second decade of playing snooker. “I have loved travelling all over the world.” 

What she likes most about the sport is that “it is a mental game. It’s all about nerves and if you can handle them.” 

Connie says she loves watching snooker-champs Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby.

“Ronnie’s more offensive and Selby plays a good defensive game. I try to draw inspiration from both of them in my own game.” 

She is well known in the community for playing snooker and competes in as many local tournaments as she can. 

One problem she encountered is that local pubs around Peckham hardly ever have any pool tables, which means local tournaments and games can be limited. 

Throughout her snooker career Connie says she has faced discrimination because of her gender. 

“Men think I can’t play and I pretend I don’t know what I am doing, then I go and pot all the balls,” she laughed. 

But things are looking up. 

Now Connie claims there are more than 300 professional female players, whereas only a few years before there were under 100. 

Connie thinks there are now more opportunities for women in snooker, such as a growing number of contests, sponsorship and increased interest from publics around the world.   

“Over the last few years I have seen a lot more women in the game. Every tournament there’s new faces. It’s no longer mainly a men’s sport.” 

“Women are showing that they can compete on the same level as men.”

Connie saw a role for herself and other female snooker players in this supporting change, especially through coaching young girls and getting more into the game. 

You need to start them young, as this can help them deal with the pressure,” she said. 

Her message to any budding female snooker player out there was that there is a lot of help available. 

“When I started playing snooker, men didn’t take us seriously, but with other players in the game, a lot more girls believe they can do it.” 

“We are as good as the men.” 

 

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