How snooker wonder-kid got started

Dave Mumford with Shane Castle in 2010

Dave Mumford with Shane Castle in 2010

First published in General Sport

Snooker wonder-kid Shane Castle’s former coach David Mumford was “living every moment” of the youngster’s UK Championships loss to defending champion Mark Selby.

Mumford, who almost turned professional in the 1990s, was Castle’s mentor for five-years – starting his time with the 15-year-old when he was just seven in 2005. Castle, from Marchwood, only lost 6-4 to Selby after going 3-1 up against the world number two at York’s Barbican Centre in the first round. The World Snooker coach admitted just how much it meant to see him compete on such a big a stage. “It was a surreal moment seeing Shane on TV if I’m honest,” Mumford said.

“We worked very hard together and seeing that work come to fruition was something very proud for me.

“It was a proud moment because of the personal commitment I made to coach him.

“I know he will have been proud of this moment too.

“The moment was never in doubt, I knew that he’d make it this far.

“Not everyone has the talent, but I believe he was destined for the top from the word go.

“I saw the techniques we prepared together in action on the television and I knew what he was thinking with every shot he took.”

Tim Dunkley, a World Snooker coach at Chandler’s Ford Club, persuaded Mumford to take Castle under his wing after he spotted his incredible natural talent in Novemeber, 2005.

After Mumford started to train him, it soon became obvious that he had a real talent on his hands.

Mumford even forked out £1,500 of his own money for a World Snooker qualification that meant he could take Castle’s game further. “Shane and I go back a long way, I worked with him from when he was seven and couldn’t even look over the table.

“I was with him until he was 13.

“He is by far the most talented of anyone I’ve seen, he is completely and utterly unique. “It makes me proud that together we worked on his techniques and guided him down the right avenues.

“He wouldn’t have feared the reputation of Selby. There would have been a lot of respect but he’s used to taking on players older than him.

“He didn’t win but of course he has experience under his belt and he will grow and move forward.”

After leaving Mumford’s services to join On Q Promotions Castle has since met Jimmy White and practiced with him. “We built this together, he has all the talent in the world and I am proud to say I was a big part of his development,” Mumford said. “I was living every shot of the Selby match. These are still very early days for him but I know he’ll have the appetite for more after tasting that experience.

“My words of advice to him would be to keep working hard, work even harder than before. “If he can mix his undoubted talent with a willingness to learn and discipline, along with careful preparation, he can make it into the top 30 in the world.”

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