John wins a front Roe seat on the world Pool stage

World Pool Champion John Roe, 32, from Yaxley. Photo: Paul Franks
World Pool Champion John Roe, 32, from Yaxley. Photo: Paul Franks
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John Roe is Peterborough’s latest world champion, he 32 year-old from Yaxley added his name to the WEPF World 8-Ball Pool Championship roll of honour at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool last week.

To be honest, no. I knew if I played okay I had a chance of doing well but never dreamed I could go all the way.

But the longer the tournament went on, the better I got.

And when I got down to the televised stages – the semi-finals and final – I was on fire. It was nerve-wracking going into the semi-finals – the TV cameras were there, the tables were bigger and there was a crowd of about 200.

I must admit my stomach went for a while. But I soon settled down and I produced the best pool of my life. I felt as though I could beat anybody – I just couldn’t stop potting. I just didn’t want to stop.

It was the biggest game of my life and to play the best pool of my life at the same time was unbelievable.

I can’t wait to watch it. Sky are showing it in about a month’s time and I hope it comes across as a quality final because it was certainly that all right.

I won 11-7 and only four of the frames weren’t won from the break. It was a cracking match.

Who was the favourite for the final?

I must admit I played really well to beat Welshman Tom Price 10-4 in the semi-finals but so did Lee.

He beat the European Under 21 champion Guiseppe D’Imperio 10-5 and he was the favourite.

He had reached the final before as well, even though it was 14 years ago and he lost to an Irishman called Greg Farren.

At what stage of the tournament did you feel it could be your year?

I entered the event at the last 64 stage and did okay early on but I think when I beat the number one seed Gareth Hibbert, an England team-mate, 8-3 at the last 16 stage, I realised something big could happen so long as I kept playing well.

Were you seeded?

No, and neither was Lee. There were only eight seeds.

Lee was actually my room-mate in Blackpool. We room together for England as well, he’s the captain.

We are really good friends but it certainly seemed strange waking up together on the morning of the match. But he was the first to buy me a drink afterwards.

Did you have a few after the final?

Yes – a few too many actually.

How long did the celebrating last?

Not long. I travelled back to Peterborough the morning after and the next day was back at work. I work for a double-glazing firm called 20/Twenty at Whittlesey. I fit windows.

There are thousands who enter all the qualifying tournaments to make it to the final stages and about 400 players are involved once you get there. So how come you never entered the fray until the last 64 stage?

That’s because I’m an England player and England’s top three seeds go straight into the last 64 stage.

Luckily I was one of them and didn’t have to go through all that qualifying business. And because I’ve won it I won’t have to qualify next year either.

I was still in Blackpool for 10 days though.

Was this your first World Championship?

No, I was in it last year and lost my first game. I was terrible, absolute rubbish.

You won a first prize of £6,000. What are you going to spend the money on.

I don’t know. The missus has already got her hands on the cheque. Staying in Blackpool for 10 days isn’t cheap so it was nice to have a free stay.

Did you have any supporters there?

I sure did. Ten of my mates travelled up from Peterborough.

It doesn’t sound many but I was determined to put on a good show for them - it helped inspire me I suppose and I was so pleased to win it for them as they had travelled a long way.

This was obviously the biggest win of your career. What was your previous best achievement?

Winning the 2009 National Amateur Singles Championship.

It was also a double world title celebration for you. You were a member of the England team that won the men’s team title. What was that like?

Terrible for me personally. We got our revenge over Ireland in the final. They beat us 8-5 last year but we beat them 8-5 this time round. But I was awful. I lost both games and was gutted.

I just don’t know what happened. I felt I let the team down and even though they won, I felt I had to make it up to them by winning the singles.

Two world titles? It was the perfect day.

When did you first start playing pool?

I played in pubs and clubs as a teenager and was pretty good but then because of other commitments I stopped playing for 10 years.

I only took it up seriously again about five years ago. I joined the UK Tour, qualified for England and turned professional two years ago.

But that doesn’t mean I play pool for a living. I still have to work. Being a professional just means you have to enter the top tournaments.

Do you still play in the local leagues?

Oh yes. I play for the Lime Tree on a Wednesday and the Post Office Club on a Thursday and I love it.

Carly Smith, a former world singles champion, normally hogs the local headlines at the World Championships. What’s it like to take centrestage off of her for a change.

Carly Smith has been a great ambassador for the sport and for Peterborough. She’s a great player and although she lost 6-2 in the singles to Lauren Jelly she still managed to win the world team championship for the umpteenth time. So Peterborough have two world pool champions, not bad!