Pocket rocket Joshua, 11, pots England honour
Rising sporting star Joshua Stoneham is celebrating his first big break after being chosen for the England U18 pool team at just 11 years old.
Joshua, a pupil at Fynamore School in Calne, began to play pool seriously a year ago and will now have the chance to compete in the European Championships.
He also plays for the Wiltshire Under-18s team and was picked for the England team after doing well in a trials test in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, in May.
His dad Luke, who lives in Chippenham, plays snooker for Wiltshire in the County A team and has big hopes for his son after teaching him to play.
Mr Stoneham, 37, said: “It’s pretty mental that he’s got into the England team.
“He did a trial for the Wiltshire under-18s three months ago and finished second in the trial out of all the boys who qualified.
“Because of how he did the county team put him forward for a trial for England, he was the only one for Wiltshire that went.
“He was playing against other boys from 9am to 7pm at night. We only went to the trials for experience, but obviously he had other ideas.
“I lifted him up because I couldn’t believe how well he’d done and he said ‘Dad, put me down. What did we come for? We came to qualify and we have’.”
Both father and son play at the Royal Sports Bar and Cue Club, on the Ivy Road Industrial Estate, Chippenham, which is owned by Pete Beckenham.
Mr Beckenham has promised to give Joshua free or discounted table time, and Mr Stoneham is looking for sponsors in order to put forward Joshua for more competitions.
Mr Stoneham said: “He’s very tiny for an 11-year-old, I’ve only been able to get him playing on the proper tables at the club for a year so he has developed quite quick.
“A lot of people are saying that when he gets that extra bit of height, he will literally be something else.
“He does struggle with his size at times.
“He has to use the rest a lot. It’s normally used in snooker, but he has to use it for pool. He’s not an excitable 11-year-old, he’s quite switched on.
“I call him the little ice man because he doesn’t show any emotion at the end of the game, he just shakes their hand.
“You have to have that to get to the higher levels, that steely approach.”