Our office manager Phillip Robinson gave a fantastic performance at the England pool team trials last week.

Phillip qualified to try out for the England team after an amazing season playing for North Yorkshire in the Inter County League, where he won 15 games to place him in the top three most consistent players of the year for his team.

The trials took place in Suffolk on Friday, March 8, and Phillip was among 64 players vying for one of the eight available places in the England team.

On the day, he played really well and won four out of his six matches, taking him through to the knock-out stage. Unfortunately, his form didn’t last during this stage and he was’t able to progress any further.

To say he’d had no expectations for the tournament apart from to do his best and enjoy it, Phillip definitely did himself proud. And he congratulated one of the players from his team who had managed to qualify for an England place. He said:

“I was really happy as to how it went; I played as well as I have for a long time. I’m 49 now and next year I’ll be able to play for the seniors so this year was more like practice for that.”

World Championships

The trials featured up to six matches per player, with each match being the best out of five frames. It ended up being a very long day, with Phillip starting off his first game at about 9.30am and finishing his last one at 7pm.

He said: “I’ve been playing pool for about 30 years. I have got back into taking it seriously for the last five or so, and played more competitively since the pandemic.

“I’ve never qualified for the England trials before but I did play in the World Championships after winning a different competition. The world’s best players were there and it was a great experience, but I lost the first match.”

Phillip began playing snooker as a teenager on a weekend with his dad. When he was 18, his friend invited him to play a game of pool, and he was hooked. He still plays a bit of snooker now and again, which he says helps with his pool technique.

He said: “I prefer pool because it is quite a quick game and I’ve always liked the social aspect of it. There’s also a lot of skill involved that maybe people don’t appreciate. It’s quite an interesting tactical game at times and quite different from snooker.”

A family affair

Phillip’s passion for pool is shared by his wife and 20-year-old daughter, with all three of them playing in the Harrogate Pool League and for North Yorkshire in the Inter County League.

He is part of a successful Harrogate team that plays at Bilton Cricket Club, where there are three pool tables, as well as the Manhattan Club, where he says pool has overtaken snooker in popularity.

He said: “There’s a vibrant pool scene in Harrogate, with more young people playing than when I was in my 20s and early 30s. There’s a lot more going on now and a variety of opportunities to play.”