Captaining Scotland under-16s to victory in the recent Home International Series is a feat to be proud of in Ross Muir’s fledgling snooker career.
Not only was the success Scotland’s first victory in the competition since 1993 when future professional Graeme Dott led the national side to glory, it has now left the Capital youngster with a desire to emulate the 2006 World Champion by clinching the sport’s most prestigious prize.
Three victories against England, Northern and the Republic of Ireland, and a draw with hosts Wales, was enough for Muir and Co to clinch the title at Pontins, Prestatyn.
Muir, 16, said: “This is the fourth year I have been involved in the competition but the third time I have captained the side. We finished second last year so it’s tremendous to go one better and it was a very proud moment lifting the trophy as Scotland’s captain and number one player. We had to play every country once in a round-robin format with England proving to be our toughest opponents, but it was great to finally get a victory.
The victory ended England’s 15-year reign as champions.
There was, however, further glory for the Edinburgh teenager as he also prevailed in the individual title to maintain his dominance at national level.
“I think it was the belief we had amongst the group that helped us that little bit extra,” Muir added. “We went down to Wales with confidence but it was just a case of see how we got on. We had team meetings before each match where I gave a talk so I think that generated a good team spirit. Three of the boys in the team were new to the event so I think they suffered from nerves prior to their matches, but they were fine once they got going.”
Aside from his recent success, Muir has adapted well to finding a balance between his school studies and his primary career ambition. An intense weekly schedule of trips to and from the Locarno Snooker Club for practice, coinciding with regular tournaments at the weekends, means the summer period is the only opportunity for him to step away from the table and leave his cue behind.
He said: “I’m pretty much playing every day whether it be practice or in a tournament. It can be quite hectic but I think playing so regularly has really helped me develop. I started playing snooker when I was ten and have enjoyed real success since then. I won the Junior Pot Black competition in 2009 which is a televised tournament at the Crucible and am the only Scottish player to have won that particular competition. I am ranked at No. 1 at under-21 level and am also national champion so I have really made strides since I first started playing.”
Muir certainly portrays the maturity of a player way beyond his tender years. The Musselburgh Grammar student’s highest break in competition was an impressive 142. However, with more than 50 century breaks made in practice matches and a trophy cabinet bursting at the seams, Muir’s natural ability appears destined to lead him onto the professional tour and, one day, perhaps an appearance in the World Snooker Championships.
“It is my ambition to get on the tour next year but you can only enter when you’ve won a European Championship or World Amateur title, for example. I personally believe that I have a great chance as my form has been near enough at professional level. I think I started to believe I had the potential when I was 12 and managed to win the Scottish Youth Snooker Championships.
“From then onwards I was regularly winning major tournaments and national finals at various age groups. I have won every under-16 title possible so I’m really looking to making that step forward. I would love to break into the top 16 in the world in the next few years.”