Jamie O’Neill is gearing up for his return to the World Snooker Tour next week.
The Wellingborough cueman will be back on the Tour for the first time since 2014 after he came through the first Q School event by beating Germany’s Lukas Kleckers 4-1 in his final match in Wigan.
It’s been a triumphant return to the top end of the game for the 32-year-old, who moved away from the area to start up a tiling business in Essex after stepping away from the sport.
But he is now back in the county and ready for his return to the Tour with the season getting under way with qualifiers for the Kaspersky Riga Masters and the International Championship in Sheffield next week.
When asked about gaining a place back on the Tour, O’Neill said: “It’s about time!
“It was great to get through the first Q School event because the longer you leave it, the harder it gets.
“I enjoyed it for a week and then it was a case of getting back into the club and practising because the season starts next week so there is no rest for the wicked.
“To be honest, lots has happened since I was last on the Tour.
“I stopped playing and started a tiling business in Essex and Hertfordshire and had a few sites down there and I didn’t play for a few years.
“But I started getting back into it a few days a week and I gave it a full year on the amateur circuit last year and played in the pro-ams and the English amateur tournaments.
“That helped me get my game back and I managed to take it all into Q School.”
O’Neill is no stranger to the Tour after previous stints on it with his best return being a place in the last 16 of the China Open in 2014.
And he comes back onto it alongside practice partners Harvey Chandler, from Raunds, and Kettering’s Kyren Wilson, who is currently ranked number eight in the world.
The county trio put in the hours at Barratts Club in Northampton and O’Neill admitted he wouldn’t have got back on the Tour without the help of those at the venue.
“When I moved back to the area, I asked them could come and play there again and they couldn’t do enough for me, just like when I played there before,” he added.
“Without Barratts and the people like Biagio Sereno there, I would have struggled to get back to where I am now.
“There are a lot of people who I need to thank and that includes Biagio, the guys at www.goodwood-floors.com and Kyren and Harvey who are practice partners.
“They have really helped me get back to where I want to be."