YOUGHAL snooker prodigy Ross Bulman is ready to take on one of the greatest players of all-time in the UK Championship.
The 18-year-old faces Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Barbican Centre in York next Thursday in his second professional tournament, the toughest of tests. Still an amateur, Bulman pulled off an upset at the Northern Ireland Open recently by beating Zhang Jiankang, world number 89.
“Playing in Belfast in the Northern Ireland Open was a great achievement and just playing in the event was brilliant. To win in my opening match was unreal.
“I had been waiting for that for a long, long time. I felt I played well against Joe Perry in my second match and with a bit of luck, it could have gone 3-3 and anything could have happened after that.”
He found out earlier this week he’d be facing the iconic Ronnie O’Sullivan.
“I was at home after having a few frames in my club at Youghal CYMS and got an email from World Snooker. I looked at the draw and kept scrolling down for my name, then I looked at the top and saw it was actually me and Ronnie. I couldn’t believe it. Inside 20 minutes the whole town knew!”
Ronnie O’Sullivan has always been Bulman’s idol.
“It will be a packed-out arena and that will be a new experience. Hopefully I can play well and get a few frames.
“Ronnie is probably the best player ever to pick up a cue, but I have to just play my own game. I am not going to change anything much. I will concentrate on the game ball by ball, frame by frame and hopefully I can play a bit well anyway, so let’s see what happens.”
The local support for Bulman means a lot to the Youghal native.
“I’m thankful to my family, my club Youghal CYMS, and my sponsor Bertie’s Bar with Paul and Carmel. In Belfast, I wasn’t in the main arena so this will be in the main venue and that is really exciting for me. I am practicing six to eight hours a day and getting this match is going to help my confidence a lot for the future.”