Pool: Niki’s on cue for her country
A DYNAMIC pool star will try out for England next month – even though she is fitting in practice around her one-year-old son. Niki Bayes, 27, was one of the top eight female players in the east of England last season and now faces a national qualifying ra
A DYNAMIC pool star will try out for England next month - even though she is fitting in practice around her one-year-old son.
Niki Bayes, 27, was one of the top eight female players in the east of England last season and now faces a national qualifying race to earn selection for her country.
Niki took up the sport just three years ago after meeting now-husband Tony - himself a former Cambridgeshire county star.
She said: "When I first started playing Tony he was easily beating me six or seven nil but it is a lot closer now, I've improved a lot.
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"I'm looking forward to trying out to represent England. I'm pleased that I've been able to get so far when I've only been playing for three years."
Niki, of Knaresborough Court, Eynesbury, plays for a Bedford side on Tuesday evenings, St Neots on Wednesdays and monthly for Cambridgeshire.
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She said: "I play as much as possible but it has been difficult to practise since my son Ryan was born. I managed to play on while I was pregnant though."
She is backed all the way by friend and
fellow pool star Stuart McPherson. She said: "Stuart is always behind me, backing and encouraging me. I have learned a lot from playing with men because the games are more power-based than the tactical ladies game."
The England trials will take place at Yarmouth with the 64 top ladies in England battling it out for the right to represent their country.
The trials will be held using the 'Swiss system' in which players play against each other until losing three times. Those left will represent their country.
Niki traces her pool roots back to a love of snooker as a girl - she had a top break of 60 in competitions and was ranked as one of the top players in the country.
"I started playing snooker when I was 11 and did quite well but the lack of sponsorship meant it was costing me to compete and I gave it up by the time I was 20," she said.
"If I don't make the England squad, I won't be too disappointed, I'll keep working hard to improve my regional and national rankings so I can try again next year."
* Anyone interested in sponsoring Niki can call her directly on 07901572116 or contact The Hunts Post sports desk on 01480 411481 or email email@example.com