The first news I want to share today is a very sad one: Jake Nicholson, an extremely talented amateur snooker player passed away last Thursday in the evening. He was only 28 years old. He died from cancer. He had been ill for four years, but had kept his illness “within the family”.
I have met Jake many times at events, PTCs and pro-ams and Challenge Tour events, but I won’t claim I really knew him. What I can say however is that he came across as a very nice person. He was well respected by his fellow players for the quality of his snooker, and very popular within the “snooker family”. Yesterday, social media was flooded with messages of sympathy.
Jake continued to play at a high standard well into his illness and nobody would have guessed that he was so unwell.
Here is what WST published yesterday:
Jake Nicholson Passes Away
Talented snooker player Jake Nicholson has sadly died at the age of 28 after a battle with cancer.
Nicholson, from Flamborough in Yorkshire, was a popular character on the amateur circuit and will be much missed by all of his friends in snooker.
As a junior, Nicholson represented England at under-21 level. In 2019 he won a Challenge Tour event, beating Andrew Pagett 3-1 in the final in Newbury. That got him into the 2020 Challenge Tour Play-Offs, where he reached the semi-finals before losing to Allan Taylor.
Nicholson also competed in the World Championship qualifiers in 2020 and beat Brandon Sargeant before losing to Jak Jones, while in the English Amateur Championship in the same year he reached the last 16.
WPBSA Chairman Jason Ferguson said: “We are deeply saddened to hear that Jake has passed away. Our sport will come together to remember this very talented and likeable young man who had a great future ahead of him.
“I remember congratulating him when he won a Challenge Tour event two years ago and thinking he could be a star in the making, because he had so much ability. It’s so sad that he does not have the chance to fulfil his dreams.
“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with Jake’s parents and all of his friends and family.”
Many of Jake’s fellow players have paid tribute to him:
Oliver Lines: “Jake my bro I don’t even know where to begin, you knew how much you meant to me and our whole family! I hope you’re finally not in any more pain, I will miss you forever, until we meet again, I love you brother!”
Sanderson Lam: “You were my brother, my best mate, I can’t believe you’ve been taken away from us, you were so positive in life and we had so many memories together, and I wish I could have seen you before you left us, you will be missed very much and we all love you so much, you rest in peace.”
Peter Devlin: “Gutted to hear the news about Jake Nicholson. I will always remember playing a tournament in Leeds. I was about 16, and he was on the table next to me. He had three centuries in a best of seven, and I was inspired by that. Great player and nice lad. Life can be very cruel, RIP Jake.”
Steven Hallworth: “Devastated. Eight years to the day we were competing for England together at the World Under 21s in China. An extremely talented player, an even better bloke. Will miss your infectious and sometimes quite ridiculous laugh. Rest easy Jake, brother.”
Barry Pinches: “I’m devastated to hear the news today that Jake Nicholson has passed away. A promising young snooker player and a lovely lad too. My thoughts are with his family. RIP Jake.”
Jamie Curtis-Barrett: “Jake, we met many moons ago in Leeds and from day one we hit it off, we became good friends, travelled the world together sharing hotel rooms, flights and drives, practice sessions. We had some amazing times and you were such a character, class act on and off the baize. You will be sadly missed by many, my heart goes out to your parents and family. Now fly high, spread your wings and keep potting those balls.”
My thoughts go out to his family, his girlfriend and countless friends. I feel for his parents in particular. I don’t think there is anything worse, nor more difficult to come to terms with, than to lose a child.
The other piece of news is the new version of this season snooker calendar:
Changes, as compared to the previous version, are in red.
I’m not sure how we should read the bits about the Turkish Masters. What seems to be clear is that there is currently no certainty that the tournament will be held in Antalia end September. What is unclear to me is what will happen, should the covid situation or anything else prevent it to be held in Turkey at those dates. Will it be postponed or will it be replaced by the “potential ranking event” in Barnsley?
Also the Gibraltar Open is now marked as an “option” whatever that means.