And finally… on the pools

And finally... on the pools

A former tiler who bought a pool table as one of his first purchases after winning the lottery has won a medal at the European championship.

Neil Jones got a place in the England team after putting in “thousands” of hours on the table, particularly during the COVID lockdowns.

The practice paid off and he bagged a bronze at the blackball championships earlier this month after captaining the B1 team.

Mr Jones, a former tiler who used to sing part-time in clubs, had just £13 in his pocket when he won £2.4m in 2010.

He didn’t make the team when he tried out in 2021, but gave it another shot and was chosen for the tournament in Malta after impressing during a home nations event.

The 59-year-old said he was “sobbing” when he found out he’d been chosen.

The Stoke-on-Trent resident played pool as a junior, but his lottery win enabled him to fine-tune his skills.

“It allowed me to retire and practise, which I couldn’t have done while I was still working. I also couldn’t have afforded a professional-grade pool table before the win,” Mr Jones told Sky News.

“Winning the National Lottery put me on this journey and when I think back to when I won, 13 years ago, I would have never thought all this would have been possible.”

Mr Jones paid tribute to his tournament teammates and said they played “some excellent teams before coming up just short in a tight match against Wales B1 in the semis”.

He dedicated the medal win to his late father, adding: “I just wish my dad was still here to see what we’ve done. This medal is for him.”

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