Demi Bradford has gone from a rookie pool player to representing her country in the sport within the space of a couple of years.
Before coming to study at the University of Northampton in 2017, Demi had only played the occasional game in pubs and was, by her own admission, ‘pretty rubbish’ at pool.
But that all changed when she joined the Students’ Union Pool Society and her prowess for the sport began to shine through.
“I knew I could play pool, but was never anywhere near a decent standard,” said Demi, who comes from Royston, Hertfordshire.
“When I came to the University I heard about the pool society and signed up and have really enjoyed it.
“I now train up to three or four days a week, with sessions lasting as long as five to eight hours, and all the practice has seen my improve dramatically.”
Two years of solid practice has now paid off for Demi, who is set to represent England’s university women’s pool team at an international tournament in Dublin later this month.
Her big break for England came in February, when she made it to the quarter finals of a national university pool tournament, losing just two out of 30 team games.
Her performance caught the eye of the Universities Pool Council – the governing body for university pool – and she was invited to an England trials event in Derby. Demi was one of two players selected at the trials to represent the country.
The Business and Management student said: “I’m really looking forward to playing for England and it’s a real honour for me – I can’t wait.”
Demi is now hoping her success will inspire other female students at the University to take up pool.
She said: “There’s two or three of us in the society and it would be great to have more. Pool might be seen, traditionally as a male pastime, but it’s something everyone can enjoy.
“It’s not just about hitting balls around a table, pool is mind game, where you have to put so much thought into your shots. If you’re bored or you’re stressed it’s the perfect game, as you can totally immerse yourself in it and it takes your mind off any worries you might have.”
Demi has received financial backing from the University’s Chancellor’s Fund to cover the costs of her trials and trip to Ireland.