Around 80 cueists in the Ceredigion Snooker League are sitting it out due to the Covid-19 crisis and hoping for a return to action on the green baize next season.

Since the league was formed 54 years ago the Teifi Valley community of Drefach Felindre has produced gifted players with the likes of Norman Maher and Don Newcombe having competed against the best.

The outstanding exponent to emerge from the area is Dominic Dale who was brought up and lived for many years between Llandysul and Llanfihangel-ar-Arth.

After lifting the Welsh Amateur Championship in 1991 he turned professional the following year and during his early career gained a reputation for flamboyancy – he frequently wore a white suit and colourful shirts.

Now aged 49, Dale, who cut his snooker teeth at the Red Dragon Hall in Drefach Felindre, has won two ranking tournaments and several non-ranking events, combining tournament play with commentary for the BBC.

Having a highest world ranking of 19 Dale is the only player to win more than one ranking tournament and not break into the top 16.

He won the Grand Prix – now known as World Open – by beating world number two John Higgins 9-6 at Bournemouth International Centre in October, 1997 and ten years later came out on top in the Shanghai Masters against Ryan Day of Bridgend.

Included among his hobbies is operatic singing – after the Shanghai semi-final he sang ‘My Way’ at the after match conference.

But the highlight has been the famous win over Higgins when world number 54 and quoted by bookies as a 100/1 outsider.

After all these years it can be revealed that there were events surrounding the player’s Grand Prix win that caused significant amusement among friends.

At that time Dale did not have a full driving licence and after being presented with the winner’s cheque and trophy the amicable west Walian decided to go home and caught a train.

During the journey the priceless trophy, which was to be returned within ten days, was in a holdall on a rack – a friend picked up the star at Carmarthen and drove him home.

Although his best days are now behind him Dale can still turn on the style as he showed in a tournament earlier this year when beating the legendary Ronnie O’Sullivan.

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