Elliot Slessor of Gateshead

The 2017/18 season was certainly a breakout one for Gateshead born snooker player Elliot Slessor.

The 23-year-old recorded two famous victories over five-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, a 4-1 victory in the last 32 of the Northern Ireland Open, and a 6-2 win months later in the China Open.

The Northern Ireland Open in particular cast eyes on Slessor, as he made it all the way to the semi-finals before being eliminated by current Crucible champion Mark Williams.

Slessor said after the tournament: “I just went in not expecting anything. All I wanted to do was try my best and have a good attitude and see how far it got us.”

He also made headlines responding to O’Sullivan’s ‘numpties’ comment, in which the Rocket implied there wasn’t many good players further down the rankings.

He said: “I know everybody can play on their day.

“As Ronnie says, there’s not as many numpties as he probably thinks there is.”

Slessor then moved on to the 2017 UK Championship, falling at the first hurdle to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, before another good performance in Scottish Open, making it to the last 16 and defeating another former world champion, Peter Ebdon, along the way.

After a string of defeats in various tournaments followed, Slessor’s second win over O’Sullivan came, but he failed to capitalize on that momentum and he was dumped out in the next round to Tom Ford.

Most recently, he managed to get to the second qualifying round of the World Championship, capping off the season.

Overall, Slessor played 37 matches across the season, winning just over half of those. His raking has gone from strength to strength, and he’s currently sat in 68th, the highest he’s ever been.

He leads a host of North-East based players who have turned heads in recent months, along with Newcastle’s Sam Craigie and Gary Wilson, from Wallsend.