Last week I met Paul Foreman, 25, who lives in Wimbledon but practices at the Royal Surrey snooker club, Morden.

He was more than happy to take me on over two frames. After a couple of safety shots I went for a risk and missed a red that wobbled the jaws of the left corner pocket.

I should have sat in my seat for the rest of the frame as Foreman, who is a former world number 302, knocked in a brilliant 93 break.

As a bit-part player at a club in Southampton I wondered what I could do if I had six hours free practice time a day.

I did knock in 13 points, but by that time Foreman had 125 - with a display that was the most impressive I have seen anyone play against me.

He must have taken pity on me because he fancied another frame. In fact, I did better. I let him in first, missing another red that brushed the jaws of the pocket opposite.

Foreman produced another break, this time 67, but I had my moment of glory with a 24 break, of which I potted two reds, a black, pink, yellow, green and brown.

"You had me worried there. I thought you were going to clean up," joked Foreman, but really I just stood and watched admirably as he potted blue, pink and black for a convincing victory.

In fact Foreman, who is the cousin of Crucible giant killer David Gray, is a player greatly admired and respected on the local snooker circuit.

But those plans nearly went for a burton when he was competing in the final of the British Amateur Championship and lost in the deciding frame. It was a setback that took him two years to get over.

He said: "We were playing in the tournament with circular pockets and I would have won well had we been playing on a proper snooker table.

"I was really playing well, but I was missing balls that were jumping out of the pockets. That really annoyed me because I was telling the referee that the table was wrong and my opponent was winning frames that I should have.

"Losing that made me disinterested with the game and I decided to give it up. Now I'm feeling good and knocking in good consistent scores."

A few months ago Foreman proved that he is back firing on all cylinders as Thai snooker legend James Wattana came to the club to practice and was sent packing.

Foreman joked: "Wattana was passing through the area and needed some practice. I practiced with him.

"And after a while he stormed out saying that he wanted to practice, not walk around the table taking balls out of the pockets."

Another occasion Foreman recalls well is the time at Redhill snooker club when one of the audience challenged him to face off against 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor.

"I was in the audience that night and Dennis was joking around and he was talking about playing.

"He mentioned professionals and Taylor was told that I was here. He quickly changed the subject and I never got the chance."

Foreman, who works in the building trade, has set his sights on breaking his way into the WPBSA (World

Professional Billiards and Snooker Association) tour, with the likes of Stephen Hendry, Matthew Stevens, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Williams.

"That is my long term aim, but in the short term I want to be on the UK tour and hopefully rise up their rankings and qualify for the full tour."