Vincent Pisani - Tournament Founder

The European Under 17 event was the brainwave of Vincent Pisani, a snooker enthusiast and official from St Julian's in Malta.

Since his early age, Vincent was always interested in the games of snooker and billiards.  He recalls watching famous Maltese players like Paul Mifsud and later Joe Grech who were both World Amateur Champions.

In those days, that is in the sixties and the seventies, to watch a top local match one had to go about 2 to 3 hours before the match starts as it used to be really crowded! Then of course came the famous Tony Drago who spent a number of years in the top 16 on the professional circuit, followed by twice European Champion Alex Borg.

Vincent's organisational career started way back in 1996 when he created the first Pro-Am Snooker Tournament in Malta which kept going until 2006.

In 2007 he decided to create the first European Under 17 Snooker Open so that young players from all over Europe could taste their first international experience together with the local boys who hardly have such experience.

This proved to be successful as many players who took part in our tournaments are now playing in the professional circuit. It has also proved to be successful with the local players as over the years we have seen players like Thurston Grixti, Shaun Sultana and Chris Peplow reaching the top spots...and to put the icing on the cake Malta`s newest talent, Brian Cini managed to win the tournament in 2013, and again in 2014!

Between 2005 to 2008 Vincent also served as Public Relation Officer with the Malta Billiard & Snooker Association and in 2011/2012 he served as Secretary of the Malta Billiard & Snooker Referees Association.

Organising the Pro-Am Snooker Tournaments, and later the European Under 17 are of great satisfaction. Vincent is as keen as ever to keep the tournaments going, but in 2014, after admitting that age was catching up on him, he fulfilled his intention of handing over to someone much younger, which is why from 2013, John Hartley, with eights years experience in England working for the EASB, and someone who had attended every tournament as a coach of a player since the event began, was approached to take over the running of the event.

John Hartley - Tournament Director

John was approached by Vincent back in 2007 to see if he could recommend any English players to travel to Malta for an invitation Under 16 event. As this event was not to be controlled by any official National Governing Bodies, John suggested that one of his pupils, Darren Cook from Hartlepool, a young England junior international, would be interested in attending.

Having played in Malta twice before himself in Billiards events, John didnt think twice about coming again, and now visits the Islands and his many friends at least four times a year, with the intention of settling there permanantly over the next few years.

John is the current Company Secretary, and Financial Director, of the English National Governing Body, the EASB, and was involved with them as a Director from 2006 to early 2015. He is also the Manager of Hartlepool Coaching Academy, and has coached over 120 players over the past thirteen years, with fifteen of them now having represented England at either Snooker or Billiards. He is also Director of Red 2 Black Management, a sports management company, and is a Director of two International Certification Bodies, IHC Limited and QAIC Packaging Ltd.

Having been brought up on the game of Snooker and Billiards, with his father Phil being an England snooker international himself, John has represented England at Billiards on many occasions and has travelled the world playing in many international events. The biggest success of his career came in 2010 in Romania, when he won the European Billiards Championship.

Having seen the hard work that Vincent has put into the event over the years, John has agreed to ensure that this event goes on for many years to come, and in 2015, he was paid the biggest compliment of all by Vincent, who after the closing ceremony, confirmed that John's first event was the best we had ever had.