There were emotional scenes in Barry Hawkins’s post match press conference as he thanked his manager, Paul Mount, for all the support he has given him in recent years.
Hawkins was one of a number of players who had not fulfilled their potential before teaming up with Mount’s OnQ Promotions, which is now being wound down.
In fact, Hawkins became so choked with emotion that he was unable to get his words out but the sentiment was clear, and Mount – sat at the back of the press conference – had to wipe away a few tears himself.
Mount, a successful businessman, opened the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester in 2010, a purpose built facility designed for events and practice. At the same time he began building his management stable, which included young players and some more experienced campaigners who were apparently going nowhere.
Hawkins is a good example of a player who has benefited from the support he has been given by Mount, his team and Terry Griffiths, director of coaching. After winning the 2012 Shootout he went on an unbelievable run – winning the Australian Open, reaching the World Championship final and becoming firmly established as one of snooker’s top players.
Financially, OnQ did not work out but Mount is keeping the SWSA having expanded the facility, now called the Capital Venue, which hosts a series of diverse events from the sporting, entertainment and corporate worlds.
The annual Pink Ribbon pro-am, in which money and awareness is raised for breast cancer charities, a cause close to Mount’s heart following the death of his sister from the disease, continues.
On his last day at the Crucible as a manager, Mount gave the media a box of chocolates as thanks for their support – but it’s the snooker world who should be thanking him. The game needs more genuine, good-hearted people who care about the sport and what they can contribute to it, rather than take from it. We wish him well for the future.