New Forest


Big break as accountancy snooker stars heads for Albania

Hampshire accountancy firm senior Steven Hughes is putting his audit work on hold for a week by flying to Albania to participate in the biggest event on the world amateur snooker calendar.

Emerging green baize star Steven, 22, who works at HWB Chartered Accountants hopes to pocket the World Snooker Federation (WSF) Championship title which offers direct qualification to the World Snooker Tour.

The prestigious open tournament is being staged in Golem, south of the capital Tirana, from February 3 to 11, with Steven drawn in a tough group of four in the 210-player competition.

Included in the tournament line-up is Tony Knowles, a three times semi-finalist in the World Professional Snooker Championship in the 1980s and ranked second in the world in 1984/85 behind Steve Davis.

Steven said: “I can’t wait to get started and have been counting down the days until the tournament starts. It really is the biggest occasion in the world for amateur players and a stepping stone to the professional game.”

Having previously played the same tournament in Malta and Sheffield, Steven is travelling with a group of snooker-playing colleagues to Albania. He is taking just one cue, his ‘prized possession’ and packs it in a ski case for safety.

Steven, who joined HWB Chartered Accountants in Chandlers Ford four-and-a-half years ago aged 17 straight from Barton Peveril College, Eastleigh, has the advanced section of the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) exams to complete to become fully qualified.

His audit work encompasses a wide range of sectors, including sports, maritime, logistics, automotive, leisure industrial and manufacturing and he hopes to eventually work in an advisory capacity for businesses utilising the skills so far learned.

He said: “HWB is a really good firm to work for. The training programme is exceptional and I believe learning while working is definitely the best way forward, quicker than purely academic routes and I would recommend it to anyone considering a career in accountancy.”

Officially ‘retired’ from junior snooker because of his age, Steven plays and practises at Churchills Club in Eastleigh and Chandlers Ford Central Club and competes at least three times a week in local leagues, including the Southampton & District Social Clubs Super League.

Sponsored by Aquatec Plumbing & Heating of Chandlers Ford, he is advised by Hampshire-based coach Tim Dunkley and renowned performance coach James Lake, who is based in Beijing, China.

Steven has also now gained his World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) tournament director qualification – the youngest person in Europe to do so – meaning he now has the knowledge to run world-officiated tournaments. He is also currently the youngest qualified referee for the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards (EPSB).

Referring to his sporting heroes, he said: “I still admire Ronnie O’Sullivan – the greatest of all time. Obviously he occasionally says some stupid things – such as his recent run-in with Ali Carter at the Masters final – but he has earned the right to be a bit arrogant and he certainly draws attention to snooker.”

HWB Director Michaela Johns said: “We wish Steven all the luck in the world and hope he will bring home the trophy for all his colleagues to see. We will be following the tournament online to check his progress.

“He is a popular and valued member of staff who is dedicated and hard-working , seeing him compete in sport at the highest level internationally give us great pride.”

Chartered accountants HWB, based at Chandler’s Ford, near Southampton, provides business and tax advice.

  • ETL GLOBAL, HWB’s parent company, has expanded its network with the addition of AEcO Business Solutions in Tirana, Albania. The firm specialises in guiding businesses at all stages of their lifecycles, offering expertise in tax, accounting, and legal services.
  • This integration underscores ETL GLOBAL’s commitment to expanding its footprint in the Balkans, aligning with the overarching goal of being the number one service provider for SME all across Europe.

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