Inside snooker, pool and darts club after £100k expansion

Longton Snooker & Pool Sports Club has opened its new extension which now hosts extra tables and darts boards.
Co-director Zak Shepherd
-Credit: (Image: Stoke Sentinel)

A destination for snooker, pool and darts has gone under a six figure expansion and is welcoming both new and old members. Longton Snooker and Pool Club, in Normacot Road, had its grand opening after having more than £100,000 spent on new facilities.

The four directors, Zak Shepherd, Daniel Minchin, Vaughan Minchin, and Lloyd Reddin have kitted the place out with five snooker tables, five tournament darts boards, two social darts boards, 16 pool tables - seven of which have match lights, scoreboards, and best match conditions - and an additional five darts boards in function room. There will also be two interactive darts boards being brought into the venue soon.

The popular club currently has around 2,000 active members, as well as approximately 2,500 visitors each month - both regulars who aren’t members and one-off guests. There’s also a beer garden which is undergoing finishing touches - perfect for the summer months.

Zak, who is also the manager of Longton Snooker and Pool Club and has been running pool clubs since he was 18, said: “It’s quite fitting for the date because we reopened after Covid on May 17, 2021. Our member base has grown, and we’ve got to the stage where we had to turn people away most nights, and that’s not fair on our members who come in and can’t get a table, so we’ve had to do something, and the extension will facilitate that.

“We started in December (2023) and we’ve spent over £100,000. I’ve been involved in the club for four years. It started with 10 snooker tables upstairs, and over time, Vaughan opened downstairs for pool and darts, and then changed upstairs into half venue, half snooker tables.

“We have a match room for pool and darts as part of the extension. We’ve knocked a wall through, creating more toilet space, and the beer garden is just having its final touches and will have a 90-inch TV too. We had TNT before but we’ve now got Sky sports too, so regulars and members can benefit from that and it gets them out of their houses and socialising when matches are on.

“We’re community based. We have junior darts on Monday nights and junior pool club on Saturday nights, Fenton pool club play on Tuesday nights, and we have the local football refs club who use us once a month. There are also lots of care homes and children's clubs who use our facilities in the week, and for me it's very much about building the place around the community - especially kids - as it’s something they enjoy and coming in to play here is better than hanging on streets.

“We have the world’s number one wheelchair pool player, Dave Beaumont, playing here, as well as Leanne Cragg who plays for England ladies pool, and Paul Ward who plays for England seniors. We give people good facilities and sponsor them, whether that's the cost of going to tournaments as they’re quite expensive, or letting them use our facilities for free for their training.

“In a few weeks we’ll be launching two interactive darts boards which are very popular, as they’re popping up in bigger cities such as Flight Club in Manchester and Birmingham, so we’re looking forward to offering that experience to our members. We try to offer the best experience here.

“We also stock cues and boards for people to buy, and we’ve done pop-ups in The Potteries Centre in the past, which were really successful because people have to usually buy them online, so this gives them chance to try before they buy as it can be difficult to get refunds, and we want them to have the perfect cues and things that suit them personally. Anyone can become a member, they just need to provide ID and speak to a member of staff at the bar.”

The price of a first time membership is £12. Members benefit from members only offers, pre-booking (which are an advantage on busier nights), and regular member competitions are held at the Longton Snooker and Pool Club. Guests are welcome, but will pay a £2 guest fee which enables them to come in and use the bar, tables and facilities.

The venue is open from 10am until midnight everyday.

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