James Cahill was best known as "Stephen Hendry's nephew" before he fell out of the professional tour two years ago. But a remarkable victory over title favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan at the world snooker championship in Sheffield yesterday will ensure the 23-year-old is now seen as a player in his own right.

The first amateur to appear in the first round at the Crucible, Cahill showed a swagger to exploit a string of uncharacteristic errors from the five-time champion and secure a famous 10-8 win. A 750-1 title shot last week, he will resume his professional career in June with burgeoning self-confidence.

"I am over the moon, to beat the best player in the world and hold myself together on my Crucible debut," said the player from Blackpool. "I got frames just when it looked like Ronnie might be getting back into his flow.

"You have to believe you can beat anyone, I have so much respect for Ronnie and he is my idol. But you can't have too much respect or you can't beat them, you need that belief."


Cahill's mother, Maria, is the sister of Hendry's former wife Amanda and both women were in the audience in Sheffield cheering him on. He reached the tournament by winning three tough qualifiers.

"Stephen Hendry — I will always have that connection to him because he was married to my auntie," said Cahill. "It is not the worst connection in the world but I have proved now I can do it on the big stage, so I don't think I have anything left to prove," he said after the match.

- Telegraph Group Ltd