James Cahill, the giant-killer who defeated world No 1 Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first-round of the Betfred World Championship, is Stephen Hendry’s nephew.
The Blackpool amateur pulled off one of the biggest shocks ever at the Crucible when he held his nerve to win 10-8 against a player he described as his “idol”.
And it has emerged that Cahill’s auntie is Mandy Tart, who was married to Hendry for 19 years. The pair are now divorced but Cahill is best friends with their son, Blaine Hendry. Despite the family bond, the amateur revealed that seven-time world champion Hendry has shown little interest in his career.
Speaking ahead of his first World Championship last week, Cahill said: “He was married to my auntie. I’ve asked him to help me a couple of times but he just didn’t seem interested, to put it bluntly.
“Even now it would be nice, but it’s just one of those things. He’s not really bothered about doing it. I only see when him he’s at tournaments. His son [Blaine] is my best friend so I’ll speak to him through that. I can’t help that. If I had a nephew, I know for sure I would help them. It would have been nice, but he didn’t and I’m still here anyway. Who is to say if he helped me I might not have been here?”
Cahill’s mother is Maria Cahill (nee Tart), who is the sister of Hendry’s ex-wife. She was a leading snooker player in the 1980s and 1990s before managing the Riley’s snooker club in Blackpool after finishing playing.
Cahill played on the professional tour from 2014 to 2017 before returning to the amateur ranks. But he has already secured a return to pro snooker for next season, helped by another stunning upset of Mark Selby at the UK Championship at the end of 2018.
Judd Trump almost joined O’Sullivan in making a shock first-round exit but survived a final-frame decider against Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh. Trump recovered from 6-3 down overnight and held his nerve to produce a break of 53 in the last frame to edge past Un-Nooh 10-9 in Sheffield.
But Mark Allen was unable to complete an even better comeback against China’s Zhou Yuelong, the Northern Irishman winning five frames in a row from 9-2 down before Zhou won a nerve-racking 17th frame to seal a 10-7 victory.
Trump will face China’s Ding Junhui in the last 16 in the bottom half of the draw, which has opened up following five-time champion O’Sullivan’s exit.
However, the 29-year-old Masters champion admits he will need to raise his game against 2016 finalist Ding and was probably one of the only players not happy to see O’Sullivan make an early exit.
“I probably play a little bit better when I play the top players, so hopefully now I can raise my game to how it has been in the Masters or a couple of the other tournaments I’ve won,” Trump said.
“All my big titles seem to come when I play Ronnie. I didn’t look at it as a good thing him going out, I always cherish playing him and especially at the Crucible it would have been amazing.
“I need to go back and practice properly, stick four or five hours’ practice in for the next couple of days and come back as a new man hopefully.”