I love snooker but I am a bad player says Leeds’s own Harry Potter actor Matthew Lewis

Matthew Lewis.
Matthew Lewis.
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Leeds’s own Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis is thankful he cut it as an actor because he admits to being “pathetic” when it comes to another great passion.

Lewis, who played gawky Neville Longbottom in the witchcraft and wizardry hit franchise, is on tenterhooks for news from studios after the recent US television pilot season.

But he is about to be distracted by the start of snooker’s World Championship in Sheffield, a tournament he has visited regularly in recent years, fulfilling a childhood dream.

Lewis knew from an early stage he would never make the grade as a professional cueman.

“I’m pathetic, I’m a terrible, terrible snooker player. I maybe once got a break in the thirties by pure fluke, but I’m so bad,” said the 27-year-old.

“I go and play with my dad sometimes, and my dad’s 74-years-old and he beats me. We’re down at our local club and even he gives me a pasting.”

Lewis joked he was a sporting snob in his days on the Harry Potter set, when he would spend time with Rupert Grint - Ron Weasley in the series inspired by JK Rowling’s books.

“Rupert used to have a pool table in his room but I used to sit in the corner tutting. It’s not snooker, is it?” Lewis said.

“We used to play quite a bit. Rupert and I were pretty even, but with Rupert having the table in his room he used to get a lot of practice. I always think if you can do it on a snooker table you can do it on a pool table, so we used to be pretty close in our matches.”

Lewis is not alone in being a celebrity fan of the World Championship, which has attracted a number of high-profile music stars, including Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson, Muse frontman Matt Bellamy and former Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker.

This year’s tournament, which begins on Saturday, marks the 40th anniversary of the event being staged at the Crucible Theatre, a venue that seats just 980 spectators.

“It’s nice to go there and feel that history. I’ve watched snooker elsewhere but I’ve never quite got the buzz which I get when I go to the World Championship,” Lewis said.

Since his role in Harry Potter provided a career springboard, Lewis has appeared in BBC Three comedy drama Bluestone 42 and the hit movie Me Before You.

It was while performing on stage in London though that he began to understand the pressure facing snooker stars.

He had a starring role as a male escort last year in Unfaithful, at the pop-up theatre Found111 on Charing Cross Road.

Lewis said: “I did a play last year in a very small venue in London, which was a very similar size to the Crucible.

“I hadn’t appreciated it as much before that, but that level of intimacy when people are that close, you have to really allow the audience to melt away, because the focus is all on you and what you’re doing. There’s a lot of nerves and tension that come with that.”

The former child actor’s future looks bright.

“I’m spending quite a lot of time out in America in the moment, and having quite a few meetings,” he said.

“It’s been quite chaotic the last few weeks because it’s been pilot season out here, so there’s lots of tapes, lots of meetings and stuff like that, so I’m just waiting to hear back on a lot of things and see if we can crack on later in the year.”

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