HOW many people can say at just 14-year old they are one of the best in the WORLD at their sport?

Well that is exactly what Saltcoats girl Sophie Nix can say.

The third year Ardrossan Academy pupil has been taking the women's snooker world by storm - and is already ranked as the 37th best women's player in the world.

On top of this, she is rated as the fourth best player under 21 years old.

And after a tournament victory just a couple of weekends ago, along with copious semi final and final appearances, she is now ranked as the best women's player in the whole of Scotland.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sophie in action.Sophie in action. (Image: Submitted)

Not to mention, she also plays in the Irvine Snooker League every week.

It's a CV many would be happy to retire on - let alone hold when you have not long entered your teenage years!

But for Sophie, that is reality, and the Herald caught up with her dad David to learn a little bit more.

Sophie first picked up a cue aged nine - just playing pool on holiday with her father.

So when she got home, Sophie started asking her dad to take her for a game locally, which took them to the Nonsuch amusements.

It was here they encountered Allan Duffy - a World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA) registered coach.

He told David that he thought Sophie had a talent, and invited her to hone this at 'The Scottish Snooker Ayrshire Junior Academy' which he runs at the Nonsuch.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sophie competes amongst some the best women players in the world, despite being a teenager.Sophie competes amongst some the best women players in the world, despite being a teenager. (Image: Submitted)

That was five years ago now, and ever since, Sophie has only gone from strength to strength.

David explained: “For the first two or three years she played twice a week, but as she started going to the Scottish snooker tournaments she really developed more of a talent for it.

“As she gets more and more competitive she’s been going in every night after school.

“She now plays for three hours a night after school at the Nonsuch, comes home, gets her dinner, then goes out to the garage and plays some more.”

Her talent and hard work has shown in her performances - and already Sophie has played in eight world women's tour events - alongside some of the best players in the world.

David discussed her first invite, which saw her represent Scotland in Leeds aged just 13, coming up against women's snooker greats like Reanne Evans and Emma Parker.

It was an introduction into what the future may hold, and David couldn't be any happier for his daughter.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sophie plots her next shots mid-match.Sophie plots her next shots mid-match. (Image: Submitted)

He commented: “I’m just dead proud of her, she works so hard. She’s put all the effort in and she loves it.

“She loves going and meeting people and she actually said she loves the competitive side and her performance steps up when she plays in a competitive tournament.”

And Sophie, who has played in nearly 100 tournaments already, is now preparing for her biggest event to date.

On February 25, she will be competing in the World Women’s Snooker Tournament which is being held in Thailand.

She will compete in both the under 21 and senior event, and is certainly hoping to make an impression.

Having made the final of the under 21 Scottish Open when world women's snooker came to Scotland for the first time - Sophie has her sights set high.

David explained: “The hope is that she can compete and hopefully make another final – if she gets to the final of the under 21s that would be a phenomenal achievement.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sophie alongside coach Allan Duffy.Sophie alongside coach Allan Duffy. (Image: Submitted)

“The last two world women’s tournaments she’s played in she’s qualified for the latter stages, so the hope is she gets out the group and into the knockout stages – I think that would be success for us.

“Her ranking would then move into the top 30 and potentially top 20.”

Though it will be a tough task, especially given the obstacles in Sophie's way.

David continued: “One of the challenges with the women’s game is there is less money in it.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Sophie outside The Crucible - where the World Snooker Championship is played.Sophie outside The Crucible - where the World Snooker Championship is played. (Image: Submitted)

“We want to encourage more women to pick up a cue and play – because if more women do that then the standard will get better.

“As the standard gets better they’ll be able to challenge the men more for the higher prize money tournaments.”

That is why Sophie is on the lookout for sponsors, to help support her journey in Thailand. If you think you can help, you can contact @sophienix147 directly on Instagram, or ask at the Nonsuch Bar in Saltcoats.

Sophie is, of course, incredibly grateful for all existing support also.

Her dad David said: “The Scottish Snooker Ayrshire Junior Academy with Allan Duffy has been brilliant and the Nonsuch have been great as well.

“Their support has been immense.”

At just 14, it is fair to say, Sophie has a long career in snooker ahead of her - so what are her ultimate goals?

She has her sites set on reaching the top four world rankings slots - which would see her turn professional and able to compete against the men's players on a weekly basis on main tour events.

Best of luck Sophie, we are all behind you!