Shaun Murphy shocked the sporting world when he won the World Snooker Championships as a 150/1 outsider. Soon afterwards people discovered the 23 year old was a Christian. Here he tells his story.

Snooker Champion Shares His Faith

Mike Rimmer met snooker champion Shaun Murphy at the Grapevine event in the summer where the unassuming snooker player was quietly manning a stand raising money to support missionaries from his church.

When Shaun Murphy became Embassy World Snooker Champion, there were a couple of surprises. Firstly he was a complete underdog outsider who had fought from the qualifying round to the final. Secondly it soon became clear from newspaper reports that he was a Christian.

It's no surprise that after reading stories about how he tithed his winnings to his local church, he should be working quietly with Clare, his wife, on a stand supporting missionary work. We head off to a quiet corner behind the scenes at Grapevine to have a chat. Here you can check out the whole conversation.

MIKE: No insult, but you were very much the underdog when you became champion, weren't you?"

SHAUN: Very much so. I started the rounds at The Crucible Theatre 150/1 outsider. No outsider to that extent has won since Terry Griffiths won back in 1979. So I made a little bit of history there and the local lad from Rotherham did good in the end!

MIKE: So were you tempted to have a little bit of a bet on yourself?!

SHAUN: No I wasn't. But I know plenty of people who did, and plenty of people from when I was younger whose bets will have come in. It was in the Press that a guy who'd had a bet of 11 at 1000/1 that I'd win the championships before the end of 2005. So he scraped in 11,000! There was a consortium of gentlemen from the snooker club that I started playing at when I was 9, who did at the time write off to ask if they could get odds on me winning it before I was 23. They got 1000/1 and if they did have what they told us they had, which was 1000 each, they will have won a million! But I don't know!

MIKE: Is it good that you don't really know about that kind of thing before you start?

SHAUN: I think so because at The Crucible, you're playing for the biggest tournament in the game. You're playing in front of a packed house, and there was 7.8 million watching it on Telly in this country and 190 million around the world watching it. So that's pressure enough!

MIKE: Tell me about growing up and playing snooker.

SHAUN: I first started playing when I was 8. I got a little snooker table for Christmas. Never been interested in snooker before then at all. I'd asked for a Commodore 64 computer, which all my friends had and I'd asked for one too. It was also the year I found out that Father Christmas didn't exist because I came downstairs to find my dad asleep on the couch having put the snooker table together! It was only 4ft-something from Toys'R'Us. But that morning I didn't unwrap any of the presents until very late that day and just loved it instantly. Before I was 9 I'd joined a club and I was down there every night after school with my dad and at weekends we were down there. I loved every minute of it.

It just went from there. I started playing in the local league; playing in the junior competitions. And before I knew where I was I was 15 and turning professional."

MIKE: So with turning professional is there added pressure because you've got to earn a living doing that?

SHAUN: There is. I'd been completely doing my own thing up until that point and then it was, you're a professional now. You're playing for lots of money and stuff. But I still lived at home. I still lived with my dad. Unfortunately my parents had split up and there was just me and my dad. But he had a good job and I was just looking after myself basically. Whatever money I won I spent on my own things because I had nothing else to spend it on. So the money was never, 'Oh I must win this match because I've got my gas bill riding on it!' Which is the case for a lot of snooker players.