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Castle crowned Crucible king

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  • Castle crowned Crucible king

    BILLY Castle warned his opponents they “should be worried again” after making a winning return to the Cuestars South of England Championship Tour.

    The 22-year-old from Marchwood, now living in Reading, took just 64 minutes to slug out a 3-2 victory over Matt Ford at The Crucible Sports & Social Club, Newbury.

    Earlier, there had been a bizarre conclusion to his last-16 match.

    Castle hadn’t picked a cue up since qualifying for the last-32 of the English Amateur Championship the previous weekend.

    After a week’s landscape gardening in the freezing cold, the former England international proved too hot to handle in the fourth leg at his new home club.

    “I’m getting back to my best now,” he insisted. “So a few more tournaments under my belt and people should be worried again.”

    The final on the match table in the bar area came to life with Castle leading 2-1. He missed a red with the rest on a run of 40. Ford, based at Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot, immediately replied with a 61 and leveled the match on a re-spotted black.

    On a run of 62 in the decider, Castle missed a red with the spider but there was to be no further twist as Ford needed snookers with four reds left.

    The match took an hour and four minutes – and that included the time taken to set up the balls between frames.

    Clutching the £110 prize money, Castle, whose wife Betsie is expecting a baby boy on May 10, paid tribute to his opponent.

    “In the last frame, I had a good break and left myself a little bit hampered with a tricky spider shot and rattled it,” he said. “I thought ‘here we go again’. But I managed to get over the line.

    “He’s very good. He’s an aggressive player. He’s tough to play against. He’s got a good attitude. He never gives in.”

    And he added: “I’ve earnt a nice bit of money in just a few hours doing what I love doing. It was a good day. There were some good players.”

    There was a rarely seen end to Castle’s first knockout match in which both players had agreed to adopt the ‘miss’ rule. With 14 reds left in the third-frame decider, Ian Rose, who was not snookered, twice attempted a safety shot and failed to hit a red.

    Castle warned his opponent that a third miss would result in the loss of the frame, and subsequently the match. Rose missed again.

    “I couldn’t believe he missed the red three times,” said Castle, who had never been involved in that situation before.

    After a 3-0 victory over, Ryan Mears, winner of the second leg in Woking, Castle compiled his highest break of the day in a semi-final clash with Lewis Frampton.

    Frampton took the first frame with an 86. Castle replied with an 88 clearance and ran out a 3-1 winner.

    Rankings leader Jon Charlton, a quarter-final casualty, maintains his two-point lead over Mears. Ford climbed to third.

    A field of 27, awash with century breakers, returned 17 breaks of more than 50. Brad Chappell kicked off with the highest of the day, a 97 in his first match with Wasim Khan. Frampton fired in a 90 in his opener against David Volante.

    The fifth leg of six is at Salisbury Snooker Club on Sunday, March 8.


    Brad Chappell: 97.
    Lewis Frampton: 90, 86, 56.
    Billy Castle: 88, 62, 51.
    Ryan Mears: 80, 60.
    Matt Ford: 68, 67, 61, 59.
    Ollie Douglas: 65, 63, 58.
    James Budd: 56.


    GROUP A: 1st, Billy Castle (Crucible, Newbury); 2nd, Neil Clayton (Woking SC); 3rd, Anthony Cutler (Poole); 4th, Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford SC).

    GROUP B: 1st, Jon Charlton (Aldwick RBL, Bognor Regis); 2nd, Ian Rose (Finchampstead, Berks); 3rd, James Cullen (Woking SC); 4th, Jake Baker (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    GROUP C: 1st, Ryan Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough); 2nd, Dan Knox (Ascot); 3rd, Peter Chin (Woking SC).

    GROUP D: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL, Berks); 3rd, Reece King (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    GROUP E: 1st, Sonnie O’Sullivan (Liberal Club, High Wycombe); 2nd, Brad Chappell (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Wasim Khan (Liberal Club, High Wycombe).

    GROUP F: 1st, Ollie Douglas (Crucible, Newbury); 2nd, Sam Storey (Crucible, Newbury); 3rd, Sean Pender (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    GROUP G: 1st, Lewis Frampton (Weybridge, Surrey); 2nd, James Budd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 3rd, Derrick Volante (Jesters, Swindon); 4th, David Volante (Jesters, Swindon).

    GROUP H: 1st, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Bob Toulouse (Sovereign SC, Farnborough); 3rd, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC).


    LAST-16: Castle 2 Rose 1, Mears 2 Wallace 0, Storey 2 O’Sullivan 1, Frampton 2 Toulouse 0, Charlton 2 Clayton 0, Ford 2 Knox 0, Douglas 2 Chappell 0, Herd 2 Budd 0.

    QUARTER-FINALS (£15, 12 points): Castle 3 Mears 0, Frampton 3 Storey 0, Ford 3 Charlton 0, Douglas 3 Herd 0.

    SEMI-FINALS (£25, 15 points): Castle 3 Frampton 1, Ford 3 Douglas 1.

    FINAL (£110/£50, 25/18 points): Castle 3 Ford 2.

    Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)

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