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Sonnie shines in Salisbury

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  • Sonnie shines in Salisbury

    A BUCKINGHAMSHIRE teenager reckons his experience of competing on the national junior snooker circuit helped him secure a first regional tournament win of the season.

    Sonnie O’Sullivan was quietly satisfied after beating English Under-16 champion Mark Lloyd 3-1 in the final of the first leg of the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour.

    “Yes, it’s always nice (to beat a national champion),” he smiled.

    The 19-year-old from Aylesbury, who only lost one frame all day at Salisbury Snooker Club, has never played 15-year-old England international Lloyd in their one-and-a-bit seasons on the EASB Premier Junior Tour, which is restricted to the country’s top-48 under-21s.

    Reflecting on life on the Premier Tour, O’Sullivan said: “It’s tough. Every match is hard. It’s the reason why I came here today: to get a bit of confidence, to get a couple of wins.

    “The next one’s in Coulsdon, which I’m looking forward to because I don’t have to book into a hotel or travel for three hours.

    “Getting down to the close frames (in Salisbury), it was just experience that got me over the line in most of them. You could see on the colours, little safety shots that some people don’t know. It was a tough day but it’s nice to just get a win.”

    O’Sullivan won the Cuestars Silver Tour championship play-off in 2013 and the Gold equivalent the following season. He has yet to get past the last-32 on the Premier Tour after qualifying from the Regional Tour South at the end of the 2013/14 season.

    “Last season was a struggle,” he said. “I didn’t really play well at all. My aim this season is to get out of the groups, get to the last-16 and get through to the second day.

    “It’s nice to see players that you know. Last season, it was just me, Mark and Thomas (Lancastle). Now James (Budd) has come up and Ronnie Blake. Hopefully, some more will come through next season.”

    Anthony Rice, from Fordingbridge, who finished third in the group of death that included Lloyd (Gosport) and Brad Chappell (Poole), recorded the day’s highest break of 79.

    The second leg of eight is at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, November 1.


    Anthony Rice: 79.
    James Budd: 69.
    Brad Chappell: 52, 40.
    Sonnie O’Sullivan: 46.
    Mark Lloyd: 44, 40.
    Jonny Mutch: 44.
    Bradley Cowdroy: 42.
    Callum Browne: 40.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury); 2nd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Nathan Farmer (Stoke SC, Gosport); 4th, Cameron Holt (Liberal Club, High Wycombe).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Sonnie O’Sullivan (Liberal Club, High Wycombe); 2nd, Reece King (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Jonny Mutch (Cambridge SC); 2nd, Mike Trigg (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Jamie Wilson (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 4th, James Budd (Fareham SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP D: 1st, Mark Lloyd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 2nd, Brad Chappell (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC) Jamie Wilson (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 4th, Callum McDonald (Salisbury SC).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Browne 2 Chappell 0, O’Sullivan 2 Trigg 0, King 2 Mutch 0, Lloyd 2 Cowdroy 0.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): O’Sullivan 2 Browne 0, Lloyd 2 King 1.

    FINAL (£50/£30 25/18 points): O’Sullivan 3 Lloyd 1.

    REFEREE: Steve Toms.

    Hampshire leads the way

    A SNOOKER player from Wiltshire has bounced back from a triple disappointment at the end of last season.

    Drew Hampshire was runner-up in the final two legs of the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Silver Tour and finished fifth in the rankings, just two points shy of promotion to the Gold Tour.

    But the 16-year-old, who is based at the 147 Club in Swindon, kicked off the first leg of the new campaign in the best possible way at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    “I’m hoping to do better this year,” said Hampshire, after accounting for Silver Tour debutant David Rice (Fordingbridge) 2-1 in the final.

    Hampshire clawed back a deficit to claim the first frame but was “thrashed” in the next before clinching victory on the colours in the decider

    “It feels good,” he said. “Earlier on I was playing pretty bad. Luckily, I got through to the quarter-finals and started playing a lot better.

    “Congratulations to David for making the final in his first Silver (event).”

    Hampshire, who first picked up a cue aged 12, qualified in second place from his round-robin group after losing to Steven Hughes, last season’s Bronze Tour rankings winner.

    Remarkably, the other seven quarter-finalists qualified from their groups on the Silver Tour debuts.

    Connor Benzey (Chandler’s Ford SC), last season’s Bronze championship play-off winner beat James Beavan (Coulsdon) 2-1 before going out 2-1 on the final black to Rice

    Nine-year-old Oliver Sykes signalled his intent by compiling a 52 break (his first half-century) in a warm-up frame before the tournament began. The classy left-hander from Chandler’s Ford SC won his group and made the tournament’s highest break of 33 in a 2-1 quarter-final defeat by Harry Jones (Coulsdon), who was knocked out 2-1 by Hampshire in the last-four.

    Jones and Beavan’s clubmate Evan Plummer lost 2-1 to Hampshire in the quarter-finals and Hughes lost by the same score to Rice.

    The second leg of eight is at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, November 1.


    Oliver Sykes: 33
    Connor Benzey: 30.
    Drew Hampshire: 30


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Connor Benzey (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Harry Jones (Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon); joint 3rd, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC) and Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 5th, Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Drew Hampshire (147 SC, Swindon); 3rd, Aidan Murphy (Bristol Conservative Club); 4th, Adam Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Evan Plummer (Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon); 2nd, David Rice (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Ally Pollard (Salisbury SC); 4th, Olly Gibbs (Chandler’s Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP D: 1st, Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, James Beavan (Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon); 3rd, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize SC, Bournemouth); 4th, David O’Callaghan (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Benzey 2 Beavan 1, Rice 2 Hughes 0, Hampshire 2 Plummer 1, Jones 2 Sykes 1.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Rice 2 Benzey 1, Hampshire 2 Jones 1.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Hampshire 2 Rice 1.

    Tillison wins after year out

    IT WAS a fairytale return to snooker for a teenager from Portsmouth who had fallen out of love with the game.

    Ben Tillison recorded his first tournament win on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Bronze Tour in his first event after a year’s break from the junior circuit.

    The clock on the wall at Salisbury Snooker Club showed 8.50pm as the 15-year-old left-hander stroked in a long, straight brown to leave his “very tough” Southampton-based opponent Ben Hatch needing snookers in the third and deciding frame of the final.

    “I’m so happy,” Tillison said: “I didn’t actually think it would happen. But when I got to the semis, I though it’s going to actually happen.”

    Reflecting on his season out, he added: “I wasn’t enjoying it and then just got back into it six months ago.”

    It was also a major achievement for Hatch as the 19-year-old had never been past the quarter-finals in his previous 18 events since making his Bronze Tour debut in December, 2009.

    Rio Smith (Copnor SC, Portsmouth), Ozzy Rea (Greenbaize, Bournemouth) and Oli Line (Chandler’s Ford SC) qualified for the knockout for the first time. In fact, Smith progressed to the semi-finals where he went down 2-1 to clubmate Tillison. Riley Ellis (Jesters, Swindon) made the quarter-finals on his debut.

    The second leg of eight is at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, November 1.


    Shane Kearns: 24.
    Ben Crump: 22.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Riley Ellis (Jesters, Swindon); 2nd, Oli Line (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Jack Ratcliffe; 4th, Lewis Wilson (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 5th, Connor Shaw (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Rio Smith (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 2nd, Ben Hatch (Southampton); 3rd, Ben Crump (Stoke SC, Gosport); 4th, Ryan Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Ryan Compton (Copnor SC, Portsmouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Bowen Zhu (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Ozzy Rea (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Chloe White (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 4th, Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon); 5th, Luke McCormick (Mayfair, Gosport).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP D: 1st, Callum White (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 2nd, Ben Tillison (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 3rd, Arnie Petty (Salisbury SC); 4th, Harry Wilson (Copnor SC, Portsmouth).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Tillison 2 Ellis 0, Smith 2 Rea 1, Hatch 2 Zhu 1, Callum White 2 Line 1.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Tillison 2 Smith 1, Hatch 2 Callum White 0.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Tillison 2 Hatch 1.

    Dan cleans up in Plate

    DAN Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC) beat his fellow Gold Tour player Nathan Farmer (Stoke SC, Gosport) 2-0 in the Plate final at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    There were 19 entries for the competition for non-qualifiers from the group stages at the first leg of the South of England Under-21 Tours.

    A total of 52 players entered the three main tournaments: 16 in Gold, 17 in Silver and 19 in Bronze.


    PRELIMS: Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC) beat Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth), Chloe White (Copnor SC, Portsmouth) beat David O’Callaghan (Greenbaize, Bournemouth), Luke McCormick (Mayfair, Gosport) beat Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford SC).

    LAST-16: Ben Crump (Stoke SC, Gosport) beat Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC), Jack Ratcliffe beat Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon), Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC) beat Ally Pollard (Salisbury SC), Nathan Farmer (Stoke SC, Gosport) beat Arnie Petty (Salisbury SC), Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC) beat Ryan Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC), Adam Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth) beat James Budd (Fareham SC), Sykes beat Connor Shaw (Greenbaize, Bournemouth), McCormick beat White.

    QUARTER-FINALS: Crump beat Ratcliffe, Farmer beat K Petty, Cowdroy beat Rice, Sykes beat McCormick.

    SEMI-FINALS: Farmer beat Crump, Sykes beat Cowdroy.

    FINAL: Sykes 2 Farmer 0.

    Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)

    About Cuestars

    Founded more than 25 years ago by director John Hunter, Cuestars runs grass-root snooker tournaments across the South of England.

    Competitions take place on Sundays between October and May, and cater for players of all ages.

    All Cuestars tournaments are played off scratch. There are no handicaps, except in the Under-21 Plate, the Under-21 team event and the Under-21 Handicap Championship. Cuestars uses a round-robin format leading to a knockout.

    Competitions for 2015/16 include: South of England Championship Tour; Under-21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Tours; Weekend Junior Section Rankings and Seniors (40+) Tour.

    Website: E-mail John Hunter:

  • #2
    Great write up and enjoy reading how the young guys are getting on .

    Brilliant to see 3 players from my club [ Frames Coulsdon ] doing well .
    Still trying to pot as many balls as i can !