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Cometh the hour, cometh the nine-year-old boy

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  • Cometh the hour, cometh the nine-year-old boy

    RYAN Hughes may have mortally wounded the Rice brothers in the final of the Cuestars Under-21 Team Challenge at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club…

    … But it was Oliver Sykes, still a couple of weeks shy of his tenth birthday, who administered the coup de grâce.

    Despite only qualifying for the quarter-finals as the best third-placed team from the two groups of four, the home club pair didn’t drop a frame in the knockout.

    They saw off Ally Pollard (Fordingbridge) and Keegan Reed (Salisbury) 3-0 followed by Jamie Wilson (Havant) and Olly Gibbs (Gosport) 3-0 to set up a best-of-five-frames match with Anthony and David Rice.

    In his usual unassuming style, Bronze Tour player Hughes produced a phenomenal victory over 18-year-old Anthony, who competes on the Gold Tour, in the first singles game by more than the 28-point handicap he received.

    Sykes made it 2-0 by beating 20-year-old David off scratch in an all-Silver clash.

    The Chandler’s Ford pair, receiving a 14-point start in the doubles, saw a 46-point lead whittled back to just 16 on the colours after what Hughes described as his “dodgy safety shot”.

    But friends and family gasped in wonder and their opponents from Fordingbridge shook their heads in disbelief as Sykes slammed in trademark long pots on the green, brown and blue with his laser-guided left hand to clinch a 3-0 win.

    Hughes said: “It was definitely good to beat Anthony. I didn’t expect to win it by that much but I thought I had a chance of winning.”

    Turning to his teammate, the 13-year-old added: “He was really good. His long pots at the end were amazing.”

    Sykes said: “It was great. I played really well against David.”

    The Rices had edged Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford) and Mickey Joyce (Basingstoke) 3-2 in the semi-finals.

    Anthony Rice recorded the day’s highest break of 53 in the group stages.

    Swindon lads Riley Ellis, 11, and Shane Kearns, 14, were delighted to claim their first Cuestars trophies for winning the Plate competition.

    The Jesters duo defeated Bournemouth pair Bradley Cowdroy and David O’Callaghan 2-0 in the final.

    The inaugural two-man team event attracted 13 pairs: five from Chandler’s Ford SC; three from Greenbaize, Bournemouth; three from Salisbury SC; one from Jesters, Swindon; and one from Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon.

    Normal Cuestars handicaps applied. Three qualified for the knockout from the group of five and two from each of the groups of four plus the best third-placed team from the groups of four.

    All round-robin matches consisted of two singles frames and a doubles. Main comp matches were best-of-fives and the Plate was best-of-three.

    Cuestars is hoping to make this an annual event.


    Anthony Rice: 53.
    Brad Chappell: 44.
    Charlie Pringle: 40.
    Connor Benzey: 36.
    Evan Plummer: 32.
    Ryan Hughes: 21.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Anthony & David Rice (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Connor Benzey & Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Ally Pollard & Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 4th, Bradley Cowdroy & David O’Callaghan (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 5th, Evan Plummer & Harry Jones (Frames, Coulsdon).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Charlie Pringle & Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Jamie Wilson & Olly Gibbs (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Kaine & Arnie Petty (Salisbury SC); 4th, Adam Cowdroy & Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Dan Sykes & Mike Trigg (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Connor Shaw & Brad Chappell (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Oliver Sykes & Ryan Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Riley Ellis & Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon).

    QUARTER-FINALS: Anthony & David Rice 3 Connor Shaw & Brad Chappell 0, Charlie Pringle & Mickey Joyce 3 Connor Benzey & Steven Hughes 2, Jamie Wilson & Olly Gibbs 3 Dan Sykes & Mike Trigg 2, Oliver Sykes & Ryan Hughes 3 Ally Pollard & Keegan Reed 0.

    SEMI-FINALS: Anthony & David Rice 3 Charlie Pringle & Mickey Joyce 2, Oliver Sykes & Ryan Hughes 3 Jamie Wilson & Olly Gibbs 0.

    FINAL: Oliver Sykes & Ryan Hughes 3 Anthony & David Rice 0.


    SEMI-FINALS: Riley Ellis & Shane Kearns beat Kaine & Arnie Petty, Bradley Cowdroy & David O’Callaghan beat Adam Cowdroy & Nat Kidner.

    FINAL: Riley Ellis & Shane Kearns 2 Bradley Cowdroy & David O’Callaghan 0.

    Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)