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Finals Day with Kurt Maflin

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  • Finals Day with Kurt Maflin

    Lloyd: I haven’t done too bad

    THERE were three reasons to be cheerful for Gosport teenager Mark Lloyd as the curtain came down on his last full season on a regional snooker circuit.

    The English Under-16 Champion clinched the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour double and chalked up a first century break in tournament play.

    Lloyd - who secured the rankings title two weeks previously despite missing one leg because of the European Under-17 Open in Malta, which he won - beat Bradley Cowdroy 2-0 in the championship play-off final at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.

    The 16-year-old set out his stall by knocking in a 100, his first ever competitive ton, in his opening frame of the day in the group stages against Arron Smith (Selsey) on the match table.

    “The balls just went in,” he simply said. “I was unlucky not to get more. But it only wins one frame at the end of the day.

    “I’ve got over the century barrier so hopefully now more breaks fly in.”

    Lloyd, who is also looking forward to the English Under-18 Championship final next month, said his priorities now lie with the EASB Premier Junior Tour and the Cuestars Championship Tour, which next season carries a Q School place for the rankings winner.

    But he added he may enter a few Gold tournaments.

    “I’ll probably do enough next year to get in the top-16,” he revealed. “I’m going to concentrate on the nationals now.

    “This has ended it how I wanted to. I’ve ended with a century and won them both. I haven’t done too bad.”

    Cowdroy also recorded his highest break in competition in the group stages. The 14-year-old left-hander from Bournemouth fired in a 74 against Greenbaize clubmate Brad Chappell.

    Chappell, meanwhile, bowed out of Cuestars under-21 events following a 2-0 semi-final defeat by Lloyd.

    As part of his prize, Lloyd took on guest professional Kurt Maflin in an exhibition frame and lost 69-29.


    Mark Lloyd: 100, 62.
    Bradley Cowdroy: 74, 47, 44.
    James Budd: 64, 52.
    Dan Sykes: 44.
    Mickey Joyce: 44.
    Anthony Rice: 42.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Mark Lloyd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 2nd, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC). Time restraints meant the group was closed with two matches still to play so the other four players - Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC), Mike Trigg (Chandler’s Ford SC), James Budd (Fareham SC), Arron Smith (Selsey RBL) - were not placed.

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 2nd, Brad Chappell (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Reece King (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury).

    SEMI-FINALS: Lloyd 2 Chappell 0, Cowdroy 2 Rice 0.

    FINAL: Lloyd 2 Cowdroy 0.

    Desire and determination steers Hughes to Silver title

    A WILL to win almost unparalleled on the junior snooker circuit drove Steven Hughes to the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Silver Tour Championship title.

    The 14-year-old from Chandler’s Ford was a man on a mission as he sliced through a high-quality field during the end-of-season play-off at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.

    Hughes, who finished second in the rankings following the eight-leg season, dropped just one frame out of 15 in seven victories.

    “It feels absolutely amazing,” he declared.

    “I came short in the rankings and I thought I’ve just GOT to try to win it. Luckily I did.

    “I’m so happy I’ve won today. I can go home a happy man.”

    Hughes topped his five-man group and accounted for three other Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club members with 2-0 scorelines in the knockout.

    First up was ten-year-old Oliver Sykes, then rankings winner Connor Benzey followed by Olly Gibbs, who won the Bronze Tour Championship in 2014, in the final.

    Gibbs went in-off into the middle pocket and left an easy frame-ball pink in baulk to gift Hughes the lead.

    And in the second frame, Hughes clawed back a deficit with a 20 break to the blue. His 12-year-old opponent from Gosport then potted the pink but missed the frame-ball black off its spot, which Hughes sunk with the rest.

    “I had to play it with the rest because I didn’t want to stretch and risk miscuing,” explained Hughes. “I’m not the best rest player but it was plum.”

    And the newly-elected member of the Student Leadership Team at The Toynbee School added: “I want to say a massive thanks to Vankru Cycling for sponsoring me and for (coach) Tim Dunkley because without the two of them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

    The result was a reversal of last season’s Bronze Tour when Hughes won the rankings title and Benzey claimed the Championship.

    World number 50 Kurt Maflin presented the trophy.


    Connor Benzey: 46, 33, 30.
    Aidan Murphy: 44, 36, 32.
    David O’Callaghan: 31.
    David Rice: 31.
    Charlie Pringle: 30.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Connor Benzey (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Olly Gibbs (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 5th, Adam Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Drew Hampshire (147 SC, Swindon); 3rd, Harry Jones (Frames, Coulsdon); 4th, David O’Callaghan (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 5th, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Aidan Murphy (Fishponds Cons, Bristol); 2nd, Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize SC, Bournemouth); 4th, Ally Pollard (Salisbury SC); 5th, David Rice (Salisbury SC).

    QUARTER-FINALS: Benzey 2 Jones 1, Hughes 2 Sykes 0, Murphy 2 Pringle 0, Gibbs 2 Hampshire 0.

    SEMI-FINALS: Hughes 2 Benzey 0, Gibbs 2 Murphy 1.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Hughes 2 Gibbs 0.

    16 days in the life of a champion

    RYAN Hughes capped a remarkable 16 days by becoming the first player to clinch the double on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Bronze Tour.

    But, yet again, family and friends were subjected to another emotional rollercoaster ride during the Championship play-off at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.

    The outwardly laid-back 14-year-old from Chandler’s Ford survived another black-ball drama against rankings runner-up Ben Tillison in the semis and edged a nail-biting final 2-1 against Chloe White.

    Earlier, rankings winner Hughes had knocked in a 31 break in his first group-stage match against Rio Smith (Portsmouth) and qualified for the knockout unbeaten.

    His first real test was battling back from 1-0 down in the last-eight to Chandler’s Ford SC clubmate Oli Line (Botley) to prevail 2-1.

    “It was intense,” admitted Hughes. “I nearly lost my quarter-final and semi-final. I just ground it out.”

    Indeed. In the deciding frame of his semi, Tillison (Portsmouth) attempted to pot the final black into the green pocket. It came off the jaws and hurtled towards the opposite black corner pocket.

    Hughes revealed he was just about to pack his cue away but the black stopped right on the lip of the pocket.

    “The black was a whisker away from dropping in and I was about to unscrew my cue,” he said.

    He then faced White who needed crutches to get to the table and hobbled around on an injured ankle.

    Hughes sunk a long pink to take the lead but his 14-year-old opponent from Havant broke the back of the next with a run of 25.

    In what can only be described as a low-scoring war of attrition, Hughes secured the deciding frame with the thinnest of thin pinks into a middle pocket using the rest.

    Just over two weeks previously, Hughes, no relation to clubmate and Silver Champion Steven Hughes, embarked on a staggeringly successful run.

    In that time, he has reached three successive finals - winning two of them - in the Saturday afternoon Open Series at his home club and now leads the rankings with a record low handicap.

    He won the eighth and final leg on the Cuestars Bronze Tour, which included a black-ball victory over Tillison, to secure the rankings title and he chalked up a personal best 46 break in a practice match.

    And during Finals Day in Swindon, he played a professional for the first time. Hughes recorded the third highest points score of 30 in one of the exhibition frames against world number 50 Kurt Maflin.


    Ryan Hughes: 31.
    Chloe White: 25, 23.
    Jack Ratcliffe: 21.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Ryan Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Rio Smith (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 3rd, Jack Ratcliffe (Jesters, Swindon); 4th, Arnie Petty (Salisbury SC); 5th, William Forster (Mayfair, Gosport).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Ben Tillison (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 2nd, Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon); 3rd, Oli Line (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Bowen Zhu (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Harry Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Chloe White (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 2nd, Riley Ellis (Jesters, Swindon); 3rd, Ben Crump (Mayfair, Gosport); 4th, Callum White (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 5th, Connor Shaw (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    QUARTER-FINALS: Hughes 2 Line 1, Tillison 2 Ellis 1, Chloe White 2 Jack Ratcliffe 1, Kearns 2 Smith 1.

    SEMI-FINALS: Hughes 2 Tillison 1, Chloe White 2 Kearns 1.

    FINAL: Hughes 2 Chloe White 1.

    Rice exits as a champion

    DAVID Rice took home a winner’s trophy from his last event on the Cuestars Under-21 circuit.

    The 21-year-old from Fordingbridge collected the Six-Reds Challenge trophy from guest professional Kurt Maflin during Finals Day at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.

    Rice, who finished fifth in his Silver Championship round-robin group, beat Havant’s Callum White in the final.

    On his Cuestars debut in December, 2014, he made the Bronze semi-finals in Bournemouth. He won the final event that season in Salisbury, finished fifth in the rankings, earned promotion to Silver and ended this season ranked seventh.

    Elsewhere, James Budd (Fareham), the only player to beat Joe Perry at last season’s Finals Day, repeated the feat this year by seeing off world number 50 Kurt Maflin on a re-spotted black.

    Maflin won his other ten exhibition frames and compiled a 100 against Arron Smith (who had also had a 100 knocked in against him by Gold champion Mark Lloyd).


    PRELIMS: Bowen Zhu (Chandler’s Ford SC) beat Ben Crump (Mayfair, Gosport), Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth) beat Ally Pollard (Salisbury SC), Reece King (Greenbaize, Bournemouth) beat David O’Callaghan (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    LAST-16: Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC) beat Connor Shaw (Greenbaize, Bournemouth), Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC) beat Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC), Arnie Petty (Salisbury SC) beat Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury), David Rice (Salisbury SC) beat Harry Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC), Zhu beat James Budd (Fareham SC), Callum White (Copnor SC, Portsmouth) beat Kidner, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC) beat Adam Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth), King beat William Forster (Mayfair, Gosport).

    QUARTER-FINALS: M Joyce beat Sykes, Rice beat A Petty, White beat Zhu, King beat K Petty.

    SEMI-FINALS: Rice beat M Joyce, White beat King.

    FINAL: Rice beat White.

    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
    Love these write ups Tim . Keep up the great work .
    Still trying to pot as many balls as i can !