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Second successuve national title

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  • Second successuve national title

    A GOSPORT snooker ace has capped a remarkable “turning point” year in his green-baize career by clinching his second successive national title.

    Mark Lloyd, who won the 2014/15 English Under-16 Championship, stepped up a level and proved his class by winning this season’s under-18 title.

    The 16-year-old defeated Leeds cueman James Pearson 6-2 in the final at Cueball Derby.

    “I still can’t believe it,” he admitted. “This year has been a turning point for me.”

    England international Lloyd, who is based at Stoke Snooker Club, Gosport, took the first three frames. The pair shared the next four before Lloyd wrapped up the eighth with a break of 61.

    “It seemed to be flowing nicely,” he said. “The fourth frame was a little bit shaky for me but the mid-session interval came at the right time to allow me to regroup.

    “(In the final frame) I thought of it as a practise session position in all fairness, allowing my cueing and experience to carry me through.

    “I was hoping for a century to finish the match but I was just relieved that I had won the match, especially having limited practice due to my exams.

    “Hopefully, I can build on this further. I’m just hoping there is some life left in me to continue to progress.

    “I’d like to say thank you to everyone for all the support they have given me.”

    The past 14 months have indeed been a “turning point” for the talented teenager. After winning the under-16 final in May last year, he travelled to Malta in January and won the European Under-17 Snooker Championship, an open tournament for young players worldwide.

    Back home, he is currently lying 20th in his second season on the EASB Premier Junior Tour. Last month, he clinched the rankings and championship double on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour and chalked up a first century break in tournament play on finals day.

    On the same day as Lloyd was crowned national under-18 champion, 12-year-old Jamie Wilson, from Havant, was beaten 5-0 by the phenomenal Ryan Davies, from Oldham, in the final of the English Under-14 Championship.

    Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)