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Warrior Cowdroy snatches victory from the jaws of defeat

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  • Warrior Cowdroy snatches victory from the jaws of defeat

    BRADLEY Cowdroy survived a “terrible start” to claim his third winner’s trophy of the season on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour.

    The 15-year-old Dorset warrior nearly succumbed to the pressure of wanting to perform well on home tables at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth.

    But he battled his way through another high-quality field and, in a repeat of last month’s fourth leg in south London, defeated Connor Benzey 2-0 in the final.

    “It was a terrible start,” admitted the rankings leader. “I was feeling the pressure as it was my home event.”

    Indeed. Cowdroy looked to be heading home after losing his first two matches in his four-man round-robin group without winning a frame.

    He needed a 2-0 victory over Arron Smith (Selsey) to force a tiebreak for the second of the two best third-place finishers.

    After winning the one-frame shootout against newcomer Elliot Weston (Portsmouth), he battled past Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford) 2-1 in the last-eight and overcame England international Mickey Joyce (Basingstoke) 2-0 in the semi-finals.

    Reflecting on a dramatic day, Cowdroy said: “I knew that if I didn’t beat Arron 2-0, there was no way I was going to go through so I put my full concentration into that.”

    Turning to the knockout, he continued: “It’s never easy against Steven. He’s a granite player and any win against him is taken with a lot of satisfaction.

    “And it didn’t get any easier. In the first match of the day, Mickey had smashed me 2-0. But I knew I was cueing better so I had more confidence in myself.”

    Cowdroy also added that it was nice to see old rival Benzey back in form.

    “At the start of the season, it was quite obvious that Connor was struggling,” he said.

    “I know he’s been banging in lots of centuries and playing great in his own club but he wasn’t really producing it at tournaments.

    “So it’s nice to see him come back to form over the last couple of months because he’s too good a player not to be getting to the finals of competitions regularly.”

    Cowdroy, Benzey and a number of the other Gold Tour lads will be in Coulsdon next Sunday for the English Under-16 Championship qualifier.

    Benzey, 15, who cleared the table for a personal best 131 break in the Open Series final on home tables at Chandlers Ford SC the previous day, topped his group and defeated his clubmates Ryan Hughes and Oliver Sykes, both by 2-0 scorelines, in the knockout.

    Anthony Rice (Fordingbridge) recorded the day’s highest break of 76 against Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford) in his first group-stage match.

    Cowdroy takes a 28-point lead over Rice into the second half of the season. Bristol’s Aidan Murphy is two points further back in third.

    The sixth leg of ten is at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant, on Sunday, February 4.

    For more information about event sponsor Greenbaize SC, visit


    Anthony Rice: 76.
    Mickey Joyce: 59, 52.
    Connor Benzey: 56.
    Oliver Sykes: 54.
    Bradley Cowdroy: 49.
    Dan Sykes: 49.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Mickey Joyce (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Arron Smith (Selsey RBL, Chichester).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant); 4th, Reece King (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Aidan Murphy (Fishponds Cons Club, Bristol); 3rd, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Joyce 2-0 D Sykes, Cowdroy 2-1 S Hughes, Benzey 2-0 R Hughes, O Sykes 2-1 Murphy.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Benzey 2-0 O Sykes, Cowdroy 2-0 Joyce.

    FINAL (£60/£30, 25/18 points): Cowdroy 2-0 Benzey.

    Nat’s the way to do it – snooker’s version of the 39 steps

    “IT’S JUST unbelievable.”

    That was Ferndown teenager Nat Kidner’s reaction after ending a near five-year wait for a Cuestars winner’s trophy.

    The champagne moment that he’ll never forget came in the 14-year-old’s 39th tournament on the south of England under-21 circuit.

    And it happened at his home club in Bournemouth watched by family and friends.

    Kidner was understandably ecstatic after beating Chloe White 2-0 in the final of the fifth leg of the Cuestars Silver Tour at Greenbaize Snooker Club.

    Clutching his prized piece of silverware, he said: “I never thought I could do it.

    “It’s just unbelievable. I’m just really, really happy.”

    Kidner broke the back of the first frame with a run of 30 and wrapped up the next by doubling the black the full length of the table into the green pocket - a trademark shot, friends said.

    Not a great lover of the fine art of safety play, he insisted the double was always on.

    “If it works, it works,” he explained. “If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. And it worked.”

    Paying tribute to his 16-year-old opponent from Havant, he added: “It was very tough and she played really well.

    “There was no ball that I didn’t think she was going to pot. She was in that kind of form.”

    Earlier, Kidner topped his round-robin group and was “thrilled” to overcame his clubmate David O’Callaghan, the runaway rankings leader, 2-1 in the last-four.

    And he revealed that he followed his own advice given to young clubmate Josh Reeves the previous day.

    “I concentrated and was focused,” he said. “I was telling Josh to do that exact thing and, well, it worked for me.”

    White, the women’s world number 30, also beat O’Callaghan en route to winning her group and defeated Riley Ellis, last season’s Bronze Tour rankings winner, 2-0 in the semi-finals.

    Kidner, who had never even appeared in a final before, made his Cuestars Bronze Tour debut on March 3, 2013, in Gloucester and was promoted to the Silver Tour at the end of the following season.

    He is now joint fourth in the rankings with Kaine Petty (Fordingbridge). White moves up to third, behind O’Callaghan and Brett Wallace (Gosport), going into the second half of the season.

    The sixth leg of ten is at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant, on February 4.

    For more information about tournament sponsor Greenbaize SC, visit


    David O’Callaghan: 46.
    Chloe White: 33, 30.
    Nat Kidner: 30.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, David O’Callaghan (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon); 4th, Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 5th, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 2nd, Riley Ellis (147 SC, Swindon); 3rd, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Brett Wallace (Fareham SC); 5th, Ally Pollard (Salisbury SC).

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Chloe White 2-0 Ellis, Kidner 2-1 O’Callaghan.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Kidner 2-0 Chloe White.

    Third win for Bronze leader Sullivan

    SOUTH London snooker star Ronnie Sullivan opened up a commanding lead at the top of a junior circuit after claiming his third tournament win of the season.

    The 13-year-old from Chipstead has now reached all five finals on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Bronze Tour in the 2017/18 campaign.

    Sullivan, who won in Waterlooville and Coulsdon and was runner-up in Salisbury and Swindon, beat first-time finalist Louie Leighton 2-0 to claim the winner’s trophy in the fifth leg at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth.

    Leighton, 14, was rewarded for making a five-hour round trip from his home in Basildon with his first Cuestars trophy.

    In a pulsating semi-final match, Samuel Laxton (Portsmouth) compiled his highest break of 39 to take the opening frame but Sullivan replied with runs of 27 and 36 to prevail 2-1.

    Sullivan said: “He played unbelievable, first frame.”

    And reflecting on the day, he added: “It was a mix of really bad and decent. I got confidence after I came back to win 2-1 against Samuel.”

    Meanwhile, Dean Russell, Laxton’s clubmate from Waterlooville Sports Bar, who beat Sullivan in the group stages, also lost 2-1 from 1-0 up in his last-four encounter with Leighton.

    Sullivan takes a 23-point lead over Laxton into the second half of the season. Group-stage casualty Riccardo Drayton (Chandler’s Ford) is 16 points further back. Russell climbs to fourth.

    Sullivan, Laxton, Drayton and O’Shay Scott will make their debuts in the English Under-14 Championship in Coulsdon on Saturday.

    The sixth leg of ten is at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant, on February 4.

    For more information about tournament sponsor Greenbaize SC, visit


    Samuel Laxton: 39, 21.
    Ronnie Sullivan: 36, 27, 27, 25, 20.
    Dean Russell: 25.
    Louie Leighton: 22, 22.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 3rd, Will Forster (Mayfair, Gosport); 4th, Josh Reeves (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 5th, Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Louie Leighton (Basildon); 3rd, O’Shay Scott (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Oliver Cooper (Frames, Coulsdon); 5th, Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Leighton 2-1 Russell, Sullivan 2-1 Laxton.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Sullivan 2-0 Leighton.

    Practice partners clash in Plate final

    GOLD Tour new boy Elliott Weston beat his practice partner Arron Smith 2-0 in the Plate final during the fifth legs of the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Tours at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth.

    The 17-year-old son of former Portsmouth professional Jason Weston had missed out on qualifying for the Gold knockout after losing a one-frame tiebreak shootout against Bradley Cowdroy, the eventual tournament winner.

    The sixth leg of ten is at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant, on February 4.

    For more information about tournament sponsor Greenbaize SC, visit


    QUARTER-FINALS: Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant) beat Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar), O’Shay Scott (Chandlers Ford SC) beat Josh Reeves (Greenbaize, Bournemouth), Arron Smith (Selsey RBL, Chichester) beat Will Forster (Mayfair, Gosport), Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC) bye.

    SEMI-FINALS: Weston beat Scott, Smith beat Petty.

    FINAL: Weston 2-0 Smith.

    Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)