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Benzey opens up Gold title race

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  • Benzey opens up Gold title race

    CONNOR Benzey is snapping at the heels of rankings leader Bradley Cowdroy after clinching a second successive tournament win on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour.

    The 16-year-old from Eastleigh defeated his Chandlers Ford clubmate Dan Sykes to collect the winner’s trophy at the seventh leg at Fareham Snooker Club.

    Benzey, appearing in his fourth straight final, fought back from 1-0 down to prevail 2-1 - despite a bit of a wobble when the decider was all but won.

    “I enjoyed today,” smiled Benzey. “It was fun.

    “I didn’t mind the scrappy frames, either, which helped.

    “I knew if I got the second frame I’d probably win the last one.”

    It was a game stuffed full of intelligent matchplay from both players on one of the club’s professional standard Star tables.

    Sykes took the first frame on the black but needed snookers on the green in the next.

    Benzey won the decider after a minor scare. With his opponent needing a snooker on the yellow following a foul, he opted for an easy free-ball blue and managed to send the cue-ball into the same middle pocket.

    “I was trying to come off the cushion for the yellow and I went straight in-off,” he explained.

    Second-placed Benzey is only 11 points behind Cowdroy, who finished bottom of his five-man group seven days after securing a spot in the final of the English Under-16 Championship.

    But can he catch the Bournemouth teenager with three legs to play in Swindon, Salisbury and on home tables in Chandler’s Ford?

    “Yes,” insisted Benzey. “But I need to win a couple more.”

    Benzey - who is sponsored by Pitman Training Winchester, Hillcrest Structural and GH Property Management – recorded the day’s highest break of 62 in the group stages against Jamie Wilson (Havant).

    He beat England international Mickey Joyce (Basingstoke) 2-0 in the semis while Sykes, 19, overcame his 12-year-old brother Oliver 2-0 to reach his first final since winning the corresponding event nearly two years ago.

    Evan Plummer impressed in the event sponsored by the host club. The Londoner qualified for the knockout for the first time since earning promotion from Silver at the end of last season and posted a 50 break in a 2-1 quarter-final defeat by Benzey.

    For more information about Fareham SC, visit

    The eighth leg of ten is at the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, March 18.


    Connor Benzey: 62, 41.
    Mickey Joyce: 58.
    Evan Plummer: 50, 43.
    Steven Hughes: 46.
    Anthony Rice: 43, 42.
    Jamie Wilson: 42.
    Aidan Murphy: 42.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Arron Smith (Selsey RBL, Chichester); 2nd, Evan Plummer (Frames, Coulsdon); 3rd, Olly Gibbs (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Aidan Murphy (Fishponds Cons Club, Bristol); 5th, Cameron Holt (Liberal Club, High Wycombe).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Mickey Joyce (Academy, Basingstoke); 3rd, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 5th, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): D Sykes 2-0 Smith, O Sykes 2-1 S Hughes. Joyce 2-0 Rice, Benzey 2-1 Plummer.

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

    FINAL (£80/£37.50, 25/18 points): Benzey 2-0 D Sykes.

    Wallace eyes Gold standard

    BRETT Wallace has taken over top spot on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Silver Tour.

    The 17-year-old from Gosport won the seventh leg on home tables at Fareham Snooker Club.

    Wallace, who also won the second leg in Salisbury, defeated Ally Pollard 2-1 in the final of the event sponsored by the host club.

    “I had to make sure I was on my game all day to get through,” he said.

    Wallace is now six points clear of David O’Callaghan, from Bournemouth.

    And the title would mean promotion to the Gold Tour.

    “It’s something to go for,” said Wallace.

    Chloe White (Havant) won all three matches in her group but went out 2-0 to Pollard in the last-four.

    And that result meant Pollard progressed to the final for the first time ever. The 21-year-old from Alderholt, in his final season on the Cuestars Under-21 circuit, made his debut in 2012 and has competed in 48 tournaments.

    Keegan Reed (Salisbury) reached the semi-finals for the first time this season and went down 2-1 to Wallace.

    Riley Ellis (Clyffe Pypard, North Wilts) passed the half-century break milestone in the group stages. The 13-year-old compiled a personal best 58 against Wallace.

    Third-placed Nat Kidner (Ferndown), who won the previous two legs, made a group-stage exit.

    For more information about Fareham SC, visit

    The eighth leg of ten is at the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, March 18.


    Riley Ellis: 58.
    Chloe White: 38.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Brett Wallace (Fareham SC); 2nd, Ally Pollard (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Riley Ellis (147 SC, Swindon).

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Pollard 2-0 Chloe White, Wallace 2-1 Reed.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Wallace 2-1 Pollard.

    Not a bad week for national finalist Sullivan

    CHIPSTEAD’S budding snooker star Ronnie Sullivan summed up a remarkable nine days of green baize success as “not bad”.

    The 13-year-old potted his way into the final of the English Under-14 Championship.

    And the talented teenager followed that by claiming his fifth winner’s trophy of the season on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Bronze Tour.

    Sullivan overcame some pre-stage nerves before the last-16 of the national junior event at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds.

    “We went up there on Friday and had a practice,” he explained.

    “I started off well. Then I just went downhill.

    “I got a bit tense in my arm so we called it a day and went out to have something to eat and I went to bed early.”

    But he came back strong the next morning and defeated James Beaven (Banstead) 4-2, Liam Pullen (York) 4-1 and Michael Roberts (Liverpool) 4-2 from 2-1 down.

    He now faces Paul Deaville (Blackpool) in the final at the South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester, in June.

    Eight days after his success in Leeds, Sullivan further extended his lead on the Cuestars Bronze Tour.

    He defeated Mason Wilson 2-0 to claim his fifth tournament win of the season in the seventh leg at Fareham Snooker Club.

    Wilson (Baughurst, near Basingstoke) had beaten Ben Crump (Gosport) 2-0 to reach his first final in his debut season. The 13-year-old climbed to sixth place in the rankings.

    Sullivan - who only dropped one frame all day, to Louie Leighton (Basildon) in the last-eight - overcame Samuel Laxton (Portsmouth) 2-0 in his semi-final.

    Now on a run of nine straight finals, he is 46 points ahead of second-placed Laxton with trips to Swindon, Salisbury and Chandler’s Ford to come.

    He put his rapid progress over the past 14 months down to “practising hard”.

    Reflecting on the national final, Sullivan said: “I want to be (number) one. I’m not going to accept second place. No one remembers second place. I’ve got to win.

    “If I do win, it would be great.”

    But he added: “Getting to the final is not bad.”

    For more information about event sponsor Fareham SC, visit

    The eighth leg of ten is at the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, March 18.


    Ronnie Sullivan: 44, 30, 27, 25, 25, 25.
    Riccardo Drayton: 28.
    Mason Wilson: 26, 26, 21.
    Oliver Cooper: 26.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 2nd, Harry Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, O’Shay Scott (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Owen Jenkins (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Oliver Cooper (Frames, Coulsdon); 3rd, Will Forster (Mayfair, Gosport); 4th, Lewis Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Mason Wilson (Academy, Basingstoke); 2nd, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Vinnie Rix (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP D: 1st, Ben Crump (Stoke SC, Gosport); 2nd, Louie Leighton (Rileys, Benfleet); 3rd, Thomas Sharp (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Sullivan 2-1 Leighton, Laxton 2-1 Drayton, M Wilson 2-1 Cooper, Crump 2-0 H Wilson.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): M Wilson 2-0 Crump, Sullivan 2-0 Laxton.

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

    Two nine-year-olds collect first Cuestars trophies

    TWO nine-year-olds took home their first Cuestars trophies from the seventh legs of the South of England Under-21 Tours at Fareham Snooker Club.

    O’Shay Scott and Owen Jenkins had both missed out in a three-way play-off from the same round-robin group.

    And they met again in the final of the Plate for non-qualifiers.

    Scott, now in his second season, beat Jenkins, who was playing in only his second event.

    Scott is based at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club while Jenkins is a product of the junior leagues at Waterlooville Sports Bar.

    For more information about event sponsor Fareham SC, visit

    The eighth leg of ten is at the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, March 18.


    PRELIMS: Vinnie Rix (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Owen Jenkins (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar), O’Shay Scott (Chandlers Ford SC) beat Will Forster (Mayfair, Gosport).

    QUARTER-FINALS: Jenkins beat Rix, Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Cameron Holt (Liberal Club, High Wycombe) beat Thomas Sharp (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Scott beat Riley Ellis (147 SC, Swindon).

    SEMI-FINALS: Jenkins beat Truscott, Scott beat Holt.

    FINAL: Scott beat Jenkins.

    Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)