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Oliver Sykes ends remarkable month with first Gold title

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  • Oliver Sykes ends remarkable month with first Gold title

    OLIVER Sykes admitted he was “shocked” after collecting his first winner’s trophy on the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour at the end of an astonishing four weeks.

    The 12-year-old from Chandler’s Ford, dubbed ‘The Sniper’, also fired in a new high break during the opening leg of the regional circuit at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    Sykes pocketed £70 prize money following his 2-0 victory over clubmate Connor Benzey in the final.

    “It’s amazing,” said the talented left-hander. “It’s a great feeling. I’m shocked.

    “Last year, I was so close to winning one.

    “I was up for it. I hoped I was going to win and just went for it.”

    Sykes increased his highest competitive break by one to 96 in the second frame of his 2-0 quarter-final victory over Londoner Ronnie Sullivan.

    He then defeated last season’s rankings winner Bradley Cowdroy 2-0 in the last-four.

    “It was really important because I’ve lost against him the last few times I’ve played him,” explained Sykes.

    Remarkably, he had lost to Benzey and Cowdroy in the group stages.

    Exactly a month ago, Sykes was preparing to travel to Leeds where his England Under-16 B team would be the shock winners of the Home Internationals.

    His feature on Trans World Sport then hit the airwaves before a trip to Gloucester where he reached the quarter-finals of the international under-18 MIUS Cup.

    And now he has broken his duck on the Cuestars Gold Tour.

    But there’s no rest for wannabe green baize stars.

    On Saturday, he and Cowdroy will be in Clay Cross, near Chesterfield, for their debuts on The Regency Pro Tips Premier Junior Tour, a national circuit for the country’s top-32 players aged under-21.

    Back in Salisbury, Cowdroy (Bournemouth) had won a play-off with Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford) for the second of the two best third-place qualifiers.

    Benzey beat his Chandlers Ford clubmate Steven Hughes 2-1 on the final black in the second semi.

    Sullivan, who won the 2017/18 Bronze Tour rankings at a canter and was promoted straight to Gold, won his round-robin group on his debut.

    Riccardo Drayton (Chandler’s Ford), the second player to make the jump straight from Bronze, was rewarded by being drawn in the same five-man group as Benzey, Oliver Sykes and Cowdroy.

    The second leg of ten is at Waterlooville Sports Bar on Sunday, October 7.

    Find out more about loft conversion specialists Attic Life at


    Oliver Sykes: 96.
    Jamie Wilson: 74, 41, 40.
    Connor Benzey: 59.
    Ryan Hughes: 59.
    Dan Sykes: 52.
    Bradley Cowdroy: 43.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Arron Smith (Selsey RBL); 5th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 2nd, Olly Gibbs (Fareham SC); 3rd, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant); 4th, Callum McDonald (Salisbury SC).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Benzey 2-0 Weston, S Hughes 2-0 Gibbs, Cowdroy 2-0 Wilson, O Sykes 2-0 Sullivan.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Benzey 2-1 S Hughes, O Sykes 2-0 Cowdroy.

    FINAL (£70/£35, 25/18 points): O Sykes 2-0 Benzey.

    Louie’s perfect Silver debut

    ESSEX teenager Louie Leighton praised his opponent’s sportsmanship after claiming the first leg of the Cuestars Under-21 Silver Tour on his debut.

    The newly-promoted 14-year-old fought back from 1-0 down to defeat Swindon’s Shane Kearns 2-1 in the final in Salisbury.

    “He called a few fouls (on himself) so it was sportsmanship,” acknowledged Leighton, who is based at Basildon Snooker Club.

    “But then I took advantage of it.

    “In the first frame, I felt like I just rushed it and was too attacking. Then I started a bit more safety play and when I got in among the balls, I was quite clinical.”

    Reflecting on his fruitful 260-mile round trip, he added: “It was quite a long journey but worth it in the end

    “It is hard but I played well and made a few nice breaks.”

    Leighton was undefeated in his four-man round-robin group at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    He dispatched his practice partner and clubmate Richard Hillgrove 2-1 in the last-eight and then denied Silver Tour stalwart Keegan Reed a first ever final appearance with a 2-0 victory in the semis.

    O’Shay Scott also won his group on his Silver debut.

    The nine-year-old from Eastleigh lost 2-1 to Kearns in the last-four after missing the final black on 46 for his first half-century to wrap up a 2-1 quarter-final victory over Brett Wallace (Gosport).

    Waterlooville Sports Bar hosts the second leg of ten on Sunday, October 7.

    Find out more about loft conversion specialists Attic Life at


    O’Shay Scott: 46, 33.
    Louie Leighton: 39.
    Nat Kidner: 33.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Harry Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Brett Wallace (Fareham SC); 3rd, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC); 4th, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 5th, Oliver Cooper (Frames, Coulsdon).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon); 2nd, Richard Hillgrove (Basildon SC); 3rd, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Riley Ellis (147 SC, Swindon).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, O’Shay Scott (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Will Forster (Mayfair, Gosport); 4th, Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP D: 1st, Louie Leighton (Basildon SC); 2nd, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Mason Wilson (Academy, Basingstoke); 4th, Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Reed 2-1 H Wilson, Leighton 2-1 Hillgrove, Kearns 2-1 Laxton, Scott 2-1 Wallace.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Leighton 2-0 Reed, Kearns 2-1 Scott.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Leighton 2-1 Kearns.

    Jenkins survives epic battles to clinch Bronze title

    OWEN Jenkins survived some heart-stopping moments to collect his first winner’s trophy on the Cuestars Under-21 Bronze Tour at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    It was gone 9pm when the ten-year-old from Havant potted match-ball in the final.

    Jenkins slotted a tricky brown into a middle pocket to leave the highly-rated Dylan Smith, from Tunbridge Wells, needing snookers in the third-frame decider.

    The latest budding star to graduate from the junior leagues at Waterlooville Sports Bar admitted it was a hard-fought battle.

    Jenkins, who had taken a 1-0 lead, said: “He made a good comeback in the second frame. I thought I could still win but I knew it would be harder than the first frame.

    “The next frame was very close but I managed to get the win.”

    Cuestars debutant Smith, who increased his highest competitive break to 33 in the Rotary Summer Cup at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club, had beaten Jenkins in the group stages of the Attic Life-sponsored event.

    On his return to the Cuestars circuit, Adam Cowdroy (Bournemouth) went in-off the final black in the deciding frame of an epic semi-final battle against Jenkins.

    Thomas Sharp (Copnor), appearing in his first semi-final, lost 2-0 to Smith.

    Harry Rice (Newbury) won his group on his debut but lost 2-0 to Jenkins in the last-eight.

    Swindon brothers Jaydon and Taylor Elliott plus Eddie Mason (Salisbury) all qualified for the knockout for the first time.

    The second leg of ten is at Waterlooville Sports Bar on Sunday, October 7.

    Find out more about loft conversion specialists Attic Life at


    Eddie Mason: 22.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Dylan Smith (Victoria SC, Tunbridge Wells); 2nd, Owen Jenkins (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Lewis Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, James Slade (Crucible, Newbury); 5th, Harry Wyatt (Chandlers Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Adam Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 2nd, Thomas Sharp (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Taylor Elliott (147 SC, Swindon); 4th, Thomas McEvoy (Salisbury SC); 5th, Will Kempson (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Harry Rice (Crucible, Newbury); 2nd, Jaydon Elliott (147 SC, Swindon); 3rd, Eddie Mason (Salisbury SC); 4th, Katie Griffin (Jesters, Swindon); 5th, Freddie Turner (Salisbury SC).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Smith 2-1 T Elliott, Sharp 2-0 J Elliott, Cowdroy 2-1 Mason, Jenkins 2-0 Rice.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Smith 2-0 Sharp, Jenkins 2-1 Cowdroy.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Jenkins 2-1 Smith.

    Riley cleans up in the Plate

    WILTSHIRE teenage Riley Ellis has collected his first snooker trophy of the season.

    The 14-year-old from Clyffe Pypard won the competition for non-qualifiers during the first legs of the Cuestars Under-21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Tours at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    Ellis, who is sponsored by Swindon-based Save On Tyres, missed out on a place in the Silver knockout.

    But, receiving a 14-point handicap start, he beat women’s world number 26 and Gold Tour player Chloe White in the Plate final.

    The second legs of ten are at Waterlooville Sports Bar on Sunday, October 7.

    Find out more about loft conversion specialists Attic Life, the event sponsor, at


    QUARTER-FINALS: James Slade (Crucible, Newbury) beat Thomas McEvoy (Salisbury SC), Riley Ellis (147 SC, Swindon) beat Harry Wyatt (Chandlers Ford SC), Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC) beat Freddie Turner (Salisbury SC), Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    SEMI-FINALS: Ellis beat Slade, Chloe White beat Hughes.

    FINAL: Ellis beat Chloe 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 September 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. Cuestars uses a round-robin format leading to a knockout.

    Competitions for 2018/19 include: South of England Championship Tour; Under-21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Tours; Weekend Junior Section Rankings and Seniors (40+) Tour.

    Website: Email John Hunter: