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Two momentous days for Oliver Sykes

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  • Two momentous days for Oliver Sykes

    Two days to remember for Oliver Sykes

    IT WAS a momentous weekend in the snooker career of a 13-year-old from Chandler’s Ford.

    Oliver Sykes compiled his first century break in competition less than a month after his birthday.

    And the following day, the talented left-hander moved up to second place on the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour after winning his second final of the season.

    As Sykes himself said: “It was incredible.”

    On Saturday, he cleared the table for a monster 121 break against Riley Ellis in the Eastleigh & District Under-19 League at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club.

    His dad, Dean, watched every shot and mum, Claire, dashed over to the window between the bar and the snooker room to see the last few balls potted.

    Sykes, who has hit three figures a couple of times in practice matches, made his first 90+ break in competition in August, 2017, at the age of 11.

    Back at his home club the next day for the fifth leg of the Cuestars Gold Tour, he overcame clubmate Steven Hughes 3-1 in the final to pocket £100 prize money.

    Both semi-finals went to fifth-frame deciders.

    Elliott Weston (Portsmouth) compiled a 64 break in a 3-2 defeat by England international Sykes and Ronnie Sullivan (London) made a 72 in his 3-2 defeat by Hughes.

    Earlier, Sykes lost his first match 2-0 to clubmate Riccardo Drayton but three subsequent victories helped him win the group.

    “I got off to a rusty start,” he said. “But then I managed to play well and stick in there.

    “I couldn’t really pot a ball in the group stages and then I just about scraped through against Elliott.

    “And in the final, it was probably the best I’ve played.”

    Bradley Cowdroy, who was in Malta with Connor Benzey for the European Under-17 Open, remains top of the rankings by one point from Sykes. Weston and practice partner Jamie Wilson (Havant) are 13 points further back in joint third. Hughes is fifth.

    The event was sponsored by Vortex Property Management to raise awareness of Sightsavers, an international charity that works in developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness.

    For more information about the charity, visit www.sightsavers.org.

    The sixth of the ten legs is at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth, on Sunday, February 3.

    BREAKS


    Ronnie Sullivan: 72, 44, 40.
    Mickey Joyce: 68, 56.
    Elliott Weston: 64, 54.
    Jamie Wilson: 53.
    Steven Hughes: 52, 44.
    Ryan Hughes: 43.
    Oliver Sykes: 41.

    GOLD RESULTS

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant); 3rd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 3rd, Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Arron Smith (Selsey RBL); 5th, Mickey Joyce (Academy, Basingstoke).

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): S Hughes 3-2 Sullivan, Sykes 3-2 Weston.

    FINAL (£100/£25, 25/18 points): Sykes 3-1 S Hughes.

    Long road trip pays dividends for Hillgrove

    IT CERTAINLY made the 250-mile round trip worthwhile.

    Southend’s rising snooker star Richard Hillgrove has collected his first winner’s trophy on the Cuestars Under-21 Silver Tour and taken over top spot in the rankings.

    The 15-year-old was forced to battle hard all day in the fifth leg at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club, near Southampton.

    And it was no different in the final as Hillgrove overcame Mason Wilson 2-1 from 1-0 down.

    “It’s been a brilliant day,” he said. “I feel great. It was a really tough game and he played really well but I just stuck in there.”

    Hillgrove also paid tribute to his ten-year-old semi-final opponent O’Shay Scott (Eastleigh).

    “I should’ve lost,” he admitted. “He played better than me but I scraped through (2-1).”

    Hillgrove, who is based at Basildon Snooker Club, had beaten rankings leader Riley Ellis (north Wilts) 2-1 in the last-eight, a reversal of the scoreline when the pair met in the final of the fourth leg in Coulsdon, South London.

    Reflecting on the high standard of this season’s tour, he said: “There are loads of players who are really good and you have to play well to beat every single one.”

    And the Essex teenager was so excited and overwhelmed by the occasion that he had to be called back from the club car park to collect his cue and case.

    Wilson (Basingstoke) reached his first final since gaining promotion from the Bronze Tour by beating leg-three winner Samuel Laxton 2-1 in the last four.

    Portsmouth potter Laxton had dispatched former rankings leader Louie Leighton (Basildon) 2-0 in the previous round.

    Two players recorded new high breaks. Dean Russell (Portsmouth) compiled a 39 in his 2-1 group-stage defeat by Hillgrove and Wilson chalked up a 42 in his 2-0 quarter-final victory over Shane Kearns (Swindon).

    The race for the rankings title is shaping up to be the closest ever. Two points separate the top three and just 15 separate the top six going into the second half of the season.

    Third-placed Louie Leighton is one point behind Ellis. Kearns is ten points further back and three ahead of Scott and Laxton in joint fifth.

    The event was sponsored by Vortex Property Management to raise awareness of Sightsavers, an international charity that works in developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness.

    For more information about the charity, visit www.sightsavers.org.

    The sixth of the ten legs is at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth, on Sunday, February 3.

    BREAKS

    Mason Wilson 42.
    O’Shay Scott: 40.
    Dean Russell: 39.
    Richard Hillgrove: 30.

    SILVER RESULTS

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Riley Ellis (147 SC, Swindon); 3rd, Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 5th, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC).

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

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Richard Hillgrove (Basildon SC); 2nd, Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon); 3rd, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 5th, Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Laxton 2-0 Leighton, M Wilson 2-0 Kearns, Scott 2-1 White, Hillgrove 2-1 Ellis.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): M Wilson 2-1 Laxton, Hillgrove 2-1 Scott.

    FINAL (25/18 points): Hillgrove 2-1 M Wilson.

    Doubting Thomas claims first winner’s trophy

    THOMAS Sharp ended a run of four semi-final defeats on the Cuestars Under-21 Bronze Tour with a first winner’s trophy.

    The 14-year-old from Portsmouth edged Dylan Smith 2-1 in the final of the fifth leg at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club.

    Remarkably, Sharp had to be persuaded to compete in the event.

    He said: “I wasn’t going to play. On Wednesday my form was awful.”

    Following a chat with Samuel Laxton’s dad, Wayne, and a decent practice session on Thursday, he decided to make the trip along the M27.

    The advice paid off as the Waterlooville Sports Bar-based teenager was unbeaten in the group stages and he overcame Jaydon Elliott (Swindon) 2-0 in the quarter-finals.

    He then dispatched first-time semi-finalist Will Kempson (Salisbury) 2-0.

    “I was confident going into the semi-final,” he said. “But, then again, you never know what can happen.”

    He then took the opening frame against Smith. But his opponent from Tunbridge Wells doubled the black off the side cushion into the yellow pocket to force a decider.

    “He was probably playing it,” conceded Sharp, who had trailed in the frame.

    Behind again in the third, he clawed back the deficit and fluked the match-ball brown.

    “I went into the last frame and just made sure I played as good as I could,” he said.

    “It’s harder coming from behind but I enjoy coming back from behind.”

    It was Smith’s fourth runner-up trophy in his debut season and it means Owen Jenkins (Havant), who lost 2-0 to second-placed Smith in the last-four, remains top of the rankings by two points going into the second half of the season.

    Sharp is two points further back in third.

    George Laxton (Portsmouth) qualified for the knockout for the first time but went down 2-1 to Jenkins from 1-0 up in the last-eight.

    Mason Coveney (Basingstoke) had a debut to remember. He beat Smith in the group-stages, qualified for the knockout and went out 2-0 to Kempson in the last-eight.

    And six-year-old William Thomson (Chandler’s Ford) became the youngest Cuestars player in history. He marked the occasion by beating Eddie Mason (Salisbury) in his first match.

    The event was sponsored by Vortex Property Management to raise awareness of Sightsavers, an international charity that works in developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness.

    For more information about the charity, visit www.sightsavers.org.

    The sixth of the ten legs is at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth, on Sunday, February 3.

    BREAKS

    None

    BRONZE RESULTS


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Owen Jenkins (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Jaydon Elliott (147 SC, Swindon); 3rd, Katie Griffin (Jesters, Swindon); 4th, Daniel Walter (Mayfair, Gosport).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Mason Coveney (Crucible, Newbury); 2nd, Dylan Smith (Victoria SC, Tunbridge Wells); 3rd, Thomas McEvoy (Salisbury SC); 4th, Freddie Turner (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Thomas Sharp (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, George Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, William Thomson (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Eddie Mason (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP D: 1st, Harry Wyatt (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Will Kempson (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Taylor Elliott (147 SC, Swindon); 4th, Sam Walter (Mayfair, Gosport).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Jenkins 2-1 Laxton, Smith 2-0 Wyatt, Kempson 2-0 Coveney, Sharp 2-0 J Elliott.

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

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

    First trophies for McEvoy and Thomson

    NINE-year-old Thomas McEvoy has collected his first winner’s trophy on the Cuestars Under-21 Tours.


    McEvoy made a group-stage exit in the Bronze event but beat six-year-old William Thomson (Chandler’s Ford) in the final of the Plate competition for non-qualifiers.

    The trophy presentation had to be hurried as it was 6.50pm, ten minutes before Thomson’s bedtime.

    The event was sponsored by Vortex Property Management to raise awareness of Sightsavers, an international charity that works in developing countries to treat and prevent avoidable blindness.

    For more information about the charity, visit www.sightsavers.org.

    The sixth of the ten legs are at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth, on Sunday, February 3.

    PLATE RESULTS (ONE-FRAME MATCHES)

    PRELIMS: Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC) beat Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Daniel Walter (Mayfair, Gosport) beat Eddie Mason (Salisbury SC), William Thomson (Chandlers Ford SC) beat Harry Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Katie Griffin (Jesters, Swindon), Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC) beat Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Thomas McEvoy (Salisbury SC) beat Sam Walter (Mayfair, Gosport).

    QUARTER-FINALS: D Walter beat Drayton, Thomson beat J Wilson, Reed beat Taylor Elliott (147 SC, Swindon), McEvoy beat Freddie Turner (Salisbury SC).

    SEMI-FINALS: Thomson beat D Walter, McEvoy beat Reed.

    FINAL: McEvoy beat Thomson.


    Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)
    http://www.snooker-coach.co.uk
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