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Thrilling Under-21 season finale on cards

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  • Thrilling Under-21 season finale on cards

    Benzey driving for Gold rankings title

    CONNOR Benzey’s late decision to enter the ninth leg of the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour at Salisbury Snooker Club paid dividends.

    The 17-year-old from Eastleigh pocketed £100 towards more driving lessons after beating Bradley Cowdroy 2-0 in the final of the event sponsored by TopCue.

    And he is now back in contention to win the rankings title.

    The previous day, Benzey lost 4-0 to Andy Symons (Tavistock, Devon), the eventual tournament winner, in the last-16 of the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation’s Gold Masters in Weston-super-Mare.

    Plans for a day off were shelved, though, in a late-night decision.

    He said: “I wasn’t going to come today until half eleven last night but I needed the money for driving lessons. That was the incentive to come.”

    Reflecting on the final, he added: “Bradley’s a tough match player. I’ve just got to match him with safety and take my chances.”

    It was actually a long weekend for both finalists.

    Cowdroy (Bournemouth) was beaten 3-0 by Alex Clenshaw (Harlow) in the final of an under-18 event run by in Dunstable the previous evening.

    Group-stage casualty Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford) takes a four-point lead over Cowdroy into the final event. Benzey is eight points further back in third.

    Londoner Ronnie Sullivan overcame Cowdroy 2-0 in his first match and finished the group stages unbeaten before going out 2-0 to Benzey in the last-four.

    In the second semi, Callum Browne (Trowbridge), who won the British universities and colleges individual championship in Derby last month, made his first Cuestars appearance of the season and lost 2-1 to Cowdroy in what can only be described as an epic.

    Chandlers Ford SC hosts the tenth and final leg on Sunday, May 5.

    Visit snooker products supplier TopCue on the Downton Industrial Estate or at


    Oliver Sykes: 77, 50.
    Jamie Wilson: 54.
    Callum Browne: 51, 47.
    Connor Benzey: 50.
    Bradley Cowdroy: 43.
    Steven Hughes: 40.
    Ronnie Sullivan: 40.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury); 2nd, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 2nd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Cowdroy 2-1 Browne, Benzey 2-0 Sullivan.

    FINAL (£100/£25, 25/18 points): Benzey 2-0 Cowdroy.

    Kearns victory sets up thrilling finale

    SHANE Kearns has set up a nail-biting finale to the Cuestars Under-21 Silver Tour.

    The 17-year-old from Swindon collected his third winner’s trophy of the season at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    And, perhaps even more importantly, he now leads the rankings.

    Kearns overcame first-time finalist O’Shay Scott (Eastleigh) 2-1 to clinch the ninth leg and add yet more twists and turns to a thrilling campaign.

    Ten-year-old Scott missed a straightforward match-ball pink in the deciding frame.

    And Kearns fluked the pink and potted the black with the rest.

    He now has a two-point advantage over Riley Ellis (near Wootton Bassett), with Louie Leighton (Basildon) one point further back in third, ahead of the tenth and last leg at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club on Sunday, May 5.

    Kearns reckons all three contenders are still in the title race and admitted he was fortunate to beat Scott.

    He said: “It’s very close and anyone can win it. Everyone’s playing well.

    “There might be a few games where people might have gone on and off, like I did in the last game.

    “I couldn’t pot anything and got very lucky to actually win it.”

    Leighton dropped two places to third after a 2-0 quarter-final defeat by Kearns.

    Ellis missed a chance of going top by losing 2-1 to Scott in the last-four of the event sponsored by TopCue.

    Meanwhile, it was a year and a day ago at the same club that Zak Truscott (Waterlooville) made his first and only Bronze final.

    Back on his happy hunting ground, the 15-year-old had his best ever run on the Silver Tour.

    He was undefeated in his five-man group, beat Nat Kidner (Ferndown) 2-1 in the last-eight and lost 2-0 to Kearns in the semis.

    Visit snooker products supplier TopCue on the Downton Industrial Estate or at


    Riley Ellis: 43, 33, 30, 30.
    Zak Truscott: 41.
    Keegan Reed: 31.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, O’Shay Scott (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Louie Leighton (Basildon SC); 3rd, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Riley Ellis (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Keegan Reed (Salisbury SC); 4th, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 5th, Lucas Fidow (near Bath).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon); 2nd, Mason Wilson (Academy, Basingstoke); 3rd, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 5th, Harry Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Scott 2-1 Reed, Ellis 2-0 M Wilson, Truscott 2-1 Kidner, Kearns 2-0 Leighton.

    SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Scott 2-1 Ellis, Kearns 2-0 Truscott.

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

    Jenkins one step from glory

    OWEN Jenkins ended a long and tense day in Wiltshire with the Cuestars Under-21 Bronze Tour rankings title within his grasp.

    The ten-year-old from Havant defeated his Waterlooville Sports Bar clubmate Thomas Sharp 2-0 in the final of the penultimate leg.

    It means Jenkins takes a 21-point lead over second-placed Sharp into the last event at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club on Sunday, May 5.

    Summing up the ten-hour day at Salisbury Snooker Club, he said: “It was nerve-wracking but good. I was happy with how I played.

    “When I’m under pressure I seem to play better.”

    Jenkins edged home player Eddie Mason on the final black in his first group-stage match.

    But he stepped up a gear and laid claim to the Bronze Tour’s highest break of the season with a 49 in his next game against Warminster’s Thomas McEvoy.

    Following a victory over Swindon youngster Taylor Elliott, Jenkins beat another home player Will Kempson 2-1 from 1-0 down in the last-eight and clubmate George Laxton 2-0 in the semis.

    Paying tribute to his knockout opponents, he said: “It was probably one of the hardest quarter-finals I’ve ever played because Will was potting balls from everywhere.

    “George was playing very well, as well. Everyone’s improving. I just managed to scrape through the game.”

    And did he ever think he had Sharp beaten?

    “Never,” Jenkins insisted. “Not at any stage. Because he’s one who won’t give up and he’ll try to get snookers.”

    Renowned YouTuber ‘SharpMeister’ Sharp had overcome third-placed Dylan Smith, from Tunbridge Wells, 2-1 from 1-0 down in his last-four match.

    Laxton had his best ever run in his debut season in the event sponsored by TopCue.

    He came through a three-way play-off and beat Andover’s Freddie Turner 2-1 in the last-eight.

    Visit snooker products supplier TopCue on the Downton Industrial Estate or at


    Owen Jenkins: 49, 29.
    Thomas Sharp: 25.


    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Owen Jenkins (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, Thomas McEvoy (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Taylor Elliott (147, Swindon); 4th, Eddie Mason (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Thomas Sharp (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 2nd, George Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); joint 3rd, Katie Griffin (Jesters, Swindon) & Bradley Brewer (Salisbury SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Dylan Smith (Victoria SC, Tunbridge Wells); 2nd, Will Kempson (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Jaydon Elliott (147, Swindon); 4th, Kostas Ormerod (Chandlers Ford SC).

    ROUND-ROBIN GROUP D: 1st, Freddie Turner (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Harry Wyatt (Chandlers Ford SC); joint 3rd, Tyler Mack (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Ryan Kneller (Waterlooville Sports Bar) & Ryan Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar).

    QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Jenkins 2-1 Kempson, Laxton 2-1 Turner, Sharp 2-0 Wyatt, Smith 2-0 McEvoy.

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

    FINAL (25/18 points): Jenkins 2-0 Sharp.

    Another first for Samuel Laxton

    SAMUEL Laxton collected his first Plate winner’s trophy during the ninth legs of the Cuestars Under-21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Tours at Salisbury Snooker Club.

    The 14-year-old Portsmouth potter missed out on a place in the Silver knockout on frames difference.

    But he responded by beating Bronze player Katie Griffin (Swindon) in the final of the competition for the non-qualifiers among the 41 entries.

    Chandlers Ford SC hosts the tenth and final legs on Sunday, May 5.

    Visit tournament sponsor and snooker products supplier TopCue on the Downton Industrial Estate or at


    Samuel Laxton: 29, 22.


    PRELIMS: Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC) beat Jaydon Elliott (147, Swindon), Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Hughes, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Eddie Mason (Salisbury SC).

    QUARTER-FINALS: Laxton beat Chloe White, Bradley Brewer (Salisbury SC) beat Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Katie Griffin (Jesters, Swindon) beat Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar), Ryan Kneller (Waterlooville Sports Bar) beat Kostas Ormerod (Chandlers Ford SC).

    SEMI-FINALS: Laxton beat Brewer, Griffin beat Kneller.

    FINAL: Laxton beat Griffin.

    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: john at