Kris Vincent, Grant Cole and Sam Edmunds all 16yrs old and from Plymouth travelled to Woking Snooker Centre, Woking, Surrey to compete in the EASB English Under 18’s Championship 2004/2005 held on the 4th & 5th December 2004.
Kris, Grant and Sam who all attend the West of England Snooker and Billiards Foundation at the Victoria Snooker Centre, Plymouth, had no doubts of there enormous task to compete over the 2 days against 32 of some of the best under 18 snooker players in the country to reach the southern region qualifier finals.
On the first days play Sam Edmunds in round 1 played against David Lawrence (Portsmouth) but after a nervous start Sam could not overcome his strong opponent and went out losing 4 frames to nil.
Grant Cole who plays for Victoria Snooker Centre met Richard Bailey. The first frame went to Bailey with Cole taking the second frame with a 56 break and at 1-1 it looked as if Cole was the stronger player but with each of the rest of the frames finishing on the last ball Cole was defeated 4-1 frames.
With Cole and Edmunds out of the competition Kris Vincent’s (England International) first opponent was Stephen Kerr (Woking) who had just defeated Darren Bond (Tiverton) the 2003/2004 Silver Waistcoat UK Champion 4-1 frames. After losing the first frame to Kerr the Plymouth player who plays out of Rileys Snooker Club began to show his composure and skillfully outplayed the Woking player to win the match 4-1 frames.
In Round 3 Vincent met with Sam Baird (Tiverton) and with the match at 2-2 Kris needed to step up his game and overcame his opponent to win 4-2 frames to go into the next days qualifying rounds.
Sunday 5th December saw Kris against David Lawrence (Portsmouth) who in his previous rounds did not drop a single frame and on paper the favourite to reach the final. Lawrence started well and playing with confidence had a break of 52 to take the first frame. Kris had to call on all his experience and tactical play in the next 4 frames to compete at a high level making breaks of 64-52-50 and a number of 30’s after a terrific match Kris won 4-1 to go through to the play-off for a place in the EASB final.
Kris’s last opponent for the EASB finals place in May 2005 was Judd Trump the favourite and undoubtedly the number 1 junior player in the world with the accolade of the youngest player to have a 147 in a competition. With the match to be contested over 9 frames Kris knew he needed to keep pace with the Bristol player and with the match at the interval being all square at 2-2 it seemed to be the right tactics to play. The fifth frame Kris made a mistake missing a red ball to the centre pocket on his break and that was all it needed for Trump to take the advantage and win the frame. This was the turning point of the match with Judd taking the next frame and a lead of 4-2. Kris fought back to make it 4-3 but with a pressure shot in the 8th frame missed, Judd made no mistakes to clear the table with a 94 clearance and win the match 5-3.
Report by Jeff Vincent