Gold Snooker Series Tour – Event 1
(Top Q Snooker Club, Gloucester)
A Wedding and a Win
7th October 2017
Recently married, Andy Neck from Devon rekindled some of the form that saw him win back-to-back West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation, Gold Waistcoat Snooker tours in 2012 and 2013. ‘Gold’ tournaments, which have been running successfully since 2004, is now named, The WEBSF Gold Snooker Series and is sponsored by Totally Reward, a Human Resources and Reward Solutions company based in London and Bristol. This first event, in a series of six to be played in various venues throughout the West of England, was hosted by Top Q Snooker Club, Gloucester. This season, in addition to the normal trophies and prize money, there is an added bonus for any player recording the elusive 147 maximum break.
The tournament got underway with the round robin group stage and after fifty-five matches, sixteen players qualified for the knock-out stage led by the group winners; Andy Symons, Tavistock; Dale Branton, Plymouth; Andy Neck, Newton Abbot & Tom Kevern, Plymouth. There where twenty-one breaks over 50 including two centuries; a 100 by Kevern and the best of the day, a 102 by Mitch Wood (Barnstaple). Another additional prize this season went to the highest break made by a non-qualifier; Martin Pitcher achieved this with a frame winning 60.
The last sixteen knock-out round produced two 80 breaks; one by current West of England Snooker Open champion, Haydon Pinhey from Plymouth and the other by Welsh international Tyler Rees. The best match of the quarter finals was between Symons and Mitch Grinsted (Plymouth), Symons made an excellent clearance of 92 but it was Grinsted’s two fifty plus breaks that took the match 2-1. Neck posted a 59 break in his quarter final match against Pinhey, whilst Rees (56 break) was forced into a decider against Kevern. In-form Neck turned the screw in the Semi-finals, dominating play against Grinsted with breaks of 81 and 66. Whilst in the other semi-final Andy Smith from Worcestershire beat the 2016 European Under 18 champion Rees for a place in the final against Neck. There were no breaks of note in the final but the standard of play was worthy of two players that had played consistent matchplay throughout the day. After some skilful exchanges it was Neck that took the match in the deciding frame.
With no player making a maximum break the unclaimed reward will be carried over to the Gold Masters tournament at the end of the season. The Gold Masters sees the top sixteen players in the Gold Snooker Series ranking table invited to play in a knock-out format tournament that will culminate with the trophies and prize money presented by a top professional player who will then give an exhibition of snooker. This is due to be played at Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon. Event two in the Gold Snooker Series will take place at The Plaza Snooker Club, Plymouth on the 25th November, registration is open and another bonus prize for a maximum 147 break will be on offer. Prizes were presented by Silvia Mondello of Totally Reward.
Spokesperson for the WEBSF said, “It was nice to see Snooker Professional and WEBSF Ambassador Sam Baird drop in today, the players appreciate when professionals keep in touch with their roots, give time and take an interest in snooker in the community. Regarding the tournament, the increased publicity, additional prizes, made possible through sponsorship, and the opportunity to be invited to the Gold Masters has intensified the competition in this series of tournaments. We have several players that have or are capable of making a 147 maximum break and all of them are keen to be the first to achieve it in a WEBSF tournament. This series of events promises to build towards a nail-biting final event and every player will want to be in that top sixteen at the end of the season.” Any player interested in entering WEBSF events or potential volunteers willing to get involved with the work of the WEBSF they should contact Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995 or visit http://www.websfsnooker.com or WEBSF Facebook. Thanks to International Referee, Nick Harry who refereed tirelessly throughout the day and Top Q, Gloucester who hosted this event.
Report by Steve Canniford
Gold Waistcoat Tour – Event 2
(The Plaza Snooker Club, Plymouth)
Symons Wins the Battle of the Best
25th November 2017
The West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation Gold Snooker Series, sponsored by Totally Reward, rolled into Plymouth for event two in a series of six that will culminate with the top sixteen ranked players going head-to-head in the WEBSF Gold Masters. This is a straight knock-out event held in May at the end of the season. The Plaza Snooker & Pool Club hosted this event, which attracts some of the best amateur players in the region. After two hundred and twenty-two highly competitive frames, in which thirty-six breaks of 50 or more were made, Andy Symons from Tavistock stood proud as the best player on the day.
In order to whittle down the field from twenty-eight to eight qualifiers, the players competed in four groups. Group A saw Steve Brookshaw (Plymouth) win all six matches, dropping just one frame, to finish top of the group ahead of Jez Graham, also from Plymouth. The best breaks in the group coming from Brookshaw 62 and Graham 66 & 54. Experience counts for a lot in snooker and this was evident in the performances of group B qualifiers, Dean Anderson (Tavistock) & Martin Pitcher (Plymouth). Both players, rolling back the years, played solid matchplay snooker to qualify. Current West of England Snooker Open champion Dale Branton showed excellent form in finishing top of group C, making breaks of 82,65 and a superb 102 that took the highest break prize for a qualifier. Andy Neck (Newton Abbot) continued with his good form, that saw him win the first event of this season last month, finishing in second place to Branton on frame difference. Postman Neck, delivered breaks of 55, 57 & 99 clearance to also qualify. Group D was one of the toughest we have seen in a Gold Series event with four of the seven players having a total of forty-four victories between them in WEBSF tournament finals. After all the group matches were played Symons, Eddie Manning & Haydon Pinhey finished with the same number of match wins and could only be separated by frame count-back. Manning was ‘eliminated’ having won one less frame than Pinhey and Symons. These two both qualified but it was Symons that was seeded above Pinhey by virtue of beating him in their group match. Manning’s consolation was that his 100 break, along with other breaks of 53,76,88,98, won him the prize for the highest break by a non-qualifier. Pinhey posted breaks of 55,63 & 75 and Symons 51,54,60 & 73. The other significant break made in the group stages was a fine 80 made by Jamie Graham, brother of Jez Graham, both accomplished pool players. Breaks also came from; Wes Peters 52, Billy Ginn 53, Luke Stilwell 53, Martin Pitcher 56, Jay Bullen 68, Darran Lock 58, Hassan Vaizie 50, 50 & 50, Mitch Wood 55, 63 & 75 and Matt Hullat 58.
The quarter finals of the knock-out stage went very much to form and ranking. Results left Neck to play Pinhey and Branton to play Symons in the semi-finals. Both semi-final match scores ended one sided. Pinhey making a 75 break to beat Neck and Symons, breaks of 62 & 77 to beat Branton. The final however, went to a decider that saw Symons the victor over Pinhey
After two events Neck holds on to top spot, just two points above Symons, followed closely by Pinhey and Branton. The biggest ranking table movers the month being; Manning, who comes into the series fourteen places from the bottom and Pitcher who moved up eleven places into 6th place. For the second event no player made a maximum break so the prize money for this will be carried over to boost the prize pot at the Gold Masters tournament in Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon. Event three in the Gold Snooker Series takes place at The 147 Snooker Club, Swindon on the 20th January 2018. Registration is open and another bonus prize for a maximum 147 break will be on offer. Prizes were presented by Silvia Mondello of Totally Reward.
WEBSF Tournament Director said, “Competition for the top sixteen places that will qualify for the Gold Masters and the additional prize money incentives on offer for a 147 break and non-qualifying break is creating a real buzz amongst the players, which is raising the overall standard of the completion”. Any player interested in entering WEBSF events or potential volunteers willing to get involved with the work of the WEBSF they should contact Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995 or visit http://www.websfsnooker.com or WEBSF Facebook. Thanks to International Referee Nick Harry, who recently flew back from refereeing at the Northern Ireland Open, to referee tirelessly throughout the day and The Plaza, Plymouth who hosted this event.
Report by Steve Canniford
Gold Waistcoat Tour – Event 3
(147 Snooker Club, Swindon)
Neck Sets the Pace
20th January 2017
Devon County Champion, Andy Neck leads the overall ranking table after winning two of the first three events in the coveted West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation, Gold Snooker Series. The series is sponsored by Totally Reward and this event was hosted by the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon. The series is attracting some of the best amateur players from around the region, as well as some from further afield. In a high class final, Neck beat Haydon Pinhey from Plymouth by in a deciding frame. Pinhey making a break of 91 and Neck 80.
The event started with four groups of eight players. Group A was arguably one of the toughest seen in 13 years of Gold tournaments. Andy Symons (Tavistock), currently ranked second, won the group with an impressive seven wins from seven matches. Second qualifying spot went to Pinhey with six wins from seven matches. Pinhey made breaks of 54,74 & 81 and Symons one of 81. Other breaks came from; Seb Worral (Swindon) 69 & 72, Ryan Mears (Farnborough) 50 & 84, Steve Brookshaw (Plymouth) 56 & 71 and English under 19 champion, Peter Devlin from Leyton, 51,52,54,60,74 & 89. Devlin’s 89 saw him joint winner of the non-qualifier break prize with Dan Barsley (Plymouth). Group B was also peppered with breaks, the best coming from Andy Smith (Bewdly) with an 83. Mitch Grinsted and Darran Lock the qualifiers from this group. On his way to qualifying from group three, Neck posted a 99 break, which took the highest qualifier break prize. Kurtis Weaver (Bristol) was the other qualifier from group C. Current Gold Champion, Eddie Manning (Newquay), made breaks of 78 & 84 to qualify in group D along with Tom Kevern (Plymouth).
Neck’s path to the final through the knock-out stages saw him beat Symons and Grinsted, each win by a deciding frame and making a 74 break against Symons. Pinhey was to beat Weaver and Manning. Against Manning, Pinhey made a 90 break and Manning a 56.
The biggest ranking table climbers this month sees Grinsted moving up 10 places and Manning 14 places. Event four in the Gold Snooker Series takes place again in Swindon…this time Jesters Snooker Hall on the 17th February 2018. Registration is open and another bonus prize for a maximum 147 break will be on offer for the taking.
WEBSF Tournament Director said, “Another superb day of amateur snooker that has produced a barrage of sizable breaks. Any player wanting to hone their skills against tough opposition would surely benefit from playing in these events. At the half-way stage there is only fifteen points separating the top four players in the rankings. I predict another close run-in to the final event.” Any player interested in entering WEBSF events or potential volunteers willing to get involved with the work of the WEBSF they should contact Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995 or visit http://www.websfsnooker.com or WEBSF Facebook. Thanks to International Referee Nick Harry, for another tireless day of refereeing and the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon, who hosted this event.
Report by Steve Canniford
Gold Waistcoat Tour – Event 4
(Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon)
17th February 2017
Gold Waistcoat Tour – Event 5
(The Galaxy Centre, Torquay)
24th March 2017
Gold Waistcoat Tour – Event 6
(Top Q Snooker Club, Gloucester)
14th April 2017