Gold Series Event 4 Winner Andy Symons 2019-20

Resilient Symons Registers Remarkable Triumph

Andy Symons joined an exclusive band of cueists who have won back-to-back Gold Waistcoat / Gold Series tour event titles following an emotional victory at Frames Snooker and Pool Club last weekend. 

Tavistock maestro Symons emerged from a 27-player strong entry in Weston-super-Mare, featuring several former overall series and tour event champions, and other top-quality opposition from across the south west and beyond. A man on a mission, Symons made his intentions clear early on as he headed Group A with six wins from six and relinquished just two frames. Going through to the knockouts with Andy was James Height (four wins from six), who narrowly ousted Billy Ginn to qualification by just one frame. 

In Group B, former Gold Series champion Haydon Pinhey got off to a fast start as he rattled in a 121 clearance during his opening match; this would stand as the highest of the day. Pinhey would progress through to the last eight but he finished behind event one and two winner Ryan Mears who racked up a full quota of match wins. 

Greg Batten – another former claimant of this coveted series title – continues to impress on his return to the circuit as he topped Group C. Late entrant Tom Peasland was certainly pleased that he made the commitment to come as he also advanced to the last eight in second place.

There was a Torbay lockout in Group D as century break makers James Lee and Andy Neck qualified. Lee, runner-up at the West of England Open earlier this season, notched up maximum wins, although record three-time series winner Neck was less comfortable as he pipped Wes Peters into second by virtue of a frame. 

Along with all eight qualifiers, Steve Brookshaw (60), Ginn (70,66), Darran Lock (83 – highest non-qualifier break, 75), Andy Rogers (61), Jamie Trump (73), Ben Freeman (53) and Wayne Branton (59) all crafted half-century plus breaks, too. 

Finalists James Height and Andy Symons with WEBSF sponsor Jamie Trump (middle)

In the knockouts, Symons constructed a run of 61 as he eliminated Peasland 2-0; Lee (62 break) defeated Pinhey by the same scoreline. Deciding frames were required as Mears and Height saw off Neck and Batten respectively. 

Symons (64 clearance) ended the hopes of Mears 2-0 in an exciting semi-final – a result that could have a big bearing on the overall rankings at the end of the campaign – while Height denied Lee consecutive gold event final appearances, 2-0, in the other last four tie. 

For the second time in the tournament, Symons would face Height, but this time it was for the title. Again, it was Symons coming out on top, this time with a 2-0 result and the help of a 60 break.

Considering the personal tragedy that Symons has endured over recent weeks, this is an astonishing triumph and performance in which he dropped just two frames throughout the entire day. 

Symons’ victory sees him move up into first place on the rankings list as he seeks a maiden overall Gold Series title. Mears – also looking for the same accomplishment – trails by just six points, though. In what is sure to be a thrilling climax to the season at Top Q in Gloucester on Saturday 7th March, third placed Lee is also in contention for the accolade.

WEBSF Gold Series Event 1 Winner - 2019-20

Spirited Mears Holds On to Double Up

Ryan Mears became the first player for over five-and-a-half-years to claim consecutive WEBSF Gold Series event titles following his comeback victory last weekend in Torquay.

Familiar tour stop Galaxy TQ was the host for the second event of this season’s prestigious series, as 28 players from across the region and beyond lined up for the honours and a slice of the 100% entries in prize fund.

The Groups

In a tight finish to Group A, local cueist James Lee and Darran Lock both qualified after each winning four out of six matches. 

Going into the final round of fixtures there were several permutations still possible. This season’s West of England Open Snooker finalist Lee topped the pool despite losing his final game to Alex Mucklow and Lock only went through after seeing Huw Carpenter lose to James Height in a deciding frame. Height and Mucklow also ended on four wins apiece, although Carpenter – who bagged three wins – achieved third spot due to frames won and then frame difference. An effort of 88 from Height enabled him to pocket the non-qualifier highest break prize. 

Continuing the good form from his maiden tour triumph at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon last month, Mears headed Group B, dropping just one frame in the process and making a 119 break; at the time, the tournament benchmark. 

He was joined in the last eight by former Gold Series champion Greg Batten. Batten, who has only just made his return to competitive action this campaign, proved correct the adage that ‘class is permanent’ when he conjured up a 135 total clearance, the highest break of the day, during his progress in second place with five wins. 

Haydon Pinhey was irresistible in topping Group C, winning all six of his fixtures 2-0. The Plymouth potter made his intentions clear early on, registering the first ton of the day with exactly 100 in his opening match.  

Wales’ Andy Rogers – a former Gold Series event winner in the past – made the trip to South Devon worth his while as he advanced to the quarter-finals in second. 

Another Plymouth baizeman in Chris Coumbe won Group D, and he was joined on five wins by Chay Mearns who came second having taken one less frame than Chris. 

Finalists Ryan Mears and Darran Lock with tournament referee Nick Harry

The Knockouts

Rogers eliminated Lee 2-0, while Mears chalked up runs of 63 and 79 in dispatching Mearns by the same scoreline. Lock, who said he was fortunate to get through the groups, ousted Pinhey 2-1 on the colours, despite his opponent fashioning an 85 break to take the tie to a third frame. Batten received a walkover after Coumbe withdrew from the competition (Chris was OK, by the way!) 

Mears ended the hopes of Rogers in the semi-finals 2-0 and after being taken to a final frame, Cornishman Lock once again held his nerve there to deny Batten a return to the winner’s circle. 

WEBSF tournament stalwart Lock was aiming for a deserved, first gold event title, and it looked as if it was coming when he went 1-0 up and was carefully minding his work in frame two. However, in getting to the position of requiring just one further ball to leave his opponent needing penalty points, Lock failed at a couple of attempted pots. Plucky Mears remained ‘hang tough’ and compiled a gutsy 35 clearance to force a decider. 

Having come so agonisingly close in the previous frame, it appeared difficult for Lock to gain any momentum in the third. In what was a scrappy frame, Aldershot star Mears held the advantage pretty much throughout, eventually getting across the line to emulate Andy Neck who last collected back-to-back Gold Waistcoat/Series events towards the start of 2014. Mears also had the satisfaction of being the last WEBSF snooker event winner of the decade. 

Event three of the 2019/2020 series takes place on Saturday January 4th, 2020 at Top Q Snooker Club in Gloucester. Entry is open, although spaces are limited. For information on the event and how to enter, please see here.

Gold Series Event 1 Winner 2019-20

Mears Marks Opening Gold Event Success

Ryan Mears got his 2019/20 West of England Billiards and Snooker Foundation Gold Series campaign off to a perfect start when he claimed the event one title at Jesters Snooker Hall last Saturday. 

Top amateur players from across the south-west region and further afield made their way to Swindon to break off the 16th consecutive edition of the prestigious series. With the overall end-of-season champion decided by a ranking list, hopefuls were keen to build an early platform from the first of five events. 

The Groups

Having only recently returned from Melbourne, Australia where he reached the knockout phase of the 2019 World Billiards Championship, Mears qualified top from Group A with four wins out of five. Joining him in the last eight was record three-time Gold Series champion Andy Neck who came second, just behind on frame difference. Elsewhere in the group, debutant Huw Carpenter adapted to the new environment well as he finished third, and there was a warm reception for 2008 champion Greg Batten, making his long-awaited return to the WEBSF scene.

Former winner Haydon Pinhey was one of two players to end the groups stage with a 100% record; highlighting breaks of 85, 93 and 104 in leading Group B. Reigning Gold Series Champion Alan Tunney advanced through in second place with his only loss coming at the hands of Pinhey. Steve Brookshaw and Chris Coumbe – like Mears, had both just come back from ‘Down Under’ after making the KOs of Billiards’ biggest event – came fourth and fifth respectively. 

Current Gold Masters Champion Andy Symons was in scintillating form in Group C, chalking up six wins out of six and producing a fantastic total clearance of 138 during his opening match against Connor Benzey. The break represents one of the highest ever made in the history of the competition. Symons, a two-time event winner last season too, also crafted a 115. Gold newcomer Alex Mucklow chalked up a trio of half-centuries as he qualified in second during a fine introductory showing.

There was a thrilling finish in Group D, with qualification going down to the final frame. Last month’s West of England Snooker Open finalist James Lee won the pool with five wins, whilst youngster Aidan Murphy’s 2-1 victory over Steven Hughes in the last remaining match of the groups saw him squeeze into second courtesy of head-to-head with Hughes. Like Murphy and Hughes, Peter Bicknell also registered four wins in a tight outcome. 

The Knockouts

All four group winners triumphed in the quarter-finals with Mears, Pinhey, Symons and Lee eliminating Mucklow, Murphy, Neck and Tunney respectively – Mears and Symons coming through in deciding frames. 

Aldershot’s Mears was the first to book his berth in the final after a 2-0 semi-final success over Pinhey, whilst an exciting third and final frame was needed to separate Symons and Lee, with the former controlling the latter stages and ousting it. 

In a breathtaking final, an inspired Mears quickly took a 1-0 lead and was heading towards the finish line when he was in the balls first during the next frame. Symons managed to counter, though, and looking flawless on a break of 63 it seemed as if a decider was on the way. However, an unexpected miss on what would have effectively been frame ball red allowed Mears a chance for glory. It was an opportunity he expertly and coolly seized in one visit, clearing up the last two reds and colours, including a tricky black to the left-middle after not getting perfect position on it from the pink. A great advert for the WEBSF circuit with a nice sized crowd watching on. 

A double champion at last season’s West of England Snooker and Billiards Opens, this was multi-talented Mears’ maiden gold event title in his first final. 

Event Two takes place at the Galaxy Centre, Torquay on the 23rd November. Entries into this event are now open via a link HERE, although spaces are limited.

Gold Series Overall Winner 2018-19

2019/20 WEBSF Gold Series Event One | PREVIEW

Top amateur cueists from across the south-west region and beyond will line up for the start of the 16th West of England Billiards and Snooker Foundation Gold Series this Saturday. 

The curtain-raiser to this prestigious five-event series will be hosted by Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon, which had tables re-clothed earlier this week in preparation for the tournament. 

Every year since 2004, the Gold Series – originally born as the Gold Waistcoat Series -has been the Foundation’s premier accolade. Only ten players have claimed the coveted title, including current main tour professional and two-time Crucible Theatre qualifier Sam Baird. 

Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon hosts event one of the 2019/20 WEBSF Gold Series

This season’s likely contenders 

Alan Tunney is the reigning Gold Series champion after he finished top of the 2018/19 rankings; securing the title for the first time. Torquay based Tunney – winner of an event and a finalist in another during his successful campaign, will be present in Swindon, as he aims to become just the second person to defend the trophy. 

That particular honour was achieved by Andy Neck, who also holds the record for the most overall titles following successes in 2012, 2013 and 2018. Haydon Pinhey – conqueror in 2016 and a two-time Gold Masters victor – and 2008 king Greg Batten – making his long-awaited return to the WEBSF scene – are the other former champions in the field this weekend. 

Former English Amateur Championship finalist Andy Symons has enjoyed a superb spell over the past 12 months, collecting the end of season Gold Masters invitational and two Gold Series events. Symons, who was pipped to the overall number one spot by Tunney, will be hoping for a repeat of last term where he took away the spoils from the opening event. 

Among the other likely contenders to feature in the latter stages of competitions in 2019/20 include promising teenagers Connor Benzey and Aidan Murphy. Benzey set the record for being the youngest ever Gold Series event finalist last season, only for that to be trumped by Murphy, a back-to-back runner-up in events four and five. 

Having only just returned home from Melbourne, Australia earlier this week where they all qualified for the knockout stages of the 2019 World Billiards Championship, Chris Coumbe, Steve Brookshaw and Ryan Mears will switch back to the snooker discipline. Both the latter two each won a snooker and billiards title on the circuit last season – Brookshaw tasted glory at Gold Series Event Two and the Billiards Open, while Mears uniquely completed the West of England Open double. Runner-up at last month’s West of England Snooker Open, James Lee will be looking to go one better at the same Jesters venue. 

For up-to-date coverage of all the action from Gold Series Event One this Saturday, please visit our Facebook and Twitter social media pages. 

2019 WEBSF West of England Snooker Open | PREVIEW

Another season of quality and entertaining West of England Billiards and Snooker Foundation tournament action gets underway this weekend. 

Opening the ten-event campaign will be the eagerly awaited 2019 West of England Snooker Open which takes place on Saturday at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon. With a rich history dating back decades, this annual competition is one of English amateur snooker’s most established and sought after accolades.

A full capacity of 32 cueists will compete during the one-day extravaganza in Wiltshire with entrants spread across the south-west region and beyond, but who will be left standing with the recently revealed perpetual trophy come the close of play?

The Contenders

Aldershot’s multi-talented Ryan Mears (pictured above) will make the trip to defend the title he won twelve months ago – later in the same season Mears completed a unique double by adding the West of England Billiards Open, too. Since the competition’s resurrection in 2013 under the WEBSF banner, no player has won this title twice, yet alone retain it.

The consistent James Height (Bristol) was runner-up to Mears in 2018; he’ll be present attempting to go one better, while a two-time winner on last season’s Gold Series and the victor of the invitational Gold Masters, Andy Symons (Tavistock), will also launch a bid for glory. Steve Brookshaw (Plymouth), claimant of a brace of trophies last term, and Gold Event Four champion Ben Hancorn (Bristol), are other candidates aiming to build on recent success.

Former champions and Plymouth duo Tom Kevern (2013) and Dale Branton (2017) will both be seeking to create history by getting their name etched onto the plinth for a second time, but with a talented pool of both younger and very experienced hopefuls present, this promises to be an exciting, unpredictable and ultra-competitive 2019/20 curtain-raiser.

Throughout the day we will be providing live updates on both our Facebook and Twitter accounts, and for the first time, you can keep abreast of the results via our dedicated tournament page on CueScore.

Previous WEBSF West of England Snooker Open Finals

2013 – Tom Kevern defeated Wayne Branton

2014 – Haydon Pinhey defeated Harvey Chandler

2015 – Eddie Manning defeated Steve Downing

2016 – Billy Castle defeated Eddie Manning

2017 – Dale Branton defeated Tom Kevern

2018 – Ryan Mears defeated James Height

Article written and published by Michael Day