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 English Billiards Winner - 2019-20

Graham Claims the a-Ward-s at WEBSF Billiards Open

Graham Ward showed fine form as he went the day undefeated in winning the 2019 WEBSF Billiards Open at Frames Snooker and Pool Club in Weston-super-Mare; a competition in memory of WEBSF legend Bryan ‘Pops’ Canniford. 

Decorated exponents of the three-ball discipline from the south west region and beyond took part in this annual event with 100% of entry fees paid out as prize money. Initially split into four groups of five players, the top two from each pool progressed to the knockouts. All matches were fifty-minute affairs. 

The Groups

During the groups phase Ward produced a string of sizeable breaks, including a 130 which would stand as the day’s highest. The Sidmouth cueist won all four fixtures to top Group A and he was joined in the quarter-finals by group runner-up David Gillingham who had three wins. 

Current World Billiards number nine ranked player and defending champion Steve Brookshaw made his intentions clear as he racked up six half-centuries to head Group B with a perfect record, while the experienced Chris Mitchell came second. Group C reference point was Barry Russell who also notched up maximum points; chalking up a top effort of 70 unfinished in the process. Welshman Eddie Duggan qualified behind him. Terry Azor – Group D winner with four wins – crafted runs of 52 and 61, and second-placed Chris Coumbe hit a trio of 50 pluses. 

Volunteer tournament referee for the day, David Cook

The Quarter-Finals onwards

Ward continued his bid for the title rattling in a break of 78 to defeat Duggan 262-174. In an all-Plymouth clash, a break of 95 aided Coumbe in a 242-129 victory to dethrone regular travel and playing partner Brookshaw. The bottom-half of the draw saw Russell (50 break) comfortably dispatch Gillingham 251-98, and in the closest of all last eight matches, Azor overcame Mitchell 195-148. 

The winning line was in sight for the four remaining competitors and there was plenty of drama to come, although Ward eliminated Coumbe with plenty of change to spare by 311-149. This contrasted with the Russell/Azor semi-final that was decided by just six points – Azor, who made a break of 65, ousting it 177-171. 

After a long, but enjoyable day in North Somerset, it was no surprise that the final was close, with Ward triumphing by only a margin of ten points, 193-183. 

Main event finalists Graham Ward and Terry Azor

Big thank-yous go to all the staff at the Frames venue, the tournament referee David Cook and plate finalist Jenkins, who is an electrician and was our savior when the lighting on one of the tables went awry.

The West of England English Billiards Open is due to take place on Saturday February 22nd, 2020 at Jesters Snooker Club in Swindon. Entries opened Saturday but there is still limited space to play in it; for further information on the event and how to pay, please click here

The WEBSF Billiards Open – in memory of Bryan ‘Pops’ Canniford. “Well done chum!”