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.

Lloyd lifts West of England Snooker Open trophy

Teenager Mark Lloyd added his name alongside the established list of former champions after claiming the 2019 edition of the West of England Snooker Open. 

Soon to be celebrating their 15th year anniversary, the West of England Billiards and Snooker Foundation (WEBSF) cut the ribbon for the new 2019/20 tournament season at familiar tour venue Jesters Snooker Hall. A total of 32 players from across the south-west of England and beyond made the trip to Swindon, all vying for the prestigious title and a slice of an £800 prize fund that consisted of 100% of entry fees. 

The Groups

Lloyd, from Gosport, qualified top of Group D with six wins from seven, constructing breaks of 71, 58, 63, 60 and 98 in the process. Joining him in the knockout rounds from the same group was second-placed Martin Pitcher who ousted last year’s runner-up James Height into third courtesy of a better frame difference by just one. 

Since the tournament’s rebirth in 2013 under the WEBSF banner, no player has won the title twice, yet alone defend it. 2018 champion Ryan Mears put up a spirited performance attempting to alter both those facts throughout the day. The Aldershot cueist finished first in a tight Group B with James Lee acquiring the other qualifying place, both just one win ahead of hot-prospect Liam Davies from Wales and Andy Symons. 

Ben Hancorn made no mistake in Group A as he progressed with a 100% record – registering an effort of 105 along the way – whilst Lee McArthur advanced in second with just one loss to his name. Cornwall’s Darran Lock was the table-topper in Group C, and after Steve Brookshaw lost his final fixture 2-0, youngster Connor Benzey was elevated into the second qualifying position courtesy of frame difference. 

Former winners Tom Kevern (left, 2013) and Dale Branton (right, 2017) stood either side of this year’s defending champion Ryan Mears and the new West of England Snooker Open perpetual trophy.

The Knockout Rounds

With the grueling group stage action over, the main event had been whittled down to just eight remaining hopefuls. 

Undefeated Hancorn recovered from losing the opening frame to overcome Pitcher 2-1, and after setting what would be the highest break of the competition with a 118 in the first frame, Lee also needed a deciding frame to eliminate Lock. There was no such requirement for all three frames in the bottom half of the draw, though, as defending champion Mears (49 break) saw off Benzey 2-0 and Lloyd (54 break) ended the hopes of McArthur. The fast route to victory was also taken in the semi-finals as Lee and Lloyd denied both Hancorn and Mears, respectively, 2-0. 

In a predictably close final affair, current English Under-21 champion Lloyd secured the opener before Lee forced a decider. The 19-year-old responded by starting the third frame positively with a break of 52, and although Lee created himself a counter-attacking opportunity, a subsequent miss was the beginning of the end as Lloyd completed his triumph, some 14 hours after the first cue ball was struck. 

In the West of England Snooker Open Plate event for those who finished third or fourth in their groups, Anthony Rice collected the prize money when he denied the talented Davies in the final on the colours. 

WEBSF Tournament Director Steve Canniford said “It has been a long day but worth the effort to facilitate a tournament where amateur snooker players from around the region compete in a competitive but friendly atmosphere. A great way to start the season and celebrate 15 years of volunteering with the WEBSF”

For an overview of the tournament’s results, please visit our page on cuescore.com here.

Article written and published by Michael Day

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

Totally Rewarded

2017 Sponsors Totally Reward
2017 Sponsors Totally Reward

Snooker Group Totally Rewarded for their Community Work    

The West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation (WEBSF), a not-for-profit community group, is seeking people to get involved with their activities around the region.  The organisation is run by a team of volunteers who have given thousands of voluntary hours since the group first started thirteen years ago.  The main aim of the foundation is to develop and facilitate ‘Billiards and Snooker for All’ throughout the West of England by holding coaching sessions and tournaments as well as promoting the benefits of volunteering.

The foundation launched in 2004 and is proud to have six times World Champion, Ray Reardon MBE as their Patron.  Over the years, volunteers have helped hundreds of participants enjoy the sport ranging from those who want to play just for fun, to the more serious players who have gone on to compete at International and Professional levels.  The group also caters for players outside the region, where no similar organisation exists, and has regularly attracted players from Wales, West London and the Midlands in the past. Attendees are very diverse, from children through to retirees with both male and female participants across all abilities. In addition, players from China, Russia, Scotland, Jersey, Guernsey, Switzerland have also played when visiting the region.

This season, the foundation has been fortunate to attract sponsorship for three of its events from Totally Reward, Human Resource Consultants, who have offices in London and Bristol.  The company is led by Silvia Mondello, Senior Specialist and recognised HR Professional, who has more than 20 years’ experience in corporate HR.  The sponsorship has been instrumental in allowing the foundation to enhance their activities around the region and in particular ‘The Bronze Open’, ‘The Gold Series’ and ‘Gold Masters’ tournaments.

Co-founder of the WEBSF, Steve Canniford, said “We are extremely privileged to have been approached by sponsor, Totally Reward, and we see this funding opportunity as an acknowledgement of the continuing hard work undertaken by our volunteers in supporting the wider community to access the sports of billiards and snooker”.

The foundation also expressed gratitude to the multiple venues supporting tournaments and coaching activities this season which include Jesters Snooker Hall and the 147 Snooker Club in Swindon, Top Q Snooker Club in Gloucester, The Plaza Snooker Club in Plymouth and The Galaxy Centre in Torquay.

The WEBSF holds various billiards and snooker tournaments between September and May and prides itself on providing value for money as well as encouraging participants to use the events as a platform for personal development.  Through regular coaching sessions, the WEBSF provides a safe and informative environment where players can form new friendships and learn new skills.  Using billiards and snooker as a tool for learning, coaching sessions not only concentrate on developing further knowledge about the game but also help to increase confidence, improve social skills and work on aspects of literacy and numeracy.  Volunteering opportunities are another way to get involved and develop new skills as no prior knowledge or experience of the game is necessary.  There are many different ways people can volunteer their time including short or long-term research projects, digital marketing, administrative support, accounts management, funding applications or becoming a 1:1 befriender as well as opportunities to offer more technical expertise by becoming a coach or volunteering as an official.

If you would like to get involved either as a player or volunteer, please visit http://websfsnooker.com or contact the WEBSF Champion, Steve Canniford, on mobile 07891940995 or email websf_uk@yahoo.co.uk.

The wait is over…

WEBSF Logo

…The WEBSF 2017-18 Season starts now

After a very successful 2016-17 season, we have had a very busy summer seeking various opportunities to help develop and grow our activities across the region.  We would like to thank all our participants and volunteers for their continued support last season and look forward to seeing what the new season brings.

The WEBSF Management Team are pleased to announce that Totally Reward, a Human Resource Services and Reward Solutions company, will be providing sponsorship for a number of events this season.  Totally Reward have a good track record for delivering straight forward, effective, no thrills solutions specific to the businesses they serve.  The consultancy is led by Silvia Mondello, a senior specialist and recognised HR professional with more than 20 years’ experience.

  • increase membership and improve financial sustainability
  • increase our visibility through tournaments
  • increase the number of WEBSF volunteers

Totally Reward logo

The new sponsorship opportunity has brought about a number of positive changes to our events this season as detailed below:

The Bronze Open

  • The event is open to any amateur player that will be under 17 years of age on the 31st August 2017
  • The entry fee is £10
  • Everyone playing in the tournament will leave with something
  • There will be a number of billiards and snooker coaches available to give coaching and advice. In addition, there will be a current and ex-professional player on-hand to provide photo opportunities, play a frame or two and share their experiences of being a professional.
  • Free coaching and advice will not just be available to the players in the tournament but to anyone who wants to improve their knowledge of the game or is thinking of taking up billiards or snooker

The Gold Series

  • The prize money available for each event has been increased
  • £100 is available at each of the six events for anyone who achieves a 147 break – if more than one person achieves this rare feat, the prize money for that event will be shared. If a 147 break is not achieved in a Gold Series event, the £100 prize money will be allocated to the end-of-season Gold Masters event
  • There will be a guaranteed highest break prize of £30 at each event for both qualifiers and non-qualifiers
  • The entry fee for each event is £20 (in addition to a one-off £10 annual WEBSF membership fee)
  • Places are available on a first come, first served basis. Tournament entry is secured upon receipt of pre-payment
  • The Gold Series culminates in the Gold Masters event for the players ranked in the top 16 at the end of the season

‘The Gold Masters’

  • Players who finish in the top 16 of The Gold Series at the end of the season will be eligible to play in this knock-out tournament
  • The tournament will end with a professional exhibition which will be open to the public. The professional will also be on hand for the presentation of trophies
  • This will be a ticketed event with food included in the ticket price
  • The Gold Masters event will aim to bring together members, supporters and the public to enjoy top quality snooker
  • The event will also be an opportunity to help raise funds to ensure the sustainability of the Foundation and support our work within the community

Please refer to our website for further information about specific tournaments.  The registration dates for each tournament are listed below:

  • West of England Snooker Openregistration open from 4th August 2017
  • The Gold Series (event one) – registration open from 7th September 2017 for subsequent events, registration will open on the day of the preceding tournament
  • The Bronze Open – registration open from 1st September 2017
  • West of England Billiards Open – registration open from 1st September 2017
  • Ladies Open, 28/4/18 – registration open from 1st September 2017

2015 in review

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Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 22,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

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