Sam Baird – Overall Winner
Silver Waistcoat Tour – Event 1
(Masters Snooker Club, Taunton)
WYLIE COX SNAPS MATERS VICTORY
15th October 2005
Sam Cox from Exeter emerged as winner of the first West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation (WEBSF) Silver Waistcoat event of the 2005/6 season, after a dramatic 3-2 win over Darren Bond, Tiverton in a tense final. Masters Snooker Club, Taunton, Somerset for the time hosted this prestigious tournament, from the WEBSF’s ever expanding calendar of events. The tournament boasted a strong field of players from throughout the South-West of England, as competitors tried to gain the early initiative in the seven event ranking series. With a superb number of entries, players were split into four groups, with the top two advancing to the knockout quarter- final stage.
In group A former Devon U19’s County Champion Sam Baird comfortably progressed to the last eight with an immaculate qualifying campaign, winning all five of his round robin matches. In-form Baird produced a string of breaks that included a 68 & 65, surely making him a strong favourite to lift the Taunton title. Joining him in the last eight was Jack Smith, Stroud making his Silver debut. Smith came through as second seed after 4 wins out of 5, his only defeat was at the hands of the lethal Baird.
Group B, Sam Cox, who holds the record for the highest break in the history of the tour, a superb effort of 124 which he made last season, finished top of this group. Joining the ‘breakmaster’ was the exciting young Cornish prospect, Bobby Southworth, Falmouth. Southworth came through with 4 wins and only narrowly missed out on a victory over Cox losing 2-1.
Group C threw up the two most consistent players in the tours history, in the shape of former UK champion Bond and defending overall Silver Waistcoat Champion Grant Cole, Plymouth. It was Bonds yellow to black finish on the colours to win 2-1 that sank Cole’s hopes of heading the group. This left 16 year old Bond to gain the early kudos progressing to the knockout stage as top seed. Cole, who has never failed to qualify to the knock-out stages in every Silver Waistcoat event in the last two years, also progressed. However, being in second place meant he would have a tougher quarter final draw than Bond. Cole made solid breaks of 46, 41, 38 & 36. Robert Charman, a regular from Redruth made the long trip to Somerset, narrowly missed out this time finishing third in this tough group.
Final group D was particularly interesting, as it contained home-town 10 year old Michael Rogers. Much to his credit, Rogers finished third just below the cut. Newcomer Ryan Elcombe, Plymouth and Jay Harrington, Falmouth came out on top booking their place in the last eight with a match to spare. Confident Elcombe topped the group. Out of all four groups this was probably most open and competitive, with everyone gaining at least one victory.
In the quarter-finals Bond raced through to the semi-finals after dispatching Smith 2-0 nil. The Devon star performed brilliantly, making a 75 break in the process, this was to be the highest of the day. Southworth, the sole Cornish player left in the competition struggled with the pace of the table but kept his hopes alive beating Elcombe 2-0 to set up a mouth-watering clash with Bond. Cox continued to quietly progress, overcoming the brave challenge of Harrington 2-0. Cox also made a beautifully crafted break of 52. Without doubt though the pairing of the round was Baird versus Cole. Both started off nervy and shared the opening frames. In a scrappy decider, Cole held the upper hand as he laid a number of snookers. However Baird pulled out an incredible frame and match winning clearance.
The first of the semi-finals was between Southworth and Bond with both players cueing exceptionally well the match would be decided by the odd mistake. In frame one this proved ran true as Bond continued his fine run of form with a 32 break to win the frame easily. Southworth had the early lead in the second, but a missed red with the rest, this allowed Bond to build a 40 break and therefore take the match 2-0 and book a place in the final. Bond was joined by Cox as he narrowly beat favourite Baird 2-1 on the final black. Cox, who had earlier made a 41 in the opening frame, won when he saw Baird’s attempted safety on the black, end up with the cue ball dropping in the green pocket. This was the second successive match Baird was involved in a black-ball decider, but clearly his luck had run out!.
The final was moved to the Masters match table, and was eagerly watched by the club management and a large number of players and officials. After a long day of action it was clear to see that both players had been drained. Cox won the opener 56-46, only to be pegged back by Bond when he won the second frame 67-72 on the black. Bond then forged a lead by comfortably claiming frame three by 56-16. Cox, cheered on by his Exeter compatriots, set up a crucial decider when, with a display of impeccable cueing he took frame four 59-25. The final frame was an edge-of-the-seat affair, with both players taking small leads on alternate visits to the table. With four colours left, Cox required only one solitary pot, while Bond had to clear up. Bond had the first chance as he sank a superb brown, blue and pink, to leave himself a match winning opportunity on the black. However with the intensity of the match apparent Bond jawed the black and left a thin cut into the bottom right pocket. Cox, without hesitation potted the black much to the amazement of all watching. It was an exciting and deserved ending to a magnificent and enthralling days play which was enjoyed by players, officials, staff and parents alike. Cox lifted the trophy; his first tour event win for over a year and a half. He is now provisionally ranked top in the Silver Waistcoat rankings. Many thanks must go to the staff and management of Masters Snooker Club who made everyone feel welcome throughout the days play.
Report by Mike Day
Silver Waistcoat Tour – Event 2
(Bells Court Snooker Club, Falmouth)
CLASSY COX CONTINUES SNOOKER CARNAGE
12th November 2005
Sam Cox from Exeter once again proved his champion pedigree when capturing event two of WEBSF’s Silver Waistcoat Tour at Bells Court Snooker Club, Falmouth.
Cox, the winner of the opening event in Taunton last month, put pay to Plymouth’s Grant Cole’s chances, when defeating the reigning Silver Waistcoat champion 3-1 in front of an intrigued audience.
The Falmouth venue, home to professional Andy Hicks, has been a regular and familiar fixture on the circuit calendar, and once again boasted a healthy entry of talented snooker starlets.
Cox topped his qualifying section, winning his opening three matches in convincing fashion. His only defeat of the day would be at the hands of the much-improved Dale Branton (Plymouth). Branton, the current Bronze Waistcoat champion, showed he has made the step up to a higher tier of tournament play when winning 2-1 in his penultimate contest. It would leave a final showdown between Branton and Joel Martin (Exeter) for the second qualification spot. Martin, who had earlier lost to playing partner Cox, came through 2-1 on the final pink in a tense finale.
Darren Bond, the Tiverton terror, was once again in lethal form when defeating Michael Rogers (Stroud) and Luke Veale (Tiverton) in his opening matches. Bond fabricated clinical breaks of 74,63,43,39 and 33, quite an amazing standard in just 4 frames. However it was surprisingly Redruth’s Jamie Read who would top the table when he stunned Bond by 2 frames to 1. This was significant as it meant Bond, as second seed, would have a tougher quarter-final draw. Read also made breaks 0f 31 and 44.
Falmouth’s Bobby Southworth was the home club hero as he comfortably secured a last 8 berth. He would have a perfect 100% record when going through for the second successive event. Southworth who looked at ease with the pace of the tables made breaks of 62,56 and 30. Joining him was once again Ryan Elcombe (Plymouth) as he finished second in the round robin table.
Group D paired two mainstays of the circuit in the form of Sam Baird and Grant Cole, and predictably both players qualified with ease. However there was much interest when both players met in the last match of the group. Baird came from losing the opening frame to beat Cole 2-1 to secure a top seeding. Baird made the highest break of the day in this match with an 84.
Top of the draw was that of Cox who came up against the relative inexperience of Elcombe. However the Plymouthian was unfazed by the occasion when claiming the first frame. Yet it was the Exeter cue man who hit back with a break of 46 to win the match and reach yet another semi-final.
He would play Southworth, who kept alive the possibility of a home win when he defeated Martin 2-0, the opening frame going down to the black ball. Cole also reached the final quartet when he dispatched Cornish youngster Read 2-0, with the help of a fluked pink in the second frame. Match of the round was easily the anticipated showdown between Tiverton players Bond and Baird, both regular practice partners. However the match was a one-sided affair, as Bond struggled to rein act his previous form, Baird won 2-0 with the aid of an impressive break of 52.
Hopes of a Cornish victory were quickly dashed when Cox beat Southworth 2-1. The match was an ugly and scrappy affair, with both players ruing missed opportunities. Grant Cole, who has been without a single Silver Waistcoat event victory for 18 months, was paired against Baird. This was the second time in the day these two players had locked horns, and it was Cole who repaid Baird’s victory earlier on, by winning 2-0. Cole was in lethal form making breaks of 39 and 36, as Baird could only muster 24 points in the entire match.
The final was extra special for both players as it was played on Andy Hicks’ own match table. In this best of five clash, Cole started favourite after his demolition of Baird in the semis. Yet Cox raced into a 2-0 lead making a break of 36 on the way. Cole repaid the compliment with a string of snookers in frame 3 to reduce his arrears to 2-1. It also looked for all the world that the tie would be forced into a deciding frame shoot out when Cole led by 30 points in frame 4. However, he accidentally snookered himself on the final red. Cole failed to escape, and Cox duly obliged with a cool and collective 33 clearance to seal an amazing win.
Overall this meant Cox is well clear at the top of the rankings board when the tour moves to his home town of Exeter in December. A special mention must go out to Cox, who woke up at 2.30am in the morning to catch the slow train down to Falmouth, just showing the dedication and hunger some of these youngsters possess.
Report by Michael Day
Silver Waistcoat Tour – Event 3
(Rileys Club, Exeter)
CENTURIONS MEET IN THE FINAL
17th December 2005
The final of event three of the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation Silver Waistcoat saw two of the best players for their age group in the region, provide a spectacle of matchplay snooker to a very high standard. Sam Baird (Halberton) completed an excellent days play with a tenacious 3-2 victory over Darren Bond (Tiverton). Baird went two frames to nil up aided by a fine 45 break. Bond clawed this lead back to level at 2-2 making a 48 break in the process. The final and deciding frame proved a very tense affair with neither player not wanting to lose. However, it was Baird that took the frame and match 3-2 to win his first Silver Waistcoat event since May 2005. In the earlier stages of this tournament both these players posted centuries along with several other notable breaks, proving the worth of regularly competing in WEBSF tournaments.
In the semi finals the quality of some of the snooker ranked alongside that of professional play as seen on the television! The first semi final pitched Baird of Devon against Bobby Southworth of Cornwall. The first frame saw Baird eight points in the lead before he coolly completed a total clearance of 115 that contained some outstanding potting. Baird took the second frame with the aid of a modest 36 break to win 2-0 giving Southworth no chance. The second semi final was another cracking match, an all Devon affair between Grant Cole and Bond. Bond seized the imitative with a well constructed break of 71. Cole’s superb safety play allowed him to steal the second frame and level the match one all. In the deciding frame Cole built a slender lead before taking on a dangerous pot to the middle pocket which he missed. This allowed Bond a chance to compile a frame and match winning break of 45 to win 2-1.
The quarter finals saw and end to Exeter’s Sam Cox‘s run of victories with Grant Cole (Plymouth) ending any hope that Cox had of winning a hat trick of Silver Waistcoat tournaments. Cole won by two frames to nil with the aid of a 47 break. Rob Charman (Falmouth) must have fancied his chances after taking a 1-0 lead against fellow County player Southworth, only to watch the wily Southworth claw his way back to win 2-1. Baird dismissed the ‘Redruth Potter’ Jamie Read with relative ease; knocking in breaks of 43 & 33 to win 2-0. Bond won 2-0 against Jay Harrington (Falmouth) to progress through to the semi finals.
In group A Baird took top spot winning five of his six matches, he also recorded the highest break of the group, a superb 93 in defeating Cox. Baird also manufactured breaks of 66, 43 and a two 33’s. Cox, runner-up in this group and had to fight hard to maintain his challenge. This was demonstrated in his match against Charman, Cox was twice in trouble but dug deep to pull out a fine 2-1 victory. Cox made frame winning breaks of 66 & 41 while Charman posted a 48. Cox also made breaks of 45, 41 & 38 in other group matches. Charman qualified in third place with his best break being 53 in a 2-0 victory over Danny Gibson from Exeter. Jay Harrington (Falmouth) took the final qualifying spot, his best break being a 51 in his 2-1 victory over Baird.
Darren Bond won group B by virtue of a single frame over Southworth. The standard of snooker and the intensity was evident from the start. Bond versus Cole has always been a mouth watering prospect and this latest would prove to be no different! Bond staked his claim taking the first frame with a magnificent 116 clearance. Cole, impassive as ever, stuck to his task taking the second frame with a 47 break followed by a well constructed 78 clearance in his next visit to the table. In the deciding frame Bond seized back the initiative with breaks of 36 & 24 to run out a 2-1 winner. Bond also recorded breaks of 73 & 69 in his 2-0 demolition of Joel Martin from Exeter. Southworth finished runner-up with great matchplay snooker which was evident in his 2-0 victory over Cole, even though Cole registered a break of 43. Cole took the third qualifying spot posting a bag-full of breaks over 40. Cole made match winning breaks of 59 & 50 in his 2-0 victory over Read. Read took the fourth qualifying position, recording a break of 38.
For more details on how to become a player/member of the WEBSF visit http://www.websfsnooker.com were you can not only follow all the latest regional Billiards & Snooker news but also link to all of the national and international sites.
Silver Waistcoat Tour – Event 4
(Victoria Snooker Centre, Plymouth)
BOND WINS AFTER A POOR START
21st January 2006
Once again the standard of snooker displayed by the regions under 19’s in the latest West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation Silver Waistcoat event surpassed all expectations. Onlookers where treated to a feast of breaks, fifty over thirty including two in the 90’s and a superb century. The Victoria Snooker Centre, Plymouth played host to this the forth event in the series that boasts some of the best under 19 players in the region.
Early in the day the talented seventeen years old Darren Bond from Tiverton only just qualified from the group stages, by finishing in forth place. However, as with all class players, he upped the tempo to dominate in the knockout stages on his way to a 2-1 victory over Bobby Southworth (Falmouth) in the final. The first frame went to Bond 106-14 after Southworth miss-cued to gift Bond an opportunity that he was to take with gusto, clearing the table with a magnificent 89 break. In the second frame Bond made an early 36 only to sit and watch Southworth clear with a fine 27 to win 53-51 and level the match. In the deciding frame Southworth made a well crafted 50 break only to be pegged back by Bond with breaks of 27 and a match winning 39 to the blue. Southworth was unable to get the snooker required and Bond potted the pink and take the title and edged closer to Sam Cox, the current No.1 in the rankings
In the semi-finals two times event winner and top ranked player Sam Cox (Exeter) made a 63 break in the first frame against Southworth only for Southworth to get three snookers to steal the frame. In the second Southworth was almost 40 points behind before making a well constructed 29 break followed by another of 27 to the pink to win 2-0. The level of safety play and the tenacity shown by Southworth proves he is far more than just another potter! In the other Semi-final Bond beat adversary Grant Cole (Plymouth) 2(32,47)-0(32). As is the norm when these two meet in competition the match was awash with quality snooker.
The quarter final match between Bond and Sam Baird (Halberton) was a classic. Bond powered in a 59 break only for Baird to strike back with a 32 followed by a 32 clearance to pinch the frame. Bond fought hard to level the match and went on the win the decider with the help of well timed 40 break. In the other quarter’s Cole (32) beat Ryan Elcombe (Plymouth) 2-0 and Cox beat Jamie Read (Cornwall) by the same score.
In group A Baird potted as well as any player on the professional circuit, wining the first frame against Leon Bullen (Exeter) with a brilliant century (110). Baird continued to demonstrate his potting prowess in the second fame notching up a break of 93 to beat a shell shocked Bullen 2-0. There where breaks a plenty in this group, in addition to the afore mentioned breaks Baird added 70,68,50,47,38,37,35,34,33. Cole made breaks of 50,41,38,35. Rob Charman (Redruth) a 46, Sam Edmunds (Plymouth) a 42 and Alex Baird on of 30.
Group B also provided a spectacle of break building as the ‘pocket rocket’ from Cornwall Jamie Read beat the up-and-coming Bronze Champion Dale Branton (Plymouth) 2-0 with a quick fire 93 break. Dan Bellamy (Plymouth) had a baptism of fire losing 2-0 to Bond who posted a fine 81 break. Read asked questions of Bond as he beat him 2-0 with the aid of a speedy 50. Branton had a 46 break in defeating Luke Veale (Tiverton) 2-1. Veale and Danny Wicks (Plymouth) did well to take a frame off Southworth and Read respectively as Southworth made breaks of 64 & 30 and Read one of 46.
As the final ball in the final was potted Tournament Director Keith Millard was heard to say “I know I keep saying it but…The standard of play we see at these tournaments amazes me, it’s just awesome!”
Report by Roger Cole
Silver Waistcoat Tour – Event 5
BAIRD’S POT OF SILVER
6th May 2006
Sam Baird the 18 year old potting machine from Halberton was crowned the 2005/6 West of England Silver Waistcoat Snooker Champion after defeated 14 year old Bobby Southworth from Bells Court Snooker Club, Falmouth. This, the final tour event was held at Riley’s Snooker Club, Exeter and proved to be a real roller coaster for Baird. At the start of the day he was lying in third place in the ranking table, 160 points behind, the favourite for the title, Sam Cox (Exeter). However, Baird’s superior potting and break building skills was to prove significant as he steam rolled is way to the final. Tiverton team mate 16 year old Darren Bond was brushed aside 2-0 in a high quality semi-final that contained breaks of 70, 59 & 35. In the previous round Baird was put to the test by an up-and-coming 14 year old, Dale Branton (Plymouth). Branton put up a great show before losing 2-1. Baird made breaks of 52 & 44 in the group stages finishing in second place as a result of a 2-1 loss against group winner Bond. Bond was undefeated and made breaks of 77, 52, 45 along with the highest break of the championships a magnificent 117. Cox finished third just ahead of the much improved Jay Harrington (Falmouth).
In the other group Grant Cole (Plymouth), despite recording a break of 62 and several 40 plus breaks, failed to qualified for the knock-out stages for the first time. Jamie Reed (Redruth) finished top of the group with breaks of 61, 49, 43 & 41. Southworth finished second and Branton finished a very respectable third place with Robert Charman (Redruth) taking the final qualifying place. Much improved Danny Wicks (Plymouth) posted some excellent results on the day the best of these being an impressive 2-0 win over Charman. Cole, on a hat-trick after winning the tour in 2003 and 2004, was unable to realise an aspiration of raising the trophy for a third successive year. Other good performances came from Ryan Elcombe (Plymouth), Alex Baird (Tiverton) and Leon Bullen ( Exeter). These three players will be ones to look out for in the future. The tour are now established as the premier tournaments for Junior in the South West.
Keith Milliard the tournament director for West of England Billiards and Snooker Foundation said “For Sam Baird to come from third position and snatch the title just goes to show what can be accomplished if you are prepared rise to the challenge. Sam will have learnt a great deal from playing on the tour and he can only improve with experience.” Millard went on to say that “all of the youngsters who competed are a credit to our sport and I am confident this tour will attract even more players in the future”.
For the latest news and what is happening in the region with regard to Billiards & Snooker go to the WEBSF web site http://www.websfsnooker.com
Report by Roger Cole
Alex Baird – 30
Ben Holley – 38,34
Bobby Southworth – 64,62,59,56,50,39,38,38,37,32,32,31,31,30,30
Dale Branton – 46,45
Darren Bond – 117,116cl 89,81,78,75,74,73,71,69,63,59,52,48,47,45,45,44,43,40,40,39,39,36,36,33,32,32,31
Grant Cole – 78cl,62,59,50,50,47,47,43,42,41,41,46,39,39,38,38,36,36,35,32,31,30,30
Jamie Read – 93,50,49,47,47,46,44,43,41,38,37,33,32,31,31,30
Jack Smith – 57,43
Jay Harrington – 51,38,36,34,30
Joel Martin – 51
Leon Bullen – 37,37,36,36
Rob Charman – 53,48,47,46,44,36,32,31
Sam Baird – 115,110,93,93,84,76,70,69,68,68,66,65,62,52,52,50,47,45,44,44,43,43,37,37,36,35,35,35,34,34,33,33,33,33,32,32,32,31,31,30
Sam Edmunds – 42,33,33
Sam Cox – 66,66,63,61,52,46,45,45,41,41,41,40,39,38,38,37,31