WELSH DRAGON WINS BRONZE
The West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation, Bronze Waistcoat Open Snooker Championship for under 19’s was hosted for the second year in succession by the South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester. This ‘grass roots’ tournament provides a platform for young players to demonstrate their talent and where better than on the same championship tables that the professionals use. 28 players from England and Wales played over 269 frames of snooker in order to find a winner of this coveted title. The last man standing was Welsh International Callum Lloyd from Newport, Wales who beat Harvey Chandler from Northamptonshire in the final. To get to the final Lloyd dealt with most of the group stage opposition with relative ease, dropping just two frames and finishing second to the ever improving Thomas Lancastle from Bristol. Although not on top form Lloyd still managed to post the best break of the weekend, a quality effort of 117 along with a more modest 55. On the other hand fellow finalist Chandler started his campaign by taking the group stages by storm. He qualified for the main knock-out event undefeated making noteworthy breaks of 92 & 68. Chandler continued his rout in the knock-out stage against tough opposition only dropping one frame and adding further breaks of 66 & 76 which was against Michael Rogers, from Somerset, in the semi-final . In the knock-out stages Lloyd remained totally focused with just the one close call against Peter Devlin from London, who gave him a reminder that the field was peppered with top quality players. Devlin took him to a deciding frame before losing. Lloyd and Chandler played excellent snooker throughout the weekend and were both deserving finalist. The outcome was closer than the 3-1 score line suggests with all but one frame being closely contested when Lloyd made an excellent 76 to edge ahead. Running alongside the main event was a Plate knock-out for the non-qualifiers. This final was also closely contested with Ryan Smith wining 3-2 after presenting Aaron Cook with a difficult snooker which attracted several points in fouls that helped him win the deciding frame.
The tournament was held over two days…day one saw the players play each other in groups to determine who would qualify to play in the main event, with the remainder playing in the plate event. Group A was dominated by Thomas Hilborne from Dorset who won all his matches, losing just two frames. Jed Mann (Herefordshire) came a close second; his only loss was to Hilborne by a deciding frame. The other main event qualifiers from this group were Rogers and Sam Storey (West Berkshire). Chandler, as previously reported, easily won group B and qualified with Dan Legassick and Reece Watters, both from Plymouth plus Jackson Page from South Wales, the latter making a 61 break. In Group C Devlin dominated his group also finishing with a clean sheet and posting breaks of 73, 34 & 30. Jamie Hawkins (Bristol), Daniel Williams (South Wales) and Oliver Holborne (Dorset) the other players that qualified from this group. Lancastle’s clinical approach to the game saw him make a string of breaks (32, 38, 43, 57 & 58) to win group D ahead of Lloyd and the 2013 champion Haydon Pinhey from Plymouth. Pinhey posted breaks of 35, 36 & 48. The final qualifying place went to Conor Caniff from South East Wales who made breaks of 38 & 41. The remaining players from each gropup qualified for the plate, these were; group, A Lewis Sinclair (South Wales), Lewis Parnham (Gloucestershire) and Liam Davies (South East Wales); group B, Aaron Cook (Gloucestershire), Aidan Murphy (Bristol) and Ryan Smith (Plymouth); group C, Jason Cowley (Bristol) and Mark Canning (Plymouth) and group D, Aaron Burgess (Bristol), Connor Doyle (Herefordshire) and Joshua White (South East Wales). The main event winner received the coveted Bronze Waistcoat Open Snooker Championship trophy and a share of the £380 prize money. No player left empty handed as all received a certificate of participation and a WEBSF branded Cue Towel.
The Tournament Director said, “Players here this week-end have demonstrated that Grass Roots Snooker, in this part of the UK, is blessed with talented youngsters, all keen to develop their skills at this wonderful sport. The attitude and commitment of every player over the two days has been exemplary. Plymouth based EASB qualified Referees, Steve Brookshaw and Chris Coumbe, who give their time freely, have nothing but praise for the player’s conduct throughout the two days. It’s great to see the younger less experienced players compete against the more experienced International players which makes for a great spectacle. This year saw the youngest ever competitor in a WEBSF event, Liam Davies from Tredegar, Wales who has just turned eight years old. Liam showed extraordinary awareness around the snooker table for one so young and is definitely one to watch out for in the future. Holding the championship at the South West Snooker Academy continues to attract players from far afield. This year we have seen an influx of players from surrounding counties, Wales and London. This adds another dimension to the event, providing an excellent test of skill and valuable experience for the players, pitching their wits against opponents not normally encountered. Special thanks must go to the tournament sponsors: The Southwest Snooker Academy, Gloucester for providing excellent facilities free of charge, EASB Referee & WEBSF Coach, Greg Jones who gifted the cue towels, KC’s Snooker Coaching Centre, Stroud and KS ELEKSAFE (UK) who enhanced the prize money and last but not least the West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation volunteers for running the event.” Details of this and other WEBSF tournaments can be found on http://www.websfsnooker.com, WEBSF Facebook Group or by contacting Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995.
Report by Steve Canniford