My name is John Hunter and I run Cuestars, which provides Junior Sections, and, for all ages, grass-root snooker tournaments across the South of England. Cuestars has more than 250 players registered and 20+ clubs affiliated.
Junior Sections enable youngsters to play on full-sized snooker tables. Players are taught the basics, shown how to conduct themselves in a snooker club environment and are introduced to competition play. Click here to see our Junior Sections page Junior Sections
A Coaching Programme is available, which offers all Cuestars players a structured approach to learning the game. There are ten levels to achieve, with the first level aimed at the beginner and the final level aimed at the proficient player.
Competitions take place on Sundays between September and May, and cater for players of all ages. Click here to see our current Competition Calendar
All competition draws take place at 10.30am prompt. Entry fees are taken on the day. All tables used for competition matches are free of charge.
The dress code for all under-21 competitions is smart trousers, shoes and a collared or polo shirt. There is no dress code for Championship & Senior (40+) Tour events. Click here to see our Competition Day Rules
Cuestars Championship Tour (no age limit and for double ranking points)
Eight ranking competitions with cash prizes subject to entries. Entry fee: £15 per event.
World Snooker Q-School place and Cuestars Championship trophy to the top ranked player.
Cuestars Seniors Tour (for players aged 40 and over)
Seven ranking competitions with cash prizes subject to entries received. Entry fee: £15 per event.
Cuestars Senior Rankings trophy for the top ranked player.
Cuestars Seniors Championship (for top 20 ranked players from Seniors Tour)
A round-robin competition for a guaranteed cash prize fund of £500 and the Seniors Championship trophy to the winner. Entry fee: £15.
Cuestars Masters Rankings (for players aged 55 and over on September 1, 2016)
Trophy awarded to top ranked player from points collected on Cuestars Seniors Tour.
Cuestars U21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Opens (for players aged under-21 on September 1, 2016)
Ten competitions on each tour for trophies. Entry fee: £10 per event.
The top-16 ranked players from each U21 Tour will be invited to the end-of-season Championships to find the Cuestars U21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Champions. Rankings winners also receive trophies.
Prize money is awarded on the Gold Tour.
Cuestars membership is £10.00.
To join Cuestars click here to open and print the Membership Form
Table and scoreboard etiquette
Shake hands before and after the match, and before a deciding frame.
When your opponent is at the table, stand away from the table and not in his eye-line, if practical. Do not move until the object-ball reaches the pocket.
From a safety point of view, please hold your cue upright and in front of you at all times when you are not down on a shot.
Pay attention at all times to what your opponent is doing.
Always apologise or hold your hand up if you fluke a pot or fluke a snooker.
When your opponent pots a red, say out loud what the break is. When he pots a colour, roll it gently back onto its spot and then say what the break is. There is no need to say “one” when the first red of a break is potted.
When your opponent’s break has finished, tell him what he has scored and watch him put the score up before starting your pre-shot routine.
The only time you put your opponent’s points up is if you commit a foul.
Be aware at all times whether you or your opponent’s score is on the top or the bottom. The player who broke in that frame should be on top. And be aware of who is leading and roughly by how much.
Treat the game and your opponent, regardless of his or her standard, with respect. Treat them the same as you would like to be treated. Wandering away from the table while your opponent is playing a shot is not acceptable.
Apart from it not being the right thing to do, winding up your opponent will only make him or her more determined to beat you.
Have you got any snooker news?
It doesn’t have to be from a Cuestars tournament.
Then please E-mail our press officer Tim Dunkley at mailto:[email protected] the details or contact him via Facebook and you could be on the Cuestars website and in your local newspaper.
I feel it also important to let you know Tim is a World Snooker qualified coach based in Southampton, Hampshire. He was taught by Del Hill.
He specialises in helping beginners.
Tim’s local club is Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club, which is just off the M3 between Southampton and Winchester. There, he helps club-owner Jim Everett run the Saturday morning junior leagues.
For full details about Tim’s coaching please visit his website Tim Dunkley – Snooker Coach
How Cuestars started
Cuestars can trace its history back to a Saturday morning junior section at Andover Snooker Club in the mid-1980s, writes World Snooker coach Tim Dunkley.
But the first seed was actually sown when a 13-year-old goalkeeper and keen cricketer grew “frustrated” with team games in 1979.
It was then that John Hunter first picked up a snooker cue. However, he did not play on full-sized tables until four years later at the Berkshire Club, in Windsor, where future world champion Steve Davis and his dad used to practise and which was owned by snooker commentator Jack Karnehm and table manufacturer Bill Hillman.
He joined in the January and remarkably made his first century in the November.
“The standard there was fantastic,” recalled Hunter. “It rubs off on you.
“I lived in that place. In those 11 months, I probably crammed more snooker in than other people do in three or four years.
“I just loved it. If you find something you do well, you just want to do it more and more. I was obsessive about trying to make my highest break – too obsessive, really.
“I should’ve focused a bit more on winning rather than break building,” he added ruefully.
Mentored by Mel Turner, Hunter won a Schweppes-sponsored national junior championship (where a certain Stephen Hendry was a semi-final casualty) at the age of 18.
“It all happened so fast,” he said.
Around 1985, Hunter’s dad, Ian, who was formerly in the building trade, bought Andover Snooker Club, which was later sold to Henry West, who used to manage some of the top players.
“I started a kids club on Saturday mornings because I wanted to give something back,” said Hunter.
Before long, he had initiated junior sections at Stonehenge, Durrington, Winchester and Aldershot. The first triangular match was between Winchester, Stonehenge and Andover in the late 1980s. And that was the start of the South of England circuit as we know it today.
Hunter, now 48, recalled: “I started to hold team competitions between the different kids clubs and then eventually I started to form a competition structure, which would be on Sundays. Because the junior side was so good, grown-up players wanted the same.”
Cuestars was set up with a government enterprise allowance grant. It grew to between 15-20 sections helped by Dave Norman and Ron Knight. When Knight retired, Norman bought Stoke Snooker Club from him.
Hunter said: “They were very helpful. Dave, at Swindon, was fantastic. And Ron did a brilliant kids club in Gosport.
“I can’t remember what made me think of the name. I had a friend who helped me with the logo.”
Although he loves to see Cuestars players progress and compete nationally and internationally (he helped Ben Harrison when he was 12-years-old), Hunter perhaps derives more pleasure from just seeing improvement in young players of all abilities.
“It’s all the kids – the ones who didn’t have a lot of ability – that became quite good,” he explained.
“They might have been a bit rough and ready when they signed up to it but they got on well in life. You feel like you’ve contributed a little bit to that.”
He tells a story about going to the bank to ask for a loan: “The person stood in front of me was in his 30s. He’d lost more of his hair than I had. He said ‘I used to be in your kids club’. And there I am sat there begging him for a loan.”
And did he give you the loan?
“He gave me a load of hassle, to be quite honest,” laughed Hunter.
Reflection on his near 30 years running Cuestars, he said: “I get a buzz; I enjoy it. I’m a snooker player myself. I was a kid who played snooker so I understand what makes things exciting. I’m constantly thinking of things that will capture their interest the way it captured my interest when I was younger.
“Not only did it give them a skill for playing snooker, it obviously helped their skills in life. I’ve always liked to organise things. Cuestars hasn’t been about me, it’s been about the people.
“But I can’t say I’m not proud,” which is about as much as you’ll ever get from a man who does not like to blow his own trumpet.