Aldershot hotshot beats Aldershot hotshot

ALDERSHOT cueman Neil Clayton proved something to himself by claiming a first tournament win on a regional snooker circuit.

No wonder the 32-year-old (pictured) punched the air with a mixture of relief and delight after sinking the match-ball black with the rest in the final of the Cuestars South of England Championship Tour event.

He had completed a marvellous comeback from 2-0 down to beat Ryan Mears, also from Aldershot, 3-2 at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.

Clayton, who was making his eighth appearance since the scratch tour was launched in 2009/10, said: “If I can play half decent, I can beat anyone at Cuestars – if I can play how I know I can play.

“I’m pleased to get a win. It’s been coming for a little while.

“It was just a relief, being 2-0 down to win 3-2. I was absolutely chuffed, over the moon with it.

“I’ve just proved to myself that on my day, if I play well enough, I can beat them. That was all I wanted to do today.”

Clayton had lost 2-0 to Mears the previous day in the last-32 of the Byfleet & District Billiards & Snooker League’s individual championship and feared a repeat as his opponent, trailing by 35 points, launched into a trademark 46 clearance with three reds left to take a 2-0 lead.

Mears – who, as previously reported, won the second leg in Woking in November and is still recovering from a mental breakdown – admitted the break “zapped” him and proceeded to lose the next two frames.

In the decider, Clayton, who plays out of Woking Snooker Centre, needed to clear all the colours to take the £130 first prize. He screwed a long yellow to land the cue-ball perfect on the green near the bottom cushion and finished with a rest shot on the black that was close to the side cushion.

Reflecting on the second frame, Clayton said: “He pots them off the lampshade, he really does. Unless you’ve got the white tight and even then you’re in trouble. You’ve got to snooker him and not show him a ball.

“It was a great clearance. I was in control of that frame. That was such a massive frame for him to win.”

Earlier, the sales executive for BEW Electrical Distributors “started hitting the ball right” in the last-16, “didn’t really miss” in the quarter-finals against rankings leader Jon Charlton and “blitzed” Woking runner-up Matt Ford “off the table” in the second frame of a 2-0 semi-final victory after needing a snooker in the first.

Charlton (Aldwick RBL, Bognor Regis), bidding for a fourth successive rankings title, leads Mears by two points. Clayton is three points further back in third.

A 30-strong field for the third leg competed for a £300 prize pot.

The fourth leg of six is at The Crucible Sports & Social Club, Newbury, on Sunday, February 8.


Ryan Mears: 68, 54, 48, 46, 44.
Ian Bell: 67, 48, 44.
Matt Ford: 63, 56, 46.
Brad Chappell: 62, 42.
Neil Clayton: 61.
Anthony Cutler: 56, 49, 42.
Ben Tanner: 53, 42.
James Budd: 48.
Jon Charlton: 47, 46.
Neil Carroll: 41, 40.
Anthony Rice: 41.
Mike Finn: 40.


GROUP A: 1st, Brad Chappell (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 2nd, James Budd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 3rd, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC); 4th, Nathan Page (Chandler’s Ford SC).

GROUP B: 1st, Anthony Cutler (Poole); 2nd, Ryan Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough); 3rd, Mike Finn (Churchills, Eastleigh); 4th, Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC).

GROUP C: 1st, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Ben Tanner (Eastleigh); 3rd, Reece King (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Steve Wheatland (Chandler’s Ford SC).

GROUP D: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 2nd, Neil Carroll (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Sam Storey (Crucible, Newbury); 4th, Derrick Volante (Jesters, Swindon).

GROUP E: 1st, Pete Hendes (Corfe Mullen); 2nd, Neil Clayton (Woking SC); 3rd, Mitch Wade (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, David Volante (Jesters, Swindon).

GROUP F: 1st, Stu Barter (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Ian Bell (Poole); 3rd, Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley); 4th, Ray Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough).

GROUP G: 1st, Dominic Holmes (Sovereign SC, Farnborough); 2nd, Jon Charlton (Aldwick RBL, Bognor Regis); 3rd, Stuart Chapman (Poole).

GROUP H: 1st, Adam Nash (Churchills, Eastleigh); 2nd, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL, Berks); 3rd, Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford SC).


LAST-16: Ryan Mears 2 Chappell 1, Carroll 2 Rice 0, Bell 2 Hendes 0, Wallace 2 Holmes 0, Cutler 2 Budd 1, Ford 2 Tanner 1, Clayton 2 Barter 0, Charlton 2 Nash 0.

QUARTER-FINALS (£10, 12 points): Ryan Mears 2 Carroll 1, Wallace 2 Bell 1, Ford 2 Cutler 0, Clayton 2 Charlton 0.

SEMI-FINALS (£30, 15 points): Ryan Mears 2 Wallace 0, Clayton 2 Ford 0.

FINAL (£130/£70, 25/18 points): Clayton 3 Ryan Mears 2.

Report and picture by Tim Dunkley.