IT TOOK an Aldershot cueman just 17 minutes to prove he “can still play a little bit” in his first regional snooker final for many a long year.
Paul Bunyard pocketed £200 prize money following a quick-fire 2-0 victory over former Welsh international Callum Lloyd on the Cuestars South of England Championship Tour.
The 38-year-old climbed to second place in the rankings after his success in the Ahmad Tea-sponsored second leg at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club.
In the last four, Bunyard, who made a last-16 exit in Swindon last month, replied to a 62 break by Christian Chislett (Basingstoke) with a 58 clearance to nick the first frame on the black. He went on to win 3-1.
And he then dispatched Lloyd in a little over a quarter of an hour.
“I played well in patches all day,” he said. “In the semi-final and final, it clicked a bit more and I played well in both.
“It’s always nice to play Christian. He’s a quick player – we both are – and he has a nice open game.
“I managed to get through that one and then took my chances in the final.”
In his younger days, Bunyard played alongside Paul Hunter in the England junior team at the Home Internationals and in 1997 lost 7-6 to the newly-crowned world champion Ken Doherty in the Pontin’s Spring Open final in Prestatyn.
Following a spell on the Challenge and UK Tours, he stopped playing for five or six years before picking up his cue again in 2010 to compete in the Byfleet & District Billiards & Snooker League.
“I did quite well on the amateur circuit but I didn’t quite make it onto the Main Tour,” he explained.
“After that, I thought I’d better knuckle down and get a job.
“Coming back to it later on has been really good. I’m enjoying it and to win one is great. It just proves I can still play a little bit.”
Bunyard, who is based at Woking Snooker Centre and turns out for Sunninghill Comrades Club in the Byfleet league, insisted that the Q School place on offer to the rankings winner is not his main motivation.
He said: “If I was to (win the rankings), I’d give it a go at Q School and see how I get on. But it’s not the ultimate thing.
“It’s just nice to play tournaments again. I don’t play many tournaments outside of the league.
“It was nice to play to the level I know I can play at during certain parts of this tournament. Hopefully, I can keep that going for the rest of the season.”
Earlier, Lloyd (Newport) opened his 3-1 semi-final victory over former English Under-18 Champion Mark Lloyd (no relation) with a 72.
Leg-one winner Mike Finn (Eastleigh) knocked in the day’s only century break of 110 against his Churchills clubmate Stewart Crosswell in the group stages.
Finn suffered a 3-2 quarter-final defeat by Chislett but remains in top spot, four points clear of Bunyard. Mark Lloyd (Gosport) is ten points further back in third.
The 40-strong field returned 28 breaks of 50 or more.
Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant, hosts the third leg of eight on Sunday, November 12.
Ahmad Tea is an international tea producer whose global headquarters and specialised high value products factory is a stone’s throw from Chandlers Ford Snooker Club. For more information, go to www.ahmadtea.com.
Mike Finn: 110.
Christian Chislett: 94, 62, 62.
Paul Bunyard: 92, 77, 61, 58.
Mark Lloyd: 92, 57, 52, 51, 50.
Ronnie Blake: 75.
Callum Lloyd: 72, 70, 68, 60, 55, 50.
Anthony Rice: 70, 53.
Olly Gibbs: 63.
Neil Herd: 56.
Dale Prout: 56.
Ryan Mears: 54.
Mickey Joyce: 53.
Jamie Wilson: 50.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Christian Chislett (Selsey RBL, Chichester); 2nd, Adam Nash (Churchills, Eastleigh); 3rd, Steve Wheatland (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, James Budd (Fareham SC). Craig Marsh (Crucible, Newbury) withdrew.
GROUP B: 1st, Ronnie Blake (Frames, Coulsdon; 2nd, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Dale Prout (Crucible, Newbury); 4th, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 5th, David Rice (Salisbury SC).
GROUP C: 1st, Mike Finn (Churchills, Eastleigh); 2nd, Mark Lloyd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 3rd, Stewart Crosswell (Churchills, Eastleigh); 4th, James Cullen (Woking SC); 5th, Neil Herd (Salisbury SC).
GROUP D: 1st, Olly Gibbs (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Brett Wallace (Fareham SC); 3rd, Andrew Seymour (Crucible, Newbury); 4th, Lewys Smith (Wexa Sports, Newport); 5th, Pat Patel (Crucible, Newbury).
GROUP E: 1st, Charlie Pringle (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Martin Wallace (Crowthorne RBL); 4th, Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley); 5th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
GROUP F: 1st, Callum Lloyd (Redz, Cwmbran); 2nd, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Jonjo Sharkey (Crucible, Newbury); 4th, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 5th, Ray Mears (Sovereign, Farnborough).
GROUP G: 1st, Paul Bunyard (Woking SC); 2nd, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC).
GROUP H: 1st, Ryan Mears (Sovereign, Farnborough); 2nd, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Stu Barter (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Lee Stagg (Salisbury SC); 5th, Antony Foxcroft (Salisbury SC).
LAST-16 (20 points): Chislett 2-1 R Hughes, Finn 2-0 Wallace, Pringle 2-1 D Sykes, Bunyard 2-0 Joyce, Nash 2-0 Blake, M Lloyd 2-0 Gibbs, C Lloyd 2-0 Wilson, A Rice 2-1 Ryan Mears.
QUARTER-FINALS (24 points): Chislett 3-2 Finn, Bunyard 3-0 Pringle, M Lloyd 3-1 Nash, C Lloyd 3-2 A Rice.
SEMI-FINALS (£50, 30 points): Bunyard 3-1 Chislett, C Lloyd 3-1 M Lloyd.
FINAL (£200/£100, 50/36 points): Bunyard 2-0 C Lloyd.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)