A PORTISHEAD snooker player’s bid to turn professional is gathering momentum.
Ben Hancorn pocketed £180 prize money after winning the first leg of the Cuestars Championship Tour at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon.
The rankings champion after eight events collects £500 and the championship play-off winner also picks up £500. The total of £1,000 pays for a Q School place.
Hancorn returned to the game in 2017 after a ten-year absence. He produced a good showing at Q School in Burton in May and is now ranked 11th on World Snooker’s Challenge Tour, the feeder for the professional circuit.
In an all-Somerset final in Swindon, the 36-year-old defeated James Height, from Shepton Mallet, 3-0 to take maximum points.
Reflecting on his Cuestars debut, Hancorn said: “I played well all day. I felt good.”
But he did survive a scare in the round-robin group stages. After winning his first three matches, Hancorn went down 2-0 to two-time rankings champion Matt Ford (Bracknell) and qualified for the knockout as one of the four best third-placed players.
“I thought I was automatically through and saved myself for the knockout,” he admitted.
From the quarter-finals onwards, he didn’t drop a frame.
The 30-strong field representing 21 different clubs returned 32 breaks of 50 or more. Hancorn knocked in the day’s only century of 128 in his last-eight victory over Ross Barker (Oxford).
A number of new faces made their Cuestars debuts in Swindon but for some it was more like an old boys reunion. Pascal Richard (Gosport), Sean Harvey (Chertsey) and Barker returned to the circuit after an absence of a decade or more.
Chandlers Ford Snooker Club hosts the second leg of eight on Sunday, October 14.
Ben Hancorn: 128, 66, 58, 57, 55, 54.
Sean Harvey: 96, 68, 66, 57.
James Height: 92, 74, 58, 57, 51.
Paul Bunyard: 92.
Mark Lloyd: 88, 50, 50.
Mark Vincent: 61, 60, 59, 57, 56, 52.
Anthony Cutler: 61.
Matt Ford: 55, 50.
Ross Barker: 51, 50.
Craig Marsh: 51.
Ryan Mears: 51.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Ryan Mears (Sovereign, Farnborough); 2nd, Ross Barker (Abingdon Cons); 3rd, James Height (Break N Dish, Street, Somerset); 4th, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 5th, Mike Trigg (Cue T’s, Marchwood).
GROUP B: 1st, Paul Bunyard (Sunninghill Comrades Club); 2nd, Pascal Richard (Mayfair, Gosport); 3rd, James Budd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 4th, Damian Wilks (Rickmansworth RBL); 5th, Mark Ridout (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).
GROUP C: 1st, Mark Lloyd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 2nd, Liam O’Shea (Jesters, Swindon); 3rd, Mark Vincent (SWSA, Gloucester); 4th, Andrew Darken (Chertsey SSRN Club); 5th, Ray Mears (Sovereign, Farnborough).
GROUP D: 1st, Sean Harvey (Staines Cons); 2nd, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club); 3rd, Ben Hancorn (Portishead, Somerset); 4th, James Cullen (Woking SC); 5th, Anthony Foxcroft (Salisbury SC).
GROUP E: 1st, Adam Nash (Churchills, Eastleigh); 2nd, Darren Johnson (Petersfield Bowling & SC); 3rd, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant); 4th, Ian Desmier (Break N Dish, Street, Somerset); 5th, James Trump (SWSA, Gloucester).
GROUP F: 1st, Andrew Hudson (Broadstone Cons); 2nd, Anthony Cutler (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Craig Marsh (Crucible, Newbury); 4th, Martin Wallace (Crucible, Newbury); 5th, Daniel Hall (Jesters, Swindon).
LAST-16 (10 points): Vincent w/o Ryan Mears, Richard 2-0 Ford, O’Shea 2-0 Hudson, Height 2-0 Nash, Lloyd 2-0 Weston, Harvey 2-0 Cutler, Barker 2-1 Johnson, Hancorn 2-1 Bunyard.
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Vincent 3-1 Richard, Height 3-0 O’Shea, Lloyd 3-2 Harvey, Hancorn 3-0 Barker.
SEMI-FINALS (£25, 15 points): Height 3-1 Vincent, Hancorn 3-0 Lloyd.
FINAL (£180/£70, 25/18 points): Hancorn 3-0 Height.
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)