Benzey claims back-to-back RJT

CONNOR Benzey is firm favourite to earn promotion to the national under-21 snooker circuit.

The 16-year-old from Eastleigh followed up his success in Waterlooville in September by winning the second leg of the Regional Junior Tour South.

Benzey, who earlier missed a chance for a maximum 147 break, beat clubmate Steven Hughes 2-0 in the final on home tables at Chandlers Ford SC.

He took the opening frame with some ease but broke down on a run of 46 in the next.

Hughes, dangerous as ever when behind, clawed back the deficit and just needed the pink to force a decider.

But an attempted safety shot backfired and his opponent clinched victory on the black.

Benzey reckons promotion to The Regency Pro Tips Premier Junior Tour is “pretty much guaranteed” if he can secure a third straight tournament win in Brighton on Saturday week.

Earlier, he missed a just-off-straight 13th red on a maximum chance against Londoner Adam Stacey in the group stages. He had to settle for breaks of 96 and 90 in the 2-0 victory.

“I’ve scored well today,” he admitted.

Benzey lost 2-1 to Marcos Dayao (London) in the group stages but reversed the scoreline when the pair met again in the last-four.

Aquatec-sponsored Hughes (Chandler’s Ford) moves up to third in the rankings, behind Jamie Wilson (Havant) whom he beat 2-0 in the semi-finals.

Two more Cuestars players made quarter-final exits. Ryan Hughes, who compiled his highest break of 85 in the club’s Open Series the previous day, lost 2-1 to Steven Hughes and Riley Ellis was edged 2-1 on the final black by Wilson.

Benzey pocketed £60 prize money plus £10 for the day’s highest break.

Picture by Tim Dunkley

Connor Benzey (left) and Steven Hughes.

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)