Budd clears colours to secure Stoke Open

FAREHAM potter James Budd took time out from celebrating victory in the Stoke Snooker Club Open to pay tribute to beaten finalist Mark Lloyd. The 17-year-old wrapped up the 3-1 win at the Gosport club with a 27 clearance.

“Mark is a good break builder,” said Budd. “He’s very talented for his age.”

Indeed. Lloyd, 13, was forced to give his older opponent a seven-point start in the handicapped event that attracted an 18-strong field.

In the first round, Budd, receiving six, defeated Mike Hart 3-1. After a three-hour wait, he conceded 26 to Chris Roebuck and won 3-2. And he beat Joe Kitchen, who received 18, 3-0.

Earlier this month, Budd posted a personal best 85 break en route to winning the Secretary’s Shield, the under-30 event run by the Gosport & Fareham Snooker League. He accounted for Lloyd in the final.

The pair also compete on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Silver Tour where Lloyd is the rankings leader with seven of the eight legs played.

Now in his second season on the tour, fourth-placed Budd, hoping to make a first final in the last leg in Salisbury on May 5, is looking forward to promotion to the Gold Tour next season.

He said: “I’ll be up against very, very strong opponents so I will need to put loads of time into practice.”

Picture by Dave Randall: Stoke SC owner Dave Norman (left) and James Budd.