A REJUVENATED Billy Castle dispatched a former world amateur champion to reach the final of the south coast’s biggest tournament for years.
The Marchwood teenager (pictured) defeated the 1998 IBSF World Champion Luke Simmonds 3-1 in the semi-finals of Fareham Snooker Club’s Open Classic.
Castle, who recently teamed up with Romford coach Gary Filtness, took the first frame with a 49 clearance from 40 points down.
A 62 break doubled the advantage.
Ex-professional Simmonds, from the Isle of Wight, pulled one back but Castle split the reds in the fourth and made 56.
“It was a good win,” admitted Castle.
Although the 18-year-old then lost 3-2 to Essex lad Ryan Causton, the EASB Premier Junior Tour rivals had already agreed to split the £525 prize pot.
Tournament director Derek Clark said: “It was the best final I’d seen for a long, long time.”
Joint club-owner Miki Sinanan said the 31-strong field has encouraged him to run regular events.
Crediting Filtness for the turnaround in his game, Castle said: “He’s good.
“He changed a couple of things but it’s been working. I feel a lot better. In pressure situations, where sometimes I would’ve missed in the past – I’m not missing.”
Filtness – head coach at Grove Leisure Academy, who works with professionals Judd Trump and Anda Zhang – said: “(From) what I’ve seen and worked with in a short space of time, (Billy’s) got the potential to compete with these players on the professional circuit.
“He has great potting skills and we are working on the mental side of the game. If he works hard he could be a future star.”
Earlier, Castle avenged his defeat by Andy Rogers (Newport, Wales) in the Cuestars South of England Championship final. Castle won 3-0 and then saw off Cuestars Seniors champion Colin Norton (Portsmouth) 3-1.
RESULTS FROM LAST-EIGHT
Quarter-finals: Luke Simmonds (Isle of Wight) 3 Adam Bobat (Fareham) 0, Billy Castle (Marchwood) 3 Colin Norton (Portsmouth) 1, Nick Jennings (Boyatt Wood) 3 Jordan Winbourne (Hedge End) 0, Ryan Causton (Essex) 3 Steve Ventham (East Sussex) 2.
Semi-finals (losers £50): Castle 3 Simmonds 1, Causton 3 Jennings 2.
Final (£525 split): Causton 3 Castle 2.