CONNOR Benzey secured his third Eastleigh & District Under-19 League title by the narrowest of margins on a dramatic day at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club.
And Under-13 champion O’Shay Scott was one frame away from setting a new record.
Cuestars Gold Tour player Benzey pipped former champion Oliver Sykes by just one frame on the final shot of the 20-week campaign.
“I thought I’d lost it,” he admitted.
It was certainly a testing time for the 16-year-old from Eastleigh who left school the previous day after completing his GCSEs.
Benzey, who recorded a league record break of 140 in February, led 12-year-old Sykes by two points and two frames going into the last week.
But defeats by his title rival on the black and Riccardo Drayton on the pink meant he went into the final round of matches tied with Sykes.
However, while Benzey dispatched Scott, defending champion Steven Hughes produced a great colours clearance to beat Sykes on the final black in the final match.
If Sykes had won that match, the pair would have tied for points and frames won and the title would have been decided by countback.
The archives had already been trawled by club owner Ray Cooper to reveal that Sykes had beaten Benzey in nine of their 14 encounters this season.
Earlier, nine-year-old Scott retained his Under-13 Premier title by a country mile.
But a run of 54 straight victories was ended in the 20th and final week by runner-up Harry Wyatt, who travels up from Ferndown every Saturday morning.
Despite the defeat, Scott said the campaign had been “good” and he now has his sights set on a hat-trick.
Scott’s winning margin was 23 points. William Thomson was third, ahead of Lennon Savage, Lewis Aisthorpe-Buckley and Fiona Cunningham.
Kostas Ormerod took the Division 1 title ahead of Alex Quartermaine.
Scott, who has a high break in competition of 49, is currently joint top of the handicapped Open Series and he has won promotion to the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Silver Tour.
New 20-week leagues start on Saturday, June 23. Under-13s are in action from 9-11am and under-19s from 11am-1pm. (Many of the lads then stay on for the handicapped Open Series that starts at 1pm and ends around 7pm.)
Complete beginners are catered for and no pre-registration is required. For more details, ring the club on 023 8025 4834 or email World Snooker coach Tim Dunkley on [email protected]
Picture by Tim Dunkley
O’Shay Scott (left) and Connor Benzey
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)