Charity tournament winner Hughes faces a day with the stars

A CUESTARS Gold Tour player will spend a day mingling with the world’s top professionals as a result of winning a charity tournament.

Steven Hughes emerged victorious from a 16-strong field to claim the top prize in the Sightsavers Snooker Spectacle at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club.

Rookie professional Billy Castle had donated a pair of tickets, which include backstage passes, for the first day of the 2018 Welsh Open at the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, on February 26.

All of the £15 entry fees from the 16-strong field, a total of £240, will be donated to the Sightsavers charity. The host club provided the tables free of charge.

Hughes came back from 1-0 down to beat Phil Morgan 2-1 in the final.

The 16-year-old was left chasing snookers on the blue in the first frame but levelled with a 32 break.

He then broke the back of the decider with a run of 41 after winning a high-quality safety battle.

In the last-four, Hughes, knocked out nine-time Tuesday Singles League champion Mitch Wade (Chandler’s Ford) while Morgan overcame Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford) with a blue, pink and black clearance that never looked on.

Earlier, Morgan recorded a 63, his highest break for a couple of years, against Dan Hammond (Winchester) in the group stages and he then beat Anthony Rice (Fordingbridge), one of the pre-tournament favourites, in the quarter-finals.

The youngest entrant, eight-year-old O’Shay Scott (Eastleigh), was one ball away from qualifying for the knockout after beating Jamie Risk (Eastleigh) and losing on the final black to Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford).

Rice posted the afternoon’s highest break of 89 against Ally Pollard (Alderholt).

Neil Carroll (Rownhams) beat Hammond 2-1 in the Plate final.

Thirteen Cuestars members competed in the first of what may become an annual event.

Hughes, who is sponsored by Quickdraw Supplies, recorded six breaks of more than 30 in his eight frames.

But that didn’t quite match Connor Benzey’s scoring blitz in the previous day’s Open Series.

The 15-year-old rankings leader from Eastleigh, who had equalled the Super League’s highest break of the season with a 90 on the Monday, lost in the first round to Callum White (Havant) and then went on the rampage en route to winning the plate.

Benzey posted nine runs of more than 30 – including a series high of 89 and three more 50-pluses – in just ten frames.

RESULTS

Group A: 1st, Steve Wheatland (Bishopstoke); 2nd, Phil Morgan (Salisbury); 3rd, Dan Hammond (Winchester); 4th, Riccardo Drayton (Chandler’s Ford).

Group B: 1st, Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford); 2nd, Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford); 3rd, O’Shay Scott (Eastleigh); 4th, Jamie Risk (Eastleigh).

Group C: 1st, Charlie Pringle (Chandler’s Ford); 2nd, Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford); 3rd, Neil Carroll (Rownhams); 4th, David Stewart (Odiham).

Group D: 1st, Anthony Rice (Fordingbridge); 2nd, Mitch Wade (Chandler’s Ford); 3rd, Steve Boterhoek (West End); 4th, Ally Pollard (Alderholt).

Quarter-finals: Wade 1-0 Wheatland, Hughes 1-0 D Sykes, Pringle 1-0 O Sykes, Morgan 1-0 Rice.

Semi-finals: Hughes 1-0 Wade, Morgan 1-0 Pringle.

Final: Hughes 2-1 Morgan.

PLATE

Quarter-finals: Hammond 1-0 Pollard, Stewart 1-0 Scott, Carroll 1-0 Risk, Drayton 1-0 Boterhoek.

Semi-finals: Hammond 1-0 Stewart, Carroll 1-0 Drayton.

Final: Carroll 2-1 Hammond.

Breaks: Rice: 89, 48; Pringle: 64, 49; Morgan: 63; Hughes: 52, 47, 41, 38, 34, 32; Wade: 48, 37; Carroll: 45, 37; D Sykes: 39; Hammond: 30.

Picture by Tim Dunkley

Champion Steven Hughes (left) and Sightsavers fundraiser David Stewart.

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)

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