First ton in 25-year history of junior league

IT WAS the first century break ever recorded in the 25-year history of the Eastleigh & District Junior Leagues.

Play stopped on all the other tables and Chandlers Ford Snooker Club fell silent as news spread that Connor Benzey was on a big one.

Tension mounted when the 15-year-old from Eastleigh left himself thin on the final green and then faced a tricky brown off its spot with the cue-ball uncomfortably close to the side cushion and middle pocket.

There was a huge round of applause as he drilled the brown in to pass the century mark in his Under-19 Premier match against Brett Wallace.

And there was another when he completed the 113 clearance to the black.

Jim Everett, the former club owner who launched the Saturday morning junior leagues in May, 1992, happened to enter the hall as the last couple of balls were potted.

League organiser and World Snooker coach Tim Dunkley said: “It was another magic moment that will live long in the memory of those of us who were privileged to witness it.

“To make a century in this one-frame format is so difficult.

“And for Jim to pop in and witness the end of it was surreal.”

The break eclipsed the 98 scored by Shane Castle, then aged 11, against Aaron Murray in 2009.

In his previous match, two-time Under-19 champion Benzey, whose other century break was a 102 made last July, trailed Oliver Sykes by 40 points and cleared the table for a 54.

Meanwhile, Bradley Cowdroy came close to his first ton at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth.

The 15-year-old, whose previous highest break was 89, missed a “gettable black off its spot” on 96 against David O’Callaghan. He also made a 92 during a productive day.

Picture by Tim Dunkley

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)