Oliver wins nine-day Christmas Cup

OLIVER Sykes ended the third year of his blossoming snooker career by claiming the Christmas Cup at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.

The 11-year-old overtook the up-and-coming O’Shay Scott, eight, on the ninth and final day to land his fourth school holiday competition title.

Scott, who was also runner-up in the Rotary Summer Cup and joint third in the Autumn Half-Term Cup, had led the rankings from the second day.

Third-placed Harry Joyce, 11, recorded a personal best 26 break against Sykes on the seventh day.

But 14-year-old century-breaker Connor Benzey chalked up the competition’s highest of 70 on the final day, also against Sykes.

Sykes made the highest billiards break of 41 and won a free two-hour lesson with World Billiards coach Trevor Thorn.

World Snooker coach Tim Dunkley, who has been running these school holiday competitions for four years, said: “It was a remarkable performance by Oliver considering he was competing off the second lowest handicap.

“O’Shay will consider himself unlucky not to have held on to the lead but I’m sure he’ll bounce back.

“And it was great to see Harry beat his highest break. It’s a just reward for the hours he puts in on the practice table.”

Talented left-hander Sykes, whose highest break in tournament play is 69, also competes on the EASB Regional Junior Tour (South West) and the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour.

The next competition is the Half-Term Cup from February 20-24.

Final rankings: Oliver Sykes 100.5 points, O’Shay Scott 95, Harry Joyce 86, Joe Hampson 61, Connor Benzey 49, Ryan Hughes 38, Bowen Zhu 36, Charlie Pringle 29.5, Jack Powell 22, Steven Hughes 17, Byron Tolliday-Watts 12, Olly Gibbs 10, Riley Ellis 8, Bradley Cowdroy 7, Jack Tillyer 4.

Picture by Tim Dunkley

Final day line-up, from left: Joe Hampson, Harry Joyce, Steven Hughes, Oliver Sykes, Ryan Hughes, Connor Benzey, O’Shay Scott.

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)