CONNOR Benzey insists he’s “ready to mix it with the best in the country” after earning promotion to the national junior snooker circuit.
The 17-year-old from Eastleigh beat Jamie Wilson (Havant) 2-0 in the final of the penultimate leg of the EASB Regional Junior Tour South at Fareham Snooker Club.
Benzey, who has won four of the five legs on the feeder circuit, now has a virtually unassailable lead at the top of the rankings.
The prolific century-breaker spoke of his “relief” following a heartbreaking defeat in the 2017 play-offs.
He said: “Getting on the Premier Junior Tour was my main goal this season.
“It means more to me because of how close I came to getting on two years ago and how disappointed I was after that.
“My all-round game has improved and I’m ready to mix it with the best in the country.
“I definitely feel like I have earned it this year because of how hard I have practised.”
The Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour player, who recorded breaks of 85, 79, 72 and 59 in Fareham, beat Chandlers Ford clubmate Steven Hughes 2-0 in the last-eight and Londoner Marcos Dayao 2-0 by the same score in the semi-finals.
Interestingly, he had lost to both players in the round-robin group stages.
Unless the English Association of Snooker & Billiards only allocate one place to the southern region AND Benzey doesn’t attend the last event in London next month AND Wilson wins it, he will join his clubmate Oliver Sykes, 13, on the Premier Junior Tour for England’s top 32 players aged under-21 next season.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)