English U14 & U16 Championship qualifiers

CUESTARS players are in the finals of two national junior championships.

Gold Tour rankings leader Bradley Cowdroy and Bronze Tour rankings leader Ronnie Sullivan are one step away from being crowned the best players in their age groups in the whole country.

Bournemouth teenager Cowdroy reckons it’s “insane” to be ranked in the top two in England.

The 15-year-old faces Ryan Davies (Oldham) in the final of the English Under-16 Championship in Gloucester in June.

Cowdroy reached the last-16 knockout via last month’s southern qualifier at Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon.

He then beat Isa Ishtiaq (Bradford), last season’s Under-14 runner-up, 4-0 and fellow Cuestars players Oliver Sykes 4-1 and Olly Gibbs, last season’s Under-14 champion, 5-1 at the Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds.

“I started off really nervy against Isa but managed to steal the first frame on the black and started playing really well after that,” he said.

“Then to have to play Oliver and Olly was tough, not just because they’re both great players but also because we all really wanted each other to do well.

“I think there’s a real bond between all of us here in the south, more so than in any other region, and I’m talking about every single player from Bronze to Gold.

“We all get on so well and push each other on to be better players and I think that’s why we’re all improving so much.

“I’m still in shock to be honest – to be top two in England is insane. I want to thank everyone for all their well wishes – and June can’t come quickly enough for me now, even if I do have my GCSEs!”

Sykes (Chandler’s Ford) produced the result of his career in the last-16.

The 12-year-old turned over Premier Junior Tour player Sean Maddocks (Liverpool), the youngest player to make a ratified 147 break, 4-1.

Mickey Joyce went out 4-1 to Paul Deaville in the last-16.

The previous day, Sullivan continued his remarkable first full season by reaching the final of the English Under-14 Championship.

The 13-year-old Londoner takes on Deaville (Blackpool) in the final.

Sullivan made his Cuestars Bronze Tour debut in December, 2016. He has won five of his 13 tournaments and has at least been in the final of the last eight.

Deaville beat Sykes 4-1 in the quarter-finals and Aidan Murphy 4-2 in the semis.

Riccardo Drayton was beaten 4-1 by Liam Pullen (York) in the last-16.

The finals are being held at the South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester, in June.

Pictures by Aidy Drayton and Jim Cowdroy

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)