Mark Lloyd chasing third national title

MARK Lloyd is one step away from a third national junior title.

The 19-year-old from Gosport has potted his way into the final of the English Under-21 Championship.

Striking a blow for south coast snooker, he beat northern lads Harry Gosney 4-1, Sean Maddocks 4-2 and Patrick Whelan 5-1 in the last-16 knockout in Leeds.

The Cuestars Championship Tour rankings winner now faces Callum Beresford, from Yorkshire, in the final in Sheffield next month.

Lloyd, the 2015 under-16 champion and 2016 under-18 champion, booked a place in the last-16 at the Northern Snooker Centre via a qualifying event in London last December.

Meanwhile, Steven Hughes reached the quarter-finals of a national competition for the third time in two seasons.

The 17-year-old from Chandler’s Ford beat Harlow-based Alex Clenshaw 4-0 in the last-16 of the under-21 event.

Hughes, the only Regional Junior Tour player in a field of Premier Junior Tour stars, then lost 4-1 to Whelan, a 20-year-old full-time player from Rotherham.

Last season, the teenager, who is sponsored by Aquatec Plumbing & Heating, reached the last-eight of the Under-18 and the Under-21 Championships.

The following day, Jamie Wilson lost 4-1 to Birmingham’s Hamim Hussain in the quarter-finals of the English Under-18 Championship.

Hamim is in eighth place on the national under-21 circuit and won the national under-14 title twice.

Wilson received a walkover in the last-16 when his opponent, Joe Fenton, failed to show.

And Connor Benzey (Eastleigh) lost 4-3 on a re-spotted black to Kayden Brierley (Swinton) in the last-16.

The 17-year-old had been 3-1 up and 27 points in front with just the colours remaining in the decider.

Picture by Tim Dunkley

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)