Regional Junior Tour play-off defeats are blessing in disguise

THREE Cuestars Gold Tour players may have returned home disappointed from the EASB Regional Junior Tour play-offs at the North East Derbyshire Snooker Centre, Clay Cross, near Chesterfield…

…but it may actually be a blessing in disguise.

Connor Benzey (Eastleigh) won three and lost four of his matches. One more win may have put him into a three-way play-off for the third promotion spot to the Premier Junior Tour.

Benzey finished second in the South West region ahead of Bradley Cowdroy (Bournemouth), who picked up scant reward for taking frames off two of the three promoted players.

And Aidan Murphy (Bristol), who qualified through the Midlands region, finished fourth in his eight-man round-robin group losing only to the three promoted players.

However, the English Association of Snooker & Billiards has announced controversial plans for next season’s national circuit for the country’s top-32 under-21 players.

The current two-day round-robin format will change to a “brutal” one-day best-of-seven-frame straight knockout.

Fellow Gold Tour player Anthony Rice (Fordingbridge), who pipped Benzey for the South West title and gained automatic promotion, said: “It seems brutal travelling to Leeds with the prospect of drawing one of the best juniors in the country to play four frames and be faced with a five-hour drive home.”

Next up for the lads is Cuestars finals day at Jesters, Swindon, on Sunday with professional Mark Davis.

Picture by Tim Dunkley. Bradley Cowdroy

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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)