NEWLY-relegated Bradley Cowdroy marked his return to the southern region snooker circuit with his highest competitive century and an emphatic tournament-winning performance.
The 19-year-old from Bournemouth dropped only one frame in the opening leg of the Under-20 Regional Development Tour (South) at The Crucible Sports and Social Club, Newbury.
And he opened his account with a monster 126 break in his first match against nine-year-old William Thomson (Eastleigh)
Cowdroy qualified with ease from his round-robin group and was installed as an early favourite for a return to the national under-21 circuit after beating Londoner Lee Whaley 2-0 in the final.
The talented left-hander had been relegated from the Under-21 Premier Development Tour at the end of last season and had failed to regain his place in the junior play-off in Derby.
He could easily have returned to the feeder circuit with a whimper or a sulk but instead he demonstrated his determination to re-join the big boys with a performance that was described by some observers as on a different level to the rest of the field.
As usual, though, Cowdroy was humble in the face of praise and took time out to talk about Whaley.
He said: “Lee’s getting better every time I see him play so it was a tough final and I’m sure we’ll have a few more good battles this year.”
Turning to his break and relegation, Cowdroy added: “I was over the moon to make that break. Everyone stopped on the other tables to applaud at the end so it was a nice moment.
“The last few months have been tough. I missed competing so much during lockdown. To then come back and underperform at Q School and then get relegated from the Premier Tour on our return really hurt.
“I just needed to get some confidence back and put a smile on my face again so I’m happy I was able to achieve that here.”
The previous week, Cowdroy (pictured) had been presented with his trophy for winning the 2019/20 Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour rankings.
And he has also been thrown a lifeline by the English Partnership for Snooker and Billiards. The governing body has produced an order of merit, for players who missed out in the play-off, which will be used to make the numbers up if any Premier Tour events do not reach their full 30-player capacity. Cowdroy is second on the list, behind fellow Cuestars member Simon Bubb.