JORDAN Winbourne ground out one of the most important frames of his career to earn a coveted place among the country’s top-48 players aged under-21.
Known for his phenomenal break-building, the 14-year-old, based at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club, switched to street-fighter mode to clinch the crucial victory that secured promotion to the EASB Premier Junior Tour.
Winbourne battled back from 1-0 down to defeat Rob Tickner (Hastings) 2-1 in the quarter-finals of the fifth and final leg of the EASB Regional Junior Tour (Zone 2) at Chandler’s Ford SC.
The result guaranteed the youngster one of the two promotion spots from the South East qualifying series.
Before the last frame, Winbourne told himself to “just keep it tight and don’t miss”.
And Tickner visibly crumpled as the England international time and time again pounced on the easy points and then left his opponent on the baulk cushion.
It was this maturity and poise under pressure that left his dad Chris purring with delight.
“That’s the sort of determination and character he’s been showing throughout the season,” he said. “I was delighted to see him dig in and win that.
“It gives him an opportunity to further his snooker by playing amongst the elite top-48 under-21s in the country, which can only be good for him. I’m very proud.”
Winbourne, who then lost 2-0 in the semi-finals to Lewis Frampton (Byfleet), dropped only two frames out of 12 in the group stages. In his final group match, a 3-0 victory over Londoner Adam Stacey, he compiled breaks of 60, 60 and 51.
Chris revealed that his son was quadruple booked on the day of the tournament.
He was forced to miss a Portsmouth league semi-final, Ronnie O’Sullivan’s Future Stars of Snooker in Exeter (he qualified through an event in Bournemouth) and the sixth leg of the Cuestars South of England U21 Gold Tour in Swindon (he leads the rankings).
Winbourne will next season become the fifth Hampshire potter on the EASB Premier Junior Tour.
Astonishingly, all five have progressed through the Saturday morning junior leagues at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.
Chandler’s Ford’s Bouwe Bosma ended his debut season in 12th place. The 14-year-old won three of his four group matches, including a fine 2-1 victory over ranking leader Luke Godfrey, but failed to qualify for the knockout.
GROUP STAGE RESULTS
Jordan Winbourne: 2-1 Rob Tickner (Hastings), 2-1 Jordan Gibbs (Hitchin), 3-0 Guy Loft (Hastings), 3-0 Adam Stacey (London).
Bouwe Bosma: 2-1 Luke Godfrey (Hastings), 2-1 Billy O’Connor (Dagenham), 0-3 Phil O’Kane (Sidcup), 2-1 Kyle Carter (Buckingham).
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Picture by Kevin Legg