A COMMON complaint in any area that has a strong contingent of young snooker stars is that they are always playing each other.
Here in central southern England, they meet on the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour, they meet on the EPSB Regional or Premier Tours and they meet again in Pro-Ams, national championships and the Cuestars Championship Tour.
But for this to now happen in the world championship almost defies belief.
Connor Benzey received a wildcard entry for finishing runner-up to Mark Lloyd on last season’s Premier Tour. And who was he pulled out of the hat against? None other than Billy Castle. Both are former Chandlers Ford Snooker Club Saturday morning juniors.
At least Mark and rookie professional Jamie Wilson avoided each other. Mark faces seasoned professional Peter Lines while Jamie takes on Barry Pinches, who first joined the professional ranks 14 years before Jamie was born!
The opening rounds of this year’s World Championship are being staged at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield from April 5-14.
A sobering thought is that the winners of each of the best-of-11-frame first-round matches pocket a cool £5,000.
For Cuestars to have four players there is a remarkable achievement.
Connor Benzey picture by Andy Chubb