ONE of Surrey’s top snooker amateurs said “it’s nice to be back” after winning the first leg of the Cuestars Seniors (40+) Tour on his debut.
Jon Charlton pocketed £100 prize money following a hard-fought 2-1 victory over defending rankings champion John Hunter in the final at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant.
Andover cueman Hunter needed snookers with one red left in the first frame but squared the match on the yellow in the next.
Charlton had conceded 20 points in fouls by the time the first two reds had been potted in the decider.
But a handy run of five reds and five pinks meant he took a nine-point lead into the colours.
Following a safety battle, a double kiss on the brown by his opponent gifted Charlton an opening and he cleared to the pink.
“I was glad to take the chance at the end because I didn’t think I’d get another one,” said the architect from Haslemere.
Charlton, who won the Championship Tour rankings three years running from 2011/12 to 2013/14, had not played a Cuestars event for nearly two years.
Explaining why, he said: “I just hit a bit of a wall and was struggling. I didn’t know where to go with my game so I stopped playing tournaments.
“It was only really since the Legends (World Seniors Tour) came along, it’s got me motivated again.”
Charlton, who turned 40 during the summer, beat Matt Ford, one of the pre-tournament favourites, in the groups and Neil Craycraft, who won two of the three ranking events he entered towards the end of last season, 2-0 in the last-four.
In the other semi, Ford (Bracknell) missed the final black with the rest in his 2-1 defeat by Hunter.
The 21-strong field for the event sponsored by Top Spot SC returned 28 breaks of 40 or more. Hunter’s 85 in the group stages was the highest, closely followed by an 84 by Wayne Muddiman (Fair Oak).
Four other players made their Seniors debuts. Lawrence Millington (Bournemouth) was undefeated in his group but went out 2-0 to Craycraft (Didcot) in the last-eight. Darren Johnson (Petersfield) and Carl Davies (Bournemouth) both two of their four matches. And Dean Sycamore (Chichester) only lost two of his five matches.
Fareham Snooker Club hosts the second leg of eight on Sunday, October 21.
To find out more about Top Spot SC, go to www.facebook.com/topspotsnookercentre.
John Hunter: 85, 52, 51, 50, 47, 43, 43.
Wayne Muddiman: 84, 42, 41.
Neil Craycraft: 78, 44.
Dean Sycamore: 75.
Matt Ford: 64, 64, 64, 59, 46, 46, 44.
Jon Charlton: 59, 41.
Chris Rigby: 54, 44.
Carl Davies: 55.
Martin Wallace: 51, 49, 42.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, John Hunter (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Neil Craycraft (Jesters, Swindon); 3rd, Paul Lawrence (Park Gate RBL); 4th, Herman Desmier (Bournemouth & District Constitutional Club); 5th, Ray Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough).
GROUP B: 1st, Jon Charlton (Haslemere); 2nd, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 3rd, Carl Davies (St James Inst, Bournemouth); 4th, Chris Rigby (Chertsey SSNR); 5th, Paul Burt (Salisbury SC).
GROUP C: 1st, Lawrence Millington (St James Inst, Bournemouth); 2nd, Martin Wallace (Crucible, Newbury); 3rd, Darren Johnson (Petersfield Bowls & Snooker Club); 4th, Dave Pullman (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot); 5th, Stephen Hills (Traders, Northfleet).
GROUP D: 1st, John Monckton (Woking SC); 2nd, Neil Carroll (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Dean Sycamore (Chichester City Club); 4th, Wayne Muddiman (Chandlers Ford Central Club); 5th, Phil Morgan (Chandlers Ford SC); 6th, Jon Walker (Potting Shed, Aldbourne).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Hunter 2-0 Wallace, Ford 2-0 Monckton, Charlton 2-0 Carroll, Craycraft 2-0 Millington.
SEMI-FINALS (15 pts, £30): Hunter 2-1 Ford, Charlton 2-0 Craycraft.
FINAL (25/18 pts, £100/£50): Charlton 2-1 Hunter.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)