ENGLISH under-18 snooker champion Mark Lloyd insisted “it’s time to move on” after retaining his Cuestars South of England Under-21 Gold Tour rankings title.
But the 17-year-old from Gosport refused to rule out competing in the occasional event in the future.
Lloyd collected his fifth winner’s trophy of the season in the tenth and final leg sponsored by Attic Life at Salisbury Snooker Club.
He beat rankings runner-up Mickey Joyce (Basingstoke) 2-0 in the final to finish the 2016/17 campaign 32 points clear.
“I’m not doing this again but I might pop in every now and then,” said Lloyd, who is based at Stoke Snooker Club, Gosport.
“It’s nice to see the players coming through. It sounds like I’m about 50! You see the players developing and I’m developing myself.
“But it’s time to move on. I’ve enjoyed it.”
He added that he’ll “definitely” compete on the Cuestars Championship Tour next season for a place at Q School.
Lloyd won the Silver rankings title in 2012/13 and the following season shared the Gold title with Bradley Chappell (Poole). He also claimed the Gold championship play-off in 2014 and 2016.
Now competing on the EASB Premier Junior Tour and taking a business course at Fareham College, Lloyd still has a dream of turning professional but is realistic about his chances.
“I’ve always said to myself, even from an early age, just go out there and see what you can do,” he said.
“It will come if it’s meant to be. I’ve never set my sights too high. I just want to go as far as I can.”
Third-placed Connor Benzey (Eastleigh), who beat Lloyd in the final of the eighth leg in Swindon in March, prevailed 2-0 when the pair met again in their first group-stage match.
England international Joyce, 13, fresh from retaining his place on the EASB Premier Junior Tour for next season, dispatched his Chandlers Ford clubmate Steven Hughes in a one-frame play-off for the second of the two best third-place finishers.
Lloyd recorded the day’s highest break of 54 in his 2-0 semi-final victory over 11-year-old Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford), who had tripled the final black to edge Bradley Cowdroy (Bournemouth) 2-1 in the last-eight.
The top-16 ranked players will be invited to the championship play-off on finals day on Sunday, May 14, at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon. World number 34 Mark Davis will present the trophies and play exhibition frames against all the champions.
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Mark Lloyd: 54, 50.
Oliver Sykes: 48.
Mickey Joyce: 42.
Connor Benzey: 41.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Olly Gibbs (Chandler’s Ford SC).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Connor Benzey (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Mark Lloyd (Stoke SC, Gosport); 3rd, Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Adam Stacey (Legends, Leytonstone).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury); 2nd, Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Aidan Murphy (Fishponds Cons Club, Bristol); 4th, Mike Trigg (Chandler’s Ford SC).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Sykes 2 Cowdroy 1, Lloyd 2 Browne 1, Joyce 2 Benzey 0, Murphy 2 Rice 1.
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Lloyd 2 Sykes 0, Joyce 2 Murphy 0.
FINAL (£60/£30, 25/18 points): Lloyd 2 Joyce 0.
Picture by Tim Dunkley. Mark Lloyd with girlfriend Chloe White who finished third on the Bronze Tour.
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)