WILTSHIRE potter Shane Kearns is in the mix to claim the Cuestars Under-21 Silver Tour rankings title after winning the seventh leg at Fareham Snooker Club.
The 17-year-old from Swindon proved he is well in contention by dispatching the top two in the knockout rounds.
And he earned a place on next season’s Gold Tour with a personal best break in the second frame of the final.
Kearns, who also won the third leg on home tables at Jesters Snooker Club last November, wrapped up a 2-0 victory over Nat Kidner (Bournemouth) with a run of 60.
“The first frame was quite close then I managed to pull it together and start playing well,” he said.
Talking about his highest break, he laughed: “It felt good.”
Kearns won two out of his four group-stage matches and qualified for the knockout on frames difference.
But then he overcame second-placed Richard Hillgrove 2-0 and rankings leader Louie Leighton 2-1.
Reflecting on the day, he said: “My game’s been on and off but I started playing well towards the end.”
It’s tight at the top of the rankings following the event sponsored by Fareham Snooker Club.
Hillgrove’s bid to overtake his Basildon Snooker Club practice partner Leighton was not helped by the fact he had to borrow a cue after leaving his at home in Southend.
Leighton extended his lead to eight points by progressing one round further.
Riley Ellis (Clyffe Pypard, North Wilts) remains in third place, four points adrift of Hillgrove, following a 2-1 semi-final defeat by Kidner.
Kearns is one point further back in fourth.
Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant, hosts the eighth legs of ten on Sunday, March 17.
For more information about Fareham SC, visit www.farehamsnooker.co.uk.
Shane Kearns: 60.
Louie Leighton: 42.
O’Shay Scott: 38, 33.
Riley Ellis: 31.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Louie Leighton (Basildon SC); 2nd, Will Forster (Mayfair, Gosport); 3rd, Dean Russell (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Zak Truscott (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, O’Shay Scott (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Richard Hillgrove (Basildon SC); 3rd, Kaine Petty (Salisbury SC); 4th, Mason Wilson (Academy, Basingstoke); 5th, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Riley Ellis (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Shane Kearns (Jesters, Swindon); 3rd, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 5th, Ben Crump (Stoke SC, Gosport).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Kearns 2-0 Hillgrove, Ellis 2-0 Forster, Kidner 2-1 Scott, Leighton 2-0 Petty.
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Kearns 2-1 Leighton, Kidner 2-1 Ellis.
FINAL (25/18 points): Kearns 2-0 Kidner.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
From left, Nat Kidner, Fareham SC rep Brian Mitchell, Shane Kearns.
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)