CONNOR Benzey continued his impressive season with a first tournament win of the campaign on the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour.
The 16-year-old from Eastleigh finished runner-up in the first two legs but collected the winner’s trophy and £100 prize money in the sixth event in Bournemouth.
Benzey, who leads the EASB Regional Junior Tour South and won the European Under-17 Open in Malta last month, defeated Jamie Wilson 3-1 in the final at Greenbaize Snooker Club.
Surprisingly, the teen ace has not been happy with his matchplay
He said: “I’ve been playing really well in practice but just struggling on match tables.
“My safety (play) has been good, which has been giving me the chances.”
Steven Hughes (Chandler’s Ford) beat Wilson (Havant) en route to topping his round-robin group but lost 3-1 to Benzey in the last-four.
Ryan Hughes, also from Chandler’s Ford but no relation, beat Benzey en route to topping his round-robin group but lost 3-0 to Wilson in the last-four.
Reflecting on that defeat by Hughes, Benzey added: “I really struggled in that match. I couldn’t get going at all.
“He played well, to be fair to him.”
Wilson recorded the day’s highest break of 86 in his third group-stage match against Londoner Ronnie Sullivan.
The top two in the rankings both made group-stage exits.
Home player Bradley Cowdroy remains one point clear of Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford). Wilson is four points further back in third and seven ahead of fourth-placed Benzey.
Fareham Snooker Club hosts the seventh of the ten legs on Sunday, February 24.
For more information about Greenbaize SC, visit www.ambassadorsnooker.com/
Jamie Wilson: 86, 70, 65, 45.
Connor Benzey: 63, 63, 57.
Bradley Cowdroy: 63.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant); 5th, Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon); 5th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Wilson 3-0 R Hughes, Benzey 3-1 S Hughes.
FINAL (£100/£25, 25/18 points): Benzey 3-1 Wilson.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
From left: Jamie Wilson, Greenbaize club owner and event sponsor Debbie Ealy, Connor Benzey.
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)