CHANDLER’S Ford snooker sensation Oliver Sykes has earnt a place in the record books of a regional junior circuit.
The 13-year-old is the youngest rankings winner in the ten-year history of the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour.
Sykes secured the title when Jamie Wilson (Havant) smacked in a long pink in the deciding frame of a key group-stage clash against Callum Browne (Trowbridge) in the last leg at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club.
The talented left-hander admitted he “watched every shot” of the game that denied title-rival Bradley Cowdroy (Bournemouth) a place in the knockout.
Players and parents throughout the club were aware of the significance of the match in which Wilson had battled back from 1-0 down.
Sykes then wrapped up the season by beating clubmate and rankings runner-up Connor Benzey 2-0 in the final to pocket the £100 first prize.
Defending champion Cowdroy, who had been four points adrift of Sykes, finished the season in third place.
Reflecting on a season during which he collected four winner’s trophies, Sykes said: “It’s been great. Bradley’s a really good player and you can’t underestimate him.
“I didn’t play amazing today but I just stuck in there.”
Sykes is the first Chandlers Ford SC member to win the Gold rankings since Daniel Woods in 2011.
Club-owner Ray Cooper was delighted that his golden generation rose to the challenge he laid down last September of bringing home the title this season.
He said: “The response has been fantastic. To see them all raise their efforts to a higher level of attainment was quite emotional.
“They all played their part and there were some outstanding contributions from individuals.
“I’m so proud of each of them for their response and at the same time humbled by their pride in what they have achieved for the club. I thank them all.”
In fact, four Chandlers Ford lads finished in the top six following the tenth leg sponsored by Pitman Training.
Semi-finalist Steven Hughes, who cleared the table for a personal best 79 break against fourth-placed Wilson in the group stages, was fifth. Ryan Hughes (no relation) was sixth.
Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, hosts the end-of-season finals day with special guest Robert Milkins on Sunday, May 19.
For more information about the event sponsor, visit www.pitman-training.com.
Steven Hughes: 79, 57.
Bradley Cowdroy: 73, 51, 49.
Connor Benzey: 54.
Jamie Wilson: 45.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Callum Browne (Player’s, Westbury); 5th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): O Sykes 2-1 Wilson, Benzey 2-1 Hughes.
FINAL (£100/£25, 25/18 points): O Sykes 2-0 Benzey.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)