RYAN Hughes banked £100 towards his first car after winning his first tournament on the Cuestars Under-21 Gold Tour.
The Chandler’s Ford teenage overcame clubmate and rankings leader Oliver Sykes 2-0 in the final of the eighth leg at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant.
Hughes, who turned 17 last Wednesday, was naturally delighted with his success but revealed that his expectations were low after his first group-stage match.
“It feels pretty good,” he said.
“But I wasn’t feeling too good about today after my first game with Oliver because I wasn’t playing very well and he smashed me.
“After that, I started to play all right.”
The former Silver and Bronze rankings winner, who had never before reached a Gold final, progressed from his group in second place.
He then recorded a 2-0 quarter-final victory over Londoner Marcos Dayao, who had beaten Hughes 2-1 at the same stage on the EASB Regional Junior Tour South in Maidenhead the previous day.
Hughes booked a date with 13-year-old Sykes with a fine 2-1 win over home player Elliott Weston.
“That was tough,” he said. “But it was a good game.
“In the first frame, he broke off and I got a 46 from my next visit. In the next frame, I broke off and he got a 56 from his next visit.”
Earlier, Jamie Wilson wrapped up a 2-1 victory over Connor Benzey (Eastleigh) in his first group match with the day’s highest break of 104. It was his first Cuestars century and a fifth in total.
It was also the first ton recorded in a Cuestars Under-21 ranking event since Alexander Ursenbacher, now a Main Tour professional, chalked up a 101 in Gloucester just over six years ago.
The 15-year-old from Havant was eventually knocked out 2-0 in the semi-finals by Sykes after a fine 2-1 victory over reigning rankings champion Bradley Cowdroy (Bournemouth).
Sykes has a 15-point advantage over Cowdroy at the top of the rankings. Weston is ten points further back in third place.
Renowned table fitter Trevor Sanders, who underwent a liver transplant last November, sponsored the event and presented the trophies.
Salisbury Snooker Club hosts the ninth leg of ten on Sunday, April 7.
Jamie Wilson: 104.
Ronnie Sullivan: 76, 64.
Elliott Weston: 75, 56, 50.
Connor Benzey: 51, 51.
Oliver Sykes: 51.
Ryan Hughes: 46, 45.
Marcos Dayao: 40.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Oliver Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 2nd, Ryan Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, Steven Hughes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Riccardo Drayton (Chandlers Ford SC).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Elliott Weston (Top Spot, Havant); 2nd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Dan Sykes (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Chloe White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, Marcos Dayao (Hurricane Room, Kings Cross); 2nd, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Connor Benzey (Chandlers Ford SC); 4th, Ronnie Sullivan (Frames, Coulsdon).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): O Sykes 2-1 D Sykes, Wilson 2-1 Cowdroy, Weston 2-1 S Hughes, R Hughes 2-0 Dayao.
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): O Sykes 2-0 Wilson, R Hughes 2-1 Weston.
FINAL (£100/£25, 25/18 points): R Hughes 2-0 O Sykes.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
From left: Ryan Hughes, sponsor Trevor Sanders, Oliver Sykes.
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)