LIAM O’Shea played a captain’s role as Swindon Jesters A clinched the first Cuestars Junior Section Team Challenge of the season on the final black. And a five-year-old boy from Portsmouth made Cuestars history.
Eastleigh Untouchables nearly lived up to their new name on home tables at The Academy.
With her Swindon side trailing 3-2, 15-year-old Jodie Symes, who is ranked 17th on the World Ladies Billiards & Snooker Association circuit, beat 12-year-old James Thomas to force a decider. Both players were making only a second appearance in their first teams.
In a deciding frame of contrasting styles, O’Shea’s measured and unhurried approach finally overcame the more flamboyant style of Lee Roling – but only just.
The seventh frame was heading for a re-rack with six reds near the left-hand top pocket and the black hanging over the lip.
However, it was O’Shea who cracked first.
Trying to nudge a red closer to the pocket, he over-hit it and the black dropped.
“That surprised me,” said Eastleigh Section organiser Cliff Goodchild. “Liam’s normally very calculated.”
Roling, 18, spotted a plant in the cluster of reds. But on a run of 28, the Eastleigh skipper asked O’Shea what the break was and looked at the scoreboard. He then missed a straightforward brown with the frame at his mercy.
O’Shea drilled in a long blue and landed perfectly on the pink. And the match-winning black off its spot was never going to be a problem for the lad with a cue-action to die for.
Goodchild said: “I made the decision to put Lee in and it nearly paid off. Lee stayed pretty calm. He stopped on his break of 28 and asked Liam what he was on. He had a very easy brown and it just broke his concentration.”
Jesters made it a clean sweep by winning the Plate final, which also went to a decider.
Dom Burtenshaw, captain of Jesters B, left Westbury’s Gary Wilkins needing snookers on the pink.
Five-year-old Ryan makes Cuestars history
Making their debut in the competition, Copnor SC, from Portsmouth, were forced to call up five-year-old Ryan Compton. The pint-sized potter is believed to be the youngest player in Cuestars history.
Pascal Richard, the Copnor SC Section organiser, said: “We weren’t going to throw him in for some time yet, but someone pulled out at short notice so we didn’t have a lot of choice.
“We reckon that once Ryan can reach the table better, and matures a little in shot selection, he might well turn out a bit useful.”
QUARTER-FINALS (eight points): Swindon Jesters C 6-0 Portsmouth A, Swindon Jesters A 4-3 Westbury A, Eastleigh Untouchables 4-3 Swindon Jesters B, Eastleigh Hustlers 6-0 Portsmouth B.
SEMI-FINALS (12 points): Jesters A 4-2 Jesters C, Untouchables 4-2 Hustlers.
FINAL (25/18 points): Jesters A 4-3 Untouchables.
SEMI-FINALS (one point): Jesters B 6-0 Portsmouth B, Westbury A 4-2 Portsmouth A.
FINAL (five/three points): Jesters B 4-3 Westbury A.
Eastleigh Untouchables: Lee Roling (capt), Ben Tanner, Liam Burnet, James Thomas.
Eastleigh Hustlers: Matt Geer (capt), Rob Henley, Lee Bell, Bradley Hatch.
Swindon Jesters A: Liam O’Shea (capt), Sam Jefferson, Joe Moon, Jodie Symes
Swindon Jesters B: Dom Burtenshaw (capt), Joshua Lee, Dwaine Leiblich, Derrick Volante.
Swindon Jesters C: Jamie Perry (capt), Cameron Russell, Troy Bodmin, Mathew Bellinger.
Portsmouth A: Daniel Compton, Connor Parr, Lucan Parr, Eddie Green.
Portsmouth B: Luke Dixon, Alfie Philpott, Keiran Dixon, Ryan Compton.
Westbury A: Jake White (capt), Daniel Tallentire, Daniel Winfield, Gary Wilkins.