KINGS Cross potter Lee Whaley is turning the race for the Cuestars Under-21 Silver Tour title into a procession.
The 17-year-old made it four tournament wins out of five in the fifth leg at Chandlers Ford Snooker Club.
And the 2-0 victory over his Hurricane Room clubmate John Donovan in the final was a repeat of the previous event in Coulsdon.
Whaley insisted it had been a day of “ups and down”, though. Indeed, he had lost 2-1 to Donovan in the group stages. And he only edged Will Forster (Gosport) and Samuel Laxton (Portsmouth) in third-frame deciders in the knockout.
He said: “I wasn’t playing well at the beginning (of the day) but I managed to fight back.”
Reflecting on his match against 14-year-old Laxton, who moved up to second place in the rankings, Whaley admitted: “It was a very close one. I thought he had me.”
But the bottom line is that front-runner takes a massive 46-point lead into the second half of the season.
The previous day, Whaley recorded his highest break of 94 in a practice match at his home club.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” he said. “It just happened.”
Three Hurricane Room players are in the top four. Elliott Johnson is third and Donovan is fourth.
David O’Callaghan (Bournemouth), who beat Whaley in the final of the third leg in Swindon, was knocked out 2-0 by Donovan in the last-four.
And Connor Wollen (Yate) won his group and qualified for the knockout for the first time.
The event was sponsored by David Stewart, to raise awareness of the charity Sightsavers, and Chandlers Ford SC.
To find out more about Sightsavers, which works to eliminate avoidable blindness and promotes the rights of people with disabilities, go to www.sightsavers.org. To find out more about Chandlers Ford SC, visit www.cfordsnooker.co.uk.
Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth, hosts the sixth leg of ten on Sunday, February 2.
Will Forster: 49.
Riley Ellis: 41, 40, 33.
Lee Whaley: 33.
Connor Wollen: 30.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP A: 1st, Lee Whaley (Hurricane Room, Kings Cross); 2nd, Riley Ellis (Chandlers Ford SC); 3rd, John Donovan (Hurricane Room, Kings Cross); 4th, Simon Bubb (Hurricane Room, Kings Cross); 5th, Thomas Sharp (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP B: 1st, Connor Wollen (Jesters, Swindon); 2nd, Nat Kidner (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Owen Jenkins (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 4th, Elliott Johnson (Hurricane Room, Kings Cross); 5th, Mason Wilson (Academy, Basingstoke).
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP C: 1st, David O’Callaghan (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 2nd, Samuel Laxton (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 3rd, Will Forster (Mayfair, Gosport); 4th, Oliver Cooper (Frames, Coulsdon); 5th, Callum White (Waterlooville Sports Bar).
QUARTER-FINALS (12 points): Whaley 2-1 Forster, Laxton 2-0 Kidner, Donovan 2-1 Wollen, O’Callaghan 2-0 Ellis.
SEMI-FINALS (15 points): Whaley 2-1 Laxton, Donovan 2-0 O’Callaghan.
FINAL (25/18 points): Whaley 2-0 Donovan.
Picture by Tim Dunkley
From left: John Donovan, Ray Cooper (owner of Chandlers Ford SC), Lee Whaley.
Have you got any snooker news?
Send me your snooker news now. It doesn’t have to be from a Cuestars tournament. E-mail me details or contact me via Facebook and you could be on the Cuestars website and in your local newspaper. E-mail: [email protected]
Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)