The 2018 West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation (WEBSF) Gold Waistcoat Masters tournament and snooker exhibition by Professional Dominic Dale was recently hosted by Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon.  Both the events were kindly sponsored by Totally Reward, who specialise in Human Resource and Reward Services.

The day began with the ‘Gold Masters’ – an invitation only tournament where the top sixteen ranked players from the WEBSF ‘Gold Series’ compete in a knock-out tournament to find the WEBSF Gold Waistcoat Masters Champion.  Not all that qualified where able to accept the invitation due to competing at the World Snooker Q School events in their pursuit of a tour place on the professional circuit, these players were substituted by the next players in the ranking list.

The first round saw no shock results as all matches went as seeded. The best breaks came from the reigning Masters Champion Haydon Pinhey from Plymouth (81) and Eddie Manning from Newquay (92). The eight winners progressed to the quarter finals whilst the remainder competed in the Plate competition. The quarter finals of the main event saw the current WEBSF Gold Series Champion, Andy Neck (Newton Abbot), fall to Jason Whittaker from Torquay; Pinhey beat fellow Plymothian Steve Brookshaw; James Lee (Torquay) beat Andy Symons (Tavistock) and Manning beat the current West of England Snooker Open Champion, Dale Branton from Plymouth, Manning recording breaks of 74 & 89. In the semi-finals Lee edged Pinhey out in a deciding frame, whilst Manning carried on his break building prowess against Whittaker, making breaks of 70 and the best break of the day, a superb 124. The final saw the experience of former professional Manning telling, as he beat Lee to take the title.

The plate was won by last year’s plate runner-up Mitch Wood from Barnstaple, with Wood beating Ben Rickard from Truro. Ten of the sixteen players received prize money and all sixteen players received free tickets to the snooker exhibition that followed on from the Masters tournament.

WEBSF spokesperson said, “A tournament that brings together the top players from our Gold Series to compete in a knock-out tournament, followed by an exhibition from a top professional is a great way to end a full season of top quality amateur snooker. Eddie Manning demonstrated, as he has done all season, how prolific he is at break building, he is, without doubt, a worthy champion. Let’s pay tribute to the volunteers that make this happen, especially World Snooker Referee, Nick Harry for another sterling effort here today and throughout the season. Thanks to our main sponsor, Totally Reward, Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon for hosting this and other WEBSF events this season along with The Galaxy Centre, Torquay, Top Q, Gloucester, The Plaza, Plymouth and 147 Club, Swindon. Without their generosity this service to the community would be very difficult to realise.”

An Evening with Dominic Dale

Dominic Dale arrived early to meet with spectators prior to the snooker exhibition start. After introductions by WEBSF volunteers Steve Canniford & Deborah Branton who set out the format for the evening and inform the audience of the aims and objectives of the WEBSF, the exhibition got underway. Dominic Dale and WEBSF main sponsor Silvia Mondello of Totally Reward presented the ‘Masters’ and other WEBSF tournament winners with trophies and prize money. Dominic was then introduced with a potted history of his achievements during his time as a professional player and part time TV commentator and presenter. Dominic’s first opponents were Victor Balgariev and Shane Kearns, two young players who are regulars at the Jesters Saturday morning Snooker Coaching sessions. He then played two WEBSF tournament regulars, Martin Pitcher and Kevin Collins.

This first session was followed by a buffet and grand draw comprising of over sixty prizes generously donated by businesses and members of the WEBSF, the top prize was a hand-made cue, case and snooker accessories. A full list of prizes can be seen on the WEBSF web site www.websfsnooker.com/links-sponsors/draw/. After the draw, Dominic took questions from the audience which was intermittently interrupted to auction World Snooker Shoot-out polo shirts, the proceeds of which Dominic kindly donated to WEBSF funds.

When play resumed Dominic’s next opponent was the WEBSF Bronze Snooker Open Champion, Connor Benzey from Hampshire. Followed by the newly crowned WEBSF Gold Series Champion, Andy Neck, two local young brothers; Taylor & Jaydon Elliot and the Masters runner-up James Lee. During the exhibition Dominic made two century breaks, on what was a tight table. Dominic finished the exhibition with a series of trick shots infused with amusing and interesting stories. The evening was drawn to a close giving thanks to Dominic and to all those involved in making a very enjoyable evening. The draw and auction raised over £1000 that the WEBSF will put to good use to continue providing ‘Billiards & Snooker for all’ in the community.

Anyone interested in any of the WEBSF activities or are interested in participating as a volunteer should contact Steve Canniford should contact Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995 or visit www.websfsnooker.com or WEBSF Facebook.

Report by Steve Canniford

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