Devon County Champion, Andy Neck leads the overall ranking table after winning two of the first three events in the coveted West of England Billiards & Snooker Foundation, Gold Snooker Series. The series is sponsored by Totally Reward and this event was hosted by the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon. The series is attracting some of the best amateur players from around the region, as well as some from further afield. In a high class final, Neck beat Haydon Pinhey from Plymouth by in a deciding frame. Pinhey making a break of 91 and Neck 80.
The event started with four groups of eight players. Group A was arguably one of the toughest seen in 13 years of Gold tournaments. Andy Symons (Tavistock), currently ranked second, won the group with an impressive seven wins from seven matches. Second qualifying spot went to Pinhey with six wins from seven matches. Pinhey made breaks of 54,74 & 81 and Symons one of 81. Other breaks came from; Seb Worral (Swindon) 69 & 72, Ryan Mears (Farnborough) 50 & 84, Steve Brookshaw (Plymouth) 56 & 71 and English under 19 champion, Peter Devlin from Leyton, 51,52,54,60,74 & 89. Devlin’s 89 saw him joint winner of the non-qualifier break prize with Dan Barsley (Plymouth). Group B was also peppered with breaks, the best coming from Andy Smith (Bewdly) with an 83. Mitch Grinsted and Darran Lock the qualifiers from this group. On his way to qualifying from group three, Neck posted a 99 break, which took the highest qualifier break prize. Kurtis Weaver (Bristol) was the other qualifier from group C. Current Gold Champion, Eddie Manning (Newquay), made breaks of 78 & 84 to qualify in group D along with Tom Kevern (Plymouth).
Neck’s path to the final through the knock-out stages saw him beat Symons and Grinsted, each win by a deciding frame and making a 74 break against Symons. Pinhey was to beat Weaver and Manning. Against Manning, Pinhey made a 90 break and Manning a 56.
The biggest ranking table climbers this month sees Grinsted moving up 10 places and Manning 14 places. Event four in the Gold Snooker Series takes place again in Swindon…this time Jesters Snooker Hall on the 17th February 2018. Registration is open and another bonus prize for a maximum 147 break will be on offer for the taking.
WEBSF Tournament Director said, “Another superb day of amateur snooker that has produced a barrage of sizable breaks. Any player wanting to hone their skills against tough opposition would surely benefit from playing in these events. At the half-way stage there is only fifteen points separating the top four players in the rankings. I predict another close run-in to the final event.” Any player interested in entering WEBSF events or potential volunteers willing to get involved with the work of the WEBSF they should contact Steve Canniford, Mobile 07891940995 or visit http://www.websfsnooker.com or WEBSF Facebook. Thanks to International Referee Nick Harry, for another tireless day of refereeing and the 147 Snooker Club, Swindon, who hosted this event.
Report by Steve Canniford