Late arrival fails to put brakes on Lloyd's golden triumph
A locked car park in Leeds failed to scupper Mark Lloyd's hopes of success in Woking.
Sympathetic organisers allowed Lloyd to arrive an hour late for the first leg of the Cuestars South of England under-21 gold tour.
And the 16-year-old, from Gosport, emerged triumphant from a strong field of 17 as he took the winner’s trophy and £65 prize money.
English Under-18 Championship winner Lloyd defeated fellow EASB Premier Junior Tour (PJT) player Ronnie Blake (Carshalton) 3-0 in the final.
The Gosport star achieved his Cuestars gold tour success after competing the previous day in the first leg of the PJT at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds.
After failing to qualify for the second day, his party decided to set off at 6am for the 200 mile, three-and-a-half-hour journey, down the M1 to the Parris Cues-sponsored event at Woking Snooker Centre.
But they were forced to wait nearly two hours until staff unlocked the barrier to the club car park.
‘I was planning to get there for 9.30am,’ said Lloyd.
‘But they decided to put the barrier down so we couldn’t get the car out. That delayed us a bit.
‘You can’t really do anything about it. I was shattered before I even got there.’
Lloyd compiled breaks of 78, 48 and 44 on his way to victory in the Woking event.
He praised runner-up Blake who he has done battle with in the past.
Lloyd added: ‘Ronnie played well – I played him when I was in the regionals (EASB Regional Junior Tour South) and we had a few good games in that.’
The second leg of 10, sponsored by Attic Life, is at Salisbury Snooker Club on Sunday, October 2.
It’s been a busy time for Lloyd, who also competed in the prestigious IBSF Under-18 World Championship, in Belgium, where he was only knocked out by the eventual tournament winner.
In the round-robin group stages of the five-day event at Center Park in Mol, Lloyd beat Attila Soltani Hosseini (Iran) 3-0, Daniel Holoyda (Poland) 3-1, Sybren Sokolowski (Belgium) 3-0 and Jere Virtaranta (Finland) 3-0.
But the Gosport snooker star lost 4-2 to Welsh cueist Jackson Page in the last 32.
Lloyd said: ‘I wasn’t up to the standard that I know that I can play.
‘Then I was unfortunate that the balls didn’t fall my way.
‘I enjoyed the tournament. Just knowing that it’s a world championship really gets you motivated as a player.
‘It’s a different feeling altogether as it’s the best players from around the world competing against each other.
‘Also, wearing that England badge really makes you feel that you have earned the right to be out competing in a world championship.
‘It’s an amazing feeling and hopefully I can qualify for the world championship again next year.’
Lloyd qualified for the prestigious event thanks to his success in the English Under-18 Championship.