TWO-TIME national junior snooker champion Mark Lloyd has qualified for two more finals.
The Gosport teenager will compete for the two prestigious national crowns after winning the southern sections of the English Under-18 and Under-21 Championships at Pot Black Clacton.
The 17-year-old, who claimed the country’s under-16 title in 2015 and the under-18 prize last season, will take on the northern champions in Gloucester in June.
‘I still can’t believe that I’ve made it to both finals at the same time,’ said Lloyd.
‘I was just hoping to play well in the tournament as I was having a little bit of trouble with my tip.’
The youngster qualified through his under-18 round-robin group before knocking in a break of 71 in a 4-2 victory over Harry Farrell (Tamworth) and beating fellow Premier Junior Tour player Reggie Edwards (Norwich) 5-3 the following day.
And in the straight knockout in the older age group, Lloyd dispatched Charlie Ripp (Suffolk) in the first round, Edwards, again, 4-3, Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford) 4-0 and Sonnie O’Sullivan (Aylesbury) 5-1.
Paying tribute to the two losing southern finalists, Lloyd said: ‘I’d like to credit Reggie and Sonnie for being such nice lads on and off the table.
‘It makes the game so much more enjoyable when you have players such as them.
‘They are a pleasure to play against. I appreciate players with that type of attitude on and off the table.
‘I’d also like to thank everyone for the support which they have given me.
‘Hopefully, I can continue with future tournaments so I can really give something back to them all as they deserve it.’
The results mean Gosport lads will appear in three of the four national finals as Olly Gibbs, 13, has qualified in the under-14 championship.
Three days later, Lloyd, who is based at Stoke Snooker Club, Gosport, knocked in his highest break of 117 en route to the runners-up spot in the Kay Suzanne Memorial Trophy for under-18s at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester.
And three days after that, he rounded off a remarkable week on the green baize by adding a 116 in the Open Series at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.
– TIM DUNKLEY