ENGLAND under-16 snooker champion Mark Lloyd revealed he probably won’t defend the Cuestars South of England Under-21 gold tour rankings title.
The Gosport teenager won the final leg at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club to finish the season 14 points clear of rival Brad Chappell.
But Lloyd, who is in this year’s national under-18 final and competes on the English Association of Snooker and Billiards Premier Junior Tour, has his sights set on having a crack at earning a two-year tour card on the professional circuit via next season’s Cuestars Championship Tour.
‘I’m doing the Championship Tour because it’s offering a Q School place next year,’ explained the 16-year-old, who is based at Stoke Snooker Club.
‘That’s the one I want to do, now there’s a bigger prize fund.’
Lloyd, who attends Brune Park Community School, shared the gold title with Chappell two years ago and led the Poole cueman by one point going into the eighth leg.
Chappell, 21, lost 2-0 to Fareham’s James Budd in the quarter-finals.
Budd then recorded the day’s highest break of 60 in a 2-0 last-four victory over Bournemouth’s Reece King but went down 2-1 to Lloyd in the final.
Lloyd added: ‘It’s quite a nice way to finish the season.
‘I’ve been struggling with a muscle problem so it was quite nice to hit the ball smoothly.’
Budd finished joint third with Callum Browne, from Trowbridge.
The top-16 ranked players qualify for the championship play-off on finals day at Jesters Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, May 15.
Professional Kurt Maflin will present prizes and play exhibition frames against all the rankings winners, weekend section champions and play-off champions.
In the bronze tour event, Portsmouth’s Callum White enjoyed a good run and was only beaten by eventual-champion Ryan Hughes in the final.
It was a dramatic contest throughout at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club.
Hughes led title-rival Ben Tillison, from Portsmouth, by five points going into the final leg.
The pair were drawn in the same five-man group and got two wins each.
If Hughes hadn’t knocked in a long black to edge Tillison, his title chances would have evaporated.
They were then forced into a three-way aggregate-points six-reds play-off with Bowen Zhu for the two qualification places behind group winner Shane Kearns.
In the third game, Tillison needed to pot the final back against Zhu to keep his title hopes alive. But he went in-off.
The 15-year-old Portsmouth cueist knew then he was going to finish second and immediately congratulated Hughes.
The latter then beat Portsmouth’s Callum White 2-0 in the final.