PORTSMOUTH potter Ben Tillison has taken a commanding lead on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 bronze tour.
The 15-year-old admitted to a ‘new-found respect’ for professional snooker players after winning the final of the third leg on a fast Star table in south London.
Tillison defeated first-time finalist Shane Kearns (Swindon) 2-1 from 1-0 down at Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon, to claim his second tournament win of the season.
‘It was a very close match,’ he said.
‘I was still trying to get used to the Star table.
‘It was annoying at first but I got the hang of the really tight pockets in the end.
‘In the first frame, I wanted snookers and the ball just flew past where I wanted it to go.
‘I have a new-found respect for (professionals). It’s actually quite hard.’
Tillison, who had marked his return to the game after a year’s break with victory in the first leg in Salisbury, did adapt to the conditions well enough to compile the day’s highest break of 20.
The rankings leader opened up an 18-point gap over leg-two winner Ryan Hughes (Chandler’s Ford), whom he had lost to in the group stages.
In the semi-finals, Hughes was knocked out 2-0 by Kearns while Tillison beat Ben Crump (Gosport) by the same score.
On his 16th Cuestars outing, 10-year-old Connor Shaw (Bournemouth) qualified for the knockout for the first time but went out 2-0 to Crump in the quarter-finals.
The fourth leg of eight is at Greenbaize Snooker Club, Bournemouth, on Sunday, January 10.
Fareham’s James Budd defeated Dan Sykes 2-1 in an all-gold tour plate final.
Budd had finished third in his difficult four-man round-robin group that included both finalists.
Sykes finished fourth in his group which included the 2013-14 joint rankings champions Brad Chappell and Gosport’s Mark Lloyd (Gosport), the current England under-16 champion.
Gosport’s Nathan Farmer was knocked out at the semi-final stage of the plate when he was beaten by Sykes.
Budd beat Portsmouth’s Callum White in his semi-final.
The first Cuestars event to be held in Coulsdon attracted a 46-strong field.
A total of 16 players competed in gold, 16 in silver and 14 in bronze.
Non-qualifiers from each tournament competed in a handicapped plate knockout.
– TIM DUNKLEY