Benzey returns stronger


Hampshire’s Connor Benzey came through a tough field of talented under-17s to win the West of England Billiards and Snooker Foundation (WEBSF) Bronze Snooker Open Championship at Jesters Snooker Hall in Swindon.

Last year Benzey, who is from Eastleigh, narrowly missed out on qualification into the knock-out stage but, after a year of practice, he came back to dominate the tournament. He finished top of Group A, winning all his matches without dropping a frame and making breaks of 31, 46, 50 and 59.

In the knock-out stage he continued his good form, making a 49 break in the quarters with the only resistance coming from Mickey Joyce (Basingstoke, Hampshire) in the semi-final.

Joyce posted a 46 break and took Benzey to a deciding frame. However, breaks of 37 and 77 saw Benzey win through to the final where he would later meet Aidan Murphy from Bristol.

Benzey’s 77 break was the best on the day which secured the high break prize.

Murphy’s path to the final began with the runner-up spot in the same group as Benzey – Murphy record- ing breaks of 35 and 54. In the quarters he came up against last season’s champion, Liam Davies from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. This was a repeat match of last year’s final and it took a deciding frame, won by Murphy, to separate them.

Boosted by his quarter-final win, Murphy knocked in two 50-plus breaks against Ben Freeman (Plymouth) in the semi-final, winning him a play-off against Benzey.

The final produced high level snooker but it was Benzey, playing with an air of confidence and constructing breaks of 34 and 64, who lifted the trophy.

The Plate tournament for the non- qualifiers was won by Raphael Row- land who edged out Jack Ratcliffe, both from Swindon.

In conjunction with the tournament, the WEBSF held a number of billiards and snooker coaching activities. World ranked No.53 snooker professional Sam Baird and former professional player, manager and snooker coach Hassan Vaizie along with a number of WEBSF volunteer coaches and officials were in attendance. All volunteered their time free of charge to encourage more people to learn the sport.

Baird also played several frames against all-comers whilst Vaizie carried out a number of coaching clinics as did the WEBSF coaches.

Details of this and other WEBSF tournaments and events can be found on www.websfsnooker.com

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.