The 102nd English Amateur Snooker Championship began this weekend with regional qualifying events in the North, Midlands and South, as players aimed to progress to the Last 16 Finals Weekend later in the season.
At the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds, a total of 62 players competed for seven qualifying berths.
Reigning champion Jamie Curtis-Barrett – who lifted the iconic trophy at this venue less than four months ago – won his opening match but was eliminated by Joshua Cooper who went on to defeat Kayden Brierley 4-0 to qualify.
Daniel Womersley came through deciding frame finishes in successive rounds and made breaks of 139 and 129 – the former being the highest break of any region – as he advanced to the next phase.
Winner of the Championship in 2011, Leo Fernandez dropped just four frames in four matches as he qualified, whilst Johnathan Bagley ousted reigning English Under-16 and 18 Champion Stan Moody on his way through.
Steven Hallworth whitewashed Simon Bedford and Ryan Davies in consecutive matches before watching his opponent Alex Millington craft a break of 135 in the final qualification round. However, that would be the only frame that Hallworth relinquished during the day.
Promising youngster Liam Pullen was in serious scoring form, registering nine breaks over 50 – including a 132 – as he impressively continued his campaign.
Gary Milne – an EPSB Open Series event winner earlier this month – carried on his fine form with a trio of victories to secure a spot for Landywood at the start of April.
Paul Deaville, Ronnie Kralj, Lee Shanker and Shaun Wilkes were the four players to qualify from the Midlands section hosted by Cueball Derby.
Teenager Deaville lost just two frames in three matches, denying Jack Harris 4-1 in the final round.
Kralj defeated 1986 winner Anthony Harris 4-3 before staging a brilliant comeback win over Hamim Hussain in the deciding round, stringing together four frames from 3-0 down.
Captain of the England A side at the Home Internationals a few months ago, Shanker saw off Adrian Atkins 4-1 for his ticket, meanwhile the experienced Wilkes remained on course for glory as he got the better of Lennard Cripps 4-2 at the last hurdle.
Five players – Billy Castle, Peter Devlin, Sanjay Meghani, Phil O’Kane and Martin O’Donnell – all left Frames Sports Bar in Coulsdon with their English Amateur hopes intact.
Champion in 2017, Castle made a break of 127 on his way to defeating Kuldesh Johal 4-1 before pipping Luke Pinches 4-3 for qualification.
O’Donnell – a two-time finalist in this event – and Devlin defeated Richard Emery 4-1 and Alex Clenshaw 4-2 respectively in the final round to get through.
Meghani was relatively comfortable on his way, losing only two frames in three matches. In contrast, O’Kane needed to pass deciding frame tests against Tom Kennedy and Ronnie Sullivan in the final two rounds.
Finals Weekend for the 2023 English Amateur Snooker Championship is set for the 1st and 2nd April at Landywood Snooker Club in Walsall where the competition will be played to a completion.
The EPSB would like to thank all the players, officials and host venues that took part in this weekend’s qualifiers.