Shaun Liu and Nicholas Ayers will contest the 2023 PowerGlide English Under-14 Snooker Championship after both players won their respective area finals on Saturday.
Following a plethora of club qualifying events up and down the country in recent months, which yielded an entry of 163 players – a record number for its current format, 20 players from both the north and south areas qualified for stage two of the national championship.
In each area, the 20 players were seeded and divided into four round robin groups of five, with the top two from each group making it into the knockout rounds.
At the Q Bar in Walsall Wood, 12-year-old Shaun Liu (pictured below, right) produced an incredible display of power scoring for his age as he made it through to the grand final.
Liu – who progressed from phase one by winning the Northern Snooker Centre qualifier – won all his group games 2-0 as he topped his pool before then defeating Arik Kadir 2-0 in the quarter-finals and coming from a frame down to oust Jackson Pope 2-1 in the semi-finals. In the area final, he again came through a deciding frame, this time against Yashnai Parmar (pictured below, left), 2-1.
Throughout the day Liu showed exceptional scoring prowess, making breaks of 118, 105, 94, 83, 68, 60 and 52 (twice) in just a total of 16 frames he played.
Over at the Woking Snooker Centre, 12-year-old Ayers also dropped only two frames during both the group and knockout elements as he secured this season’s southern area title.
Ayers (pictured below, left) made it to phase two after winning the Stratford Sports Club qualifying event. In Woking, he won all his four group matches to advance to the area quarter-finals. He then eliminated Ryan Spratt and William Hurley – both 2-0 – in the last eight and four, respectively.
In the final, he faced Harry Wyatt (pictured below, right) in what would be a very entertaining affair; the two had played earlier in the day within the same group. Wyatt claimed the opening frame, but Ayers crafted a break of 57 as he forced a decider. Wyatt made a 30 break in the third frame, although Ayers compiled a 47 on his way to sealing the victory.
The best-of-seven frames national final between Liu and Ayers will take place on Sunday 2nd April at the Landywood Snooker Club during the English Amateur Snooker Championship Finals Weekend.
Since the EPSB’s administration and restructuring of the under-14 championship, Stan Moody (2020) and Vladislav Gradinari (2022) have won the tournament.
The EPSB would like to thank all the players, officials, supporters and both venues for all their assistance during the area finals.