Oliver Sykes extended his lead at the top of the English Junior Snooker Tour national rankings as he defeated Aidan Murphy 3-0 in this season’s Event 2 final at the Waterlooville Sports Bar.
The 17-year-old’s latest triumph represents back-to-back event victories on the circuit having won the opening leg of the campaign in Derby last month.
South coast cueist Sykes – one of the eight seeded players on this season’s Tour – began his tournament with a 2-1 loss to Vladislav Gradinari, although he responded well by defeating Jake Crofts 2-0 and Kian Dennett 2-1 to qualify for the knockout rounds.
Opponent Alfie Lee made a 68 break as he took the opening frame of their quarter-final encounter, but Sykes claimed the next three frames (78 break – frame three) to win 3-1. Sykes then eliminated English Amateur Championship title holder Paul Deaville 3-1 in the last four.
Coming through the other side of the draw was former English under-18 championship and Premier Development Tour event runner-up Murphy.
The 19-year-old Bristolian – another one of the Tour’s elite players – won two of his three groups matches as he reached the single elimination phase where he denied Mickey Joyce 3-0 in the last eight and ousted Gradinari 3-2 in the semi-finals.
Former English under-14 champion Gradinari was the weekend’s top performing non-seed. The 15-year-old won his Saturday group without losing a match and did likewise on Sunday before hitting a break of exactly 100 in the deciding frame of his 3-2 quarter-final win against Aidan Gallagher.
Gradinari’s group win against Sykes – during which he compiled a break of 107, the highest of the weekend – is Sykes’ only loss in 12 matches on the Junior Tour this season.
Other players who won a Saturday group were Alec Chalmers, Alfie Lee, Shaun Liu, Mickey Joyce, William Forster, Kian Dennett and Aidan Gallagher.
After 110 matches across the two days in Waterlooville, Sykes completed his event double as he stopped Murphy in the title match, hitting a 49 break in the final frame.
Sykes sits at the top of the rankings on 200 points with Murphy in second (110) and Deaville in third (100). Crofts (95) and Gradinari (75) make up the current top five.
Event 3 is set to take place at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds on the weekend of November 25 and 26. For information on the Tour, please visit here.