A very intriguing mixture of players have made it through to the last 16 of the 101st English Amateur Snooker Championship after a long and busy day of regional qualifiers in Leeds, Northampton and London on Saturday.
A total of nearly 150 players set out in pursuit of one of the sport’s grandest titles. First played in 1916, several greats have lifted this iconic trophy including John Pulman, Ray Reardon, John Spencer, Terry Griffiths, Jimmy White and Stuart Bingham.
Last won by Ben Hancorn in February 2020 when he claimed the 100th edition of the tournament, for only the first year since the Second World War, the Championship was not held in the 2020/21 season due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, so it was fantastic to see it being competed for again.
Here is who kept their challenges on course…
North Region – Northern Snooker Centre, Leeds
Qualifiers: Leo Fernandez, Sanderson Lam, Jamie Curtis-Barrett, Richard Beckham, Wayne Brown and John Welsh
Experience ruled the baize in Leeds in the North section – the biggest entry out of all three regions.
Winner in 2011, Fernandez ousted Ant Parsons 4-3 in the final qualifying round to make it through to phase two in the new year. Fernandez is joined by fellow ex-professionals Sanderson Lam and Jamie Curtis-Barrett, who stopped Johnathan Bagley and Hayden Staniland at the last hurdle.
Current English Seniors Champion Wayne Brown pipped former ranking event semi-finalist Eden Sharav 4-3, whilst last season’s English Over-55 Championship finalist John Welsh crafted a 93 break in the deciding frame to stop in-form 15-year-old Stan Moody.
Richard Beckham defeated Callum Beresford 4-1 in his last match.
Ben Hancorn was the last winner of the trophy in February 2020.
Midlands Region – Barratts, Northampton
Qualifiers: Hamim Hussain, David Brown, Jed Mann, Luke Pinches, Paul Deaville
In contrast, there was a very youthful feel to the qualifiers from the Midlands region at Barratts with four of the five of them being aged 22 or under.
The youngest to make the grade was reigning English under-16 champion Paul Deaville who got the better of former professional Lee Page 4-2 in the last round.
Mann eliminated Steve Martin 4-1 whilst Hussain and Pinches emerged from deciding frame finishes – Hussain denying his younger brother Halim and Pinches doing the same to Shaun Wilkes.
Bucking the trend was David Brown – last season’s number one ranked player on the EPSB Seniors Tour – as he booked his ticket with a 4-2 win over Mark Ball.
South Region – Frames Sports Bar, Coulsdon, London
Qualifiers: Billy Castle, Jack Haley, Bradley Jones, Mark Bell, Matthew Glasby
Along with Fernandez, Billy Castle is the other former winner of this great title to reach the last 16 after the recent top-tier exponent pipped Terry Burke 4-3 last up.
Teenager Jack Haley stamped his ticket following a 4-1 success over Labeeb Ahmed whilst former Crucible qualifier and ranking event quarter-finalist Bradley Jones made three half-centuries as he ended Nigel Clarke’s campaign, 4-0.
Mark Bell and Matthew Glasby also added their names to the last 16 list for early January following triumphs against former professional Sydney Wilson and Jake Fowler respectively – both via deciding frames.
The last 16 is scheduled to take place on Sunday 9th January at a venue TBC.
The final will be held on a later date – both date and venue TBC.
Thank you to all the officials, venues and staff that played a role during these qualifying events.