CHINA-bound Kishan Hirani stepped up his preparations for the IBSF World Under-21 Championship with victory in the sixth and final leg of the Cuestars South of England Championship Tour.
The Welsh Under-21 champion (left) defeated his compatriot and travelling companion Jordan Shepherd (Bridgend) in a one-frame shoot-out final at Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon.
Competing in his first Cuestars tournament for a couple of years, Hirani booked a play-off spot and a chance of taking on special guest Stephen Lee at the Cuestars finals day in Swindon on Sunday, June 3.
The 19-year-old, beaten 2-1 by Shepherd in the group stages, accounted for second-placed Martin Wallace 2-0 in the last-eight and fellow Welsh international Callum Lloyd (Rileys, Newport) 3-1 in the semi-finals.
“In the group stages, I played quite decent to get through,” he said.
“It was a long day. After I beat Callum it was 7.30pm and we had a couple of hours to get home. So me and Sheppy decided to split the pot and do a one-frame shoot out for the points.”
Hirani is hoping it will be third time lucky when he jets out to China in July for the world junior championship.
“I’ve played great every year but lost both times to the eventual champion,” he explained.
“Those two experiences will hold me in good stead for China. The cream of the crop from around the world will be there so hopefully the form comes in.
“I’m looking forward to it very much.”
Meanwhile, a semi-final appearance was more than enough for Jon Charlton to claim top spot in the rankings.
Charlton, who is based at Aldwick RBL, Bognor Regis, but lives in Camelsdale, Haslemere, Surrey, ended the season with a 20-point advantage over Wallace.
In his five outings this season, the consistent Charlton has won one, lost in the last-four three times and gone out at the quarter-final stage once.
Picture by Kevin Smithers
Top-16 qualifiers: Jon Charlton (Aldwick RBL, Bognor Regis), Martin Wallace (Colours, Reading), Billy Castle (Cue T’s Snooker Lounge, Marchwood), Alex Dunkley (Cue T’s Snooker Lounge, Marchwood), Dominic Holmes (Sovereign SC, Farnborough), Ryan Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough), Ben Tanner (The Academy, Eastleigh), Oliver Douglas (The Crucible Sports & Social Club, Newbury), Mike Finn (Churchills, Eastleigh), Kishan Hirani (Rileys, Cardiff), Kane Grigg (Landywood SC, Staffs), Callum Lloyd (Rileys, Newport), Vince Elphick (Hassocks Mens Club, West Sussex), Neil Clayton (Woking SC), Shane Castle (Cue T’s Snooker Lounge, Marchwood), Alex O’Donoghue (Jesters, Swindon).
Jordan Shepherd: 102.
Martin Wallace: 77, 67.
Callum Lloyd: 72.
Jonathan Charlton: 68, 62, 58, 50.
Ben Tanner: 57, 52.
Paul Rose: 37.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Dominic Holmes (Sovereign SC, Farnborough); 2nd, Ben Fortey (SWSA, Gloucester); 3rd, Lewis Miles (Jesters, Swindon); 4th, Troy Bodman (Jesters, Swindon); 5th, Chris Richards (Roath Labour Club, Cardiff).
GROUP B: 1st, Martin Wallace (Colours, Reading); 2nd, Ben Tanner (The Academy, Eastleigh); 3rd, Ed Topham (Rileys, Cardiff); 4th, James Facey (Roath Labour Club, Cardiff); 5th, James Ray (Sovereign SC, Farnborough).
GROUP C: 1st, Jordan Shepherd (Bridgend, South Wales); 2nd, Kishan Hirani (Rileys, Cardiff); 3rd, Josh Lee (Jesters, Swindon); 4th, Mike Lloyd (Bristol); 5th, Paul Rose (Jesters, Swindon).
GROUP D: 1st, Jon Charlton (Aldwick RBL, Bognor Regis); 2nd, Callum Lloyd (Rileys, Newport, South Wales); 3rd, Matthew Johns (West End Labour Club, Barry); 4th, Jessie Stevens (Sovereign SC, Farnborough); 5th, Alan Childs (Salisbury SC).
QUARTER-FINALS (£5, 8 points): C Lloyd beat Holmes 2-1, Hirani beat Wallace 2-0, Shepherd beat Tanner 2-0, Charlton beat Fortey 2-0.
SEMI-FINALS (£20, 12 points): Hirani beat C Lloyd 3-1, Shepherd beat Charlton 3-2.
FINAL (£90/£40, 25/18 points): Hirani beat Shepherd 1-0.
Founded 18 years ago by director John Hunter, Cuestars runs grass-root snooker tournaments across the South of England and South Wales.
Competitions take place on Sundays between October and June, and cater for players aged eight to 80 - and in some cases even older!
All Cuestars tournaments are played off scratch. There are no handicaps. Cuestars uses a round-robin format leading to a knockout.
Competitions for 2011/12 include: South of England Championship Tour; Under-21 Gold, Silver and Bronze Tours; Weekend Junior Section Rankings and Seniors Tour (40+).