Magic Leeds win the 8-ball

One of the biggest BUCS tournaments in the year ended in success for Leeds’ pool and snooker society, as they claimed their first ever 8-ball championship win. Leeds took their largest team ever to Great Yarmouth for the tournament, with eighteen players from the university competing for both the team and individual titles.

After topping their group, the men’s first team had a difficult last 16 tie, facing the reigning champions Strathclyde. The match was close throughout, with Leeds finally securing victory by six frames to four, to move into the quarter finals. The team only lost three more frames on route to the final, with a dominant victory against Lancaster putting them into a final against Manchester 1sts. Leeds had the early advantage in the best-of-11 match, taking the first two frames, before Manchester pulled one back. Any hopes the Lancashire side had of making a comeback were quickly dashed, as Leeds won the final four legs to secure the championship.

The firsts weren’t the only team from the university to reach new heights at the tournament. In the 2nd tier shield competition, the men’s 2nds reached the quarter finals, which was their best ever result in the competition. Additionally, there was a women’s team from Leeds for the first time, who managed to win their first two group games, and securing a draw against favourites Durham. This was enough for them to finish third in the group, securing them a spot in the knockout stages of the trophy. Unfortunately, this was where their run ended, as a strong Surrey side managed to defeat them in the quarter-finals.

The individual tournaments saw over 700 men enter, with the women’s attracting over 100 entrants. Despite the vast fields, the Leeds team saw three men reach the last 32 of the tournament. James Parish was knocked out at this stage, while fresher Dominic Bond managed to reach the last 16, showing his potential for the future. Sam Parkinson was defeated at the quarter-final stage, with all three being selected for the England national team.

Next up for the team is the BUCS snooker tournament, which will take place at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds. The team are hoping for a successful championships, after winning the title in 2015. Preparations have gone well, with the men’s team managing to win the Midlands Snooker Tournament in January, surviving a tie-break against hosts Warwick to reach the final, where they managed to beat Exeter 6-1 to claim the trophy.

One of the members of the 2015 team, Daniel Womersley, is now beginning to make an impact on the professional snooker circuit. Dan came one game away from winning a tour card for the 2016/17 season, but his performances have seen him reach the main stages of various tournaments, including the German Masters and the China Open. He showed off his potential at the Snooker Shootout in Coventry, where each match only lasts for 10 minutes, with a 15-second shot clock (reduced to 10 after 5 minutes) putting the players under a time pressure they aren’t used to. After defeating Michael Wild, and former top 16 player Robert Milkins, he was beaten in the last 32 24-21 by eventual finalist Xiao Guodong. With the pool and snooker club showing good form throughout the season, they will be hoping it is only a matter of time before they produce another player with the potential to turn professional.

Luke Etheridge

Featured Image: LUU Pool and Snooker

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