Young guns are making their mark in snooker leagues

Sam Finister

Sam Finister

First published in Sport

Snooker has had a huge boost in interest since promoter Barry Hearn became involved.

The professionals now have more tournaments to compete in and there has also been a massive boost in interest in the game from the lucrative Far East.

In Wharfedale and Aireborough there certainly seems to have been a similar resurgence.

The three main bodies involved in running billiards and snooker locally are all now sponsored which has enabled attractive prize money to be offered for the first time.

The WBSA district is sponsored by Turner and Wood Decorators Merchants of Yeadon, The Otley League by JWS Private Hire of Guiseley and the Aireborough Billiards and Snooker League by Armstrong Awards and Gifts of Guiseley.

This sponsorship has attracted many top local players to enter competitions and the Otley League launched a new singles tournament that had an impressive 42 entries.

Many of these competitions are now heading for the final stages and it hoped that there will be some superb snooker and billiards played locally.

It is sometimes difficult for younger players to develop with many clubs having age restrictions on tables but it pleasing to see some young talent now starting to shine.

Sam Finister, 19, of Hollygarth has had an excellent season but Lee Dickenson, 20, of Hawkhill and Joe Stockdale, 18, of Guiseley Bowls have also had some great wins.

Dickenson recorded his highest-ever break with an excellent 68 in practice which drew a round of applause from watching club members.

This week it was the turn of Josh Cooper, 19, of High Royds to register a fine win.

Hawkhill can be a tense place to play and Cooper was taking on the in form Gary Paton.

Cooper made some superb long pots but Paton kept in the game with clever safety.

Cooper took the first frame on the black and though the second frame was more one sided, Cooper closed out the match.

Multiple reigning champion Andy Blamire (Factory) slipped up in his first title defence – the singles handicap competition.

Adam Cohen of Hawkhill didn’t start well and although receiving 40 points handicap looked to be out of the first frame but recovered with some excellent play to go one up. Blamire showed his class in the second to take the match to a decider. Cohen started to play well and the handicap was just too much for Blamire to recover and Cohen progressed.

In the Otley singles handicap Iwan Williams (Ilkley Cons) beat Martin Jackson (Otley Cons) 2-1.

In the Aireborough League, Jack Parker of Yeadon Libs was in imperious form on the billiards table where he completely dominated newcomer James Thwaite of Hawkhill.

Parker gave away few chances and made some fine breaks to quickly recover the 105-point handicap and comfortably reach the 150-point finish.

The lead has changed at the top of Otley League Division One again with Hollygarth A slipping up at Hawkhill going down 8-2 to the Guiseley club.

Grovehill A took full advantage and with a fine 8-2 win over their club mates in the B team, went to the top of the table.

Despite a 6-4 loss to Yeadon Libs Burley Social A are still in the mix.

Otley Cons are in fourth place after a 10-0 whitewash of struggling Falcon B.

In Division Two, Guiseley Bowls were close to a whitewash of Menstone A until Tim Davis stopped the rot. In the final frame he got the two snookers he needed and then potted the pink and black to win.

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