LIVERPOOL COACH Neil Johnson has returned from three days from the EPSB’s second weekend of action since the coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020.
It comes as some of his hottest young prospects will cue up in next weekend’s EPSB Finals weekend.
He was there with talented young prospects and recent professional rookie Sean Maddocks.
Last weekend saw the return of competitive play in many of the junior and young adult categories, but it was also time for Coach Johnson to go on the road with one of his talented players, one of the recent new faces on the World Professional Snooker Tour, Sean Maddocks.
The EPSB’s north and south junior and adult competition reports included…
- The Under-14s, which saw the likes of Huddersfield talent Stan Moody shine and on course to retain his Under-14 title. Moody, 14, is of course a recent QSchool participant from this year’s QSchool.
- In the Under-16s, in the south, Oliver Sykes also needed to come from behind and progress via a deciding frame to book his berth.
Sykes made a 71 in defeating Mitchell Berry 3-1 and then eliminated Riley Ellis 3-0. In the area final, Sykes constructed efforts of 50 and 73 as he recovered from 3-1 down to deny Aidan Murphy 4-3.
Professional ranking event finalists Gary Wilson and Jack Lisowski have won this particular title before.
- In the under-18s, Sykes’ fantastic weekend didn’t end there, though, as the 15-year-old also made it through to the national final of the English under-18 snooker championship.
And, finally, in the Under-21s, the 2020 World Snooker Federation Junior Open finalist Maddocks can also etch his name on the prestigious English under-21 snooker championship trophy – a piece of silverware won by Kyren Wilson in the past.
Maddocks produced a 71 break on his way to dispatching 2019 English under-18 and 6-red champion Jenson Kendrick 4-0 in the first round. A comeback from 2-0 down and a deciding frame was required to defeat Manasawin Phetmalaikul 4-3 in the semis before seeing off Pullen 4-1 in the area final.
Said former professional and now top coach Neil Johnson on Facebook of the 19-year-old’s performance over the three days in the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds: “This is a teenager who has achieved some fantastic things on the worldwide junior and amateur circuit and he’s now simply earning his stripes on what I believe to be the toughest tour in sport. No more, no less.”He added: “I’ve said it before, but for me, 25 is the new 18 in the modern game, and if any of these up-and-coming prospects come along and are performing anything like a top player by the time they reach their mid-twenties they are in a very select bracket and should be immensely proud of themselves.”
The English Association of Snooker and Billiards Finals Weekend will take place next week on Saturday and Sunday the 7th and 8th August 2021.