Impressive debut by Andy Rogers
FORMER Pontin’s International Open Series player Andy Rogers opened his Cuestars account with a convincing win in the seventh leg of the South of England Championship Tour.
Welshman Rogers, based at Rileys, Newport, dropped just three frames out of 19 as he coasted to victory at Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon.
Undefeated in the six group stage matches, Rogers accounted for Jonathan Charlton, from Bognor Regis, 3-0 in the last-four and Alex Dunkley 3-1 in the final.
He goes straight into joint ninth spot and has a great chance of making the play-off.
Meharg: bring on Ryan Day
Meanwhile, losing semi-finalist Will Meharg reckons he can beat anyone over one or two frames.
And that includes world number 24 Ryan Day.
Come June 5 in Swindon, that may well be put to the test.
Meharg potted his way to a first ever semi-final appearance on the Championship Tour.
A handful of points from the final leg at his home club, Chandler’s Ford SC, next month will lift the 24-year-old from joint 18th into the top-16 and a play-off spot.
The champion then takes on guest-of-honour Day.
Meharg kicked off six unbeaten group-stage matches with a 1-1 against eventual tournament winner Rogers. And in his penultimate match, he won the second frame on the final black against Shane Castle to end the 13-year-old’s chance of qualifying for the knockout.
He booked a semi-final spot by seeing off Chris Richards (Cardiff) 2-0.
Meharg, who marries Lisa on July 30, said: “It was quite tough getting out of the group.
“I played really well. I didn’t feel that I was going to lose. I played the right shots – for once. I was all right with the two frames and I just kept holding my own against these players.”
Unfortunately, at least for Meharg, the last-four was best-of-five. He lost 3-1 to Dunkley (Cue T’s, Marchwood), who he described as “different class”.
Fourth-placed Dunkley, 22, who won five and drew one (against Charlton) in his group, pocketed £30.
In the previous two tournaments, Meharg had finished fourth and fifth in his group.
He traced his rise in form back to scoring his highest match break of 81 against Nigel Spiers in the Chandler’s Ford SC Roll-Up in February.
“I knew that I could do it and I’ve been getting bigger breaks,” he said.
“I’ve gone up to the next stage and I’m feeling a bit more confident about my game. I want to qualify (for the play-off) now.”
And what about Ryan Day, who was softened up by fellow Welsh professional Mark Williams in the first round of the Befred.com World Championships at the Crucible last week?
“If it’s one frame, I’ll have him,” Meharg smiled. “I’m a one-frame or two-frame player.”
Rankings leader Ryan Mears was away in Leeds competing in the EASB Combined Cue Sports Championship, a mixture of snooker and billiards. The Aldershot Hotshot lost 352-332 in the quarter-finals to EASB Competitions Director John Hartley.
The eighth and final leg is at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club on Sunday, May 15.
Andy Rogers: 98, 89, 71, 55, 55.
Jonathan Charlton: 70, 69.
Sam Thomas: 59.
Neil Herd: 57, 61.
Alex Dunkley: 53, 50.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS:
GROUP A: 1st, Alex Dunkley (Cue T’s, Marchwood); 2nd, Jonathan Charlton (Aldwick RBL, Bognor Regis); 3rd, Sam Thomas (Penarth Road SC, Cardiff); 4th, Martin Wallace (Colours, Reading); 5th, Marc Harman (The Royal Surrey Poker & Snooker Club); 6th, Paul Rose (Jesters, Swindon); 7th, Derrick Volante (Jesters, Swindon).
GROUP B: 1st, Andy Rogers (Rileys, Newport); 2nd, Will Meharg (Chandler’s Ford SC); 3rd, Shane Castle (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Lewis Miles (Jesters, Swindon); 5th, Chris Richards (Roath Labour Club, Cardiff); 6th, Neil Herd (Player’s, Westbury); 7th, Trevor Thorn (Basingstoke Cons).
SEMI-FINALS (12 points, £15): Dunkley beat Meharg 3-1, Rogers beat Charlton 3-0.
FINAL (25/18 points, £70/£30): Rogers beat Dunkley 3-1.