TOTTON Recreation Club stalwart Steve Allen reportedly “played brilliantly” en route to a “well deserved” first tournament win on the Cuestars South of England Seniors (40+) Snooker Tour. The popular cueman, who turns out for his club’s Super League side in the Southampton & District Social Clubs League, had never reached the final in his previous eight outings, writes TIM DUNKLEY.

Undefeated in his three-man round-robin group in the fifth leg at Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon, Allen saw off Richard Arnold (Salisbury) and then defending champion John Hunter (Andover) in the last-four by the same 2-0 scorelines.

And he climbed to eighth place in the rankings after a 2-1 victory in the final that denied Steve Ashton (Salisbury) a first leg win. It was the second time that sixth-placed Ashton, 51, had finished runner-up in 14 tour events. Paying tribute to the two Steves, Hunter, 47, said: “It was well deserved as they both played brilliantly.”

In the second semi, rankings leader Wayne Muddiman (Chandler’s Ford Central Club) lost 2-0 to Ashton but maintained his ten-point advantage over Hunter with two legs to play. Martin Wallace (Colours, Reading) is third. Newcomer Chris Stocker (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot) made the quarter-finals but was knocked out 2-0 by Muddiman.

And Fawley accountant Nick Miles (Ashlett Club) qualified for the knockout for the first time at his 14th attempt but his run ended in a 2-0 defeat by Ashton. The sixth leg of seven is at Salisbury Snooker Club, Swindon, on Sunday, March 16.

BREAKS Steve Ashton 61, Wayne Muddiman 54, Steve Allen 44.

ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS Group A: 1 Steve Allen (Totton Recreation Club), 2 Chris Stocker (Sunninghill Comrades Club, Ascot), 3 Ray Mears (Sovereign SC, Farnborough).

Group B: 1 John Hunter (Salisbury SC), 2 Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley), 3 Alan Thomas (Jesters, Swindon). Group C: 1 Steve Ashton (Salisbury SC), 2 Martin Wallace (Colours, Reading), 3 Paul Rose (Jesters, Swindon), 4 Trevor Thorn (Basingstoke Conservative Club).

Group D: 1 Wayne Muddiman (Chandler’s Ford Central); 2 Richard Arnold (Salisbury SC), 3 Dharmendra Patel (Crucible, Newbury).

KNOCKOUT RESULTS Quarter-finals (£5): Allen beat Arnold 2-0, Hunter beat Wallace 2-1, Ashton beat Miles 2-0, Muddiman beat Stocker 2-0.

Semi-finals (£15): Allen beat Hunter 2-0, Ashton beat Muddiman 2-0.

Final(£50/£30): Allen beat Ashton 2-1.