Journey’s end for Austen

Daily Echo: Picture by Kevin Legg: Cuestars Under-21 Bronze Champion Austen Petty. Picture by Kevin Legg: Cuestars Under-21 Bronze Champion Austen Petty.

IT WAS a fairytale finish to a two-year journey on the Cuestars South of England Under-21 Bronze Tour.

Austen Petty’s adventure started at Salisbury Snooker Club on October 17, 2010, and ended with a clenched fist and a smile at Jesters Snooker Hall, Swindon, on Sunday.

And there was to be an astonishing postscript that will live long in the memory of the 13-year-old from Boyatt Wood.

Petty, who is based at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club, compiled a high-pressure 34 break to finally end the spirited resistance of Gosport’s Karl Eggar in the third and deciding frame of the play-off final.

After securing the first frame on the blue, Petty missed two match-ball pinks in the second and lost on the black.

But with Eggar’s family and Stoke SC clubmates watching, he pieced together the title-clinching break.

Remarkably, Eggar, wearing a brace on his right knee that was damaged in a game of dodgeball at school, refused to lie down (and not for the first time during the day). Needing a snooker with one red left, he kept on battling until Petty ended all hope by cutting in the pink.

Petty admitted the 34 break took the pressure off and he added: “It’s my last time in Bronze so I’m quite glad I won it.”

The Cuestars Bronze Champion collected his trophy from top professional Stephen Lee and then beat the world number eight on the final black in an exhibition frame.

Petty’s day started with a 29 break in the first frame of a 2-1 victory over clubmate Olly Clark.

In the quarter-finals, he faced rankings winner Stewart Ball, from Bournemouth.

Leading 1-0, Petty constructed a 24 clearance to the black but lost on the final ball. He added a 20 in the decider and led by more than 50 points when his opponent conceded.

Continuing his run of big breaks, Petty fired in a 28 in his first semi-final frame against 12-year-old Jasmine Bolsover. And he won a black-ball second frame against the highly-rated Woking girl, who is ranked 23rd on the World Ladies Billiards & Snooker Association circuit.

It booked the teenager a place in a first Cuestars final.

During his first season, Petty failed to progress from the group stages.

Spurred on by a £450 sponsorship deal from The Oddfellows friendly society, Petty’s excellent temperament, determination and hard work culminated in four semi-finals appearances at the start of this season and an eighth-place finish in the rankings.

Earlier this season, he booked a Silver Tour spot with a 44 break in a tournament at his home club.

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