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Individual honours go the way of ace Wilson.

High Howdon SC's Gary Wilson earned a place in the first round of the National CIU Individual Championship with a three-frame win over Throckley UJ's Tony James.

In doing so, he also staked his claim to the competition's highest break award with a superb second-frame clearance of 119.

The former world under-21 champion also had small runs of 28 and 38 in the first set and 34 and 35 in the third.

Wilson's doubles partner Mark Livingstone also made it through after knocking out James' team-mate Gerry Dodd by the same scoreline.

James fared better at Newmarket in the first of the new series of English Amateur Billiards Associations (EABA) one-day ranking tournaments.

The former English champion from North Shields opened his account with a comfortable 256-182 defeat of Liverpool's Trevor Mitchell.

He went on to reach the last eight with a strong second-half run of small breaks to beat Manchester's Brian Phillips 332-214.

A 278-193 win in the next not only earned the local cueman his first victory over Yorkshire's former three-times Masters champion Steve Crossland but also a place in the last four.

That is where his challenge was brought to an end, however, after he was outplayed and outscored 412-121 by Derby's eventual winner Jim McCann.

Superb performances in the Home International series held at Pontins, Prestatyn saw England win five of the six titles and finish second in the other.

The England men's team set the ball rolling by edging past title-holders Wales to regain the Prince of Wales Shield.

Wales also finished second to England in both the under-19s and the under-16s, where Walkerville's Stephen Craigie not only played his part in England's success but also recorded the group's highest break with a terrific run of 103.

The runners-up to England in the women's event and the men's over-40s were Ireland and Scotland respectively.

England's hopes of a clean sweep were eventually brought to an end by the Pontins Select Squad, who beat them into second place in the International Cup.

At the same venue, the Pontins Autumn Festival attracted only four of the region's top players.

Gary Wilson's confident victories over Mark McClean, Richard Ashley and Mark Joyce took the Wallsend cueist to the last 16 of the Pro-Am Open, where he was beaten in a close-fought contest by former England international Stuart Carrington.

Geoff Campbell scored impressive wins against Ken Allen and Ricky Walden before being stopped in his tracks in the last 64 by Anthony McGill.

While 12-year-old Sam Craigie was pulling out all the stops to beat Jason Mackie and Tony Thompson before going down in the last 64 to the WSA highly ranked member Jimmy Michie, big brother Stephen was suffering a rare first-round defeat against England international Lee Richardson.

Things did not go much better in the Under-21 Open.

Wilson began his campaign with breaks of 90 and 100 against Carl Bennett and then saw off Mark Joyce in three straight frames before losing a closely-fought contest in the last 32 to Ricky Walden.

Campbell reached the same stages with winning efforts against James Hill and Kristian Phelps but then went out to Matthew Selt.

Stephen Craigie got off the mark with a win against Tom Camshon, only to be eliminated in the last 64 by Stephen Welsby.

Sam Craigie failed to produce the same kind of form and crashed out in his first match against Nathan Williams.

With a prize fund of pounds 300 (subject to entries), the eighth in the series of 12 one-day ranking events breaks off at 11.00 tomorrow at the usual venue of Gateshead Snooker Centre.

A prize of pounds 250 goes to the handicapped best-of-five-frame main event and the other pounds 50 goes to the sudden-death plate competition.

The pounds 6 entry fee covers entry to the main competition and free entry to the plate for preliminary and first-round losers plus able charges.

The end-of-series top-ranked 32 pounds 1,000 invitation play offs are split into three groups.

Players finishing in the top eight will compete for a share of the pounds 400 prize fund, players seeded nine-16 will play for pounds 300, with the remaining pounds 300 going to players ranked 17-32.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 20, 2006
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