IT was just over five years ago that Jordan Winbourne last tasted success at a Cuestars event.
Although the 20-year-old from Southampton picked up a stack of winner’s trophies when he used to compete on the Under 21s Gold Tour, he had never before triumphed on the Championship Tour.
But that run came to an end on resident professional Jason Weston’s Star table in the third leg at Top Spot Snooker Club, Havant.
Reflecting on the day, Winbourne, who pocketed £200 after beating Billy Castle (Reading) 3-2 in the final, said: “It’s been hit and miss but I got there eventually. I played some good snooker and I’m delighted to win it.
“It was a good turnout, some good players and good snooker.”
Winbourne adapted to the pro-standard table the quicker of the two former Chandler’s Ford SC juniors but Castle levelled and took a 2-1 lead with a well-taken break of 70.
After forcing a decider, Winbourne won an edgy fifth frame on the green despite committing the cardinal sin of hitting the blue on the break-off shot.
The former England international had defeated two-time and defending rankings champion Matt Ford 3-2 in the semi-finals despite his opponent from Bracknell making a 60 break in the decider.
Winbourne is hoping to realise his dream of turning professional at the end of his last season on the national under-21 circuit.
He said: “My goal on the Premier Junior Tour is to finish in the top four and qualify for the European and World Under 21s (which carry two-year Main Tour cards for the winners).”
Castle, 24, qualified for the knockout by edging Londoner Ronnie Blake 2-1 on the final black in his last group game.
Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford) won a three-way play-off to top his group after finishing with an identical record to Bournemouth pair Mark Wells and Jake Baker. Wells, who took the second qualification spot on a re-spotted black following the six-reds round-robin, was knocked out 2-1 in the last-16 by Matt Stadius (Chichester).
Five Gold Tour players progressed to the knockout stage. Sykes lost 2-1 from 1-0 up to James Budd (Fareham), who then took rankings leader Seb Worrall (Swindon) to a fifth-frame decider in the quarter-finals.
Anthony Rice (Fordingbridge) overcame Mike Finn (Eastleigh) 2-0 before going down 3-1 to Winbourne. Aaron Smith (Selsey) lost 2-0 to David Rice (Fordingbridge) and Bradley Cowdroy (Bournemouth) went out 2-0 to Ford in the last 16.
Finn’s 83 break in the group stages was the highest of the 29 half-centuries recorded by the 39-strong field.
A Q School place and the chance of earning a two-year tour card is on offer to the rankings winner at the end of the eight-leg campaign.
Castle and Worrall are now joint top of the rankings. Castle’s Churchills team-mate Finn is third.
The fourth leg of eight is at Salisbury Snooker Club on Sunday, December 11.
Mike Finn: 83, 73, 68.
Jordan Winbourne: 76, 72, 71, 62, 55, 51.
Seb Worrall: 75, 67.
Billy Castle: 71, 70, 66, 52, 51.
James Budd: 67, 52.
Matt Stadius: 63.
Mike Talmondt: 62.
Jon Charlton: 61.
Matt Ford: 60, 51.
Richard Clark: 59.
Brad Chappell: 59.
Adam Nash: 57.
Christian Chislett: 56, 54.
Henry Eastwood: 50.
ROUND-ROBIN GROUP POSITIONS
GROUP A: 1st, Dan Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Mark Wells (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Jake Baker (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Peter Chin (Jesters, Swindon); 5th, Ally Pollard (Salisbury SC).
GROUP B: 1st, Matthew Stadius (Selsey RBL, Chichester); 2nd, James Budd (Fareham SC); 3rd, James Cullen (Woking SC); 4th, Jamie Wilson (Waterlooville Sports Bar); 5th, Stefan Fry (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).
GROUP C: 1st, Seb Worrall (Jesters, Swindon); 2nd, Bradley Cowdroy (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 3rd, Christian Chislett (Selsey RBL, Chichester); 4th, Labeeb Ahmed (Frames, Coulsdon); 5th, Mickey Joyce (Chandler’s Ford SC).
GROUP D: 1st, Matt Ford (Sunninghill Comrades Club); 2nd, Henry Eastwood (Frames, Coulsdon); 3rd, Adam Nash (Churchills, Eastleigh); 4th, Connor Benzey (Chandler’s Ford SC); 5th, Ryan Hughes (Chandler’s Ford SC).
GROUP E: 1st, Billy Castle (Crucible, Newbury); 2nd, Mike Talmondt (Copnor SC, Portsmouth); 3rd, Ronnie Blake (Frames, Coulsdon); 4th, Brad Chappell (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 5th, Callum Lloyd (Redz, Cwmbran).
GROUP F: 1st, Jordan Winbourne (Chandler’s Ford SC); 2nd, Andrew Seymour (Crucible, Newbury); 3rd, Richard Clark (Jesters, Swindon); 4th, Jon Charlton (Aldingbourne Social Club, Chichester); 5th, Rikki Moore (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).
GROUP G: 1st, David Rice (Salisbury SC); 2nd, Anthony Rice (Salisbury SC); 3rd, Oliver Sykes (Chandler’s Ford SC); 4th, Nick Miles (Ashlett Club, Fawley). Ryan Mears (Sovereign, Farnborough) withdrew.
GROUP H: 1st, Mike Finn (Churchills, Eastleigh); 2nd, Arron Smith (Selsey RBL, Chichester); 3rd, Reece King (Greenbaize, Bournemouth); 4th, Sean Pender (Greenbaize, Bournemouth).
LAST-16 (20 points): Budd 2 D Sykes 1, Worrall 2 Eastwood 0, Castle 2 Seymour 0, D Rice 2 Smith 0, Stadius 2 Wells 1, Ford 2 Cowdroy 0, Winbourne 2 Talmondt 0, A Rice 2 Finn 0.
QUARTER-FINALS (24 points): Worrall 3 Budd 2, Castle 3 D Rice 0, Ford 3 Stadius 0, Winbourne 3 A Rice 1.
SEMI-FINALS (£45, 30 points): Castle 3 Worrall 1, Winbourne 3 Ford 2.
FINAL (£200/£100 50/36 points): Castle 3 Winbourne 2.