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Parsons is blazing a trail on the baize

By Nick Elwell | Grassroots | Published:

Riley Parsons celebrated his promotion to the professional ranks by pocketing the final piece of silverware of the Aldridge & District League’s season.

Riley Parsons

Fresh from a brilliant performance at Q School in Wigan where he earned a two-year Tour Card, the 19-year-old from Cannock claimed the prestigious Individual Championship for the first time.

Parsons’ showdown with former professional Adrian Rosa was the main event of the evening at the league’s annual presentation night.

And it was Parsons, who had already claimed the under-21 title, who made a flying start as he knocked in break of 61 on his way to taking the opening frame.

But 2016 champion Rosa proved he was up for the fight by taking a hard-fought second frame to level the match before rolling in a break of 52 to take a 2-1 lead.

Frame four was another close affair with Parsons enjoying a run of 32 and then taking advantage of a miss by Rosa on the pink to make it 2-2.

Parsons added another 30 break in the next frame and once again capitalised when Rosa went in off the final brown.

That frame proved to be a turning point as Parsons hit form with runs of 35 and 42 to seal the match.

The win capped a stunning couple of weeks for Parsons, who is due to face former world champion Shaun Murphy in qualifying for China’s International Open on Friday.

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The league also presented him with a special award to mark his achievement at Q School.

“It’s been a great couple of weeks for Riley,” said league secretary Lee Thomson. “To qualify from Q School was a monumental achievement and everyone at the league is delighted for him.

“He is a lovely lad and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid. It really is phenomenal what he has achieved. He hasn’t had the opportunities to play on match tables like some of the players he was up against.

“There is a massive difference between playing on club tables regularly and match tables. He has done this off the back of playing league snooker.

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“He got to our individual final when he was 15 so we knew he was a talented player.

“He has a lot of raw talent and I would say he is the most naturally gifted player from this area since Steve James. Hopefully he can go on to bigger and better things.”

Thomson is also pleased to report that the league is booming and bucking a national trend.

While a number of leagues around the country are losing sides, the Aldridge League continues to go from strength to strength.

“A lot of leagues are losing teams but we seem to be bucking trend,” he said.

“We have grown over the last four or five years and the standard has also got better.

“A lot of players from the Staffs and West Midlands League have started playing in ours now and that has helped increase the quality.

“It’s a local legaue without much travelling and I think that appeals to a lot of players as well.

“We have enjoyed another really successful season and I would like to thank our man sponsors Paul Lloyd of Inter County Logistics and Dave Hall Ceramics for their continued support. They have really helped grow the league.”

On the baize, the league saw nine century breaks last season while Rosa became the first player to successfully defend the Individual Handicap Cup.

Robbie James, from St John’s, also had cause for celebration after securing his maiden ADSL singles title, the Champion Of Champions. He then he followed that up by taking his first Masters Over-40 Championship.

Daniel Ward and Lee Payne successfully defended their Foursomes title while Pelsall Social’s Alex Humphries and Stuart Jones were Pairs and Singles Handicap Cup winners.

Steve Barton (St John’s) won his maiden 6-Reds Handicap title and that wasn’t the last of the many first-time winners this year as Lee Bannister (Willenhall Libs) picked up the Captains Cup and joined forces with Andy Price, Simon Gough and Rosa to became the first team to defend the Reg Oakes 3x2 Handicap Cup.

The Bryn Williams League Cup went to Premier Division side Landywood SC A.

Bryan Jeffreys (Aldridge Cons C) picked up a Special Achievement award while the highest competition break was Jack Harris’s (St John’s) excellent 135.

The league title went to St John’s SC for the fourth consecutive year with Harris (113) register the highest break. Harris and Parsons ended the season with 21 wins each.

Aldridge Cons A took the Division One title with Stafford Road A also promoted.

The most wins went to Pelsall Social’s Alex Humphries with 19 and the top break was Danny Ludgate’s (Stafford Road) 54.

In Division Two, Aldridge Social Club were crowned champions after edging out runners-up Rushall Labour Club.

Steven Shaw (Rushall) took the highest break with 46 while there was a four-way tie for most wins after John Shaw, Rob Brown, Darren Westwood and Jason Green all registered 17.

Nick Elwell

By Nick Elwell
Grassroots Sports Editor

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