Preston Divisional Singles competion was held over 3 nights, 24th, 25th and 26th January and to complete an unprecedented run of results where youth conquered experience (polite way of saying age), Matt Howarth won the Premier Division Singles title by beating John Porter 3:2 in the final. On the way, Matt had to qualify from a tough group of Liam Bedford, Matt Nettleton and current Preston Open Champion Keiron Beswick. Matt then beat Ashley Bradburn in his QF and Paul Robinson in a fast paced semi-final. John qualified from a group of Dean Walmsley, Brian Oldfield and defending champion Ron Bennett before beating team mate and in form Jack Moody in his QF. John then beat Ian Felton in his semi-final. The Premier Division was a very open competition where any number of players could have won but Matt, who won the 2013 Division 2 singles competition, becomes one of our youngest ever Premier Division Singles winners aged only 16yrs.
But youth domination didn't just stop at the Premier league level. In Division 1, 22 yr old Danny Johnston (currently top of the Division 1 averages) survived a major scare in his group match against Adam Oldfied, to beat another youngster, 16 yr old Oliver Garmston in the final. For Oliver it was his second final in 3 years after losing the Division 2 final in 2015. Oliver's achievment marks a fine debut in Division 1 where he currently sits 4th in averages. But there is still some hope for senior players with both George Walmsley and Jim Higham making it to the semi-finals.
The youthful trend was set though by Ogi Kostov (14) who won the Division 2 title after showing much maturity and patience in beating Mike Balshaw 3:1. Ogi beat Liam McDermott in his semi-final whilst Mike beat a tiring John Collins who'd had hard fought matches all the way through the event. Thank you to everyone who took part and especially the event organisers and helpers, without whom these competitions wouldn't take place.
Ogi Kostov (Astra F) Division 2 Singles Champion