FORMER national champion Deepak J Ram marked his return to regular competition with a victory in round one of the Southern Snooker League last Sunday.
The league, organised by the Southern Division Billiards and Snooker Association and sponsored by Carz and Carz, was officially launched at the Nausori Club last weekend.
League co-ordinator Timoci Gaunavinaka said a total of 32 players competed in the first round. "Ram beat fellow Nausori Club teammate Esala Talebula in the final to win round one," he said.
"Earlier, Ram had overcome a strong challenge from Champion of Champions winner Yogen Prasad in the quarter-final and then defeated former national champion Viliame Umu in the semi-final."
Upsets on the day saw former Fiji number one Praneel Singh lose to Nausori Club teammate Jese Salawai and former national rep Jiten Prasad lose to Eroni Vaka. Gaunavinaka is hoping the number of participants in the league increases as the competition progresses.
"The league duration is 25 tournaments in 25 weeks but only the best 20 weekly scores will be counted to determine final ranking.
"The tournament will run on a handicap basis where top ranked players will have zero starts, average players will have a ten points start and new players who have not participated in any major tournaments like BSAF, Southern or North West Tournaments will be given a twenty points start."
He said the handicap would be monitored on a weekly basis and could be changed by the management committee if a certain player's game significantly improves.
"This is just the first round and we saw three players from Labasa Club including Vanua Levu Open champion Hazel Naidu and we are hoping the numbers increase as the tournament progresses," Gaunavinaka said.