Returning after an 11-year absence from the event, David Anderson secured a maiden South African National Snooker Championship last month at the Q-Masters Snooker Centre in Montclair.
Organised by Snooker and Billiards South Africa, this annual event is one of the most established national snooker tournaments in the world with roots going back to as far as 1937. This year 60 players travelled to the Durban based venue to take part.
Runner-up in 2005 and 2008 – his last appearance – Anderson didn’t take long to get into the swing of things as he won all six matches to top his group and qualify for the knockout phase as the number two seed. There he eliminated Cuban Moodley, Anton Klanfar, Rafique Limbada and Kiashan Moodley to set up a final with top seed Fakhrie Gierdien. Anderson lost the opening two frames of the final, but he wasn’t to be stopped at the last obstacle for a third time in his career as he turned proceedings around to emerge a 6-4 victor, despite his lack of recent matchplay snooker.
Although Anderson has enjoyed success in other cuesports, this most recent triumph will be especially sweet as snooker was the first that he harbored ambitions for when younger. In 1996, as a 15-year-old, Anderson reached the quarter-finals of the World Under-21 Championship in his homeland where he was eliminated by future professional world number two Stephen Maguire.
Unfortunately, shortly afterwards, he was involved in a severe car accident that left him hospitalised for six months. Despite having learnt to walk again, Anderson has been left with a handicap in his bridge hand that hampers him when he plays – especially in cold conditions. Yet he has managed to adapt to this problem, and although after the accident he mainly focused on the smaller tables, the national snooker championship was a title that still meant a lot to him.
Anderson said “It’s a full circle for me. I started in snooker, achieved everything else, but now I have got the one title that I wanted the most. I would like to thank my sponsors Max Tsai from Fury Cues and Andy and Jenny from Andy Cloth for their support.”
In the preceding South African 6-Red Championship Tauroq Samsodien went one better than his finish 12 months before to get his hands on the trophy. During the knockout portion of the competition Samsodien defeated Anthony Twiggs, Kyle Akaloo, Kiash Moodley and then Ricky Tregonning, 6-3, in the final.
2019 South African National Snooker Championship
Results (from the quarter-finals onwards)
Fakhrie Gierdien 5-4 Ricardo Tregonning
Faaris Khan 1-5 Jonny Sideratos
Tauriq Samsodien 3-5 Kiashan Moodley
Rafique Limbada 2-5 David Anderson
Gierdien 5-0 Sideratos
Moodley 2-5 Anderson
Gierdien 4-6 Anderson
Pierfrancesco Garzia defended the Italian National Snooker Championship following a 5-4 victory against Valerio Grandi last month in Trezzano sul Naviglio.
The five-day event held at the Best Western Hotel Goldenmile Milan was the culmination to the domestic season. National governing body the Italian Sport Billiard Federation – a member of the World Snooker Federation – was celebrating its fifth annual edition of the competition. A total of 55 players from seven different regions across Italy participated in three separate categories.
Naples based Garzia, representing the Mezzo Colpo Billiard Club Bologna, qualified top from his round robin group without losing a frame before defeating Alessandro Bacchetta (4-1) and Antonino Foti (4-2) in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
In the title match 32-year-old Garzia faced debut finalist Valerio Grandi, who likewise was undefeated on route, and had eliminated last year’s runner-up Stefano Battelli, 4-0, in the last four. During an encounter that lasted five hours, Garzia initially led 2-0, later trailed, but claimed the last two frames to emerge from a deciding frame, 5-4.
Multi-discipline cueist Garzia, who played at the European Amateur Snooker Championship earlier this year, said – “It was a tough tournament, especially when you defend a title this puts on massive pressure. Fortunately, my experience of playing on the big stage pool scene let me handle the pressure well; I scored half-centuries in the group stage.
“It was hard to win with a player like Valerio in the final. I never give up – I was 4-3 down in frames and behind 40-1 on points. In the final frame I think I showed some good quality snooker; I have given the game some quality practice time and hard work. I want to say thank you to my friends, family and sponsor Taom Billiards, now I look forward to playing in more, and maybe even bigger, snooker events. I can’t wait for that.”
During the same weekend Marco Oppes won the ‘B’ Category Championship while David Meroni was victorious in the ‘C’ Category Championship.
2019 Italian National Snooker Championship
Results (from the quarter-finals onwards)
Pierfrancesco Garzia 4-1 Alessandro Bacchetta
Antonino Foti 4-0 Marco Palma
Valerio Grandi 4-2 Adamo Uboldi
Stefano Battelli 4-0 Simone Zappi
Garzia 4-2 Foti
Grandi 4-0 Battelli
Garzia 5-4 Grandi
Joris Maas wasn’t to be denied in the final for a third time as he defeated Arya Sohrabi 5-4 to win his maiden Dutch National Snooker Championship.
Across the last month, Dutch governing body the KNBB – a member of the World Snooker Federation – have held several events at the Westend Snooker Club in Zaandam to determine their national champions for 2019. A runner-up in both 2016 and 2018, 45-year-old Maas finally claimed his country’s most prestigious snooker title; a competition that was first played for in 1987.
As one of the top seeds Maas went straight into the last 32, but he needed the distance to get the better of ex-professional Raymon Fabrie, 4-3, first up. Again, he was taken all the way by Jack Bruins (4-3) in the last 16 before affording a little more breathing space in dispatching Freek Bettonviel (4-2) during the quarter-finals. A top break of 86 against former multiple-time winner Rene van Rijsbergen helped him to a 4-2 victory in the semi-finals.
There was a guarantee of a new name on the trophy as Arya Sohrabi had made his way through the field to join Maas in the final. In the last eight Sohrabi dethroned defending champion Roy Stolk (4-1) and then followed that up by coming through a decider versus Maurice le Duc (4-3).
Sohrabi – appearing in the final for the first time – stood on the brink of glory at 4-3 up, but Maas crafted an effort of 82 to force a ninth frame where he managed to see the match out.
The winner of last year’s Dutch Seniors Championship, Maas won the ROKiT World Seniors Championship Qualifier in Toronto, Canada last December. He will line up alongside legends and other qualifiers at the Crucible Theatre in August for the final stages of the four-day tournament.
Silverware lifted in other events…
Janice van Gastel can now add the Dutch Women’s Championship title to her CV after she ousted Hannah Graaf, 3-2, in the final. In the previous round van Gastel had ended the reign of last year’s winner Manon Melief, 3-1.
Having just qualified for the category, former professional Roy Stolk won the Seniors Championship at the first time of asking. On his way to the accolade, in the latter rounds he eliminated Maas, Flo Moederscheim and then Fabrie, 4-1, in the final. With partner le Duc, Stolk also went home with the Doubles Championship.
Host club player Sebastiaan Kan won the 6-Reds Championship for the third time in a row while Kevin Oei and Yannick Pongers were triumphant in the two Junior categories.
Photos by Snookerblog.eu
England’s Reanne Evans has won the World Women’s Snooker Championship for a record-extending 12th time following a 6-3 victory against Thailand’s Nutcharut Wongharuthai in Bangkok this evening.
The world number one has had to watch Hong Kong’s Ng On Yee lift the trophy during each of the past two years since her last success in 2016 but this time was not to be denied as she emerged from a high-quality international field of 53 players to reclaim the biggest title in women’s snooker.
The final proved to be a high-quality affair, 19-year-old Wongharuthai taking the opening frame with a break of 61 before Evans claimed the next two to hit the front.
The following two frames were shared to give Evans a 3-2 lead at the mid-session interval, before the Dudley star added the sixth to move two clear for the first time.
Back came Wongharuthai with a break of 56 but it was Evans who was to finish in style, a tournament-high run of 92 enough to secure the high break prize before she claimed what would prove to be the final frame with a run of 43 to seal the title.
“It feels pretty good!” said a thrilled Evans shortly after the final. “It has been a long time coming after my 11th and it does mean more after losing during the past two years. I had such a good run [winning the title 10 years in a row from 2005-2014] but it obviously has been frustrating and gutting for that to end and to have lost a bit of confidence.
“The final was really tight all the way through. I was a little bit edgy at the start but I still felt good and towards the end I felt even better, I wasn’t letting it go this year.”
Despite her loss in today’s final, Evans was impressed by her young opponent who continues to show improvement in her game.
“You can tell her shot selection is getting better,” added Evans. “Her technique is brilliant, she is a lovely person and her temperament is great. She laughs everything off and just gets on with it, that’s the right way to be.”
Evans reflected on what has been a fantastic week for women’s snooker which saw the staging of the inaugural Women’s Snooker World Cup and the biggest World Championship for a generation with players having travelled from 14 different countries to compete.
“I’m really happy because the standard has been so good here this year,” continued Dudley’s Evans. “It could have been anyone winning it from the quarter-finals stage and fingers crossed that these players will keep competing and inspire others to play. I’m just happy to win against all the youngsters now, they are so attacking. A few shot selections have let them down but that’s about it and that comes with experience.
“The tournament has been amazing, one of the best ones ever. The facilities have been top class, the hospitality has been fantastic, it has been well-run and all the people have been brilliant. It has also been amazing to have so many matches streamed live which will only add to the interest in women’s snooker.”
Earlier in the day Evans came through a tough semi-final contest against another Thai player Baipat Siripaporn winning 5-3, while Wongharuthai ended the challenge of 12-time European champion Wendy Jans 5-2.
The victory represents a sixth ranking event title success of the season for Evans and extends a streak dating back to her maiden title in 2005 of the World Women’s Snooker Championship being won by her and three-time champion Ng On Yee.
There was victory for Hong Kong in the Challenge Cup event for players who did not make it to the knockout rounds of the main competition as So Man Yan defeated India’s Chitra Magimairaj 3-2 in the final.
Brandon Sargeant added his name to the long, illustrious list of former champions after producing an impressive comeback in the final of the 2019 English Amateur Snooker Championship at the Star Snooker Academy in Sheffield, last weekend.
This latest edition of the sport’s oldest event began back in January when hopefuls contested regional heats across the country before the second phase – hosted between the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds and the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester – whittled the entry down to just four remaining players. The quartet booked their berths and assembled at the EASB Finals weekend where the area and overall championships would be confirmed; none of whom had made it through to the grand final before.
Sargeant, who will compete on the professional circuit for the first time this campaign after topping the 2018/19 Challenge Tour rankings, made breaks of 86 and 101 as he comprehensively brushed aside Wayne Brown, 8-1, to secure the Northern Section title.
Meanwhile, recent Q School graduate Jamie O’Neill set-up an all-top tier final following a see-saw 8-6 success over former main tour ticket holder Zak Surety in the Southern Section decider. There was never more than a frame between the pair, who took turns to lead, until O’Neill won the last two frames of the encounter. Whilst O’Neill crafted runs of 82, 104 and 93, it was Surety who compiled the highest with a 124.
The next day, Sargeant and O’Neill met in the final of this iconic, coveted championship that crowned its first champion in 1916. Sargeant opened his account straight away but breaks of 64, 87, 57 and 65 subsequently aided O’Neill during a six-frame winning streak that put him firmly in control. However, Sargeant stopped the rot in frame eight to bookend his session, and on resumption later in the day he narrowed the gap to just two.
O’Neill re-established a three-frame cushion at 7-4 up, but it would prove to be merely a minor halt to Sargeant’s momentum as breaks of 83, 92 and 113 helped the 21-year-old rattle off six consecutive frames of his own to emerge as a 10-7 victor. Ending his amateur career in style, it was quite a turnaround for the Stoke-on-Trent cueist who won nine of the concluding ten frames.
For the third year running, the English Amateur champion already had their professional tour card assured for the upcoming season; Billy Joe Castle lifted the trophy in 2017, and Joe O’Connor in 2018.
More Silverware Raised in Sheffield…
Several other English national champions were discovered in Sheffield throughout the busy weekend.
Gosport’s Mark Lloyd had to win the last three frames in order to oust Callum Beresford, 8-7, to claim his maiden Under-21 Championship. Lloyd is no stranger to collecting national honours, though, having held the Under-16 and Under-18 titles in recent years, too.
Jenson Kendrick – another talent from Stoke-on-Trent – had a very fruitful time in Yorkshire as he secured a trophy double with victories in the Under-18 and 6 Red Championships. On both occasions Kendrick got the better of Hamim Hussain in the final, with 6-0 and 8-6 score lines respectively.
Another youngster who added to his silverware haul was Paul Deaville. The Liverpool based teenager followed up his Under-14 accomplishment from last year by defeating Liam Pullen, 6-3, in this year’s Under-16 final. For Pullen, it would be his second loss of the weekend after agonisingly being pipped on a re-spotted back in the deciding frame (5-4) by Stanley Moody in the Under-14 Championship final.
Brown bounced back from his disappointment the day before – and of 12 months previously when he fell at the last obstacle – to deny Stuart Watson, 6-5, in the Masters Championship final, whilst John Rees recorded a 5-2 success over Barry Stark to triumph in the Over-55 Championship for the second time in the last three years.
2018/19 EASB Finals Weekend – Results (breaks in brackets)
Northern Amateur Snooker Championship | Wayne Brown (50) 1-8 (86, 101) Brandon Sargeant
Southern Amateur Snooker Championship | Jamie O’Neill (82, 104, 50, 93, 55, 50) 8-6 (75, 124) Zak Surety
English Amateur Snooker Championship | Brandon Sargeant (83, 92, 113) 10-7 (64, 87, 57, 65) Jamie O’Neill
Under-21 Snooker Championship | Callum Beresford 7-8 (110) Mark Lloyd
Under-18 Snooker Championship | Hamim Hussain 0-6 (58, 64) Jenson Kendrick
Under-16 Snooker Championship | Paul Deaville (83) 6-3 (56) Liam Pullen
Under-14 Snooker Championship | Liam Pullen (95) 4-5 Stanley Moody
Masters Snooker Championship | Wayne Brown 6-5 Stuart Watson (breaks information not available)
Over-55 Snooker Championship | John Rees 5-2 Barry Stark
6 Reds Snooker Championship | Jenson Kendrick 8-6 Hamim Hussain