Maguire Wins SangSom 6-Red World Championship for Second Time

Maguire Wins SangSom 6-Red World Championship for Second Time

Stephen Maguire won a tartan tussle against John Higgins 8-6 in the final of the SangSom 6-Red World Championship to win the title for the second time in Bangkok.

It’s a first individual title for world number 15 Maguire since he won the 2014 Lisbon Open. He also won the 6-Red title earlier that year.

In an exciting final, Glasgow’s 38-year-old Maguire pulled away from 6-6 to win the last two frames, taking the trophy and top prize of four million Baht (£106,000) at the invitation event in the Thai capital.

It’s his second title of the season as he teamed up with 44-year-old Higgins to win the World Cup for Scotland in China in June. This time the two friends and practice partners went head to head, with Higgins playing in the Six Red final for the first time.

Maguire took an early 3-0 lead before world number five Higgins stormed back with four frames in a row. Frame eight went to Maguire and he nicked the ninth on the black to lead 5-4.

He won the tenth as well then squandered a clear chance in the 11th, missing a red to a centre pocket. Four time World Champion Higgins cleared the table then made a break of 58 in the 12th to level at 6-6.

With the match in the balance, Maguire made a vital break of 39 to regain the lead at 7-6. And he got the better of a tense 14th frame, the score 34-18, to secure the title.

“It feels good, I was very lucky,” said Maguire. “I’d like to thank the sponsor and promoter for putting on the tournament. All of the boys enjoy this, everyone loves coming out to Thailand.”

All results

Both players now head to China for the £751,000 Shanghai Masters, which starts on Monday. Click here for the match schedule.

Five Star Aly’s American Snooker Title

Five Star Aly’s American Snooker Title

Ahmed Aly Elsayed made history as he claimed a fifth United States National Snooker Championship title at the Q-Ball Houston in Texas on Labor Day.

Players from several different states took part in the annual four-day event; the most prestigious on the United States Snooker Association (USSA) calendar.

Defending champion Aly qualified for the last 16 having finished top of Group A, winning his opening three matches without dropping a frame, although he did lose his last fixture to Cheang Ciing Yoo.

The New Yorker, who lifted the trophy last year in Brooklyn, eliminated Rushil Vig 3-0 and Steven Wong 4-1 in the last 16 and 8 respectively. He then secured a fifth consecutive – and an overall record eighth – appearance in the final courtesy of defeating Nitin Mehta 4-1 in the semi-finals aided by breaks of 63 and 53.

In a repeat of their earlier round robin tie, Aly’s opponent in the showpiece was Yoo, who had advanced from the group in second place. The Washington cueist dispatched Thomas Tan, two-time champion Ajeya Prabhakar and 2017 winner and last year’s runner-up Raymond Fung in the knockouts.

Aly compiled a break of 78 to win the second frame, but maiden finalist Yoo was in control early on as he opened a 3-1 lead. However, the top seed was not to be denied. A run of 64 in the fifth helped him on his way as he strung together four successive frames to emerge a 5-3 winner.

Victory number five in this tournament means Aly matches Tom Kollins’ long standing overall title haul. Kollins was the first champion of this event in 1991 and won his fifth title ten years later.

It is not the first time that Aly has retained this championship; he also won it 2009, 2010 and 2011. Earlier this year at the same venue, Aly reached the quarter-finals of the Pan American Billiards and Snooker Association (PABSA) Championship when he lost to eventual champion Igor Figueiredo. He has also featured in the last two editions of Q-School.

Both the USSA and PABSA are members of the World Snooker Federation.

Photos supplied by SnookerUSA.com

Brilliant Bolton’s Australian Double

Brilliant Bolton’s Australian Double

Matthew Bolton completed another unique double when he added the 2019 Australian National Snooker Championship title to the national billiards crown he claimed in June. 

Held at the RACV Club in Melbourne, home of the upcoming World Billiards Championship in October, players from across the country contested this prestigious annual Australian Billiards and Snooker Council event that was first played for in 1953. 

Bolton, who briefly spent a short spell on the professional circuit courtesy of winning the Oceania Snooker Championship a few seasons ago, got his campaign off to a fine start as breaks of 61 and 51 helped him defeat Robin Beggs 4-0. Finishing off with an effort of 126 he eliminated Stan Gorski 4-2 in the last 16 and then registered a top run of 59 ending Shaun Dalitz’s hopes in the quarter-finals, 4-0. 

Returning for ‘Finals Day’, the 40-year-old from Perth in Western Australia put on an excellent performance to dismiss last year’s runner-up Charlie Chafe 5-2 in the last four, compiling breaks of 54, 137, 124 and 50.  

During the same session, 2016 winner James Mifsud sealed his spot in the final after ousting Kurt Dunham 5-4, despite Dunham crafting a 136 in the second frame of the match. This temporarily stood as the tournament’s highest break before Bolton bettered it by one point not long after. 

The opening frame of the final went to Bolton, although Mifsud levelled with the aid of a 46. Bolton then went into the mid-session interval 3-1 up, and although his opponent closed the gap when taking frame five on the last black, contributions of 60, 55 and 52 got him over the line as a comfortable 6-2 victor and saw him lift the trophy for the second time in his career. 

Dave Collins and Steve Mifsud have previously won both the Australian National billiards and snooker titles in the same year, but Bolton, who also secured both in 2014, becomes the first player in history to have achieved the feat twice.

Woods and Lynch Win Women’s Championships

Earlier in the month, defending champion Jessica Woods won her sixth Australian National Women’s Snooker Championship at SA Snooker Venue in Adelaide. 

Cueists from five different states featured in the event with the players initially split into round robin groups. Woods was supreme as she eased into the knockouts after winning all four of her group games 2-0. 

New South Wales’ Woods eliminated Carlie Tait 3-0 in the quarter-finals, and despite dropping her first frame of the championship, she defeated Theresa Whitten 4-1 in the last four, a match in which she recorded a 52 break.  

Her opponent in the final was Taylor Meyer, who had come through three consecutive deciding frame finishes to make it there. However, Woods remained relentless and retained the trophy following a 4-0 victory. She has now won this event the last six times she has entered it. 

At the same venue before the snooker event, Anna Lynch got the better of Caroline Ruscitti by 255 to 222 in a ninety minutes final to triumph in the Australian National Women’s Billiards Championship. Lynch had previously won all three of her group games before denying Lyndal Ellement in the semi-finals. During the final she also made the highest break of the event with an effort of 54. 

Photo credits: George Spiteri, Matt Huart

Anderson’s South African Title Triumph

Anderson’s South African Title Triumph

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

Semi-Final

Gierdien 5-0 Sideratos

Moodley 2-5 Anderson

Final

Gierdien 4-6 Anderson

Garzia Retains Italian Snooker Title

Garzia Retains Italian Snooker Title

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

Semi-Finals

Garzia 4-2 Foti

Grandi 4-0 Battelli

Final

Garzia 5-4 Grandi

Lindblom’s Swedish Snooker Success

Lindblom’s Swedish Snooker Success

Simon Lindblom came through a nervy conclusion in the final to win his second Swedish National Snooker Championship earlier this month.

A title first contested for in 1984, the latest annual edition of the event was held across four days at the Snookerhallen venue in the capital city of Stockholm. The main draw consisted of 32 players made up of 24 seeds determined from the national rankings and eight qualifiers who had progressed from Thursday’s round robins. The following phase of the competition whittled down half of the remaining entries via a double elimination format before a straight knockout was instigated from the last 16 onwards.

Number five seed Lindblom won his opening two matches to advance into the knockouts where he crafted breaks of 64 and 53 when dispatching Nils Ritenius Manjer, 4-0, in the last 16. The 24-year-old then overcame George To, 4-1, and multiple-time winner Kevin Zarekani, 5-0, in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. It meant that Lindblom had dropped just two frames in reaching the final.

However, Lindblom had to draw on other qualities in the title decider as 2007 champion Jim Johansson provided a much sterner examination. A runner-up four times since his victory twelve years previously – including in 2018 – second seed Johansson was also undefeated on route. He emerged from a four-hours plus quarter-final duel with Max Nettleton that went to a deciding frame but subsequently enjoyed a straightforward 5-0 win over former Nordic Championship winner Belan Sharif in the last four.

It was Johansson who started the final stronger as he went into the mid-session interval 3-1 up. On the resumption, though, aided by runs of 54, 39 and 42, Lindblom strung together four consecutive frames to move within one of the trophy at 5-3. Momentum shifted again when Johansson secured frames nine and ten, but Lindblom was resolute in the decider as an effort of 38 helped him sealed a 6-5 success. This latest national triumph for Lindblom arrives three years on from his first, when he also claimed the title by virtue of a final frame.

Last year’s winner Henrik Svedstedt was pipped by Sharif in the last eight while top seed and two-time champion Mats Eriksson perished at the same stage to Zarekani.

National governing body the Swedish Billiard Federation is a member of the World Snooker Federation.

Photos by Tony Barmin.

2019 Swedish National Snooker Championship

Results (from the quarter-finals onwards)

Simon Lindblom 4-1 George To

Belan Sharif 4-3 Henrik Svedstedt

Max Nettleton 3-4 Jim Johansson

Mats Eriksson 2-4 Kevin Zarekani

Semi-Finals

Lindblom 5-0 Sharif

Johansson 5-0 Zarekani

Final

Lindblom 6-5 Johansson