WPBSA International Round-Up | October 2020

WPBSA International Round-Up | October 2020

Reviewing amateur action from across the globe, the latest edition of the WPBSA International Round-Up takes us through Europe and to the other side of the world.

Jersey

Former World Seniors Snooker Champion Aaron Canavan was once again crowned king of Jersey following a dramatic and high-quality final victory over rival Gary Britton at the First Tower Billiards and Snooker Club in Saint Helier.

The annual island championship was halted mid-tournament earlier in the year due to coronavirus restrictions but was recently commenced and concluded. Either side of the suspension, Canavan didn’t drop a frame on his way to yet another domestic final where he faced familiar adversary and defending champion Britton – between them the pair have claimed the majority of the island’s major snooker honours over the past 15 years.

In a fantastic start to the final six-time winner Britton took the opening frame with an 85 break but Canavan registered runs of 98 and 67 to move 2-1 up. The next two frames were shared before Britton forced it all the way with the aid of a 75. However, Canavan managed to win the decider and claim the national championship for a ninth time, avenging a deciding frame final loss to Britton in the 2019 final.

Northern Ireland

Fergal Quinn won his maiden Northern Ireland Under-21 Snooker Championship after a thrilling climax to the final against Robbie McGuigan at the Antrim Sports Club.

The scheduled date for the final was held over due to McGuigan having contested the overall national championship the week before. He made a bright start to the match, crafting efforts of 62 and 65 as he established a 3-1 lead in this junior encounter.

Quinn, though, was persistent after the mid-session interval, levelling the tie and then forcing it all the way after McGuigan had gone back ahead with frame seven. In a tense deciding frame, McGuigan came back after trailing early on, but having potted a long pink, he missed a tricky black down the cushion with the rest which allowed Quinn to step up and become the champion.

At the same venue the following week Chucky Preston won the 2020 Car Repairs Northern Ireland Women’s Snooker Championship.

The Newtownards cueist qualified for the knockouts after five out of six victories in the group before a 2-0 triumph in the semi-finals and then a 2-0 defeat of Cathy Pegg in the final.

Preston – who has risen up the world women’s rankings in a short space of time – has recently dominated the domestic women’s circuit in Northern Ireland, but it is the first time that she has secured the national title.

New Zealand

Kimberley Cullen defeated Corien Simpson 3-1 to capture her second New Zealand Women’s Snooker Championship at the Porirua Club.

Cullen won three of her four group games to qualify for the knockouts. After receiving a bye in the quarter-finals she got the better of Suzanne Hart 3-1 and then repeated that scoreline against Simpson.

Previously the winner in 2015, Cullen is also the current Oceania women’s snooker champion.

Elsewhere in New Zealand, Vincent Tate staged a notable recovery to claim the national seniors snooker title, coming back from 3-0 down to oust Dale Kwok 4-3 in the final.

The overall New Zealand Snooker Championship is due to take place in November.

Bulgaria

A fifth Bulgarian National Snooker Championship was won by Georgi Velichkov – the nation’s number one ranked player having triumphed at seven of this season’s eight events.

Velichkov dropped just one frame in seven matches on his way to the final at the Arena Zapad Academy in Sofia. He then ended the hopes of youngster Viktor Iliev 5-3 in the title decider. Velichkov also constructed the tournament’s highest break with an effort of 92.

Iliev – who dethroned defending champion Bratislav Krastev 4-3 in the last four – would be celebrating a fortnight later when he defeated Maxim Kostov 4-2 to retain the national under-21 championship.

Slovenia

Winner of the competition in 2018, Miha Zajc is once again the snooker champion of Slovenia.

Played throughout at the Biljardnica Kaval in Ljublijana, Zajc advanced through the early rounds and would end the reign of defending champion Kieman Sorak 5-1 in the final.

Like many countries across Europe, snooker continues to grow in Slovenia. Plans are being made for further playing opportunities in the near future. You can learn more about the championship and ambitions here.

 Thank you to everyone who contributed to this month’s edition. 

Article by Michael Day.

Britton Captures Channel Islands Championship

Britton Captures Channel Islands Championship

Jersey’s Gary Britton won his fourth Channel Islands Amateur Snooker Championship last week – an annual spectacle that is a unique one-off match contested between the recent winners of the individual Guernsey and Jersey Amateur Snooker Championships that were decided only a few weeks before.

Guernsey

First to book his berth there was Adam Shorto, who claimed the Guernsey title for a sixth time when he dethroned defending champion and longtime rival Martyn Desperques in the final.

After coming through the earlier rounds that were played throughout the season, Shorto was looking to regain the trophy for the first time since 2015 and avenge defeats to Desperques in each of the previous two years’ finals. The pair are no strangers to each other having challenged numerous title matches across the last two decades.

Shorto started the best-of-nine encounter well as he opened a 2-0 lead with breaks of 35, 52 and 45, but Desperques – the 2018 Channel Islands Champion – kicked in to level proceedings with efforts of 116 and 54.

However, after the mid-session interval, the pendulum swung back in Shorto’s favour as he re-established a two-frame cushion to go on the brink, and despite watching his opponent cut the deficit in half, he constructed a 69 break in frame eight to emerge as a 5-3 victor.

Jersey

The following week Britton produced a stunning comeback against familiar foe and reigning World Seniors champion Aaron Canavan to retain the Jersey Championship.

Held at the First Tower Billiards and Snooker Club, this too was the culmination of a tournament that had been played across the season. Canavan appeared on course for success when runs of 73 and 52 put him 3-0 up and just one frame away from the trophy, but as is so often the case, an interval proved to be a game-changer.

A re-invigorated Britton returned for the second half; he got a foothold in the tie by chalking up the fourth frame before contributions of 62 and 55 drew him level at 3-3.

Canavan acted first during the decider with a break of 41, but a subsequent 40 and 28 from Britton completed the dramatic turnaround. A competition he first won in 1997, it was his sixth time to receive the accolade.

Channel Islands Final

Each year the islands take it in turns to host the showpiece match; the 2019 edition was held at the Gremlin Club in Guernsey.

A keenly contested final that went the distance, there was never more than a frame between the duo. Home player Shorto nabbed the opening frame on the black, but a 41 break in the next helped Britton level. Shorto then produced a 60 to take the lead again although Britton bettered it with a 61 to square up at the interval.

The sequence continued following the break as Shorto moved in front two further times, yet on each occasion Britton clawed it back after crafting runs of 63 and 70.

Shorto had led the match four times and despite getting in first during the decider, it was Britton who ousted him on the colours to take the title back home with him across the water.

Having had spells away from the sport in the past, this was Britton’s fourth Channel Islands success in the snooker discipline – his last came in 2001.

“I’m pleased to the win the title once more after a while, particularly after losing my last two Channel Islands final and twenty-two years after my first one. It was also good to beat the World Seniors champion (Aaron Canavan) to win the Jersey title.” said Britton.

Both the Guernsey Billiards and Snooker Association (GB&SA) and the Jersey Billiards and Snooker Association (JBSA) are members of the World Snooker Federation (WSF).