Australia’s Cale Barrett will be offered a coveted two-year World Snooker Tour card following his triumph in the 2020 Oceania Snooker Championship at the Mounties Club in Sydney.
Organised by the Oceania Billiards and Snooker Federation, a total of 60 players competed for the continental title with representation from the host nation, New Zealand and Fiji.
Tasmanian cueist Barrett began his campaign by easing through to the knockout phase of the competition after qualifying top of his group with four wins from four. However, he found himself in trouble during the last 32 when he trailed Paul Thomerson by a couple of frames before constructing breaks of 76 and 62 to turn it around and progress 3-2. More routine victories arrived over Ron Tulloch (4-0) and Rob Elsey (4-1), then the 23-year-old overcame experienced former winner Joe Minici 5-3 in the semi-finals.
Barrett’s opponent in the final was fellow countryman Shaun Dalitz, who had ended the hopes of recent World Snooker Federation Open quarter-finalist and Challenge Tour regular Ryan Thomerson in the last four.
A keen trophy contest was expected but didn’t materialise. Barrett dominated early on; a run of 54 helped him take the opener before he claimed the next four frames to lead 5-0 – just one away from the title. To his credit Dalitz avoided the whitewash, but Barrett completed the task in frame seven with the aid of a 60 break to confirm a 6-1 scoreline and secure the prestigious championship for the first time. He joins a list of former winners that includes Neil Robertson.
Hassan Kerde – eliminated by Dalitz in the last eight – constructed the highest break of the tournament with a 120 during the groups stage.
2020 Oceania Snooker Championship – results from the quarter-finals
Roger Farebrother 3-4 Ryan Thomerson
Shaun Dalitz 4-2 Hassan Kerde
Cale Barrett 4-1 Rob Elsey
Tyson Crinis 2-4 Joe Minici
Thomerson 3-5 Dalitz
Barrett 5-3 Minici
Dalitz 1-6 Barrett
Continental Accolades for Dunham, Turner and Cullen
Preceding the main event at the same venue, recent professional player Kurt Dunham won the Oceania 6-Red Championship for a third year in a row.
The Melbourne ace emerged through the pack, defeating former world number 18 Dene O’Kane from New Zealand 5-3 in the final. The successful title defence means that Dunham will return to the SangSom 6-Red World Championship in Thailand later this year as the Oceania representative.
Earlier in the month at the Tauranga Citizens Club in New Zealand, the Oceania Under-21 and Women’s Championships were held.
Cody Turner (NZ) got the better of Marc Fridman (Australia) 6-1 in the final to win the under-21 title, while Kimberley Cullen overcame fellow Kiwi Nita Clarkson 3-0 to conclude the women’s event.
Australia’s Steve Mifsud won the Oceania Snooker Championship for a third time this weekend, some 21 years after he first claimed the title.
A field of nearly 70 entries, with representation from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, travelled to the Mounties Club in Sydney for the most prestigious title the Oceania Billiards and Snooker Federation (OBSF) has to offer. Players were initially split into round robin groups with the top two from each advancing to the knockouts.
Mifsud, who also lifted the trophy in 2014, began his bid by qualifying second from his group. During the knockouts the 46-year-old eliminated former winner and fellow ex-professional Ben Judge (3-1), Ben Foster (4-1), Cale Barrett (4-1) and then ousted number two seed Alan McCarthy (5-4) via a deciding frame.
Awaiting Mifsud was recent main tour professional Kurt Dunham in what would be an all-Victorian final. Dunham was returning to the tournament having secured promotion to the sport’s top tier courtesy of winning it in 2016 at this same venue. The 27-year-old qualified as the number one seed after topping his group without losing a frame. He then continued his relentless assault on the championship in the knockouts, culminating in a 5-2 semi-final victory over former winner Joe Minici.
Mifsud started the final well taking a 2-0 lead, but Dunham recovered to level up going into the mid-session interval. The following two frames were shared, but it was the current and record equalling eight-time Australian national champion Mifsud who was stronger in the closing stages, coming through a 6-4 victor.
As a member of the World Snooker Federation, the OBSF will nominate Mifsud as their candidate for a two-year professional tour card, although it is unclear whether the Australian will accept the offer in any capacity. Mifsud also has the opportunity to compete in the Betfred World Professional Championship qualifiers that take place at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield next month.
Whilst Dunham will be disappointed at losing the final, he can console himself with the Oceania 6-Red Championship he won at the start of the week. Dropping just five frames throughout the entire competition, Dunham defeated Roger Farebrother 5-0 in the final.
Fullerton secures maiden crown
Australia’s Megan Fullerton went one better on her performance 12 months ago by winning the Oceania Women’s Snooker Championship for the first time.
Fullerton qualified second from her round robin group after winning four out of five matches. In the subsequent knockout phase she eliminated Kylie Bellinger, 3-0, and then inflicted revenge by dethroning defending champion Carlie Tait, 3-2.
Her opponent in the final was experienced former winner Theresa Whitten (Australia), who saw off Judy Dangerfield and Annette Clifford in the last eight and four respectively.
There was never more than a frame’s difference between the finalists, but it was Fullerton who eventually came through via a seventh and deciding frame. The New South Wales representative earlier in the competition also made the highest break of 59.
2019 OBSF Oceania Snooker Championship
Results – from the quarter-finals onwards
Kurt Dunham 4-0 James Mifsud
John Wims 2-4 Joe Minici
Cale Barrett 1-4 Steve Mifsud
Daniel Haenga 2-4 Alan McCarthy
Dunham 5-2 Minici
Mifsud 5-4 McCarthy
Dunham 4- 6 Mifsud
Highest Break Steve Mifsud (130)