Bob Chaperon was back lifting silverware earlier this month after winning the Canadian National Snooker Championship for the second time – an amazing 38 years on from his maiden triumph in the competition.
The event was once again held at the Corner Bank in Toronto, a club part-owned by another prominent former Canadian professional player, Jim Wych. Over 50 players from Ontario and beyond travelled to the Canadian Billiards and Snooker Association’s most prestigious event that has been claimed in the past by national greats Cliff Thorburn, Bill Werbeniuk, Kirk Stevens, Alain Robidoux, Alex Pagulayan and Wych himself.
Defending champion and former Crucible qualifier Brady Gollan – whose two victories in this event also came 30 years apart – was an early casualty when he lost to Lobsang Lama 4-3 in his opening match. Lama followed this up with wins against Amar Sadig (5-0), Steve West (5-2) and Derrick Claus (5-3) to reach the final for the first time.
Chaperon, surprise winner of the 1990 British Open, dropped just a frame during rounds one and two but he had a tougher time dispatching three-time champion Floyd Ziegler, 5-3, in the last 16. The 60-year-old then eliminated youngster Edward Ling 5-2 in the quarter-finals and John Everekian was given the same treatment in the next round.
In a meeting of varying scales of experience, the opening four frames of the final were shared before Chaperon established an advantage and moved one away from victory at 5-2. A determined Lama refused to give in, forcing a deciding frame after a trio of frames for himself, but Chaperon regrouped in the eleventh to get his hands back on the trophy that he first lifted in 1981. The former world number 25 pocketed $4,000 for his work; he also made the highest break of 120 earlier on in the tournament.
In the proceeding Canadian National Seniors Championship at the same venue, 1980 world champion Thorburn defeated last year’s victor Ziegler, 4-2, in the final to claim the title.
2019 Canadian National Snooker Championship
Results (from the quarter-finals onwards)
Lobsang Lama 5-2 Steve West
Derrick Claus 5-0 Ricky Leon
Alan Whitfield 3-5 John Everekian
Bob Chaperon 5-2 Edward Ling
Losers each received $800
Lama 5-3 Claus
Everekian 2-5 Chaperon
Losers each received $1,500
Lama 5-6 Chaperon
Lama received $2,700 / Chaperon received $4,000
The Republic of Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association (RIBSA) recently held their end of season ‘Finals Weekend’ at the Ivy Rooms in Carlow where several national champions across various categories were confirmed.
In a meeting of two recent ex-professionals, David Morris defeated Josh Boileau to claim the most prestigious prize on the RIBSA domestic circuit; the Irish National Championship.
The opening rounds of the event culminated in 16 players qualifying for the showdown in Carlow last week. Morris, who reached the last 16 of the UK Championship in 2013 and 2014, eliminated John Farrell, Paul Dunne and then 2000 winner Rodney Goggins, another former top tier competitor, to reach the final.
European Under-21 champion in 2016, youngster Boileau only fell off the main tour at the end of the 2017/18 campaign. Back in the amateur ranks, he acclimatised himself well to make his maiden final in this tournament after dispatching Robert Murphy in the last four.
The final started off as a predictably close affair with the pair locked at 3-3 come the end of the first session. However, 30-year-old Morris broke free on the resumption, stringing together four frames in a row to seal a 7-3 success. This is the fourth time that the Kilkenny cueist has won the accolade having lifted the trophy in three consecutive years between 2004-2006.
Another 14 titles were awarded across the weekend in the Leinster based venue. Michelle Sherwin won her 16th Irish Ladies Championship when she defeated Ronda Sheldreck, 4-0, in the final, while Michael Judge ousted Goggins, 5-4, to secure the Masters Championship.
In the youth competitions, Aaron Hill completed a double with victories in both the Under-21 and Under-18 divisions, although his bid for the Under-19s was stopped by champion Ross Bulman in the final. Leone Crowley, Aaron Smith and Jack O’Brien won the Under-16, 14 and 12 Championships respectively.
Titles in the three-ball discipline were also showcased; Wayne Doyle got the better of Aidan Murray, 4-1, to capture the 150 Up Championship, but the roles were reversed the following day in the Long Format Championship when Murray came through as a 690-553 victor.
2019 Irish National Snooker Championship
Results (from the quarter-finals onwards)
Paul Dunne 1-5 David Morris
Colm Gilcreest 0-5 Rodney Goggins
Robert Murphy 5-0 Aaron Holland
Josh Boileau 5-0 Aaron Hill
Morris 6-3 Goggins
Murphy 4-6 Boileau
Morris 7-3 Boileau
Photo by RIBSA.
Several national championship titles were decided at Scottish Snooker’s recent 2018/19 Finals Weekend held at the Minnesota Fats Snooker Club in Glasgow.
In the weekend’s main event, Michael Collumb won his maiden Scottish National Snooker Championship following a victory over Gary Thomson in the final.
Runner-up in 2015, 30-year-old Collumb progressed through the early rounds to reach the quarter-finals. Breaks of 74, 62, 108 and 52 helped him defeat Darren Ellis, 5-0, in the last eight, and then a 6-3 elimination of Ross Vallance put him through to another final.
Thomson was looking to again lift the trophy that in the past has been won by Scottish greats such as Stephen Hendry, Alan McManus and Graeme Dott. The 2001 champion secured his final berth via a 6-5 success against Craig MacGillivray where he crafted a top effort of 110. In the previous round MacGillivray was on the right side of a deciding frame finish when he dethroned defending champion Fraser Patrick.
The best-of-13 final brought together the top two ranked players from this season’s domestic ranking circuit. Thomson took a 2-0 lead before a 73 break got Collumb on the board. He then chalked up the next two frames to lead going into the interval.
On resumption Collumb extended his advantage but a break of 108 from Thomson stopped the rot. The pair traded frames again (71 break from Collumb in frame eight) before Collumb claimed what would be the last two frames of the match to confirm a 7-4 triumph. The new champion’s next action will be at the upcoming Q-School in Wigan where he aims to achieve a main tour card for the first time.
Whilst Thomson may be disappointed at missing out on the silverware, he will be consoled by the fact that he finished the campaign top of the rankings and therefore receives a wildcard into the Scottish Open professional event in December.
Elsewhere throughout the weekend Richy McDonald won the Masters Championship when he dispatched last year’s winner Michael Philbin, 6-0. Dean Young defended the Scottish Under-21 title after defeating Aaron Graham 5-0 in the final.
Sam McKay went home with a pair of trophies. First, he ousted Amaan Iqbal 3-2 to secure the Under-14s and he doubled up the next day with a 4-1 win against Kieran Kay for the Under-16s top prize.
In the three-ball sport, Davie Sneddon further strengthened his incredible record in the Scottish National Billiards Championship. Despite being over 100 points down half way through the final, Sneddon recovered to get the better of Paul McGowan 526-449 to retain and claim the title for a mind-boggling 31st time.
2019 Scottish National Snooker Championship
Results (from the quarter-finals onwards – breaks in brackets)
Gary Thomson (98, 54, 88) 5-1 Lee Mein (54)
Fraser Patrick 4-5 Craig MacGillivray
Michael Collumb (74, 62, 108, 52) 5-0 Darren Ellis
Dean Young (76) 2-5 Ross Vallance (51)
Gary Thomson (110) 6-5 Craig MacGillivray
Michael Collumb 6-3 Ross Vallance
Gary Thomson (108) 4-7 Michael Collumb (73, 71)
Former European Amateur champion and main tour professional Kristján Helgason won his 14th Iceland National Snooker Championship on Saturday.
A member of snooker’s top tier for a total of eight years in the past, Helgason made history in 2000 when he came through World Championship qualifying to appear at the Crucible Theatre; becoming the first player from his nation to do so.
Since his exit from the professional circuit in 2004 he has mainly appeared in big amateur events, winning titles such as the Nordic Snooker and European 6-Red Championships. At last year’s World Snooker Federation Championship in Malta, Helgason reached the semi-finals before losing to Adam Stefanow in a deciding frame.
Throughout the Icelandic Snooker Association’s domestic season eight open ranking events were held with the top 16 players qualifying for the national championship. Once again, defending champion Helgason was simply in a class of his own at the Billiardbarinn venue in the capital city of Reykjavik.
After receiving a walkover in the opening round, he eliminated Unnar Bragason (5-0) and Ásgeir Jón Guðbjartsson (7-1) in the quarter and semi-finals respectively. In the final Helgason faced Jón Ingi Ægisson; the duo had previously teamed up together to win the European Masters Team Championship in 2017.
Helgason took the opening frame although Ægisson responded well in going 2-1 up. However, Helgason showed his pedigree and broke away by reeling off the next eight frames in a row to run out a 9-2 victor. During the match he made nine half-century breaks – one in every frame he won.
Both Helgason and Ægisson will travel to Serbia at the end of May to compete in both singles and team action at the European Billiards and Snooker Association’s 6 Red and Team Championships.
2019 Iceland National Snooker Championship
Results – from the quarter-finals onwards
Kristján Helgason 5-0 Unnar Bragason
Ásgeir Jón Guðbjartsson 5-2 Guðni Pálsson
Jón Ingi Ægisson 5-4 Gudbjörn Gunnarsson
Bjarni Jónsson 3-5 Örvar Guðmundsson
Helgason 7-1 Guðbjartsson
Ægisson 7-6 Guðmundsson
Helgason 9-2 Ægisson
A new name will be etched onto the Northern Ireland Amateur Snooker Championship trophy after Antrim’s Declan Lavery claimed the national title for the first time last weekend.
Dating back to as far as 1927, this prestigious event has been won in the past by major champions Alex Higgins and Mark Allen. Organised by the Northern Ireland Billiards and Snooker Association (NIBSA) – a member of the World Snooker Federation (WSF) – this year’s edition featured over seventy hopefuls who contested the competition across three consecutive weekends. The early rounds were played at the Minnesota Snooker Club in Ballymena and a subsequent ‘Finals Weekend’ was held for the eight remaining contestants at the 147 Snooker Club in Antrim.
Lavery began his bid with victories over Kevin McGlinchey (3-0), John Robinson (3-1) and Paul Currie (4-2) to book a berth in the quarter-finals at his home venue. Three breaks of 90 and a 59 helped him to a 5-0 last 8 win against youngster Christopher Clifford, thus setting up a clash with ex-professional and seven-time champion of this tournament, Patrick Wallace.
The 35-year-old held 4-1 and 5-3 advantages in the best-of-11-frames encounter, but seasoned campaigner Wallace struck back to force a deciding frame. However, aided by a run of 55 – his fifth half century of the tie – Lavery came through to reach the final for the first time following four semi-final defeats in the past. Waiting for him there was Darren Dornan from Drumaness, who had eliminated Raymond Fry, 6-2, in the other semi.
During the first session of the final Lavery made breaks 51 and 106 to take control, but efforts of 70 and 63 kept Dornan in touch as he trailed by just one frame at 4-5 come the end of the opening salvo. On resumption, though, Lavery wasn’t prepared to relinquish his lead as he won five of the next six frames to emerge a 10-5 victor and secure the most significant accolade of his career so far.
A former Under-16 and 19 national champion too, Lavery’s latest success means he has earned a wildcard into the professional Northern Ireland Open at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast later on in the year.
A jubilant Lavery said “I’m overjoyed to win the title. It was my real goal in snooker to win it and get my name on the trophy alongside three of my best mates (Mark Allen, Colin Bingham, Jordan Brown) and Alex Higgins. I can’t wait to play in the Northern Ireland Open at the Waterfront”.
Earlier in the week, Shea Moore defended the Under-21 championship title with a 5-3 comeback final win over Christopher Clifford.
Clifford opened a 3-0 lead in the final before Moore turned the tables with a five-frame winning streak that included a half century break in each of the last three frames.
2019 Northern Ireland Amateur Snooker Championship
Results from the quarter-finals onwards (breaks in brackets)
Patrick Wallace (60, 62) 5-3 (56, 50, 54) Stephen Brady
Christopher Clifford 0-5 (90, 90, 90, 59) Declan Lavery
Anto Heaney 4-5 Darren Dornan
Mark Jackson (50) 4-5 (57) Raymond Fry
Wallace 5-6 (73, 52, 54, 53, 55) Lavery
Dornan 6-2 Fry
Lavery (50, 51, 106) 10-5 (70, 63, 58) Dornan
It has been announced by the African Billiards and Snooker Confederation (ABSC) that snooker will be included at the African Games for the first time later this year, representing a landmark development for our sport in the region.
Now organised by the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), the African Union (AU) and the Association of African Sports Confederations (AASC), the African Games were first staged in 1965 with approximately 2,500 athletes from 30 countries taking part. The 2019 Games represent the 12th edition of the event and will take place from 20 August – 1 September in Casablanca & Rabat, Morocco.
The decision to include snooker as a medal sport for the first time comes following significant work undertaken by the ABSC and in particular its president Mohammed El-Kammah who has worked tirelessly to make this dream become a reality.
It has been confirmed that member countries of the ABSC will be eligible to nominate players to compete at the Games. Non-member countries are therefore encouraged to become members of the ABSC so that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to pick up a cue and ensure that snooker is strongly represented in Morocco.
Among the most successful players to have emerged from the region include South African Perrie Mans, who reached the final of the world championship at the iconic Crucible Theatre back in 1978, losing 25-18 to Ray Reardon. Other players to make an impact at this time were former British Open champion Silvino Francisco and his nephew Peter, who rose as high as 14th in the world rankings and more recently competed at the World Games in Wroclaw in the summer of 2017.
Egypt’s Basem Eltahhan was the winner of the African Snooker Championship in 2017 and currently competes on the professional circuit, notably coming close to causing an upset against Mark Selby in the opening round of the UK Championship during his debut season before losing 6-4.
Mohammed El-Kammah, ABSC President said: “It is a dream that came true. Only 26 sports will be included in the African games and Snooker is one of them. Africa is a big continent and being in the African Games will create opportunities for every company working in the cue sports business. Players in Africa will be recognised for their achievement and probably talented players will be able to find sponsors and earn money. My next stop will be the Mediterranean Games and with the cooperation of my good friend Mr. Jason Ferguson, we will make it.”
Jason Ferguson, WPBSA Chairman said: “Any true global sport should reach out to every corner of the word to create opportunities for all. This is the true meaning of sport and is a further demonstration of development in cooperation with the WPBSA Group and the World Snooker Federation membership.
“Africa as a region has always made a significant contribution to snooker and this will help to develop opportunities for funding which will help aspiring players across the continent. I would like to offer my profound gratitude to my friend Mohammed El-Kammah for his lifetime of work that has helped to make this possible.”
Further information will be released here by the ABSC in due course.