One hundred years on from when the first English Amateur Snooker Championship was contested, Jamie Bodle held his nerve to the claim the centenary anniversary edition in one of the most intriguing finals this prestigious event has ever seen.
This season’s grand final between northern area champion Bodle and southern area champion Wayne Townsend was the culmination to a series of qualifying heats and regional finals played throughout the domestic campaign. Held at the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester, the title match was observed by World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association Chairman Jason Ferguson.
Townsend made a commanding start, taking the opening frame on the colours before doubling his lead with the second. He claimed frame three after forcing a re-spotted black and then constructed a break of 76 to help go into the mid-session interval 4-0 up.
However, 43-year-old Bodle – who competed on the professional circuit in the 1990s – responded after the break. He got on the board courtesy of the fifth before registering a run of 94 – which would stand as the highest of the match – to reduce his arrears again.
He appeared set to cut the deficit once more in the seventh, but unexpectedly missed frame ball blue. Townsend smothered his opponent’s momentum by clearing up and then taking the next to re-establish a four-frame cushion going into the evening session.
On resumption, Cueball Derby’s Bodle came through the correct side of a 45-minute ninth frame, and then crafted a 64 break which helped him make it 6-4. Further turning points would come in the following two frames.
Needing penalty points in frame 11 with only the colours remaining, Bodle got the desired snooker and would later pot pink and black for a steal. More drama came in frame 12 when Townsend surprisingly missed frame ball pink – Bodle would capitalise to square up at 6-6, the first time they had been level since the start.
Townsend exhibited resolve after the last mid-session interval, though, making a 51 to go back in front again. Bodle made it 7-7, but Townsend claimed the next two frames – featuring an 87 in frame 15 – to stand on the edge of glory at 9-7 up.
However, now at the point of no return, Bodle left his best recovery until last, pulling himself level before winning the deciding frame and match, 10-9. It was the only time he had been in front throughout the day.
Former ranking event winner and TV commentator Neal Foulds was present in Gloucester to provide analysis for the livestream. He also helped present the iconic trophy to Bodle.
Charles Jacques was the first English Amateur Snooker Champion in 1916. Bodle joins that list of champions that includes famous names such as John Pulman, Ray Reardon, John Spencer, Terry Griffiths, Jimmy White and Stuart Bingham.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 11th April 2016 (took place on the 10th).