Australia’s Kurt Dunham has the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong ambition of competing on the professional snooker circuit after winning the 2016 Oceania Snooker Championship in New South Wales last weekend.
This year hosted by the Mounties Club in Mount Pritchard, a total of 80 players took part in the latest edition of this prestigious continental championship that boasts Neil Robertson as a former winner.
Dunham began his campaign by comfortably emerging from Group J – winning all three of his matches. In the subsequent early knockout rounds he negotiated Adam Bleumink 3-1 and Shannon Dixon 3-0 before being taken to a deciding frame against Joe Minici, 4-3, in the last 16.
Australian seniors champion Paul Thomerson was seen off 4-0 in the last eight, whilst in the semi-finals Dunham ousted Adrian Ridley 5-4 on the final black following a crucially fluked pink beforehand.
His opponent in the final was James Mifsud, who likewise had remained undefeated throughout.
The title match appeared to be a one-sided affair as Dunham took a 4-0 lead before Mifsud flipped the match around by stringing together five consecutive frames to stand on the edge of victory.
However, Dunham steadied the situation by taking frame ten to force it to a decider where he received another huge slice of luck – this time on the green – before managing to get over the line 6-5 and lift the trophy for the first time in his career.
The triumph means he becomes the Oceania Billiards and Snooker Federation’s (OBSF) nomination for a two-year professional tour card from the 2016/17 season.
In the Oceania 6 Reds Championship, Australian youngster Ryan Thomerson defeated compatriot Daniell Haenga 6-4 in the final to win the title. He is set to be the OBSF representative for the SangSom 6-Red World Championship in Thailand later this year.
Preceding the main event at the same venue, New Zealand’s Louis Chand went one better than his final finish in the same event last year to claim the Oceania Under-21 Snooker Championship.
Chand qualified from his round robin group in top, winning all three of his matches and dropping just two frames.
In the knockout stages he defeated compatriot Mikey Stewart 4-2, then Australia’s Cale Barrett 5-3 and Ben Foster 6-4 in the semi-finals and final respectively.
Main event date: 1st-5th March 2016