Filipiak Is Top Pole Again

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Having narrowly lost in each of the three previous finals, Kacper Filipiak defeated Paweł Rogoza in the final of the 2019 edition to become Poland’s national snooker champion again.

Open to all citizens and residents of the country, the 27th annual staging of Poland’s biggest amateur event was held at the 147 Break Snooker & Billiards Club in capital city Warsaw.

In what was the culmination to the 2018/19 domestic season, the championship’s final stages featured 32 players initially split into eight round robin groups of four, with the top two from each progressing to the knockout stage.

The line-up consisted of players who had earned their place from either the TOP16 league or national ranking list. In addition, two of Poland’s top female players – Ewelina Piślewska and Katarzyna Bialik – were awarded wildcards.

Before the main event, the four remaining vacant spots were decided via a qualifying competition. These were taken by former champion Rafał Górecki, national disabled pool champion Marcin Kubalski, Konrad Juszczyszyn and Tomasz Bondarewski. Kubalski joined fellow disability player Adam Wilk in the group stage; both players traveled to Northampton, England last September to play in the World Disability Billiards and Snooker Fizz Open Championships.

The majority of fancied competitors made it through the groups, although defending two-time champion Mateusz Baranowski was eliminated when he finished third in a tough section behind 2016 winner Tomasz Skalski and Michał Ebert.

Filipiak – European under-21 champion in 2011 and who subsequently debuted on the professional circuit as a 15-year-old – comfortably topped his group having dropped only one frame.

He remained relatively untroubled when dispatching Michał Kotiuk (4-0) and Skalski (5-0) in the last 16 and quarter-finals, but had to win the last three frames in order to squeeze past Grzegorz Biernadski 5-4 in the semi-finals. Biernadski had earlier denied Kubalski in the last 16.

In the title match, 23-year-old Filipiak met debut finalist Rogoza, an opponent a year younger than himself.

Rogoza – who was also undefeated on route – began the final well with an 82 to claim the opening frame. However, Filipiak flexed his muscle, registering runs of 58, 57 and 55 as he strung together the next five frames to move within one of glory.

A short rally saw Rogoza reduce his arrears to 3-5, but a further effort of 58 helped Filipiak get across the line in the next to lift the trophy for the first time since his maiden triumph in 2014.

Thank you to tournament organiser Patrycja Gromadzińska for her help in compiling this article.

Article written and published by Michael Day on the 8th January 2019