Joe O’Connor signed off his amateur career in style by claiming the 2018 English Amateur Snooker Championship title. It is 22-year-old O’Connor’s maiden victory in this prestigious national competition which was first contested for in 1916.
Following the regional and zonal rounds that were completed earlier this season, the four remaining players traveled to the South West Snooker Academy in Gloucester for the 2017/18 English Association of Snooker and Billiards (EASB) Finals Weekend where several tournament winners were discovered.
On the Saturday, SWSA resident Andrew Norman ousted fellow ex-professional Jamie O’Neill 8-7 to win the Southern Area Championship final. For Norman, it put him into his second English Amateur Championship final, 19 years on from his first in 1999. O’Connor reached his first EAC title match after overcoming Farakh Ajaib 8-5 in the Northern Area Championship climax.
Both players returning the next day for the overall title, O’Connor made a bright start with a break of 93 in the opening frame. The youngster stretched his advantage to 3-0 before Norman got on the board with a run of 67 in frame four. Norman then got to within one when chalking up frame five, however, this would be the closest he got.
Highlighted by efforts of 61 and 49, O’Connor took the final four frames of the first session to lead 7-2. On resumption later in the day, former world number 42 Norman reduced his arrears by one, but missed a tricky frame ball pink across the top cushion in frame 11 – and was punished. O’Connor subsequently won the next two frames to seal a 10-3 success.
The Leicester-based cueist will be ineligible to defend the title next season as he will be making his debut on the professional circuit courtesy of qualifying from the recent EBSA play-offs.
Elsewhere across the weekend, it was a memorable few days for youngster Ryan Davies who completed two unique doubles.
The multi-cuesport talent won the English under 16 and 18 championships in both the snooker and billiards disciplines. Davies is also a current national under-18 English pool champion.
Louis Heathcote – another Leicester star – came back from the brink of defeat to pip Callum Costello 8-7 in the final of the English Under-21 Snooker Championship. At 7-6 down Heathcote required a snooker but obtained the penalty points, secured the frame, and then took the decider.
Steve Whalley defeated Bill Cornish 5-1 to win the English Over-55 Championship.
Article written and published by Michael Day on the 10th June 2018.