Iulian Boiko ousted Shachar Ruberg in a thrilling final to win the 2023 EBSA European Snooker Shoot-Out Championship.
Held at the Perunika Hall in Albena, Bulgaria, the one-day tournament mimicked the same format and rules of the professional Snooker Shoot Out event that has taken place annually since 2011. Initially played across two tables, cueists representing 21 different nations entered the competition.
Former professional Boiko – still only 17-years-old – travelled to South-East Europe off the back of an impressive display at the UK Q-School in Leicester where he narrowly missed out on a return to the sport’s top tier, although he did finish top of the order of merit rankings.
The Ukrainian defeated Maksim Kostov (Bulgaria), Ben Fortey (Wales), Greg Casey (Republic of Ireland) and Brian Ochoiski (France) to reach the last four where he compiled a break of 109 – the highest of the event – to end the campaign of fellow ex-professional Eden Sharav (Israel).
Israel’s Ruberg booked his place in the title match after victory against Marcin Nitschke (Poland) in the semi-finals.
There was drama in more ways than one in the final as due to an unclear outcome on whether a time foul was committed, it was amicably agreed by all parties that the frame should start again from scratch.
Boiko established a 35-point lead, but despite being under pressure from the clock, former European amateur semi-finalist Ruberg came on strong near the end with several brilliant pots to go within three points of his opponent. However, the 28-year-old crucially missed a red into a middle pocket when on the cusp of taking the lead, and Boiko was able to stay in possession of the table until the time expired.
This latest success is Bokio’s second continental title following victory at the 2020 EBSA European 6-Red Championship in Portugal.
The two images above are courtesy of the EBSA