Finland’s Robin Hull defeated compatriot Patrik Tiihonen 5-1 in the final on home soil to win the 2023 Nordic Snooker Championship last month.
The annual event features players from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, with countries taking it in turns to host. This year’s edition was held across four days at the City Biljard in Oulu and a maximum entry of 40 cueists were split into eight round robin groups of five with the top two from each pool qualifying for the knockout rounds.
Three-time Crucible Theatre qualifier and 2016 Shoot Out champion Hull was competing in the tournament for the first time. The 49-year-old won all four of his group matches 3-0 as he topped Group A and eased into the knockouts.
Against fellow group qualifier Andy Nettleton (Sweden), Hull missed a tricky cut-back black on 140 for a maximum break. Earlier this year, Hull hit a historic 147 en route to winning a 14th Finnish National Snooker Championship.
In the elimination rounds, Hull dispatched Esa Oikarinen (Finland) 4-2 and Sigurður Kristjánsson (Iceland) 4-0 in the last 16 and quarter-finals respectively before coming back from a frame down – the only time in the event when he was behind in frames – to defeat reigning two-time champion Daniel Kandi (Denmark) 4-1 in the semi-finals.
Runner-up in 2017 and 2019, 23-year-old Tiihonen reached his third Nordic final following top spot qualification from Group F (three wins from four) and knockout victories over Nettleton 4-2, Reidar Rundsveen (Norway) 4-0 and Nassim Sekat (Norway) 4-2. Against Sekat in the last four, 2017 Finnish National Champion Tiihonen recovered from 2-0 down.
The final produced some top-quality snooker. Hull registered a run of 76 as he secured the opening frame although Tiihonen responded with a break of 89 in frame two to level.
Hull won the next two frames (55 break, frame four) to go into the mid-session interval 3-1 up. On resumption in frame five, Hull compiled a 133 total clearance – his third century of the competition – and then completed the task on the colours in frame six to add yet another accolade to his impressive career portfolio.
The images within the text above are courtesy of Minna Kekkonen/City Biljard