Ben Hancorn etched his name in history as the winner of the 100th edition English Amateur Snooker Championship – the sport’s longest running competition.
Played in front of an enthusiastic audience at the Centaur Arena in Cheltenham – home to the ongoing Coral World Grand Prix – Bristol based Hancorn overcame Rory McLeod 5-3 in the final to lift the iconic trophy and claim the prestigious title that was first contested for in 1916.
Twelve years on from his previous final appearance in the event when he narrowly lost to David Grace, Hancorn may have been fearful early on as things didn’t go according to plan. A scrappy start to the match, but former professional McLeod’s big stage experience was threatening to be a telling factor as he opened up a 2-0 lead.
The turning point would be frame three. Perhaps poised for a counter-attack to extend his advantage, former Ruhr Open winner McLeod unexpectedly missed to gift his 37-year-old opponent a golden opportunity to get on the board. Hancorn duly responded, and it would prove to be a catalyst as his confidence noticeably grew over the subsequent frames.
A break of 60 helped the now in rhythm Hancorn square the tie up at 2-2 before further runs of 44 and 65 saw him completely turn the tables and move to within one frame of the championship at 4-2 up. Determined McLeod – competing in this tournament for the first time – refused to quit, though, as he constructed a gutsy break of 83 to reduce his arrears to just one.
However, Hancorn’s moment of glory would soon arrive as he held it together in frame eight to realise his dream and join the illustrious roll of honour that includes greats of the sport such as John Pulman, Ray Reardon, John Spencer, Terry Griffiths, Jimmy White and Stuart Bingham.
Hancorn, who stopped playing seriously for a period shortly after his final defeat to Grace said to MC Phil Seymour afterwards “2008 was a really disruptive year for me, I stopped playing and my wife said get your cue back out – so I did – for a couple of years I didn’t expect to reach another final but I found some form when it mattered. To be the 100th (champion) is great, I can’t believe it, it’s fantastic. It’s one of those occasions I’ll never forget.”
The EPSB would like to thank everyone who has been involved with this year’s championship.
For full frame scores and information from the final, please visit snookerscores.net here.
To watch the full livestream coverage of the final and for more images, please visit the EPSB Facebook page here.