Robin Hull claimed national title number 14 after he dethroned defending champion Heikki Niva 4-1 in the final to win the 2023 Finnish Snooker Championship. Hull also created history in an earlier round when he compiled a 147 maximum break – a feat never before achieved in the Championship.
Organised by the Finnish Billiard Federation, – an administration which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year – the tournament was held across two venues, Cabin Street Snooker in capital city Helsinki and Kera Snooker in nearby Espoo. A total of 71 players participated in the three-day competition.
Former world number 32 and 2016 Shoot Out champion Hull won his opening two rounds 4-0 before he was involved in an extraordinary last 16 tie against Lasse Alvesalo.
Having watched his opponent deposit the first frame, 48-year-old Hull completed perfection in frame two with the momentous 147. Alvesalo went back ahead as he took the third on the final black, but Hull responded again to level, this time with a break of 135. Hull eventually needed a deciding frame to see off Alvesalo, who forced the match all the way with a run of 88 in frame six.
Tampere-based Hull then eliminated current Finnish seniors champion Ville Pirilä 4-0 (breaks of 73, 56 and 53) in the quarter-finals, and 2019 winner Jani Kananen 4-1 in the semi-finals (breaks of 67, 62 and 52).
Coming through the other side of the draw was reigning title holder Niva, who lifted the trophy for the first time in 2022.
Niva – runner-up in the 2020 European Amateur Snooker Championship – reached the final after he ousted 2017 champion Patrik Tiihonen 4-3 in a thrilling last four encounter.
However, in a repeat of the showpiece match from 2020, Hull made contributions of 78 and 75 – Niva also notched up a 78 himself – to become Finland’s national champion once again.
Elsewhere in the event, during the same session as Hull’s 147 at the Cabin Street venue, 61-year-old Esa Kaikumaa crafted a break of exactly 100.
Hull will now look forward to trying to regain his professional player status as he attempts to come through the 2023 Q School in Leicester, England.
The weekend before the main championship was decided, Eelis Lappish defeated Toni Savonen in the final to win the Finnish Under-21 Snooker Championship, while Pirilä denied Jani Russian in the Seniors Championship title match.
Images above are courtesy of the Finnish Billiards Federation