Morgan Pockets a Welsh Snooker Hat-Trick
Former world number eight Darren Morgan defeated Gavin Lewis 7-2 to win the 2019 Welsh Amateur Snooker Championship earlier this month.
The most prestigious tournament on the Welsh Billiards and Snooker Association circuit was first contested in 1928 and boasts big name previous winners such as Ray Reardon, Doug Mountjoy, Terry Griffiths, Dominic Dale, Ryan Day and Michael White. Winner of the title for the first time in 1987 and then more recently, after coming off the sport’s top tier, in 2015, this was the third time that 53-year-old Morgan has claimed the accolade.
Played across the domestic season, the competition is initially split into north and south regional qualifying. Morgan began his campaign with victories over Stephen Ellis (4-0 – 103 break), Andrew Pagett (4-1) and Matthew Farrant (4-3) before receiving a walkover in the quarter-finals against defending champion Jackson Page who withdrew in order to focus on World Championship qualifying.
The final four players congregated at The Royal Hotel in Rhymney earlier this month where the championship was played to a conclusion. Morgan chalked up the last three frames to defeat Richard King, 6-3, whilst in the second session, another experienced cueist, Gavin Lewis, ended youngster Tyler Rees’ hopes with a 6-4 win. It would be Lewis’ second final appearance, 16 years on from his runner-up finish in 2003.
Both players returned the following day for the multi-session final. Morgan started stronger establishing a 4-0 mid-session lead after taking frames three and four on the black and pink respectively. Lewis managed to get on the board with the next, but the two-time ranking event finalist responded with a break of 128 and then by potting a terrific, decisive long-range final black to finish the session 6-1 in front.
That evening Lewis briefly threatened a comeback when he deposited a tight frame eight, but Morgan made sure there would be no recovery with an effort of 50 in the ninth and clearing from green to pink in the tenth to record a 7-2 victory.
A former world semi-finalist during his 18 years as a professional, since coming off the tour by choice in 2006 Morgan has focused on amateur events, winning several other significant titles such as the 2011 World Seniors Championship. Last year in Malta Morgan also reached the final of the inaugural World Snooker Federation Seniors Championship.