In one of the most entertaining and dramatic inter-insular matches ever seen, Aaron Canavan ousted Adam Shorto 5-4 on the final black in the deciding frame to win the 2023 Channel Islands Snooker Championship and claim the title for a record-extending tenth time.
An annual occasion, the showpiece is contested between the reigning Jersey and Guernsey snooker champions. The islands alternate who hosts; this year it was the turn of Guernsey with the North Social Club holding the spectacle.
Former world seniors snooker champion Canavan secured a 12th Jersey championship – another all-time record that he extended – without dropping a frame.
After coming through the previous rounds, 47-year-old Canavan faced Karl Le Fevre in the final at the First Tower Institute in St.Helier. The reigning champion was in scintillating scoring form as he struck a 92 clearance and breaks of 109 and 110 in the opening three frames before completing a 4-0 win.
Over in Guernsey, it was island championship number seven for Shorto who top scored with 72 as he defeated Ross De Carteret 5-0 in the final.
In the last eight, Shorto dethroned defending champion Martyn Desperques 3-2; Desperques was trying to become the outright holder of the all-time Guernsey record – he is currently level on 12 titles with Norman Wale.
A few weeks later, the two recent title victors met in the Channel Islands encounter. Canavan won the opening frame on the black, although Shorto levelled and then hit a 59 break as he took the lead at 2-1.
Canavan then went on a scoring burst, registering runs of 39, 79(clearance), 61, 55 and 63 as he strung together the next three frames for a 4-2 lead and moved just one away from glory again.
It looked as if he would get the job done in frame seven before missing a pink while on a break of 64. Shorto breathed again, clearing up to keep the match alive and then posting a 65 in frame eight as he made it 4-4.
With momentum on his side, Shorto was within a few pots of leaving his opponent needing penalty points in the deciding frame, but when he missed, Canavan stepped up and completed a remarkable clearance under pressure, including a thin cut on the final black having not got ideal position from the pink.
Retaining the title once again, Canavan maintains a perfect record in Channel Islands match-ups – he has played 10 and won 10 – with a couple of fixtures cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.