Steve Mifsud successfully defended and won a record-extending 10th Australian National Snooker Championship title after defeating Adrian Ridley 6-1 in the final of the 2023 edition.
Organised by the Australian Billiards and Snooker Council (ABSC) and the Victorian Billiards and Snooker Association (VBSA), Australia’s most prestigious domestic snooker tournament was once again held at the iconic RACV Club in Melbourne across four days.
Former professional player Mifsud – who celebrated his 51st birthday on the opening day of the competition – whitewashed Gary Nunn 4-0 in the last 64 and continued his perfect record with a 4-0 win against Pushpinder Brar in the last 32 where he made breaks of 77, 112 and 68.
The number one seed was pushed all the way in the last 16 by the experienced Joe Minici, though, having trailed twice early on before later needing a deciding frame to get through 4-3. Mifsud then registered runs of 70 and 88 in a 4-0 quarter-final win against teenager Xavier Daw.
In the last four, Mifsud faced ex-professional Vinnie Calabrese, the 2005 Champion. Calabrese deposited the opening two frames, but Mifsud secured five of the next six – including the last three – for a 5-3 win. In frame three Mifsud began his recovery with a break of 124.
Working his way through the other side of the draw was 2017 Champion Adrian Ridley. The Yarrawonga cueist dropped only a frame during his opening two victories but required deciding frames as he squeezed past Shaun Dalitz and Adrian Law in the last 16 and 8 respectively.
Ridley – who featured and performed very well at the Crucible Theatre earlier this year during the 2023 World Seniors Snooker Championship – then eliminated former professional Johl Younger 5-3 in the semi-finals, top scoring with a 90 break.
In an all-Victorian final, Mifsud crafted efforts 41 and 63 as he went 2-0 up, and then furthered that advantage to 4-0 going into the mid-session interval. On resumption, Ridley got on the board with frame five, however, Mifsud took the next two frames for victory to retain the title once again and make it a perfect ten.
In last year’s final at the same venue, Mifsud defeated his brother James to become the most decorated winner in the Championship’s history, overtaking Max Williams’ previous benchmark of eight title wins.
This year’s highest break accolade went to Dalitz for an effort of 137. Dalitz also compiled the second highest – a 133 during his loss to Ridley.
All three images above are courtesy of George Spiteri (www.spiteriphoto.com)