Peter Sheehan claimed his first World Billiards Tour title when he defeated Peter Gilchrist 587-397 in the final to win the 2023 Jim Williamson Open held at the Northern Snooker Centre in Leeds, England.
Named in honour of the founder of the host venue and a great billiards enthusiast and supporter, the level 3 world ranking event was the opening tournament of the new 2023/24 World Billiards season. The popularity of the competition was once again evident with the maximum capacity of 80 entries reached.
Since his return to the top echelons of the sport only a couple of years ago, Englishman Sheehan has been knocking on the door of winning a big trophy – in May he made the final of the World Matchplay Championship in the Republic of Ireland.
Sheehan began his campaign in West Yorkshire by finishing top of Group E with four wins from four and qualifying for the knockout rounds. He then compiled a break of 132 during a 460-66 victory against Keerath Bhandaal (India) in the last 32 before getting past Kenny Campbell (Northern Ireland) 466-382 in the last 16.
In the last eight Sheehan hit a century as he eliminated reigning Jersey Open champion Darren Clark (England) 635-326, and he booked a place in the final with a 420-358 defeat of Martin Goodwill (England) where he top scored with a 112, despite his opponent bettering that with a 169.
Coming through the other side of the draw was multiple-time world champion Gilchrist, who also reached the title match with a 100% record. The Singaporean citizen saw off current Belgian Open champion Rob Hall (England) 624-191 in the other semi-final tie.
If Sheehan was nervous in pursuit of his maiden World Billiards top prize, he didn’t show it, as he made a 184 break during the opening phase of the 90-minute final. Sheehan was able to maintain a cushion between himself and the world number two throughout the rest of the encounter, and with further runs of 62, 77 and 119, he achieved an ambition of becoming a world ranking event winner.
Reigning world champion and world number one David Causier travelled to Leeds as the defending champion, although he was unable to retain after world number four and fellow Englishman Martin Goodwill defeated him in the quarter-finals. Causier did however collect the highest break prize courtesy of an unfinished effort of 433 that was constructed during the groups phase.
In the Jim Williamson Open Challenge Cup, Scotland’s Paul McGowan ousted Ron Bickerdike (England) 113-101 to win the title.