It has been an exciting end to the calendar year for many countries in the World Snooker Federation network where several national snooker championships have been decided.
Here is our round-up of the action…
Teenager Luis Vetter won the Swiss National Snooker Championship for the first time in his career earlier this month.
Vetter came through the preceding league phase to qualify for the 2019 Finals Weekend which was held at the Snooker Club Bern. There in the semi-finals he defeated last year’s runner-up Alain Vergere 4-3, constructing a break of 110 in the deciding frame.
The 17-year-old then toppled back-to-back defending champion Jonathan Fulcher in the final. A tight affair where there was never more than a frame between them until the end, Vetter registered runs of 50, 67 and 103 during a 5-3 success.
Vetter paired up with main tour professional Alexander Ursenbacher last summer to represent Switzerland in the World Cup in China. He has also featured on the Challenge Tour and at Q-School.
Elsewhere, Umar Ali Shaikh and Dan Salzmann claimed the Swiss 6-Reds and Junior Championships respectively.
Former European Amateur Championship finalist Andres Petrov continued his domestic dominance in Estonia as he notched up a seventh consecutive national snooker championship title.
Hosted by the Club 147 Snooker Club in the capital city of Tallinn, Petrov automatically began his campaign in the last 16 as one of the top eight seeded players. He started by eliminating both Jüri Järvet and Marten Ollesk 4-0 – against Ollesk he crafted a 132 total clearance.
Petrov carried on his relentless approach as he denied Mario Märtsin 5-0 in the semi-finals and Denis Sokolov 6-0 in the final, meaning he retained the accolade without dropping a frame.
The 23-year-old, who reached the last 64 of the Riga Masters in July as a wildcard, will be competing at the upcoming World Snooker Federation Open in Malta.
Exciting 12-year-old prospect Bulcsú Révész became the youngest ever winner of the Hungarian National Snooker Championship.
A total of 56 players entered the event at World Snooker Challenge Tour venue the Terminal Snooker Club in capital city Budapest. Révész defeated Soma Berghold (4-0), Zsolt Györi (4-2) and Balázs Csurgó (4-0) in the opening rounds to set up a semi-final tie with national ranking list number one Attila Horváth; runner-up of this tournament in each of the last three years. Horváth – aged just 16-years-old himself – would this time miss the final as he went out 5-1 to Révész.
Meeting Révész in the final was defending and seven times champion Zsolt Fenyvesi who had not relinquished a frame on his way through. It was a return to domestic action for Fenyvesi after recently spending time in the UK to improve his game. The best-of-13 frames affair was a close one, with never more than a frame separating the keenly contested duo. Révész underlined his potential, making four half-centuries, and despite missing match ball black at 6-5 up, he composed himself to get the job done in a deciding frame to win 7-6. It was the first time since 2013 that Fenyvesi had been overturned in the competition.
The next big event for Révész will be the World Snooker Federation Junior Open in a few weeks’ time.
Francisco Sanchez Ruiz defended the Spanish National Snooker Championship following an exciting climax to the final at the Club Snooker Valdelasfuentes in Madrid.
Initially played to a double elimination format, Sanchez Ruiz qualified for the quarter-final knockouts after 3-0 victories over Javier Tinaut and Angel Alcala. He then progressed to the final with wins over Francisco Domingues (3-1) and Jose Cortes (4-1) in the last eight and four.
Sanchez Ruiz’s opponent in the final was a familiar one in regular American Pool discipline teammate David Alcaide; the current World Pool Masters champion. Alcaide recovered from 3-1 down – including a break of 80 he made in frame six – to force a decider, but Sanchez Ruiz triumphed in a tense seventh frame to collect the gold medal again. He also gained the overall high break prize for an effort of 93 he produced earlier in the event.
It has been somewhat of a breakthrough year for Sanchez Ruiz on the green baize; he upset world number 35 Martin O’Donnell in reaching the last 64 of the Gibraltar Open last spring, as well as getting to the final of the EBSA European Snooker Open and semi-finals of the EBSA European 6-Reds Championship.
The 2019 All Ireland Billiards Championship was decided last month at the Cellbridge Snooker Club in Dublin.
A one-off match between the current Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland national billiards champions, it was the north’s Kenny Campbell who claimed the glory over his southern counterpart Aidan Murphy amidst a breathtaking finale.
In an encounter that would last five hours, Murphy established and held on to an early advantage; breaks of 67 and 60 helping him to a 586-389 lead after three hours. Campbell struck back, though, a century break of 110 perhaps proving to be a catalyst as he later took a slender profit.
The final stages were nip and tuck, with the duo locked on the same amount of points at one stage. Both had chances to get across the line, but it was Campbell who added the prestigious title to his CV for the first time after emerging by a narrow margin of just four points in a 750-746 score line.