Amateur Snooker - 2016 EBSA European Snooker Championship
13th-20th February 2016 / Haston City Hotel, Wroclaw, Poland
IT'S KNOCKOUT SNOOKER IN POLAND
The group stages of the 2016 European Amateur Snooker Championship have now been completed.
146 players from an impressive 37 different countries started out in one of the most sought after amateur snooker titles in the world. The winner will also receive a European Billiards and Snooker Association's (EBSA) nomination for a two year professional tour card on the World Snooker circuit.
The opening five days in Wroclaw has seen best of 7 frames round robin action.
The field was split into 24 groups of either 6 or 7 players, with the top 4 in each making it through to the Last 96 knockouts.
The 32 qualifiers with the best records would automatically be seeded into the Last 64, with the remainder having to win an extra match to get there.
22 of the players to make it through finished with unbeaten 100% records, therefore the rankings were decided on how many frames were lost and a 'frame average' ratio.
Jamie Clarke (Wales), Brian Cini (Malta), Billy Castle (England) and Michael Judge (Ireland) all top the rankings with an identical record of winning 20 frames and losing 2 (their exact positions were decided by a highest random draw number).
Clarke is a very familiar and successful name on the worldwide amateur circuit. He has had a number of close calls in regards to reaching the professional echelons, namely finishing runner-up to Michael Wild in this event last year in Prague, and losing in a deciding frame of the World Under 21's final in the same year.
Cini and Castle are also young rising stars, whilst experienced 41 year old Judge is on the other end of the scale having been a professional for 20 years and reaching a career high of number 24 in the world.
Current English Amateur champion Michael Rhodes was in a group of 7 and ends up as the fifth seed.
Home hopes rest mainly with Kacper Filipiak, who qualified as the number 10 seed.
Filipiak spent an unsuccessful season on the pro tour in 2011/2012 by courtesy of winning the European Under 21's title. Aged just 15 at the time, he was the youngest ever professional. After a good performance in the World Cup team event for Poland, he was even labelled as a 'future world champion' by Ronnie O'Sullivan.
In fact, there is a small number of ex-main tour players who made it through, probably the best known being Kristjan Helgason (Iceland) and Alex Borg (Malta).
Other interesting names to have kept their hopes alive include young German prospect Lukas Kleckers and Ireland's Josh Boileau.
Boileau is still on course for a rare double after claiming the Under 21's championship last Sunday.
For more information and the full results, please visit the EBSA website here.
Written and published by Michael Day on the 18th February 2016