Amateur Snooker - 2016 IBSF World 6 Reds Snooker Championship
20th-30th July 2016 / Pyramisa Resorts and Hotel, Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt
MORE SILVERWARE FOR EVERGREEN MORGAN
Former professional Darren Morgan claimed yet another significant international amateur title with victory at the 2016 IBSF World 6 Reds Snooker Championship this past weekend.
The Welshman, who got as high as Number 8 in the World Rankings, remained unbeaten throughout after winning nine straight matches in the Egyptian resort of Sharm-El-Sheikh.
A bumper field consisting of 135 players from five different continents began the event. This shortened format of the sport seems to enjoy popularity across the Middle-East and Asia.
Morgan topped Group X with 3 wins out of 3. Qualifying as one of the top seeds, Morgan avoided the preliminary Knock-Outs and automatically went into the Last 64.
There he eliminated Babar Masih (Pakistan) 4-1 with breaks of 68, 31, 31 and 68 before extinguishing more sub-continental talent in the form of Alok Kumar (India) 4-0 and Asjad Iqbal (Pakistan) 4-3 in the Last 32 and 16 respectively. Against Iqbal, Morgan turned around a 3-2 deficit with runs of 72 and 36.
He was also required to recover from 3-1 adrift against Quarter-Final opponent Faisal Khan (India) for a 5-3 success - crafting contributions of 70, 72 and 57 in the process.
Despite Morgan taking an early 3-0 advantage, Malaysia's Keen Hoo Moh forced their Semi-Final meeting all the way. The eventual champion kept his nerve with a 55 in the decider, though.
The other finalist was 28 year old Chau Man Hon from Hong Kong.
Chau had initially emerged from a tricky group that consisted of fancied pre-tournament candidates Yuan Sijun (China) and Brian Cini (Malta); teenagers with promising futures ahead of them.
After finishing 3rd in that section Chau just managed to qualify for the KO's. There he defeated Ayman Gad (Egypt) 4-2, Soheil Vahedi (Iran) 4-3, Karam Fatima (Egypt) 4-0, Fung Kwok Wai (Hong Kong) 4-1, Peter McCullagh (Wales) 5-4 - from 4-2 down to make the Last 4.
The Asian then denied the event an all-Welsh affair with a 5-3 beating of former professional and Crucible Qualifier Andrew Pagett.
Morgan began the best of 11 frames Final strongly; forging a 4-1 profit.
Chau threatened by chalking up 3 of the next 4, but the experienced 50 year old would end the match come the conclusion of the tenth.
It is another IBSF World title for the popular cueist. Morgan has had an outstanding few months with victory in the EBSA European Masters and Open competitions. As a consequence of the latter win, he was granted a wildcard into the main tour Riga Masters where he sensationally ran to the Semi-Finals before losing to eventual winner Neil Robertson.
Morgan also compiled a 'maximum' break of 75 during the tournament, as did India's Sundeep Galati. He is the second Welshman to claim this title after Duane Jones' success in the 2013 inaugural staging.
Elsewhere in the event, decorated defending champion Pankaj Advani bowed out in the Last 64 to Chen Zifan (China) 4-3.
Ex top tier players Mohamed Shebab (United Arab Emirates), Ahmed Saif (Qatar) and Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon (Thailand) went out in the Last 96, 64 and 32 respectively, while current ACBS Asian Champion Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn (Thailand) was a Last 64 victim too.
For more information, and the full results, please visit the International Billiards and Snooker Federation's website here.
Picture credit - IBSF
Written and published by Michael Day on the 1st August 2016