Teenager Paul Deaville defeated former champion Leo Fernandez 6-2 in the final at the Landywood Snooker Club in Walsall to win the 2023 English Amateur Snooker Championship.
Aged 18 years and five months, Deaville is the youngest winner of snooker’s oldest running competition since Alex Davies’ victory in 2003.
Following regional qualifying events held earlier this season, just 16 players remained in the national championship and travelled to the West Midlands venue for finals weekend.
Wolverhampton-based star Deaville lost only two frames when he qualified from the Cueball Derby heat back in October, and he began his final phase challenge with a 4-0 victory against Sanjay Meghani in the last 16. Deaville then impressively eliminated 2012 finalist and recent Q Tour order of merit winner Martin O’Donnell 5-2 with the aid of a 65 break to make it through to Sunday’s final four.
In the semi-finals, Deaville got off to a brilliant start as he crafted efforts of 52 and 59 in establishing a 4-0 lead over Lee Shanker. His opponent avoided a whitewash in the fifth, but the youngster secured a berth in the final with the help of a 50 break in frame six for a 5-1 success.
Coming through the other side of the draw was 2011 champion Fernandez, who was looking to join an exclusive club of multiple-time winners. The former professional defeated Shaun Wilkes 4-0, Joshua Cooper 5-3 and then Gary Milne 5-1 at Landywood to reach the title match for the third time in his career.
The opening four frames of the final were shared; Fernandez registered a 68 break in frame four as he drew level at 2-2, having earlier taken the opening frame.
However, Deaville rallied in the second half of the encounter, stringing together four consecutive frames – highlighted with a run of 95 in frame six – to claim the biggest title of his career so far.
With the loss of just seven frames throughout the entire tournament, Deaville is the winner of the 102nd staging of a national competition which was first won back in 1916. He joins an illustrious roll of honour that contains former winners such as Ray Reardon, John Spencer, Terry Griffiths, Jimmy White and Stuart Bingham.