NEW snooker professional Billy Castle ended a remarkable year by claiming the prestigious English Amateur Championship.
The 24-year-old from Marchwood edged three-time champion David Lilley 10-8 in the final at the South West Snooker Academy, Gloucester.
Castle hopes that his success will be copied by the region’s current golden generation of young potters.
He said: “To be the first player from Southampton to ever win the English Amateur Championship and (qualify) to turn pro, it’s just opened the door for all the other youngsters – just to show them it can be done.”
Trailing 5-4 to Tyne and Wear cueman Lilley after the first session, Castle took the lead at 7-6 but was then pegged back to 8-8 before stamping his authority on the remainder of the match.
“It was a very tough match, nip and tuck all the way,” he said. “In the last two frames, I kicked on and didn’t give him much chance really.
“It was really good to finish my amateur career on such a high by winning the most prestigious event.
“It was one that I’ve been meaning to win for a few years and it was my main amateur goal this year.
“It’s been a good year. I’m looking forward to the next professional event in August now.”
Castle, who was runner-up in 2015 in the event that has been in existence since 1916, beat ex-professional Andrew Norman 8-7 from 7-5 down in the southern final thanks to a break of 70 in the decider.
A product of the Saturday morning junior leagues at Chandlers Ford SC, he earned a two-year tour card for the professional circuit in May by qualifying through Q School after winning last season’s Cuestars South of England Championship Tour.
Picture: Billy Castle (left) and ex-professional Barry Pinches
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Tim Dunkley (World Snooker coach)