SHANE Castle is the under-14 champion of England.
The phenomenal 12-year-old “played the perfect frame of snooker” to clinch a nail-biting 5-4 victory over south-coast rival Adam Bobat at the World Snooker Academy in the English Institute of Sport Sheffield.
Castle’s coach Dave Mumford declared he was “incredibly proud” of what his protégé had achieved.
“When he really needed it, he totally delivered,” said Mumford. “It was a great match; a great hard-fought battle. He’s raised the bar again. He knows what he’s achieved and he’s absolutely delighted.”
Bobat, a former Cuestars member from Fareham Snooker Club, took the first frame in the English Association of Snooker & Billiards’ Under-14 Championship final.
Castle, who is based at Chandler’s Ford Snooker Club, replied with breaks of 58 and 34 and led 3-1 at the interval.
But back came Bobat with three frames on the bounce. However, needing a colours clearance in the eighth, the 14-year-old ran out of position on the pink.
After forcing a decider, Castle wrapped up his first national title with breaks of 61 and 30.
A relieved Mumford said: “I’m more pleased with the fact that when he was really pushed and under the gun at four each, he played the perfect frame of snooker. As a coach, that means the world because that’s what we work so hard for. When he really needs to deliver, he delivers. What we’ve built, what we’ve worked on, he trusted it.
“I’m thrilled and delighted for Shane. I don’t do this for any other reason than I want the boy to be the best he possibly can be. It’s days like today that make it all worthwhile. He’s worked very, very hard over this last month. We’re all absolutely exhausted.
“It’s a very famous venue and it’s where, hopefully, Shane’s going to be spending an awful lot more time over the next few years.”
Castle’s sponsor Colin Joyce, from The Selway Joyce Partnership, made the trip to Sheffield. A second sponsor, Stuart Whitcher, from CCV Southampton, was unavailable due to business commitments.
Mumford said: “The fact that Colin travelled 400 miles on a glorious weekend, when he could have been relaxing in the garden, meant a lot to all of us. Stuart will be thrilled. Hopefully he can come next time.”
And Mumford praised Bobat, who also lost in the 2008 under-14 final.
“Adam is gritty, a fighter, you’ve got to drag him off the table,” he said. “He’s beyond his years, tactically.”
Picture by Tracey Brown. EASB Competitions Director John Hartley raises a broad grin from under-14 champion Shane Castle.