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Before the game... Shannon Swain (left) and Deepak Bala, of Auckland, prepare for their final at the New Zealand National Snooker Championships.PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

A “dream run” to his first final has resulted in Shannon Swain bringing home second place from the New Zealand National Snooker Championships.

Swain (28), of Gore, made it past 56 entries from throughout the country to compete in the final on Sunday.

In a very close game, Swain lost six frames to five to Deepak Bala, of Auckland.

Swain said he was really happy when he levelled the game at five-all.

“Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I performed, but obviously it would’ve been nice to go one better,” Swain said.

He said making the final was a surreal moment, as he did not think he would after the first rounds.

“It just wasn’t looking likely at the start,” he said.

“Making the final didn’t really hit home until later – it’s just crazy.”

Swain competed in five rounds of knockout before progressing through to the finals.

He was the only competitor in the competition to make a century break, with 101 during the play-off stage.

After competing at nationals for the past 12 years, the closest Swain had come to the final previously was making the quarterfinals about four years ago.

He dedicated more time to practising his craft during the past year, and remained calm during the competition.

“I just think I had more self-belief this time around. I was really focused on the ball and relaxed around the shots.”

Swain had great support during the competition from his family and friends back home.

“I’ve had lots of support from people around Gore.

“There was a live stream of the competition, so everybody was able to watch me compete up in Auckland.”

Swain started playing pool as a 3-year-old, which led him to try out snooker at the Gore RSA, where his father and aunt played socially.

He had been involved in snooker competitively since he was 11 years old, and practised at the Gore Town and Country Club about three times a week.

The national championship was the last competition of the year for Swain.

“It was a great finish to the season, honestly.”