Gore man wins NZ snooker champs

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Winning the New Zealand Snooker Championships is yet to sink in for a Gore man.

Shannon Swain (29) made it past about 40 other competitors to claim the title in the five-day tournament, held in Christchurch last week.

“It’s good to finally win on but I don’t think it’s sunk in yet.

“People say ‘you must be rapt’ – I am, but it hasn’t really hit home yet.”

Swain competed against Matthew Scarborough, of Hamilton, in the final, which could have gone “either way”.

After playing six frames, Swain was leading 4-2 at the break.

He played well after that, and won the following two frames – scoring 50 and 70 – “quite fast”.

As the end of the final neared, his nerves increased and he “went off the ball a wee bit”, but held on to win 8-4.

“I suppose I played a wee bit more consistent than what I had for the whole tournament.

“I felt like I struggled for most of the tournament but it all sort of fell into place in the final.”

Competitors took part in two days of section play, before playing in qualifying knockout rounds, and then finals.

Swain played 10 games in total, which made for a “long week”.

It was the second time he had made the championship final – he was runner-up last year and credited that experience to helping him this time around.

“I think I was more mentally prepared playing a final, since last year was my first final.

“I suppose experience pays off.

“Two finals in two years is pretty good.”

Swain started playing pool when he was 3, and turned to snooker when he was 9.

He has been attending the national championships since he was 11, and has missed only a couple.

This year’s game was live-streamed, so supporters could tune in.

“I think it was quite a high percentage of people watching from here.”

Afterwards, his phone did not stop going off all night, he said.