NZ title won at home

Support crew. . . Three generations of the Swain family son Coby (10), grandmother Esme and father Harry celebrate with Shannon after he won the the New Zealand Billiards and Snooker Association 2022 Gore Mitre 10 national snooker championships on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Shannon Swain’s grandmother Esme had the best seat in the house to watch her grandson win the national snooker title on Saturday.

The Gore player beat Deepak Bala, of Auckland, six frames to three in the best-of-11 frame final of the New Zealand Billiards and Snooker Association 2022 national snooker championships.

The championships were played at the Gore Town & Country Club and Gore District Memorial RSA.

Mr Swain said his grandmother sat in the front row for three days of the tournament.

‘‘It was quite cool to have her there.

‘‘She had the time of her life.’’

Mr Swain was very pleased with the result.

‘‘Couldn’t be happier — especially on home soil.’’

Although he won the first frame of the three and a-half hour final, Mr Bala won the next, 55-1.

Under those circumstances the only thing to do was focus on the next frame.

‘‘It’s going to happen sometimes.

‘‘There’s very little you can do about it, so worry about the next one.’’

Mr Swain won the next two just as convincingly to take a 3-1 frame lead.

The next five frames were closer which was when the pressure came on. 

‘‘It only takes one mistake and it’s all over.’’

In those conditions, he focused on potting one ball at a time. 

‘‘Don’t try and get too far ahead of yourself.’’

In Saturday morning’s semifinal, Mr Swain — seeded sixth — beat top seed Mark Canovan, of Christchurch, in the deciding last set to take the match five frames to four.

‘‘That was a tough game playing him in the semifinal.’’

While he did not play as many tournaments as some of the other players, during the longer time frame of the tournament he had time to find his ‘‘groove’’.

‘‘I’ve done a wee bit of practice beforehand, a bit more than usual.’’

Tournament director Dave Judd said a quality field of 20 entered the tournament, including Mr Bala who won in 2018 and Mr Swain in 2019.

‘‘The standard of snooker has been high.’’

The tournament had gone very well.

‘‘Even though we are so-called in the middle of nowhere, to put on a class venue to go with a class event — you can’t say any more.’’

Mr Judd enjoyed coming to Gore.

‘‘They certainly look after you here in Gore.’’