Welshman Dylan Emery is set to appear on the World Snooker Tour for the first time next year having defeated Julien Leclercq 5-2 in the final of the 2021 EBSA European Under-21 Snooker Championship.
Held at the Vidamar Hotel Resort in Albufeira, Portugal, a total of 78 players from 26 different countries took part in the latest annual edition of this prestigious championship that has roots dating back to 1997 and has been won by future stars such as Mark Allen, Michael White and Luca Brecel.
Emery had no issues qualifying top of his round robin group – winning four matches and dropping only a frame in the process.
As the third seed for the knockout phase, the 20-year-old survived a scare in the last 32 when he was pegged back by Germany’s Daniel Sciborski from 3-0 to 3-3 before coming through in a deciding frame.
The Caerphilly cueist then eliminated Connor Benzey (England) 4-0 in the last 16, ousted fellow countryman Liam Davies 4-3 in the quarter-finals with breaks of 103 and 99, and then reached the final following a 4-0 success over Poland’s Antoni Kowalski.
Emery’s opponent in the title match was the in-form Belgian Leclercq who was appearing in his second final this week having lost to compatriot Ben Mertens on the final pink in the Under-18 final on Monday.
Leclercq entered the knockouts as the top seed and dispatched Robbie McGuigan (Northern Ireland) 4-1, Sybren Sokolowski (Belgium) 4-2, Aidan Murphy (England) 4-2 and then Anton Kazakov (Ukraine) 4-2 in the semi-finals. Kazakov halted Mertens’ double title bid the round before by defeating him on the final black ball in a seventh and deciding frame.
However, Leclercq was to experience more final heartache as Emery took an early 2-0 lead in the final and went on to convert for a 5-2 victory, finishing off with a break of 75 in frame seven.
One of the most consistent players on the international amateur circuit in recent years – including runs to the final of the 2019 European Under-18 Championship and the semi-finals of the 2020 World Snooker Federation Open – Emery is the sixth different Welsh player to win this particular trophy. Following in the recent footsteps of Jackson Page who was triumphant in 2019, Emery wins a guaranteed two-year professional card for the 2022/23 and 2023/24 campaigns.
Attention in the Algarve now turns to the EBSA European Amateur Championship that runs from Friday 8th to Tuesday 12th October.
Article by Michael Day.