Snooker News

Wells Claims European Championship

Daniel Wells won the 2011 European Snooker Championship after beating Irishman Vincent Muldoon 7-4 in Sofia.

Neither player began the match as an overwhelming favourite as both had excelled in reaching the final of the competition for the first time.

However, Wells looked the more at ease throughout and perhaps was aided by his recent experience of winning the Welsh National Championship just last month.

The 23-year old quickly constructed a 2-0 lead with a break of 69 in the opener but Muldoon pegged proceedings back to 3-3 at the mid-session interval.

At the restart, both players looked edgy as the enormity of the occasion began to dawn on them and, after a short bout of safety, a re-rack was inevitable.

Wells crept ahead but Muldoon looked to be on course to tie the encounter once more before breaking down on a break of 60 in a frame that ultimately changed the match.

His Welsh opponent clawed his way back into contention in the frame and laid a snooker on the final red that handed him the control, which he duly took to open a two frames cushion.

That lead was stretched even further when, in frame 9, Wells produced a magnificent century break of 112 to go three ahead and one away from the trophy.

A place on the professional Main Tour for the 2011/12 campaign was the prize for the champion but, having topped the Welsh rankings, Wells was already assured his place.

One would have thought this would have relaxed him but the pressure was clearly on his shoulders as he spurned two golden opportunities to end his amateur career.

A gutsy 39 clearance to the pink from Galway’s Muldoon, that included a superb green from off the cushion, kept his hopes alive but he broke down on a break of 48 in the next and Wells was not to be denied.

It was a superb tournament for the former Paul Hunter Scholarship recipient as he knocked out three of the top four seeds in the knockout rounds as well as 1997 World Championship quarter-finalist Lee Walker in the last four.

He will undoubtedly be hoping for a better time on the circuit than he had during his first stint between 2008 and 2010 and mentioned in his post-match interview that he was excited to take advantage of the increased playing opportunities that have been created in the last twelve months.

For Muldoon, defeat will be difficult to take and he has now been runner-up at the European Championship at both Under-19 and Senior level.

Yet, the 20-year old can take solace in the fact that he too should be returning to the Main Tour after a two-year absence thanks to Wells’ place already being guaranteed.

Amazingly, the new season begins tomorrow!


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