Thailand’s Boonyarit Kaettikun won the World Under-21 Championship in Romania after a dramatic victory over Jamie Clarke in the final on Sunday.
Kaettikun had been the top seed following the initial round robin stage having dropped only a single frame in his opening league encounters.
It inevitably became tougher for the 19 year-old but a tight 5-4 triumph over Ryan Thomerson in the last 16 was followed by an impressive 6-2 downing of young Chinese Zhao Xintong – arguably the pre-tournament favourite.
Kaettikun then destroyed Zhao’s countryman Wang Yuchen in the last four, reeling off seven straight frames for a comfortable whitewash, and he continued that form into the final with a 104 in the opening frame.
From there, the Thai was never behind.
Clarke performed well to hang in there in the opening exchanges but his opponent soon pulled away and, at 7-4 behind in the best of 15 frame clash, the writing appeared to be on the wall.
Clarke had already lost to Michael Wild in the final of the European Championship this year and was determined to not go down without a fight.
To his credit, the Welshman fought back to force a decider but a 53 from Kaettikun finally sealed it in the Asian’s favour.
Kaettikun becomes the third player from Thailand to win the prestigious event after Noppon Saengkham in 2009 and Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon two years later.
Along with the trophy, Kaettikun earns a two-year Main Tour card onto the professional circuit, which will come into effect for the start of the 2016/17 campaign.
Ireland’s Josh Boileau once again enjoyed a memorable international jaunt before ultimately coming up just a little short.
After a taxing 6-5 victory over Poland’s Kacper Filipiak in the quarter-final, the 20 year-old had just an hour or so to prepare for his last four clash with Clarke, where he was downed 7-3.
For both Clarke and Boileau, their attentions will surely turn to the European Tour series now in their attempts to join the professional ranks.