Before the tournament started neither Anthony Hamilton
nor Ali Carter
would have been among many people’s picks as the winner of snooker’s latest ranking tournament. Nevertheless they battled past some of the bigger names in the sport to reach the final, played in Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany. Of the two players, Carter’s recent form had been better and he had won the 2016 Hanteng Autos World Open.
To reach the final, Carter, with this career hampered by illness, beat another English player Martin Gould by 6 frames to 2. Carter was aided by three breaks over 50, with his highest being 71. Hamilton defeated former world champion Stuart Bingham 6-4, with a top break of 89.
In the final, referred by Brendan Moore, it was Carter who made the early running. Carter took the first three frames, each dominated by largely tactical exchanges. Watching the match, it was clear that both players were nervous and they were finding it difficult to settle. Hamilton then pulled two frames back to trail 2-3. Carter then stepped up a gear and displayed his best form, knocking in a fine break of 100, followed by a break of 54 to move 5-2 ahead. Hamilton then clinched the last frame of the first session with a break of 56.
Hamilton continued his winning streak in the evening session, moving 8-5 up. This included breaks of 118, 84, 73 and 70. This run of potting clearly indicating how much better Hamilton was playing. The fourteenth frame proved especially dramatic. Carter, attempting to stem the tide of play, made a break of 53, with the run ending when he missed a straightforward black ball from its spot. This was a relatively simple pot and a sure sign that the match tension was getting to Carter. Seizing his opportunity, Hamilton ran out with a break of 70.
Carter pulled the next frame back, dominating the play to clinch the frame 83-0 and to win what proved to be his only success of the evening. From 8-6 Hamilton moved to 9-6 with a break of 56 and clinched the championship by 9 frames to 6. The break of 56 was well-crafted and it involved sinking a tricky plant on the third-last red which left Carter needing snookers.
In winning the math Hamilton, from Nottingham, staged an impressive comeback, rallying for 2-5 in arrears to roll out six successive frames. The frame scores were
31-61, 1-69, 12-66, 72-36, 61-4, 7-116 (100), 8-69 (54), 64-28 (56)
66-15, 118-1 (118), 78-20 (73), 74-0 (74), 70-53 (53, 70), 0-83), 63-13 (57)
Remarkably, after 26 years as a professional snooker player and at the age of 45, this was Hamilton’s first ever major tournament win. Quoted by the BBC
, Ronnie O'Sullivan, five-time world snooker champion, told Eurosport: "I was on the amateur circuit with him and his mum and dad were there all the time. He's very self-deprecating. Every professional in the game will be over the moon for him."