Jimmy Robertson captured his maiden tittle yesterday evening in Lommel.
Congratulations Jimmy Robertson !
Jimmy is well liked on the circuit and many expressed their joy at seeing him lift his first trophy. He’s also one of the not so many pro players who still finds time for the pro-ams.
Robertson turned pro 16 years ago and had never previously been beyond the quarter-finals of a ranking event. He has enjoyed by far the best week of his career in Belgium, winning each of his first three matches 4-3 on the final black, and then seeing off Mark Allen, Mark King and Perry to capture his maiden pro title.
The 32-year-old from Bexhill in Sussex landed his biggest pay day, £75,000, and jumps ten places in the rankings to a career high of 26. He also earns a spot at the Champion of Champions in Coventry next month.
Robertson saw his opponent fight back from 5-0 and 7-3 down in the final to leave the match in the balance at 7-6, but played superbly in the last two frames to get his name on the trophy.
After struggling to fulfil his talent in the early part of his career, Robertson has improved significantly in recent years. He reached the last 16 of a ranking event for the first time in 2015 and went one step further at the German Masters earlier this year, losing to Mark Williams. He has also established himself within the world’s top 40 and appeared at the Crucible four times, albeit without winning a match at the famous venue. This week’s giant leap forward will surely give Robertson the belief that he can win more titles.
Perry banks £35,000 as runner-up and climbs to 18th in the rankings. The 44-year-old from Cambridgeshire has now lost four of his five ranking finals; his sole success coming at the 2015 Players Championship.
He slipped too far behind early in the final as Robertson fired breaks of 65, 75 and 54 in taking the first five frames. Perry gave himself hope by winning the last three frames of the opening session. But Robertson won the first frame of the evening session by potting brown, blue and pink, then came from 56-0 down in the next to make a 75 clearance and go 7-3 ahead.
Perry played his best snooker of the match as he battled back to 7-6, compiling runs of 106, 59, 60 and 110 as he scored 367 points without reply. But Robertson got the better of frame 14 with a top break of 54. And he needed only one chance in the next, making a brilliant 108 to cross the winning line.
Robertson said: “It is what I’ve dreamed of since I first started playing. I never thought this day would happen and the way my career has gone so far I had never been to the latter stages in tournaments. I always knew I was capable of doing it but actually doing it is a completely different thing.
“I was delighted with how I held myself together. Joe played really well in the evening session, but I am just pleased to have produced some good snooker from 7-6.
“Winning your first title is massive. You never know if you are going to get over the line and you don’t know how you are going to handle it. To win my first ranking event and have my family here means everything.”
A disappointed Perry felt that much of the damage was done in this afternoon’s opening session.
“It is a massive disappointment in myself really. I just played so badly, not all day though. The afternoon session was one of the worst performances I’ve put in all year,”said Perry. “I stuck in and I’m proud of myself. I got out of the session not too badly. I played well tonight and on another day I could have won the first five frames. It wasn’t to be and every credit to Jimmy. I put him under pressure and he stood up to it.”
Amazingly, only a few hours earlier, Leo Fernandez, who is Jimmy’s sister’s fiancé, booked his spot in the Seniors UK Championship by winning the last qualifying event in Liverpool.
There were also other great stories in Belgium this week-end
Reanne Evans captured the Women’s European Masters 2018 title, in Neerpelt, only a few kilometers away from Lommel, beating Mink – Nutcharut Wongharuthai – in the final by 4-1. Business as usual on the Women’s tour? Well not really.
For me the star of the week-end was Mink. She is only 18, she came all the way from Thailand, and she beat the reigning World Champion, On Yee, in the last 16, and the 6 times IBSF World Champion, 12 times European Champion and 15 times Belgian National Champion, Wendy Jans in the semi finals. And she has not just the talent, she is very hard-working, humble and nice. After being beaten by Reanne, she had another match to go: the under-21 final, which she lost to Emma Parker. Emma is a much improved player, but it’s fair to say that Mink had little left in the tank by then. You could see how disappointed the young Thai was, and still she found it in her to smile and be gracious to everyone.
On Yee had to settle for the Challenge Cup win, she beat good friend Katrina Wan in the final. Chitra Magimaraj, from India, beat Judy Dangerfield from Australia in the Seniors final.
Congratulations to all winners: Reanne, On Yee, Emma and Chitra.
The club where it happened in “De Maxx”, is Wendy Jans’ club, and it’s a very nice club indeed. When Wendy wasn’t playing, she was working tirelessly in the club and behind the bar. Thank you Wendy!
And a big thank you as well to the team of referees, who did a fantastic job all week-end.
And, not in Belgium, but nonetheless Belgian big story: young Bem Mertens, from Belgium, only 13, won the under-16 World Championship in Russia this Saturday.
Congratulations to Ben and his team!
And let me tell you, when on Saturday, the under-16 final was underway and streamed in Russia, whilst the SF were underway in Lommel, there was a crowd in the club and there is only one match they wanted to watch … this boy.