Les Higgins - Australian 6 Red Snooker Champion 2011LES HIGGINS WINS INUAGURAL AUSTRALIAN

Mounties Club, Mt.Pritchard -13th October 201

Tasmania has once again been firmly hoisted back into the national spotlight in Cue Sport, when Tasmanian player Les Higgins stunned top seed and hot favourite Joe Minici, of New South Wales, to take out the inaugural Australian 6-red Snooker Championship five frames to three.
By winning the event Les has earned a fully-funded berth into the World Championship to be played in India early next year.

This concept, which employs only a 6-red ball racked pack as opposed to the “normal” 15 red balls, is fast taking off in developing nations such as China and the Asian Region and given the cut-throat nature of the shortened version of the game, played under modified rules, it is fast and spectacular with frames sometimes only lasting several minutes.

Higgins had been off the National scene for a number of years until recent times, but because of a restructured funding scheme which now sees the Tasmanian Snooker Championship winner fully funded to travel up to the Australian Open at ‘The Mounties’ in NSW, he has started to work his way back up the National rankings.

Higgins was considered by many to be one of the outsiders in a quality field, coming off a less than ideal preparation with a nagging shoulder injury.  He also started the tournament poorly, with a first up nail-biting three frames to two loss to Minici in the round robin section and after losing his third game 3-1 to rising superstar Ricky Emery from South Australia, his tournament looked over.
However the 17-time Tasmanian Snooker Champion and former Oceania Champion turned back the clock to produce some of his career best form and with a high break of a 71-clearance (75 is a maximum in the shortened version) to conquer former Australian Snooker Champion Aaron Mahoney of Victoria to clinch a berth in the final and a rematch against the unbeaten Minici.  Needing to defeat Mahoney 3-1 to make the final, after upsetting Queensland sensation Kurt Brown, which kept his hopes alive, Higgins lifted to qualify to the final by a mere frame, on a count-back.
This time it would be Higgins who seized the opening initiative against Minici, grabbing the early ascendancy in the final when he raced to a 2-1 lead. With a 56-clearance in the fourth frame this advanced him to 3-1 and when he won an important and absorbing fifth frame to take a 4-1 lead in the best of nine-frame game, the Championship looked to be at his mercy.
Celebrations were very much premature however, when, with the Tassie contingent watching, a resurgent Minici claimed the sixth frame. Despite clinching the seventh frame with a tournament equalling 71-clearance, Higgins looked to be in trouble, albeit still leading 4-3, but the momentum seemed to have shifted.
The clincher came in the eighth frame, when Minici, seemingly in control, missed a critical black ball pot and Higgins seized the initiative to notch up his first National Title for almost 15 years, the last being the Oceania Snooker in New Zealand back in 1995.

Full Results can be found on the
Australian Billiards and Snooker web site

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