BALLARAT’S Matt Curwood was crowned the World 8-ball Pool Junior Champion in England during the early hours of Saturday morning.
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Curwood backed up his Australian crown from earlier in the year with a stellar performance in Blackpool.
He becomes the second Australian to win the title, joining Ben Crawley, who claimed the event in 1996.
The 18-year-old’s hopes were nearly shattered in the opening round as he prevailed in the deciding frame against England’s Ben Welfare – six frames to five.
He then went from strength to strength through the tournament, winning his next four matches and dropping just eight frames en route to the final – including a 7-0 semi-final thrashing of Adam Maher.
Curwood showed plenty of character in the championship final against Malta’s Scott Muscat. Trailing 6-4, he rediscovered his best pool to string together the final four frames of the match, and in turn, win the world title.
Curwood’s father, Mark, was elated for his son.
In what was an emotional victory, he kept regular contact with Matt throughout the tournament and reinforced the importance of keeping a firm focus on the task at hand.
“I was blown away … I was in tears,” Mark said.
“You’ve got a son that’s now a world champion … it’s unbelievable.
“I spoke to him every night, (I) kept telling him he could do it, I believed he could do it.
“Sometimes in the past he’s got there and it’s just overwhelming. So this time it was different.
“It’s just not letting the moment get to overwhelming.
“He’s just mentally different, that’s why he’s won the Australian title and the world title.”
Curwood, who was also part of a triumphant Australian team at the world championships, will now turn his attention to the Australian snooker titles in Adelaide next week.
While the list of achievements is quickly growing for the new world champion, his father has endeavoured to keep a well-rounded focus towards his future.
“I actually tell him there’s more to life than pool,” he said.
“You’ve got to set up your life too.
“He’s still got two or three years to decide (his future) … at this stage it’s come back, finish school (and) get a job.”
Fellow Ballarat 8-ball player Kolbe Poole played her singles semi-final overnight.
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