Cahill Claims European U-21 Crown

Congratulations to James Cahill, who today defeated fellow Englishman Ashley Carty 6-0 to win the 2013 European Under-21 Championship in Bor, Serbia. As well as claiming what is a prestigious title in its own right, the victory also means that the 17-year-old will graduate to the main tour at the start of next season, reportedly receiving a two-year card onto the pro circuit…

  • Click here to view all of the results from the knock-out phase of the tournament
  • Click here to view the results from the group stages

Twelve months on from Scotland’s Michael Leslie’s victory at the 2012 tournament in Sofia, this year saw a strong field including the likes of Duane Jones, Elliott Slessor, Ross Muir and Shane Castle among those battling it out for the title in Serbia.

As the tournament reached its latter stages however, it was James Cahill and and Ashley Carty who were to make through to today’s final. For Carty the path was a tough one, deciding frame victories against Israel’s Shachar Ruberg and Swiss youngster Alexander Ursenbacher seeing him through to the last four, where he then recorded an impressive 5-2 victory against the highly rated Welsh talent Duane Jones.

For Cahill, the path, on paper at least, looks to have been somewhat more straight-forward, his closest battle coming against Scot Ross Muir at the last 16 stage, before he then saw off Elliott Slessor and Darryl Hill for the loss of just two frames.

As would transpire, James would not lose another frame as he powered to a perfect 6-0 victory in the final to secure both the title, and his place on the main tour from the 2013/14 season.

Unsurprisingly, much has been made of the fact that James is the nephew of the great Stephen Hendry, his mother Marie being a sister of Hendry’s wife Mandy, however Cahill seems to be a fine player in his own right, as demonstrated by his 12 50+ breaks during the tournament, the most of any player.

Indeed, James first caught my eye at last year’s Q School when he came close to qualifying from events one and three, losing only to eventual qualifiers Sam Baird and Michael Wasley. This season he has continued to gain experience as an amateur in the PTC events, most notably defeating Robert Milkins at the ET3 event in Belgium.

I have not yet seen how World Snooker intend to fill the 128 tour spots, however it would appear that James is to receive a two-year card, as Leslie did a year ago, and with the flattening of the draws next season, who is to say that we will not see him on our screens at some point in 2013/14?