European Championship Final

As some of you have noticed, today will see the conclusion of the European Championship event over in Duffel, Belgium and as a result the awarding of one of the few remaining main tour spots for next year…

Contesting the final will be not just one, but two Irishman as David Hogan and Mario Fernandez have managed to battle their way through a group stage and four knockout matches to be just one place away from a professional place.

Having come through a competitive group in second place, Hogan then defeated local favourite Yvan Van Velthoven comfortably, making a century break along the way to reach the last 16. There though he was involved in a real struggle against Sean Bullock but from 3-1 and 4-3 down, recovered to edge through by a 5-4 scoreline to earn a clash with last week’s International Open winner Tony Drago.

Despite an 88 from the Tornado in the opening frame it was to be David’s day this time as he hit back to take the next five and book a surprisingly comfortable place in the last four. Paired against German hope Sascha Lippe, he then produced arguably his most impressive performance of the week so far to record a fabulous 6-0 whitewash, thanks in no small part to breaks of 103, 89 and 77.

Mario Fernandez meanwhile was able to top Group I at the loss of just five frames and no matches, before coming through a high quality clash against promising young opponent Michal Zielinski 4-2 in his first knockout match. Like Hogan though he experienced a real struggle in his last 16 match, recording no big breaks but just about seeing off the challenge of Reind Duut 5-4.

To reach the next final though he had his toughest opponents yet, Jimmy Robertson and fellow Irishman Brendan O’Donoghue who as regular readers will know, have both already secured their places on the main tour for 2009/10. Perhaps this extra pressure helped Fernandez however, indeed it certainly did him no harm as he registered 5-3 and 6-2 wins respectively to book a final clash with Hogan.

Good luck to both today, you can follow the scores live over at the official website here.