Watts Wins in Norway
Christopher Watts won his fifth Norwegian National Snooker Championship last weekend when he defeated Andre Hellerud live in front of Eurosport cameras.
Held across five days at the Oslo Snooker Club in the capital city, nearly 50 players (aged from 12 to 76), lined up for the most prestigious snooker event on the Norwegian Billiard Federation calendar. Divided into round robin groups of either six or seven, the top two from each pool qualified for the last 16 knockout stage.
Watts, who is based at the venue, had no issues in qualifying as he topped the group, winning all five of his matches and dropping just two frames in the process.
During the knockouts, 35-year-old Watts ramped up his scoring power. He registered breaks of 85 and 86 whilst eliminating Sondre Sundt, 3-0, in the last 16 and then made another half-century in dismissing Henning Svensson by the same 3-0 scoreline during the quarter-finals.
The closest finish Watts would experience on his way to the trophy was against Audun Risan Heimsjo in the semi-finals. Having earlier chalked up his first century of the tournament – an effort of 117 – he squeezed through, 4-3, to secure another final berth.
In the final Watts faced fellow club-mate Andre Hellerud, who likewise had remained undefeated throughout. It was the third time the pair had met in the championship decider; on both previous occasions in 2009 and 2015, two-time victor Hellerud had emerged successful.
Aiming for third time lucky, Watts began the showpiece incredibly with back-to-back breaks of 126 – the highest of the competition – and 107. He then extended his lead and moved to the brink of victory with the aid of a 62. Hellerud managed to get a foothold in the match by taking the next two frames, but a 55 in frame six helped Watts secure a very impressive 4-2 win.
It is the third year in a row that Watts has claimed the title, and the fifth time overall since 2011. In what was a first for the country, the semi-finals and final were both shown live on Eurosport Norge; snooker is one of the most watched sports on the channel.
A delighted Watts said “It was great to finally get a win over Andre as he has defeated me twice before in the final. The most important thing was to put on a high-quality display in front of the live Eurosport cameras as we really wanted to promote Norwegian snooker – this is what I am pleased with the most. The next focus is getting more youngsters interested in snooker.”