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Students crowned snooker champs
8:00am Saturday 23rd March 2013 in Sport
HAMPSHIRE students have ended their three-year semi-final jinx and finally been crowned British champions.
The University of Southampton’s first team “stepped up when needed” at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championships in Leeds.
Skipper Tom Foley has seen his side lose to the eventual tournament winners in the last-four for the past three seasons.
“We did it!” declared the delighted 26-year-old.
“It’s a great feeling to have finally won it after knocking on the door for so long.
“Every player stepped up when needed. I’m very proud of the lads.”
Foley’s side won all four group-stage matches at the Northern Snooker Centre.
The captain won a play-off frame against Warwick in the quarter-finals when the scores were locked at 5-5.
And they saw off Queen’s University Belfast 6-2 in the semis and Exeter 3-1 in the final. A BUCS organiser said: “It was a superb display from the deserved winners.”
World Snooker coach Tim Dunkley, who has worked with the squad for four years, told Foley he was “thrilled to bits”.
Meanwhile, a strong second team were unlucky to finish fourth in their group, against all first-team opposition.
They drew 5-5 with Kent 1 in the Trophy quarter-finals but Kurtis Haberstraw narrowly lost a play-off frame.
And the third team finished a respectable third in their group but were beaten 3-2 by Glasgow 1 in the Shield quarter-finals.
Foley, who is studying for a PhD in chemistry, paid tribute to Norman Ong, who stepped in after a late drop-out in the third string.
“He held his own in every match he played, with a big grin throughout,” he said.
Snooker and social clubs spotlights in today's Daily Echo.