Invitational February 29th, 2024

Joe O’Connor hit snooker’s 200th professional 147 break enroute to group seven victory at BetVictor Championship League Snooker in Leicester

Leicester’s very own Joe O’Connor stormed his way to the winners’ group of Championship League Snooker, beating the high-flying Jak Jones 3-0 in the group seven final at the Mattioli Arena in Leicester.

Having started the day one place lower in the group than expected due to Ronnie O’Sullivan’s withdrawal, O’Connor opened his day with a solid 3-2 win over Pang Junxu, breaks of 31 and 48 in the decider enough to get the job done.

The world number 30 was then faced with taking on the in-form Jak Jones, in a match that again went all the way, with the Welshman winning the decider with a break of 52.

O’Connor took on another late call-up in the form of Elliot Slessor in their final group match, creating his own bit of snooker history with the 200th professional maximum break ever recorded, coming in the third frame.

It was a high scoring affair in which O’Connor had made a 132 total clearance in the previous frame, and was amongst the balls to make an even more historic consecutive maximum break, falling short at the 72 mark – and to make matters worse for the local star, Slessor responded with a break of 73 to win the frame.

The pair were set to face once again in the semi final and once again it was O’Connor who had the last laugh, beating Slessor 3-1 with breaks of 41 and 65.

It set up a group final against the unbeaten Jones, who had only dropped five frames across the entire group. However O’Connor took full advantage of what had been a mentally taxing group semi final on Jones, whitewashing the Welshman with breaks of 43 and 95.

Speaking afterwards O’Connor said: “These last two days have been unbelievable, first time playing Ronnie, I know he pulled out but it was nice to get a win over him.

“To get my first maximum break today, I think that’s the first time I’ve been past 70 or 80 this season, I’m so pleased. I was really nervous especially after getting perfect on the blue. I wanted to play it confidentially and I ended up hitting it like a fairy and not landed on the pink. Somehow I managed to get on the black and knock it in.

“Against Jak, who had won 7 matches in a row, it was probably exhausting for him, it just looked like he run out of steam and luckily I was able to get over the line.

“I’m over the moon to reach the winners’ group in my debut, I’m really looking forward to it.”

BetVictor Championship League Snooker returns for the winners’ group on March 12th, made up by John Higgins, Mark Selby, Kyren Wilson, Stuart Bingham, Neil Robertson, Chris Wakelin, and Joe O’Connor.

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