Michael Judge booked his spot at the Bonus Arena in Hull this October after winning the latest ROKiT UK Seniors Snooker Championship qualifying event last weekend.
Held at Barratts Snooker Club in Northampton, 64 players representing eight different countries entered the three-day knockout competition aiming to secure a coveted place in the main UK Seniors draw.
Former world number 24 Judge, who as an amateur reached the final qualifying round of the professional World Championship in April, didn’t drop a frame in an opening trio of wins against Lee Taylor, Dennis Tristram and Rhydian Richards. Judge then eliminated Wayne Cooper 3-1 in the quarter-finals and world seniors number two ranked player Jonathan Bagley 4-1 in the semis.
The final would be an all-Irish affair as ex-professional Leo Fernandez – a semi-finalist in Hull last year – made his way through the draw, ousting countryman Rodney Goggins 4-3 in the last four.
Honours were even after the first two frames of the final before a high quality third frame saw Judge counter-attack with a 72 clearance to overhaul an earlier effort of 68 from his opponent. He subsequently extended his advantage, and whilst Fernandez chalked up frame five, Judge crossed the line in the next for a 4-2 victory.
Judge follows in the footsteps of Goggins who denied him in the final of qualifying event one last month in Bruges, Belgium. There are two further UK qualifying opportunities for hopefuls in the coming months with tournaments in Jersey and Hull itself, both in September. Jimmy White, winner of the UK Seniors Championship in 2017, and Stephen Hendry, are two of the iconic names confirmed for the venue stages later in the year.
The first ever World Seniors ‘Super Seniors’ event for players over 55 also took place at Barratts on Sunday. Gary Filtness defeated Andrew Darken and Ian Spawton before seeing off tour debutant Colin Mitchell 2-0 in the final.