Chris Wakelin beats Belgian teenager Julien Leclercq to win first ranking title
Chris Wakelin dashed the dream of Belgian teenager Julien Leclercq to clinch victory in the one-frame BetVictor Snooker Shoot Out in Leicester.
Wakelin sealed his first ranking title in style with a tournament-best break of 119 to add a £5,000 bonus to his £50,000 winner’s cheque.
The 30-year-old Englishman had never previously gone beyond the quarter-finals in a ranking event since he first entered the professional tour in 2013.
Wakelin said on Eurosport: “It’s the first time in the Shoot Out that I’ve made a break over 50.
What a moment for @chris147ace!
A break of 119 – the highest of the event – secures victory over Julien Leclercq.#BVEuroSeries ⏱ pic.twitter.com/p1LVDld1Bi
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) January 28, 2023
“One hundred and twenty-eight players turned up this week to give it their best shot, and I’m lucky to be the man that comes out on top.”
Wakelin had beaten Michael White and Daniel Wells in the final stages of the hectic four-day tournament to book his clash with the impressive Leclercq.
In his first season as a professional, the Belgian beat former winners Michael Holt and Dominic Dale to stand one frame away from becoming only the seventh teenager to win a ranking title.
But a loose safety from Leclercq in the opening stages gave the Rugby veteran the first opportunity and it was one he would never relinquish.
He reached the halfway stage of the 10-minute frame 40 points in front and with Leclercq itching to return to the table, Wakelin continued to hold his nerve.
With the frame and title secured, he proceeded to pot the pink to edge past Dale’s previous best high-break mark and seal his memorable and lucrative night.