Taranaki's Mario Hildred finishes runner-up in under-21 Oceania Snooker Championship
28 Mar 2017
After a valiant effort, Taranaki's Mario Hildred came within touching distance of taking out the under-21 Oceania Snooker Championship.
Hildred, 16, was one of six Kiwis to attend the event in New South Wales earlier this month and finished runner-up to Australian Cale Barrett, losing 6-3 in the final.
Barrett would have gone into the final as the favourite, having beaten Hildred 3-0 in pool play, but Hildred was able to put up a fight in the best-of-11 final format.
The New Plymouth Boys' High School student sneaked his way into the playoffs after finishing with three wins and three losses in pool play, but came into his own in the knockout stages.
In the quarterfinal, Hildred managed to get the better of Australian Hayden Goode 4-3, before thrashing fellow Kiwi Pravil Kant 5-0 in their semifinal.
New Zealand junior snooker team manager Agnes Kimura said she was thrilled with the results the Kiwi boys produced at the tournament.
"It was wonderful," the current New Zealand women's champion said.
"Of the eight players to make it to the knockout stages, five were New Zealand boys. I don't think the Australians would have seen that coming."
Fellow Kiwi team member Louis Chand won the event last year, but was easily put away by Barrett in their semifinal 5-0.