With a slick haircut, neatly turned out attire, and ramrod cue action, Joe O'Connor demonstrated he had all the attributes of a champion over the weekend of the 9th and 10th June. The 22-year-old potter comes from the same stomping ground as the three-times World Champion Mark Selby, and Leicester continues to churn out incredible talent onto the professional circuit.

O'Connor claimed Snooker's oldest trophy since 1916, the English Amateur Championship, down in Gloucester at the South West Snooker Academy - an academy that is home to some of the top pros in the country such as Robert Milkins.

Joe O'Connor was buzzing

He defeated an ex-professional in the final 10 - 3, Andrew Norman, manager of the venue, and it was quite an impressive and positive feat for Norman, who apparently doesn't get his cue out much these days because of his managerial duties at the Academy. Even more so because Norman was appearing in the final after a 19-year previous appearance in 1999 where he lost out to David Lilley.

O'Connor told me after the game: "I'm over the moon to have won. It's a very prestigious tournament." He added: "This is definitely the highlight of my amateur career." He then went on to say that his hopes for his upcoming professional career include simply just trying to stay in the top 64 over the next two seasons, as that enables you to stay for another two years.

He joins in the footsteps of Billy Joe Castle, who last year won the English Amateur trophy - weeks after he had secured a professional card for the World Snooker tour. Players in the past who have won include none other than the likes of six-times World finalist Jimmy White and 2015 World Champion Stuart Bingham - who is one of five players to have won and gone on to be World Professional Snooker Champion.

Sargeant secured Six Reds competition

The English Amateur Championships were part of the English Association of Snooker and Billiards's Finals weekend, which saw a string of other incredible winners. These included the winner of the first Challenge Tour event Brandon Sargeant, who won the English Six Reds title defeating Grimsby's Paul Metcalfe 8 - 1.

It was an impressive display from Sargeant who reeled off several 30 breaks - particularly in frame four where he racked up an incredible 73 break to go to the mid-session interval 4 - 0.

Ryan Davies magics four titles

A special mention goes out to 16-year-old Ryan Davies, who incredibly conquered all four of the finals he appeared in which included:

  • The English Under 16 Billiards Championship
  • The English Under 16 National Snooker Title

These two were played on Saturday and then Davies went on to win on Sunday two more, which included:

  • The English Under 18 Championship Snooker Title
  • English Under 21 Billiards Snooker Title

The two days of play resulted in another player about to venture off on a tough journey as a professional, as O'Connor embarks on his dream of playing some of the best in the business such as the likes of Ronnie O'Sullivan and Mark Selby.

O’Connor’s first match as a professional begins in the 2018 Riga Master’s qualifiers where he will face the runner-up of the European Snooker Championships Jordan Brown.

If you missed it, you can see the live stream on youtube.

Another freelance journalist, Marcus Stead, for Snooker Scene magazine, was invited to commentate on the English Amateur Championship finals by the EASB and he tweeted: "Congratulations to Joe O'Connor on his victory over Andrew Norman."