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Wakelin secures Shoot Out crown for maiden ranking title

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Wakelin won the first ranking title of his career in January

Chris Wakelin won the first ranking title of his career after defeating teenage sensation Julien Leclercq to claim the Shoot Out crown.

World number 47 Wakelin was the last man standing at the Morningside Arena in Leicester on Saturday, where 128 players started out three days earlier.

The 30-yard-old, who survived a blue-ball shootout in his first-round win over Farakh Ajaib, enjoyed the biggest pay day of his career – 10 years after he turned professional – as he pocketed the top prize of £50,000.

Wakelin also landed the £5,000 high break prize after producing a sublime clearance of 119 in the final, as he secured his place in the Champion of Champions later this year.

He told Eurosport: “128 players turned up this week, giving it their best shot – throwing their name in the hat – and I’m lucky to be the man who comes out on top.

“It’s everything I could have dreamed of. You work day in day out, 10 years now of not really achieving anything spectacular, but today it all came together.”

Wakelin, who had never previously progressed beyond the quarter-finals of any ranking event, began Saturday as one of 22 players seeking their maiden title.

The Nuneaton cueist battled his way past reigning Welsh Open champion Joe Perry, before following suit against the Welsh trio of Jak Jones, Michael White and Daniel Wells.

Meanwhile, world number 109 Leclercq arrived in Leicester having won just four of his 14 matches since turning professional ahead of this season, though he did defeat three-time World champion Mark Williams in the German Masters qualifiers.

And the 19-year-old Belgian claimed more scalps on finals day, denying Fergal O’Brien as well as former Shoot Out champions Michael Holt and Dominic Dale to stand on the brink of becoming only the seventh teenage ranking event winner.

But a marginally loose safety shot was ruthlessly pounced on by Wakelin, who calmly cleared the table with a wonderful break of 119 to take the title.

Snooker Shoot Out 2023 Results

Saturday January 28

Round Three
Cao Yupeng 0-129 Ali Carter
Fergal O’Brien 21-39 Julien Leclercq
Tom Ford 91-28 Vladislav Gradinari
Dominic Dale 63-30 Asjad Iqbal
Fan Zhengyi 0-126 Michael Holt
David Grace 49-5 David Lilley
Daniel Wells 32-19 Ben Woollaston
Michael White 56-31 Alexander Ursenbacher
Joe Perry 14-33 Chris Wakelin
Jak Jones 28-8 Xu Si
Lukas Kleckers 27-35 Yuan SiJun
Zhou Yuelong 76-22 Gary Wilson
Dylan Emery 0-120 Noppon Saengkham
Liam Highfield 80-0 Martin Gould
Mark Davis 22-62 Jack Lisowski
Mark Williams 12-53 Dechawat Poomjaeng

Last 16
Tom Ford 20-14 Ali Carter
Yuan SiJun 47-53 Julien Leclercq
Dominic Dale 72-0 Zhou Yuelong
Michael White 50-9 David Grace
Chris Wakelin 38-35 Jak Jones
Noppon Saengkham 36-50 Daniel Wells
Michael Holt 47-38 Jack Lisowski
Liam Highfield 79-3 Dechawat Poomjaeng

Daniel Wells 57-16 Tom Ford
Liam Highfield 32-75 Dominic Dale
Michael Holt 23-30 Julien Leclercq
Chris Wakelin 42-22 Michael White

Daniel Wells 23-46 Chris Wakelin
Dominic Dale 8-98 Julien Leclercq

Chris Wakelin 119-0 Julien Leclercq