Robin Hull Triumphs in 2023 Nordic Snooker Championship on Home Soil

(Picture:  Minna Kekkonen/City Biljard)

Last month, in front of their home crowd, Finland’s Robin Hull emerged victorious in the 2023 Nordic Snooker Championship final, defeating his fellow countryman Patrik Tiihonen with a commanding 5-1 scoreline.

This annual event brings together snooker talents from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, with each country taking turns to host the tournament. This year’s edition unfolded over four days at the City Biljard in Oulu. A maximum of 40 skilled cueists participated, divided into eight round-robin groups of five players each. The top two players from each group advanced to the knockout stages.

Robin Hull, a three-time Crucible Theatre qualifier and the 2016 Shoot Out champion, made his tournament debut and made an impressive start. The 49-year-old maestro dominated Group A by winning all four of his group matches with 3-0 scores, securing a smooth passage into the knockout phase.

In a crucial moment during the competition, Hull faced off against fellow group qualifier Andy Nettleton from Sweden. Hull narrowly missed a tricky cut-back black on 140, which would have secured a maximum break. Earlier in the year, Hull had achieved a historic 147 break while winning his 14th Finnish National Snooker Championship.

As the tournament progressed into the elimination rounds, Hull continued to shine. He dispatched Esa Oikarinen from Finland with a 4-2 victory and then dominated Sigurður Kristjánsson from Iceland with a convincing 4-0 win in the last 16 and quarter-finals, respectively. In the semi-finals, Hull faced a challenging situation when he fell behind by one frame but rallied back to defeat the reigning two-time champion, Daniel Kandi from Denmark, with a 4-1 scoreline.

Patrik Tiihonen, the 23-year-old runner-up from 2017 and 2019, earned his spot in his third Nordic final. He secured the top spot in Group F with three wins out of four matches and continued his strong performance in the knockout rounds, defeating Nettleton 4-2, Reidar Rundsveen from Norway 4-0, and Nassim Sekat from Norway 4-2. Tiihonen displayed his resilience in the semi-finals, coming back from a 2-0 deficit against Sekat.

The final showdown delivered high-quality snooker action. Hull kicked off the match with a score of 76 to secure the opening frame, but Tiihonen quickly responded with an impressive break of 89 in the second frame to level the score. Hull then went on to win the next two frames, including a frame-four break of 55, entering the mid-session interval with a 3-1 advantage. In the fifth frame, Hull demonstrated his skills once again with a remarkable total clearance of 133, his third century break of the competition. He wrapped up the victory in the sixth frame, securing yet another prestigious title in his illustrious career.

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