2018 English Amateur Champion Joe O’Connor has played the snooker of his life this week in Cardiff – but his run doesn’t stop as he has reached his first ranking event semi-final as a professional.
O’Connor, 23, has shrugged off the Warrior Kyren Wilson, the Dragon Ding Junhui and on Friday 15th February, he played the biggest match of his snooker career and beat the legend and Wizard of Wishaw John Higgins, a player twice his age and twice the experience.
It was a shocking start for those who have not seen O’Connor play as the young Leicester potter came out and stormed into a 2 – 0 lead with a steely first frame break of 73 – but, understandably, there were still a hint of nerves as he was pegged back by Higgins at the mid session interval at 2 – 2.
It didn’t deter the determined player who hails from the hotbed of snooker from Leicester as he managed to go 4 – 3 up in the remainder of the match. You would have been forgiven for thinking that O’Connor’s lack of experience on the match table and the TV lights and spotlight would have sent him crumbling but his plucky and steely confidence meant in the last frame he racked an incredible 131 – now his highest break in pro competition. Originally he had made a 113 in the northern Ireland Open.
Whatever happens in the semi-finals, O’Connor has proved he has no fear of the spotlight, no fear of the pressure of the pressure balls, and no fear of legendary opponents.
More to come from him in future…