Josh cues up first world crown

Published 6:00am 18 August 2023

Josh cues up first world crown
Words by Nick Crockford

North Lakes’ Josh Hands has won his World Eight-Ball Pool Championship – at only the second attempt - 18,000kms away in Africa.

Hands, 18, potted the winning black ball in Morocco to lift the Under 18 Scotch (alternate shot) doubles crown with Joey Evans, from Victoria.

They were locked at 3-3 in the final against fellow Aussies Toby Clack and Sean Dempsey, but Hands and Evans found form and raced away to win 7-4.

“It was very exciting,” the North Lakes State College graduate said, “quite a close match at the start and then a couple of scrappy frames.

“But it was a great feeling to win a world title.”

Their path to the final ranged from a 5-0 win in the last 16, before being taken to a decider by a Maltese duo in the quarter-finals before winning 6-5.

The semi-final was again more comfortable, Hands and Evans beating an Irish team 6-1 to reach the final, where they emerged triumphant.

That made up for Hands’ 8-5 defeat in the Singles finale, also against Toby Clack, fighting back from 7-1 down to 7-5 before a “little error” let his opponent in.

Hands’ journey home from Agadir, on the Atlantic coast of west Africa, was also eventful.

After one flight was delayed and a connection missed, he spent six days in Casablanca while the airlines “sorted out” his trip back to Australia.

Last month's success Hands' second appearance at the world pool championships. He has also played in the snooker world titles – and plans to continue playing both.

“They actually help each other,” Hands said, “It’s just a question of finding the right balance.”

Having turned 18, Hands has now stepped up a sporting age group and at the weekend was in Ipswich trialling for the Queensland open men’s pool squad.

He “just made” the nine-man team, from 31 competitors, in a step essential to possible selection for the national under 23 side.

In October the national snooker and billiards titles in Albury, on the NSW/Victoria border, will also be in his sights.

Hands was selected to represent Australia at the World Blackball Championships in France last year after winning the Australian Under 18 Singles title.

He also made the World Snooker Championships in the UK last year and the semi-finals of the Australia Under 21 Billiards Championships.

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