Josh wins national crown - and trip to world titles

Published 6:00am 27 April 2022

Josh wins national crown - and trip to world titles
Words by Nick Crockford

Josh Hands has capped a remarkable month by being selected to represent Australia at the World Blackball Championships in France.

The 16-year-old from North Lakes was named in the national team after winning the Australian Blackball International Federation Under 18 Singles title on April 10-11.

Hands took 16 of his 21 best-of-five-frame round robin matches at Ipswich, to make the top five and a place in the blackball (similar to pool using red and yellow balls) finals.

In the first Elimination Final he beat Joseph Evans, fourth after the round robin phase, 5-3 and then fellow Queenslander Jayden Dinga, who qualified third, by the same score.

Josh wins national crown - and trip to world titles
Josh Hands, still training hard after his national blackball title win.

Sean Dempsey, of Victoria, who topped the qualifying ladder, was beaten 5-0 in the Qualifying Final, before Xavier Daw, who qualified second, was despatched 6-2 in the final.

“Obviously, I wanted to do well,” said Hands, a Year 12 student at North Lakes State College, “but didn’t think I would do that well.

“I was delighted. That was a pretty big win. I had never been to blackball national titles. Only snooker. This was a big step.”

Being one of the five finalists, earned Hands a place in the Australian Under 18 team for the World Championships in Albi, near Toulouse, southern France in October.

Josh wins national crown - and trip to world titles
Josh Hands' blackball trophies from the Australian Championships

Hands was also in fine form at the Australian Under 21 Billiards Championships reaching the semi-finals in Melbourne on April 6.

He beat Sean Dempsey 206-200 in their 60-minute quarter-final, but lost 256-342 to eventual champion Xavier Daw in the semi-final over 90 minutes.

At the Australian Under 21 Snooker Championship, on April 7-8, Hands just missed a semi-final spot, finishing third in Group A.

Josh wins national crown - and trip to world titles
Josh has also excelled at snooker, competing in the world championships in the UK earlier this year.

In qualifying he beat Jacob Nash 2-0, Ben Zawko 2-0 and Marc Fridman 2-1, but lost to tournament runner-up Sean Dempsey 0-2.

Fridman pipped Hands, who trains at Redcliffe Snooker Club, to a semi-final place having won seven frames across the round robin phase to Hands’ six.

Hands is now preparing for a Queensland billiards tournament in Redlands next month, the Pacific International Billiards in Victoria in June and then the National Under 18 Snooker and Billiards titles at Albury in July.

Josh wins national crown - and trip to world titles
Josh Hands with his coach Trevor Mortimer

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