June has been a very busy month for me having spent 2 weeks in Bulgaria then followed by 2 weeks in Egypt with some success.
Firstly I played in the European Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. I got to the final of this event last year but this time I got knocked out in the last 16 by Mitchell Mann of England who went on to win the event and qualify for the professional tour. A huge congratulations to him, he played some good snooker and is very worthy of his tour place. I played some good snooker myself that week making a century and topping my group undefeated. I hope I can qualify to play in the tournament next year which will be played in Prague.
I returned home for 4 days before I flew to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt for the World Team & World 6 Red Championships.
In the Team event I played with Jamie Clarke and we got beat in the semi final by Hong Kong who went on to win the event. We topped our group losing only 2 frames in the process. We beat a very strong India team 3-2 who had Pankaj Advani, a top 64 professional, playing for them. This event had a scotch doubles frame in every match. Scotch doubles is when you take alternate shots with your partner. Jamie and I constructed a break of 87 together in one of our matches.
In the 6 reds event, I topped my group without losing a match but then lost out in the Quarter Finals 5-2 to Boonyarit Keattikun from Thailand. I also made a break of 70, 5 points off a maximum with 6 reds on the table. If I had reached the semi final I would have qualified to play in the 6 red professional event in Bangkok, Thailand on my birthday in September so I was gutted to say the least!
While we were in Sharm El Sheikh we got chance to go snorkeling on the reef, go on a boat trip to see more of the marine life which is amazing, sunbathe (got a nice glowing tan!), swim in the many pools the resort had to offer and see a camel walk down the road as if it was normal! I have taken a fair few pictures which can be viewed if you like and share my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/garethallen
I want to thank Mohammed Kammah, The IBSF and The Egyptian Snooker Federation for putting on a wonderful tournament, an experience that I will never forget. I have been made an Ambassador of Sharm El Sheikh which will have some perks I am sure! Hopefully a 5 year contract can be sorted and we can keep returning to play there every year.
As for July, I have a month of no tournaments so I'll be taking a bit of time off before getting back to practice ready for the new European Tour season which kicks off in Riga on 6th August.