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Englishman Pettman beats Ratchapol to emerge champion

World No. 53 Stuart Pettman of England ended a long title drought when he defeated Thai snooker star Ratchapol Pu-Ob-Orm 5-3 late on Saturday night in the CAT Telecom-Hua Hin Thailand Challenge 2007 at the Hua Hin Grand Hotel. A large crowd flooded the venue to see final which lasted more than three hours and finished just as the clock ticked past the midnight mark, when Prachuab Khiri Khan Governor Prasong Pitoonkijja handed the glittering tropy to the winner.

Neither Pettman nor Ratchapol, now in the 33rd spot in the world professional rankings, had entered the match as an outright title favourite, but the way things went in the went in the opening, a lot of people were left convinced that Lady Luck was bent on favouring the local hero.

Ratchapol first had a lucky fluke on the last blue and then could not help suppress a grin as he followed it up with another one on the pink that paved the way for him winning the frame on the black.

However, the mood of the crowd switched swiftly as Pettman bounced back to the level ground.

Ratchapol went one-up again, but the joy proved ephemeral on this occasion as well, as Pettman knocked home an absorbing break of 97 points in the fourth to level the match.

This time it was Pettman's turn to go ahead one frame and Ratchapol did well in the sixth to make it 3-3.

The man from Preston had little trouble in taking the seventh and was then pleased to see Ratchapol squander a number of chances to even the score in the eighth frame and instead concede a 5-3 loss.

A beaming Pettman said later: ''I am happy with the way I played in the tournament.

''I definitely played better snooker in the final. James missed a number of easy pots and that helped as well.''

RESULTS

Stuart Pettman (England) beat Ratchapol Pu-Ob-Orm 5-3 (62-69, 63-49, 10-62, 97(97)-0, 79-16, 48-83, 56-12, 53-45) Bangkok Post

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