NEWPORT snooker star Darren Morgan helped Wales win the World Team Championships masters event in Egypt and ended up becoming an ambassador for Sharm el-Sheikh, writes Andrew Penman.
Morgan and Elfed Evans of Pwllheli won the 2014 International Billiards and Snooker Federation World Masters (over-40s) Team Snooker Championship for Wales at the Red Sea resort.
And Morgan, who was once ranked eighth in the world during his professional career, loved his time there so much he’s agreed to promote the holiday destination to tourists worldwide.
“It was a fantastic experience and they treated us so well,” said the 48-year-old.
“It’s my best trip as an amateur and I was delighted when they approached me about becoming an ambassador for Sharm el-Sheikh.”
After easing through the round robin stages, Morgan and Evans gained 4-1 victories over Ireland in the quarter-final and Afghanistan in the semi-final and then produced their best form in the final.
The Welsh pair hammered 1993 World Amateur Champion Chuchart Trairattanapradit and 2013 World Masters Champion Phisit Chandrsi from Thailand 5-0 to lift the trophy.
It was a return to winning ways for Morgan after he just missed out on defending his European Masters title in Bulgaria, losing 5-3 to eventual champion Mark Tuite of Ireland in the semi-final.
“That was really frustrating because I was flying, only losing one frame until the semis,” said Morgan.
“I hit four centuries, won 34 frames, only lost one and had 33 breaks of 40 or more.
“Then I threw in a stinker in the semi-final. I went from a world-beater to Humpty Dumpty!”
But Morgan, a World Championships semi-finalist at the Crucible back in 1994, picked himself up and put himself together again to add another trophy to his bulging collection.
He has been enjoying a real renaissance in his snooker life among the amateurs since retiring from the main professional tour seven years ago.
Since then he’s won five European two-man Team titles, five European Masters singles, six IBSF World Masters crowns and beat legendary names in 2011, including Jimmy White and Steve Davis, to take the World Senior Championships.