NEWPORT snooker ace Darren Morgan added another prize to his bulging trophy cabinet this week as he was crowned European Masters champion – without losing a single frame.
The 46-year-old has established himself as a major player in the amateur snooker scene since retiring from the professional ranks in 2007.
His latest victory at the Masters event in Latvia was the fourth time he had won the tournament and it comes on the back of his stunning win in the World Senior Professional Snooker Championship last November.
In that event, in Peterbor-ough, Morgan beat six-times world champion Steve Davis in the final having also defeated Cliff Thorburn and Jimmy White along the way.
But to win an event without dropping a frame was something Morgan never expected to do. “To win 38 frames in a row is a bit of a joke,” he said. “I’m not sure it’s ever been done before. I’m delighted.”
Morgan, who also won the Welsh Masters Champion-ships and the European Championships this year, will defend his senior pro title in Peterborough in October before travelling to the World Amateur Championships in Egypt in November.
But despite his success there is no prospect of a return to the pro game for Morgan, who runs the Red Triangle snooker club in Cross Keys.
Having won the World Amateur Championships in 1987, Morgan played on the main World Snooker tour from 1988 to 2007.
He earned just under £1million in prize money, reached a high ranking of eight and was a World Championships semi-finalist in 1994 – losing 16-9 to Jimmy White.
“I gave it up at the right time,” explained Morgan.
“My head had completely gone and I wasn’t enjoying it at all.
“Looking back now with the way I’m playing I sometimes think, ‘did I give it up to early’, but at the time it was the right decision.
“I don’t really practise at all these days but I think I’d still be in the top 32 in the world.
“I feel rejuvenated and I’m really enjoying the game again now.
“There is a little bit of me that says I should give it another go.
“But my business and family commitments mean I can’t really think about becoming a pro again.”
Seeing the world and picking up prizes as an amateur are keeping the veteran happy and helping to support his family in Newbridge.
“In the last year I’ve been to Latvia, Bulgaria and I’m off to Egypt and to Thailand for the World Six Red Championships, competing for a £40,000 prize against people like Mark Williams and Mark Selby, so I’m happy with that,” he added.
At the European Masters Morgan made a high break of 121 in his remarkable run of winning 38 successive frames.
He beat Steve Judd 6-0 in the final, gaining revenge for a quarter-final defeat to the same opponent in 2011.
“I wanted to beat Judd after what happened last year and I’m very pleased with the win,” he said, “It was great to win again and put myself back on the map.
“It’s been a good year so far and hopefully there’s more to come in the next few months.”