NEWPORT snooker star Darren Morgan says he can now retire a happy man after winning the Welsh Amateur Championship for the first time in 28 years.

The Newbridge-based veteran, now aged 49, swept past Daniel Wells 8-0 in the final at the weekend to win the trophy for a second time.

It is mission accomplished for Morgan who says he has been ‘desperate’ to claim the title again and he was delighted to beat an opponent who was on the professional circuit as recently as last season.

Wells wasn’t even born until 1988 – the year after Morgan first won the Welsh amateur crown and then the World Amateur Championship.

“It’s the biggest tournament for amateur players in Wales and to win it against youngsters still going for the pro tickets is very pleasing,” said Morgan.

“They will be practicing five or six hours a day but I just do half an hour here or there these days – just to get my arm going.

“I tend to use the early rounds of tournaments to get my game in shape but I played extremely well last week – it was like turning the clock back.”

Morgan turned pro in 1988 and made the World Championships semi-finals at the Crucible back in 1994, losing 16-9 to Jimmy White.

His best achievements as a professional were to win the Irish Masters in 1996, beating Steve Davis 9–8 in the final, and he captained Wales to victory in the 1999 Nations Cup.

Now back on the amateur circuit after retiring from the main professional tour in 2007, he has enjoyed huge success over recent years.

Morgan has 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.

Last year he and Elfed Evans of Pwllheli won the World Team Championships masters event in Egypt and Morgan beat Evans in the Welsh Amateur semi-finals last week.

“I didn’t expect to beat Elfed, who has won it twice before, or Daniel, who is playing in Q School this Friday,” said Morgan.

“It must be the biggest gap ever for someone between winning Welsh titles but I’m delighted.

“I was desperate to win it because I don’t like winning something once – I always want to win it twice.

“It took me 28 years but I’ve done it and if I didn’t play again I’d be happy.”

But Morgan is set to carry on playing and he’ll look to add to his trophy cabinet when he travels to the European Masters Championships in Prague next month and the World Masters in South Africa in November.