VETERAN snooker star Darren Morgan is the new Welsh amateur champion – 32 years after winning the title for the first time.

Morgan, 53, claimed his third crown in total with an 8-2 defeat of Gavin Lewis at The Royal Arms Hotel in Rhymney.

Victory for the Newbridge left-hander, in his sixth final, means he has secured a wildcard for next February’s Welsh Open in Cardiff.

Morgan’s maiden Welsh amateur title came in 1987, the same year he won the world amateur championship, when he beat John Herbert 8-4.

Having turned pro, Morgan didn't feature in another final for 22 years, when he lost 8-2 to Michael White.

Morgan won the event for a second time in 2015 with an 8-0 thrashing of Daniel Wells, before losing 8-7 to David John the next year.

And there was more disappointment 12 months later following an 8-4 reverse to Rhydian Richards.

Speaking after his triumph against Lewis, he said: “I haven’t been playing much because I’ve been really busy with my business, so it was nice to win the Welsh 32 years after my first title.

“My second title was in 2015, but if someone had said I was going to win it again, and at the age of 53, I don’t think I’d have believed them.”

Morgan had made the final with a 6-3 win against Richard King, while Lewis saw off Tyler Rees in the other last-four encounter.

“Gavin is someone I know well, and I’ve probably played him a dozen or so times, only losing the once,” added Morgan. “I went into the final quite confident that he was thinking about that record.

“I won a couple of close frames to go 4-0 up, Gavin won the next to make it 4-1, but I knocked in a 128 to go 5-1 in front.

“I won the last frame of the session with an unbelievable black, but he finished the better in the first one after the interval to make it 6-2.

“I hit 50-odd in the next and won a scrappy 10th frame to win the match 8-2.

“I’d won two finals and lost three going into this one, so I really wanted to even things up, and I’m really glad I did.”

Morgan will soon be heading out to Serbia to defend his European masters title, while he’ll also compete in the team championship alongside his brother.

“I said there was a good chance that I wouldn’t be doing all of these events after this year,” he said. “But I’ve said that in the past and carried on playing.

“While I’ve still got something to offer and can keep playing at a certain standard I’ll carry on.

“When that standard slips it will be time to call it a day. All good things must come to an end.”

Meanwhile, three of the junior players Morgan supports have been selected to play for Wales in the annual Celtic Challenge against the Republic of Ireland.

Oliver Briffitt-Payne captains the under-14 team at the Ivy Rooms Snooker Club in Carlow on Saturday, June 22.

While Harvey Rees and Dainton Barrass will play in an under-16 team which is skippered by Tredegar’s Liam Davies.

Morgan also backs Jamie Reader who represents the former’s Red Triangle Snooker Club teams.