BILLY Castle’s magnificent run in the IBSF World Championships in Bulgaria finally ended in quarter-final defeat.
The 20-year-old from Marchwood was beaten 6-4 by ex-professional Gary Wilson, who admitted Castle was the only player in the draw he feared.
Wilson, from Newcastle, was cruising at 3-1 up before Castle produced one of his characteristic charges.
Quick-fire breaks of 68, 58 and 57 gave him a 4-3 lead.
After Wilson, 27, took the next two frames, Castle missed a chance to square the match when he lost position on the final yellow.
“He deserved it,” admitted Castle, who prepared for his matches at the Dedeman Princess Hotel, Sofia, by listening to Christmas songs while soaking in a hot bath.
“It was a good tight match. He played really good safety shots. I think he was a bit more solid in that match than me.”
Former world under-21 champion Wilson lost 10-8 in the final to Muhammad Asif (Pakistan). As previously reported, Castle scraped through the round-robin group stages of the amateur world championship and then saw off Pakistan’s number two Asjad Iqbal 4-3 in the first knockout round.
Now in his stride and smashing in half-centuries for fun, he accounted for China’s Jin Long in the last-32. The 5-2 victory included breaks of 55, 64, 65 and 66.
And he found yet another gear by blasting the 2004 Asian under-21 champion Pramual Janthad (Thailand) 5-1 in the last-16 with runs of 82, 83, 53 and 75. Castle, who pocketed $194 (£120) prize money, reckons he performs better once the round-robin is complete.
“I just can’t get going in the groups,” he said. “Once I get into the knockout, that’s when I start playing.
Snooker spotlight is in today's Daily Echo.