Metal Maflin is the Main Man
Kurt Maflin produced a blistering display of break building over two days to win the EBSA European Play offs and earn a nomination to the 2010-11 WSA Main Tour
Norway's Kurt Maflin, the 2006 IBSF World Champion has regained his Main Tour professional status after a stunning display of snooker over two day's competition at the Rin Grand Hotel in Bucharest, Romania.
Maflin's performance was all the more amazing in view of the fact that in March, he skidded on ice in Norway and smashed his shoulder and broke his collar bone. After an operation he now has 7 screws and a 6 inch metal plate in his shoulder.
"It's great fun at the airport security", laughs Maflin!
The Norwegian domiciled Londoner, who now speaks fluent Norwegian, blasted in 74 to open the final against the vastly experienced Alex Borg, from Malta; also a former professional.
Borg needed two snookers, got one of them but left the brown on for Maflin. But the twice former European Champion bounced back to take the second with two scoring visits.
Maflin then rattled in 60 and 84 to go 3-1 at the interval.
Borg dominated the fifth to pull back to within a frame, but he couldn't do anything but sit back and admire as Maflin slammed in a 123 clearance to go 4-2 ahead.
A cagey start to the seventh saw Borg open a 42 point lead, helped by two misses and a warning for his opponent. But Maflin spotted a red and set about a match winning 83 break to seal victory.
Maflin's first priority after the match was to phone home to girlfriend Anita Rizzuti, who was back in Norway looking after young Neon, their 2 year 4 month old son.
Rizzuti is still Norway's leading lady player despite motherhood and it was while they were competing in a European Championships in 2001, in Latvia, that the pair met.
Naturally Maflin was pretty pleased with both his win, and also his performance. "It you play like that it's hard to get beaten," he commented.
"Wow, I'm really, really happy about that win."
"My first target on the Main Tour will be to stay on. And my main target will be to get into the Top 64."
In the 2007-8 season Maflin narrowly lost his place after an agonising 10-9 black ball defeat in the World Championship to Welshman Gareth Coppack.
"That really hurt", said Maflin. "I'd have stayed on but for that loss."
Maflin will head home to Norway after the European Championships to have discussions with the Norwegian Federation. They sponsored him to compete in the last three PIOS events and to travel to Romania to play.
Maflin had been working part time in a restaurant prior to his escapades on the Norwegian ice.
"It's all going to be about time and money next season. I'll be aiming to play in every event and it will be great to be playing across Europe too.
"I want to concentrate solely on snooker and play full time. But I need to see if I can get the funding to be able to do that."
Maflin still has family in London and will travel across for a week or so before each UK staged event to practice at Welling Snooker Club under the watchful eye of his father.
"I don't come over to practice with people. I get on a table and put the time in on my own."
Both Maflin and Borg won their semi finals in double quick time. Borg beaten Holland's Rene Van Rijsbergen 4-0, while Maflin ratled in 67 and 94 during a 5-1 win over Malta's Duncan Bezzina.
Maflin's 123 in the final earned him the 100 Euro high break prize and he also had 120 and 103 in a tally of fifteen breaks over 50.
Borg wasn't far behind him, contributing 112 and 102 to the high break board and another 8 fifty plus breaks.
In a sign of the continuing rising standards across Europe there were six countries represented in the quarter finals.
Presentations of the 1000 Euro first prize were made by EBSA Secretary Maxime Cassis and Joe Caruana Curran, the EBSA Vice Chairman and also the President of the Malta Association. Borg pocketed 500 Euros as runner up.