Anton Cuschieri believes that hard work and determination were the hallmarks that saw him claiming the coveted European Championship title last week.

The 35-year-old had to dig deep to fend off the challenge of home favourite Carl Singleton 8-7 in the final played in Blackpool, on Friday.

For Cuschieri this was his second major individual honour on the international scene having been crowned World Master champion in 2013.

“I conducted an intensive training programme before the tournament,” Cuschieri told Times of Malta.

“The singles championship was contested by over 300 players included a large group of professional players. Competition was fierce but I always believed I could go far this time.

“I was really focused and that was reflected in my matches. In fact, I had a comfortable route to the final as I won all my matches without conceding more than four frames.”

The decisive match was a different proposition though.

“The final was very tight and could have gone either way,” Cuschieri said.

“Singleton was also in great form and hit back from 4-0 down to take a 6-5 lead. Tension was all over me in that finale but he missed the final black and I jumped on the opportunity to clear the table and secure the trophy.”

Cuschieri, who has been playing pool for the past 25 years, almost made it a double in Blackpool as he played his role for the national team to reach the final of the Open tournament.

However, this time he had to settle for second place as England won the final 8-7.

“Unfortunately, it was not meant to be,” Cuschieri, European teams title winner three times in his career, said.

“They had an almost entire pro line-up against us and their experience showed in key stages of the match. But we can still be proud of ourselves and try to win the title next year.”

Cuschieri and his team-mates will have added motivation in 2018 as the European Eight Ball Championships will be played in Malta.

“It will surely be a great occasion for our sport,” Cuschieri reckoned.

“The Malta Pool Association is doing really well to promote the eight-ball game and to have these championships here will be an ideal showcase for our sport.

“Unfortunately, the financial assistance the association receives each year is rather small compared to the great results we got these last few years. Perhaps, our latest showings in Blackpool will convince the authorities to invest more in our sport.”

Cuschieri has no intention of resting on his laurels and his eyes are already set on a return to Blackpool next June for the World Championship.

“I am always hungry for success and my priority now is to do well in the World Championship next summer,” he said.

“It’s a tougher challenge as we will be up against players from all over the globe but we have enough quality in our ranks to be considered among the top contenders.

“When we go abroad we always play for each other and put the team’s interest first. We’re always ranked among the top contenders and that’s a reputation we shall try to live up to again next June.”

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