Snooker: O'Brien elevated to top 16

FERGAL O'BRIEN captured the first professional title of his career in Plymouth with victory over Anthony Hamilton in the British Open final.

O'Brien came from 2-0, 4-3 and later 7-6 down on Sunday night to win 9-7 as he picked up the trophy and a cheque for pounds 60,000. The additional bonus for him is a place in the world top 16 rankings for the first time as the circuit prepares to move on to Sheffield for the Embassy World Championship, which starts on Saturday.

O'Brien knocked out the defending champion John Higgins in the last four and he followed that up with his historic win over Hamilton, who was also appearing in his first major final.

Hamilton, the world No 11 from Nottingham, did not disgrace himself; in fact, he repeatedly outscored O'Brien but the Dubliner held his nerve when it mattered as he became only the third Republic of Ireland professional - after Ken Doherty and Patsy Fagan - to collect one of the game's major trophies.