18th September, 888.com World Cup of Pool 2013
US, Singapore through as India win thriller
USA 7-5 Kuwait
Singapore 7-5 Poland
India 7-6 Canada
THERE WAS some superb drama at the 888.com World Cup of Pool this evening as India came through a hill-hill thriller against Canada to move through to the next round where they will meet Holland on Friday evening. The York Hall was packed to the rafters with fired-up Indian fans and their team gave them plenty to cheer about in the end.
Earlier in the evening, Team USA overcame an early stutter to find their feet and comeback to beat Kuwait to advance to the last 16 of the 888.com World Cup Pool. Shane Van Boening was a little anxious in advance as his partner Johnny Archer had left it very late to arrive in London but all was well in the end as they looked a smooth unit in the closing stages.
Trailing 0-2 and then 3-5 to the Kuwaiti team made up of Omar Al Shaheen and Khaled Al Mutairi, they caught a gear to win the last four racks for victory.
“I arrived in London at 8.00 this morning so I had plenty of time. I’ll be tired in a couple of hours but I was just fine,” said Archer.
“We were behind the whole time but played pretty good. We made a couple of mistakes but they weren’t easy mistakes. I mishit a break once as did Shane and a couple of safeties were not good but our ball pocketing was good and we hung in there and took advantage.
“Our energy level needs to get up for next match – it’s a tough match v Japan but our team can mix it good with anyone.”
The second match of the evening was a long drawn out affair as Singapore outlasted last year’s finalists Poland in a match that last over 100 minutes.
It was a different team for the Poles as veteran Radoslaw Babica and Tomasz Kaplan took to the arena and they were the seeded favourites against the Singaporean team made up of 17 year-old Aloysius Yapp and seasoned pro Chan Keng Kwang.
However, Singapore who has never yet made an impression in the World Cup of Pool in seven previous visits, kept their opponents at bay and closed out the match with a neat combination.
It was a disappointing result for Poland after coming close in Manila last year but Singapore will be absolutely delighted to make it through to the next round where they will meet either Chinese Taipei or Belgium.
The final match of the evening pitted Canada against India and proceedings got underway with a show-stopping walk on from the Indian pair of Raj Hundal and Amar Kang. Resplendent in long, jewelled coats and backed by some deafening Punjabi drummers, the duo had the huge pro-Indian crowd on their feet.
Despite a comical opening – Hundal fouled on the lag as his cue ball was in front of the head string – they won the opener before Canada – John Morra and ’04 World Champ Alex Pagulayan – took the next. A combo on the 9 made it 3-1 and a miscue from Morra allowed India to make it 4-1, much to the delight of the noisy crowd.
It was a gripping affair though as the Canadian pair silenced the crowd as they caught them up to square it at 4-4. India though, took the next after a Pagulayan miscue allowed them to complete a nervy run out to put themselves on the hill at 6-4.
That soon became 6-5 but India got back to the table in the next with eight balls on the table. Kang was looking a bundle of nerves, always fighting to keep position, while Hundal kept the talk going to keep him steady. With just two balls to go though, Kang missed a straightforward 8 ball to gift the rack to Canada and tie it up at 6-6.
A perfect break from Morra downed two balls and spread the rest out. However, Morra missed the 3 ball to give India a lifeline. They grabbed it with both hands as they cleared to secure a place in the second round.
Said a delighted Hundal, “The atmosphere helped but it can be both a positive and a negative at the same time, because it is a lot of pressure. The guys are shouting, it is late in the evening and they have had a few drinks and are pretty riled up.
“They are showing a lot of love but sometimes it is hard for us to focus and it is a 100 percent mental focus game. I am happy my partner played well under pressure, made some really good shots when it really mattered.
“I know the Holland guys well and I have a great record on them individually. They are a very, very strong team but I will tell you this, nobody in the world wants to draw AK and me.
“It isn’t just the atmosphere we bring but Holland lose to me on head-to-head big time, I have destroyed the top four in that country. When they see me, they are not too keen to see me. They don’t really want me.”
Kang, “My hands got a bit sticky but I have to take full responsibility, I dogged it. I didn’t hit it with authority, I kind of babied it in but I need to practice a little bit more and I will be ready for Friday. Every shot in this tournament feels brutal. You have to work hard and get through it.”
The 2013 888.com World Cup of Pool runs from Tuesday September 17 to Sunday, September 22 at the famous York Hall in Bethnal Green, East London. The field features 32 teams from 31 countries in a single elimination format. The total prize fund is US$250,000 with $60,000 going to the eventual champions.
Play continues tomorrow afternoon with three more first round matches:
Chinese Taipei v Belgium
Greece v Australia
Italy v Spain
For live streaming of the 888.com World Cup of Pool go to http://www.pool.livesport.tv/home
The 2013 World Cup of Pool runs from 17 – 22 September and takes place at the York Hall, London. For those wanting to watch the action in person, all tickets are available from www.seetickets.com (Search ‘World Cup of Pool’)
The 2013 World Cup of Pool is delighted to work with our valued suppliers – Official Table – Diamond; Official Cloth: Iwan Simonis; Official Balls: Super Aramith; Official Cue: Predator.
Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport: email@example.com
Notes: Matchroom Sport are one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and are responsible for over 1,000 hours of original programming across a range of sports. Based in the UK and chaired by charismatic founder Barry Hearn, World Cup of Pool is one of a stable of pool events that include the World Pool Masters and the Mosconi Cup.