Dutch and Finns through to last four

Team Finland

Quarter Finals

Finland 9-3 England B
Holland 9-8 Japan
HOLLAND AND FINLAND both made their way through to Sunday’s semi-finals of the 2013 888.com World Cup of Pool with wins over England B and Japan respectively and they will now face each other in the first semi-final on Sunday afternoon.
The Dutch had to grind it out against Japan in a hill-hill thriller with both teams struggling at times, while the Finnish pair of Mika Immonen and Petri Makkonen looked in good shape against England B as their title defence continues.
In the second match of the session, Japan and Holland both teams shared the opening racks as they tried not to give anything away with so much at stake. The Dutch pair of Nick Van Den Berg and Niels Feijen could not get away from their high-spirited opponents - Lo Li-wen and Naoyuki Oi – and after six racks it was all square at 3-3.
It went 4-4 but the Dutch edged ahead 5-4 before Feijen unleashed the best break of the match as he downed two balls and left a nice open table. They made no mistakes to give themselves a two rack lead and when Van Den Berg delivered another clinical break shot, the signs looked good for the Dutch.
Feijen though missed the 6 ball unexpectedly and instead of 7-4 it went to 6-5 with the Japanese breaking. The Dutch got back in again and Van den Berg left the 2 ball out while attempting to lock the cue ball up behind the 3.
Another decent break from Niels Feijen gave them every chance but Van den Berg missed a fairly straightforward 2 ball as nerves began to creep in. Oi though missed almost the same shot to let the Dutch right off the hook and they made a tough run out to go to the hill at 8-5.
The Japanese though took the next three though to take the match to a deciding rack. Lo’s break though, saw the 6 ball come to rest between the cue ball and the blue 2 so they were forced to push out and a safety battle ensued.
Feijen played what was the match-winning safety as he left the cue ball tight on the rail behind the 3 ball with the 2 down table. Oi’s only option was the deliberate foul which gave ball in hand away. Van den Berg, however, could see a difficult 2/9 glory combo into the side pocket and he took it on superbly for the victory.
FINLAND BECAME the first team through to the semi-finals of the 888.com World Cup of Pool as they beat the England B team of Chris Melling and Daryl Peach 9-4 to keep alive their hopes of becoming the first team in the history of the event to retain the title.
Finland got off to a great start as they ran the opener after a dry break from England and that was followed by two more fruitless break shots as they shared the next two.
In the fourth Peach tried a tricky 3/9 carom with both balls locked on the rail and he left the 9 hanging by a thread. Makkonen had a weak effort at putting it away before Melling potted the 3 ball and Peach had a go, narrowly missing, before Immonen finally succeeded to put his side 3-1 to the good.
That soon became 4-1 as the defending champions looked at ease but a dry break from Makkonen got the English pair back to the table. After some safes the English scratched with a jump shot and their woe increased as Finland cleared the table for 5-1 which soon became 6-1.
England though got to the table in the next and sensing that they weren’t going to get too many more chances, confidently went through the balls to reduce the deficit. They broke and ran the next to move the score to 3-6 but the Finns won the tenth game as Peach scratched off the break.
They moved to the hill and 8-3 looked to be a gulf to wide to bridge. The English though got to the table and won the next but they had zero margin for error now.
Peach pushed out and left a tough shot on the 2 ball which the Finns handed back. The 2007 World Champion kicked out and pocketed the 2 but Melling’s effort at a safe on the 3 left it out for Immonen who cut it into the bottom right bag.
The Finns concluded a comprehensive 9-4 victory and keep themselves on schedule for an 888.com World Cup of Pool repeat.
Immonen was pleased with the overall, “We had some tough shots and our overall pocketing was wonky. We tried to figure out the break, we struggled a little bit at the start but towards the end we got to grips with it and our confidence was high.
“We managed our problems well and both played well. We are proud to beat Team England because they played so phenomenally in their last match,” he added.
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 this evening with the second two quarter finals:
Hungary v Philippines
Chinese Taipei v England A
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’)