Holland B Ousts Early Favorite Taiwan

The surprising Holland B team

HOLLAND B, a team made up of 19 year-old Roy Gerards and Gijs van Helmond, produced a stunning upset as they held their nerve to deposit heavy favourites Taiwan out of the competition.
The duo had won a qualification tournament in Rotterdam three weeks ago, beating Rico Diks and Alex Lely in the final match.
However, they were given little hope, against a Taiwanese team consisting of recent World Tenball finalist Chia-Ching Wu and fellow countryman Hung-hsiang Wang.
They overturned the formbook in an inspired display at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam, aided and abetted by some glaring errors from the Taiwanese.
Gerards sunk the winning 9-ball and both players were immediately congratulated by a large number of family and friends who were cheering them on.
Following the dismissal of Holland A (Niels Feijen and Nick Van Den Berg) against Belgian duo of Noel Bruynooghe and Serge Das, the home fans can now pin their hopes on van Helmond and Gerards.
Holland made a dream start by taking the lead, before each of the next three was won by a different side to take the scoreline to 2-2.
The first golden break of the match was made by Wang as the red three thumped into the 9-ball and sent it careering into the bottom left pocket.
Taiwan extended their lead to 4-2 but a bad miss from Wu on the orange 5 gave the Dutch a chance, which they exploited for 3-4.
Holland were not showing any signs of nerves in what was without doubt the biggest match in either players' life.
The Asians were not performing at anything near their best and a miss by Wu was later followed by a poor shot from Wang where he failed to pot the 5-ball with an attempted thin cut.
That left the ball out in the open and it became 5-4. Holland ran out the next and now had an unlikely 6-4 advantage.
Gerards tried to pot the 5 ball into a blind pocket in the 11th rack but Wang missed a simple-looking 6-ball and this mistake was punished for 7-4.
Holland nearly snatched the victory as the break shot in the 12th saw the 9-ball head towards the side pocket but just stayed on the table. That chance had gone and Taiwan kept the match alive by winning the rack.
An optimistic bank shot on the 1-ball by van Helmond failed and Taiwan should have won the rack but Wang missed the 2-9 combination.
Holland were now only a few balls away from a magical victory and they held their nerve to celebrate a memorable win. The Dutch destroyers will now meet either Australia or Japan in the last 16.
GERMANY, one of the heavy pre-tournament favourites, advanced to the second round of the 2008 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool but not before billiard minnows Qatar gave them a scare.

The Middle Eastern duo Bashar Hussain and Fahad Mohammadi had lead 3-2 before fading away as they made too many mistakes against the German thoroughbreds of Ralf Souquet and Thomas Engert.

Germany took the opener courtesy of a perfectly executed 3/9 combination and they took the next to go 2-0. A bad miss from Souquet though, as he forced the shot to make an angle, let the Qataris back in.
Despite having a tough long pot on the 9 ball, Mohammedi took it to get back to 1-2. A dry break was next though and the 1 ball was on for the Germans. Qatar though, got back to the table and looked fairly confident running it out.
Qatar then took a scrappy fifth rack to move into an unlikely 3-2 lead, before the Germans took the next and then ran through the table to regain control of the match 4-3.
Souquet ducked a 2/9 combo in the next and instead tucked his opponents up in a very tight snooker. The Germans got the better of the exchanges but Souquet missed the 9 ball when he got a bad kick.
Qatar though missed themselves and Engert converted to go to 5-3. Souquet scratched in the closing stages of the next rack but with ball in hand the Qataris nearly fouled it up on the 7 ball but fluked it into the top pocket. Their luck ran out on the black 8 though as Mohammedi scratched unnecessarily to hand the rack to Germany.
The Germans took the next to get to the hill and when Basher Hussein failed to make contact with the object ball, trying to escape from a snooker, the writing was on the wall.
With ball in hand, Germany ran out to take the match 8-3.

THE SECOND match of the evening was another David and Goliath affair and once again David came up short as this time the USA started their World Cup campaign with an 8-4 victory over Iceland.

But it was a brave effort from the Europeans, who had been written off as having no chance of winning before the start.

The unfancied duo of Bjorgvin Halgrimsson and Kristjan Helgason faced what appeared to be a near-impossible task against Rodney Morris and Shane Van Boening, both US Open champions.

Both the Icelandic players had come from a snooker background but had limited experience in top level 9-ball pool or playing in front of the television cameras.

The match went to plan in the early phases as USA cruised into a 3-0 lead. However, a number of missed shots gave Iceland chances and they moved the score to 3-3.

In the opening rack, Halgrimmson became the first player to commit a time foul as the 40-second time limit expired before he played a shot which gifted the table to the Americans.

USA ran out the second and a missed pink 4 from Iceland led to the scoreboard showing 3-0.

But Van Boening missed a tough three into a blind pocket in the next and Iceland claimed their first rack. After USA failed to escape from a snooker in the fifth, Iceland were given ball-in-hand and a 1-9 combination made it 3-2.

Two failed attempts to down the blue 2 from Morris helped bring the score level but USA soon regained their momentum by claiming the next two racks for 5-3.

Both sides shared one of the next two racks for 6-4 but Iceland should have won the 11th.

Halgrimsson needed to jump the 9-ball to pot the 7-ball but he missed and got very lucky as the brown seven ended up tight behind the 9-ball.

Van Boening left the brown seven on, which Iceland dropped but then they messed it up with two balls remaining and America moved to the hill.

USA came up with a dry break in the next and, after a lengthy safety exchange, Helgason finally had a chance to win the rack. But his missed 9 left a long shot for Van Boening to win the match and he did for an 8-4 triumph.