Ireland Slump to Shock Defeat in Snooker World Cup

Republic of Ireland suffered a shock defeat against Pakistan on the opening day of the 2011 PTT-EGAT Snooker World Cup.

The two-man Irish team, consisting of Fergal O'Brien and former World Champion Ken Doherty, slumped to a 3-2 loss against Pakistan at the Bangkok Convention Centre in Thailand.

This is the first staging of the World Cup since 1996 when O'Brien and Doherty were in the Irish side that lost to Scotland 10-7 in the final, although each team had three members then.

“We're very disappointed to lose but it's amazing that we both made a century break each but lost the match 3-2,” said Doherty, who made 111 in frame one, while O'Brien made 101 in frame five.

“There will be a lot of shocks and surprises and it's very hard to get into rhythm, especially with the doubles match.

“It's a disappointing start but every frame counts so that's a good thing so if we beat Germany or Egypt 4-1 or 5-0 then we're right back in it.

“Pakistan and India always have good cueists and they have a tradition of producing good players over the years.

“They will be a test for any of the other teams in our group so it won't be as straight forward as it looks.

Doherty beat Muhammad Sajjad in the first singles match and O'Brien did the same in the last singles match but two wins for Sahid Aftab and success in the doubles clash gave Pakistan victory.

“It's fantastic to be back in Thailand,” added O'Brien. “We never thought that it would take 15 years after 1996 for the next event.

“But hopefully it will be every two years from now on. The hotel is fantastic and the Thai people love their snooker and it shows how strong the game is worldwide.”

Hong Kong became the second seeded team to lose as they fell to a 3-2 defeat against a Polish side that included 15-year-old Kacper Filipiak.

He beat former Grand Prix winner Marco Fu in their singles match and Fu believes Filipiak, the current Under 21 European Champion, has a great future in the sport.

"It's good to see someone so young and he comes from Poland so it's nice to see the game develop across Europe and across the world,” said Fu.

"It's really good for the game and hopefully we will see more talent coming through from different parts of the world.”

The Thailand second team of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh and Passakorn Sunwannawat made a winning start as they defeated Afghanistan 3-2 with Un-Nooh beating Mohammad Saleh in the decisive singles match.

Un-Nooh also won his earlier singles encounter against Mohammad Rais, while Thailand triumphed in the doubles match.

Sunwannawat said: “We're not yet at our target of performance and we wanted to win 4-1. But today was really good as it's only a short game and we needed to make a good start.”

In the other match of the afternoon session, Brazil's pairing of Fabio Luersen and Noel Rodrigues won 3-2 against Belgium's Luca Brecel and Bjorn Haneveer.

Group A – Pakistan 3-2 Republic of Ireland
Group C – Brazil 3-2 Belgium
Group D – Thailand 2 3-2 Afghanistan, Poland 3-2 Hong Kong