Morris Takes League Title

Rodney Morris

32 year-old Hawaiian Rodney Morris cemented a terrific weekend in Warsaw as he took the 2003 World Pool League title with an exciting 8 - 3 win over World Champion Thorsten Hohmann.

Morris becomes the second American to win the title after inaugural champion Jim Rempe and it was a highly popular win with the capacity crowd at the SGGW Building in the heart of Warsaw.

Hohmann, who looked superb in edging out Efren Reyes in the semi-final, could never quite get his break going as Morris stole the racks with some quality safety and brave potting under pressure.

The man from Honolulu was naturally delighted with his triumph; "I've had a wonderful weekend and the fans here are great! The balls ran in my favour for sure, but you can't win unless they do that. I haven't won anything in a couple of years so this has got a big monkey off my back!"

In the race-to-eight alternate break format, Morris got off to the ideal start as he took the first four open up a commanding lead.

Hohmann finally fired home a quality break shot and ran out to narrow the deficit. A safety exchange in the next ultimately saw Morris scratch and with ball in hand, Hohmann got it back to 4 - 2.

He took the next too with some fine work but Morris stopped the rot in the eight rack when he played the shot of the match following a protracted safety battle.

A table length bank on the 8 ball leaving the cue ball in perfect position for the 9 lying tight on the opposite rail had the sell-out crowd roaring in appreciation.

At 5 - 3 down things we looking ominous for the Fulda-based Hohmann and it got worse in the next when a tremendous snooker from Morris forced the German to miss the orange 5 and another ball in hand was gratefully accepted.

Just when he needed it, Morris broke and ran to get to the hill. Hohmann had one last chance to save things in the 11th rack when Morris ran out of position on the pink 5 and missed the pot.

Hohmann cleared to the 9 ball but ran horribly out of position. He failed to make the bank shot into the middle pocket leaving Morris with a table length straight pot for the money and the glory.

Morris received a cheque for $15,000 for his efforts as well as a superb crystal trophy. Hohmann took home $10,000.

Earlier, in a very high quality match-up, World Champion Thorsten Hohmann ended Efren Reyes' two year grip on the World Pool League title by an 8 - 5 margin in a match that hinged on a couple of small errors.

Both players were on form and of the thirteen completed racks, ten involved one or other of the players clearing all balls on the table after the break shot.

Hohmann won the first against the break as Reyes scratched as he missed the 1 ball, but the Filipino master made amends in the second as Hohmann came up dry on the break.

The next six racks went to break and runs as both players got to grips with the conditions and gave the capacity crowd an exhibition of skill.

Hohmann got the break he was looking for in the ninth as Reyes failed to make a ball which allowed the German to run out for a 5 - 4 lead.

Hohmann, though, lost the initiative as a long cut on the 2 ball left it defying gravity in the jaws of the pocket. Reyes then cleared to get back on level terms.

It was to be his last success as a poor safety that saw the 2 ball collide with the 9, allowed the World Champion to get to a very tough looking table and clear up.

Hohmann took the next after a terrific break shot and Pinoy hopes were dashed in the last, when after a terrific safety exchange, Hohmann put Reyes into an impossible snooker and from the resulting ball in hand, the German ran the table out to book a place in the final.

In the second semi-final Hawaii's 'Rocket' Rodney Morris fired home a repeat win over Hui-kai Hsia to book himself a place in the final against Hohmann.

In contrast to Hohmann and Reyes' flowing play, it was a nervous encounter as both players made plenty of errors but it was Morris who edged it with a terrific run out including a combination and cluster break up.

The players shared the opening racks against the break as initially Hsia scratched on the break and then Morris missed a pot.

The next two went to break and runs before Morris took the next three as Hsia gave him three heaven sent opportunities with missed pots.

A 3 / 9 combo early on in the next increased the American's lead as the situation looked increasingly difficult for Hsia at 6 - 2 down.

An attack of the jitters by Morris, though, let Hsia back in as he took the next three racks including a spectacular carom off the 2 ball following a table length bank shot.

Some poor safety by both players followed in then twelfth rack but when Hsia missed a lengthy cut on the pink 5, Morris grabbed it with both hands to get to the hill.

Hsia took the next to give himself a glimmer of hope, but Morris clinched it in the 14th rack as he broke and ran an exceedingly difficult looking table.

Final Standings
1st Rodney Morris (USA) $15,000
2nd Thorsten Hohmann (Ger) $10,000
3rd Efren Reyes (Phi), Hui-kai Hsia (TPE) $8000
5th Tony Drago (Mal) $5,000
6th Oliver Ortmann (Ger) $4,000