World Pool League Underway

Radoslaw Babica breaks while Ralf Souquet looks on

The 2006 got underway this afternoon at the historic NOT Building in Central Warsaw with three matches featuring some of pool's biggest stars from around the world.

The opening match saw Germany's Ralf Souquet and local man Radoslaw Babica share the points in a high quality encounter that eclipsed the other two games.

Despite the weather outside resembling a summer day, there was a packed crowd in the arena for what was a display of fine break and run pool.

With a $50,000 prize fund on offer, including a $20,000 top prize, there was everything to play for in this unique round robin event.

Souquet who has had an excellent season, won the lag and ran out from the break to take the opener in the best of ten alternate break format.

Babica responded in kind, overcoming a touch of nerves in front of an expectant home crowd at the NOT Building in central Warsaw.

There was more of the same from the German in the third as he confidently cleared from the break-off.

Babica had no available pot on the 1 ball in the next and was forced to play safe. He left the one on for Souquet who missed the long pot trying to gain position.

A safety battle ensued before Souquet fouled on the shot clock giving Babica ball in hand. The young Pole ran out to level things at 2-2.

Souquet edged his way in front in the next, once again running out from the break. It was Babica who did the same in the sixth rack, seemingly having overcome his nerves.

A perfect break from Souquet in the next saw two balls drop and an open table ahead of him. From there he completed an elementary run out to go 4-3 ahead.

An excellent run out from the Pole levelled it as the match reached its critical juncture.

Souquet was forced to play safe from the break in the next and tucked his opponent up in a tight safety. Babica's attempt to jump out of it saw the cue ball fly off the table onto the floor. With ball-in-hand Souquet completed the run out to earn at least a point.

Under pressure, needing to take the final rack for a point, Babica delivered a tremendous break to give himself every chance of running out. He took the opportunity as he levelled the match to take a share of the points at 5-5.

"Babica's run outs were tougher but I couldn't capitalise on his mistakes," said Souquet after the match.

"The draw was a fair result but I had my chances to win but couldn't take it," he added.

The second match of the afternoon between defending champion Thorsten Hohmann and Niels Feijen was an error-strewn affair with both players making inexplicable misses on relatively elementary shots.

In the end it was Feijen who took the two points, making fewer errors and taking full advantage of his opponent's mistakes.

The Dutchman took the first as he ran out from the break before Hohmann missed an easy 3 ball into the side pocket in the next. Feijen though, then did the same, this time into the top right bag. This set the pattern for the match.

Finally it was Niel's who cleared the balls to win the first rack against the break of the tournament.

Hohmann took the third game before Feijen increased his lead, assisted by a timely fluke on the 2 ball. Trying to escape from a snooker, the Dutchman came off one rail and made contact with the blue 2 and saw it spin down table and deposit itself in the corner pocket.

Feijen made another error in the next as he overcooked the 1 ball and left it hanging for Hohmann who took full advantage to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

There was woe for Hohmann in the sixth as he snookered himself going from the 2 ball to the 3 and was forced to play safe. Feijen got the better of the safety battle and cleared the table to go into a 4-2 lead.

Hohmann took the next as Feijen misjudged a pot on the 2 ball as it clipped the pink 5 on its way through.

Feijen claimed at least a point as he took the eighth rack and sealed the win as he cashed in on more Hohmann errors.

The Dutchman took the tenth game to take both points in a match that both players will want to forget.

In the final match of the afternoon, the Philippines Dennis Orcollo took both points against Chang Pei-wei ijn a match where neither player asserted themselves.

Both players shared the opening two racks against the break before Orcollo 'held serve' in the third to take the lead,

A golden break from Chang followed in the next, as the 9 ball got bumped in by the brown 7 to tie it up at 2-2.

Orcollo ran the shot clock right to its limit in the next while contemplating his options on the 2 ball. In the end he shot just before it expired and left Chang snookered. The Taiwanese escaped and looked to have gained the advantage in the safety exchange before he drew back and scratched to appear to gift the rack to the Filipino.

Orcollo though, missed a straight black 8 to return the favour to Chang who gratefully deposited the 8 and 9 to take a 3 -2 lead. Orcollo then took the next to level it and grabbed the seventh to move into the lead.

A glaring error from Chang as he missed the pink 5 ball down the rail, allowed Orcollo to steal the rack and give himself at least a point.

Another miss from Chang - the 1 ball into middle pocket - gave Orcollo another chance but he missed a simple cut into the same pocket.

Neither of them wanted to run out as they both had further attempts on the 1 ball, making it five misses in a row.

Chang then missed it again to make it six before Orcollo played safe but left it on for the Taiwanese who developed the table before missing the six ball.

The errors continued - Orcollo snookered himself and the Chang once again missed. Finally it was the Filipino who put the crowd out of their misery, potting the 8 and 9 to take both points.

Ralf Souquet 5 - 5 Radoslaw Babica
Niels Feijen 6 - 4 Thorsten Hohmann
Dennis Orcollo 6 - 4 Chang Pei-wei

Play continues this evening with three more matches.

Fri Sep 29 7.30 pm
Niels Fiejen v Radoslaw Babica
Thorsten Hohmann v Dennis Orcollo
Ralf Souquet v Chang Pei-wei