Smiling Crosby Upsets Reyes in Thriller

Tony Crosby shoots while Efren Reyes looks on

Florida based former Englishman Tony Crosby caused a huge shock on the opening day of the 2006 Philippines World Pool Championship as he edged out national hero Efren Reyes in an 8-7 thriller at the PICC in Manila.

In front of a highly enthusiastic 600-strong crowd, both players had chances to win it before Reyes missed a simple 9-ball to effectively hand the match to Crosby.

“I was so happy when I drew Efren as I've never played him before and always wanted to play him,” said Crosby.

“Win or lose I'd have been happy to have been there. But before the match I thought I'd win as I'd been playing well and I know I can beat anyone. I'd beaten Strickland, Hohmann, Sambajon so I knew I could mix it with the best.”

It was all Crosby for the majority of the match as 32 year-old Crosby built up a handy 7-4 lead against an off-form ‘Bata'.

At 7-4 down Reyes missed a simple black into the bottom left pocket leaving Crosby the 8 and 9 for a big upset. The American though missed a tight cut into the middle pocket and Reyes wrapped up the rack to take it to 5-7.

Crosby though, pulled off a top drawer shot in the next to clip the 1-ball in rail first and he then tied up Reyes in a tight snooker. Reyes escaped and Crosby lost the initiative as he left himself a hard shot on the blue 2. From there, the Filipino legend cleared to reduce the deficit to a single rack.

Reyes broke and ran the next to take the match to hill-hill but there was more drama in the final rack as nerves got the better of Crosby. He missed an orange 5 ball by inches and that left centre stage for Reyes to run out for victory in front of his adoring faithful but he missed the case 9-ball as the capacity crowd gasped in unison.

The 9-ball trundled toward the centre pocket leaving Tony Crosby the simplest of shots for the shock of the tournament so far.

He added: “I played good at the start but at 7-4 up I missed that 8 ball. Normally I make that but with the TV lights the cloth was a little slicker. I then missed that 4 ball by miles but that was nerves and pressure, said Crosby afterwards.

“When Efren was running out to win I felt a little embarrassed as I played a good match and only made a couple of bad shots. The people behind me were saying ‘well done, unlucky' and to be honest I was thinking the same thing!

“When he missed the 9 though I was just praying that it was going to be easy and it turned out it was. This is by far the best place I've ever played a tournament and the excitement here is incredible. The crowd was so happy that I couldn't help but laugh and joke with everyone.

“This has helped my chances a lot. Playing Efren first match has helped me a lot because you want to play the best player in the opener so you know where you stand. My chances of reaching the knockout stages have been given a huge boost.”

Reyes believed opposing players always raised their game when playing him. He said: “I lost some confidence after my opponent was able to make some tough shots. He got me at the beginning and the important thing is to win the lag. I still had a chance to win it in the last match but didn't take it.

“I have to play better in the next two games if I want to go to the next round. Opponents always play best when they play against me so I have to be so careful.”

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