Spain, USA and Germany Advance At World Cup

Rodney Morris and Earl Strickland

In another day of exciting play at the World of Pool, Spain the USA and Germany ran out winners to cement their respective berths in the second round of the tournament at the Newport Centre, South Wales.

The Spanish teaming of David Alcaide and Rafael Guzman enjoyed a sweet victory over Team England as they nudged out Raj Hundal and Ronnie O'Sullivan in a classic 9-8 thriller.

In front of a busy house, the two teams entered the arena with most of the support being in favour of the English. They got off to the worst possible start though as they found themselves 4-0 down to Spain within 20 minutes.

A series of errors assisted Spain's progress but England stopped the rot in the fifth rack as Hundal and O'Sullivan put their dire start behind them to run the rack out from the break.

Spain maintained a lead throughout until the English managed to pull it back to 7-7. Spain looked set to get to the hill as O'Sullivan scratched on the break and they ran the table before Guzman missed a relatively simple 9 ball to leave it on for Hundal who took the chance to put his team into the lead for the first time.

Spain took the next to give us the second hill-hill match of the day but it was Hundal who made the critical error as he ran out of position with just three balls left to leave O'Sullivan in a snooker. He fouled escaping and with ball in hand the Spanish duo of Guzman and Alcaide cleared to take an exciting match 9-8.

Afterwards a delighted Guzman, a 37 year-old lawyer from Malaga said, "I enjoyed it a lot but I was very nervous.

"I played good but missed a few easy balls. The crowd was good for the English team but they were fair.

"I knew it was going to be tough against two big players like that but I was confident in myself and my partner."

In the second match of the evening, Team USA had a fight on their hands as they trailed to a lively looking Singapore side consisting of relative unknowns Chan Keng-kwang and Toh Lian-han.

However, Earl Strickland and Rodney Morris came on strong in the second part of the game and looked good running out 9-6 winners.

In the final match of the evening session the German team of Thomas Engert and Oliver Ortmann made light work of home hopes as they demolished Wales 9-2.

In all fairness to Ben Davies and Rob McKenna they didn't enjoy the best of luck in the early stages but the Germans finishing was clinical as they moved the cue ball around the table with dexterity.

Germany took the opener as they broke and ran out the first rack with ease and there was further woe for Wales in the second as McKenna unluckily scratched on the break as the white was kicked into the middle pocket. With ball in hand Germany advanced to a two rack lead.

The Germans looked comfortable in breaking and running the next before Davies nearly made a golden break in the fourth. There was nothing much available for the Welsh and an error handed the onus back to Germany.

Ortmann and Engert pulled away with an elementary 7/9 combination to leave the Welsh in deep trouble at 4-0 down.

It was strictly one way traffic now as the Germans took the next two racks to go into what looked like an unassailable 6-0 lead.

A weak attempt on the 1 ball by Engert failed to drop but Davies was forced to jump. He managed to fluke the yellow up table into the corner pocket and from that position the Welsh dragons cleared the table to get their name on the scoreboard.

Wales had a great chance to take the next but Davies left McKenna in trouble after potting the 7 ball. He left the white tucked right up against the 9 ball and with awkward bridging, McKenna missed the slow rolled 8 ball to give the rack to Germany.

Germany took the next from the break to go to 8-1 but there was some fight left in the Welsh as at last, McKenna avoided the bad luck on his break and he and Davies ran out in their quest for respectability.

That was to be it for the Welsh though as the Germans wrapped up the final rack to run out 9-2 winners.

First Round
Canada 9 - 5 Thailand
Malaysia 9 - 3 Qatar
Czech Republic 9 - 6 Poland
Philippines 9 - 0 Malta
Taiwan 9 - 6 India
England 'B' 9 - 6 Korea
Russia 9 - 3 Hungary
Hong Kong 9 - 8 Sweden
Japan 9 - 0 Indonesia (Walkover)
Spain 9 - 8 England A
USA 9 - 6 Singapore
Germany 9 - 2 Wales