World Cup of Pool – England Overturns Poles in Thriller

Daryl Peach

TEAM ENGLAND produced a marvelous fight back to make their way into the last 16 of the 2007 World Cup of Pool.

Poland had led 3-0, 5-2 and 6-3 but the English duo of Imran Majid and Daryl Peach then won five consecutive racks to clinch an 8-6 win at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam.

They will now meet the Finnish side of former World Champion Mika Immonen and his team-mate Markus Juva in the next round, in a match that will take place on Friday evening.

In an earlier first round match, the Swiss team of Marco Tschudi and Dimitri Jungo got the better of the Hungarians in a lackluster affair.

England had been hotly tipped to progress past the first round stage and were expected to be too strong for the Polish pairing of Mateusz Sniegocki and Radoslaw Babica.

The English just edged the lag but the Poles took the opener when Majid left the 1 ball out in the open following a positional error

With no clear shot at the start of the second, Poland opted to push out and, after a lengthy safety battle, Sniegocki left Majid a table-length attempt at the 1-ball into the bottom right pocket, which he gratefully took.

However, Peach missed a straight forward 8-ball as it rattled around in the jaws of the bottom left pocket but would not drop before Poland made it 2-0.

The Poles then ran out from the break in the third for 3-0 to give England an uphill task. There was controversy in the fourth as, during a high-class safety exchange, referee Michaela Tabb had to speak to Sniegocki as Majid thought he was being sharked when he was down at a shot and facing two Polish players were sitting.

But England had the last laugh in the rack as they finally put one on the scoreboard, although they still trailed 1-3. They reduced the deficit further by taken the next as well for two in a row after losing the first three.

The fight back came to an abrupt halt though as England ran out of position in the sixth and Babica downed the 9-ball to restore the two-rack advantage for the Polish outfit.

Things got worse for the English as the Poles, who were striking the cue ball with authority, produced a flawless effort and were never in any trouble in the seventh to claim the rack and stretch their lead to three at 5-2.

Just when things were looking desperate for Majid and Peach, they were thrown a tournament lifeline as Sniegocki scratched off the break and the two British players did the rest to bring it back to 3-5.

The game changed again in the next as Peach was trying to play safe but made an unforced error when he clipped the 9-ball instead of the 1-ball, which was just behind. This proved costly as, with ball-in-hand, Sniegocki made a 1-9 combination and England, at 3-6 down, were in trouble.

But Majid then produced a 1-9 combination of his own to quickly pull one back for 4-6. England ran out the next from the break and were showing a good fighting spirit as the scoreboard now showed 5-6.

A high-risk move from Babica went spectacularly wrong to help England win their third rack in a row. Babica needed to hit the 2-ball and tried to jump over both the red 3 and brown 7 but crashed into the latter.

England soon clinched their fourth in a row to move to the hill as Majid, who had earlier been unsuccessful with a 2-9 carom, made an 8-9 combination with Poland praying for another chance.

They did not get it as the English pair made it five in a row to complete a fabulous turnaround and book a meeting against Finland in the last 16.

FINLAND advanced into the last 16 of the World Cup of Pool but it was tougher than expected against a brave Qatar side.

Trailing 4-0, a whitewash looked on the cards as Finland stamped their authority on the encounter but Qatar then won five of the next six.

But Finland did enough to set up a tie with either England or Poland in the next round on Friday evening.

Qatar were one of the rank outsiders but buoyed by the fact there had been a number of shocks so far in the 2007 World Cup of Pool.

Their side of Bashar Hussain and Fahad Mohammadi would have needed to be at their best to defeat the Finnish outfit of former World Champion Mika Immonen and Markus Juva.

However, despite going down 8-5, the boys from the Middle East showed they may well become a force to be reckoned with in the future.

IN THE FIRST match of the afternoon session, Switzerland moved into round two after they recorded a hard-fought triumph against Hungary.

The quality of pool was not the best but the Swiss pairing of Dimitri Jungo and Marco Tschudi did enought to grind out an 8-5 win over the Hungarian duo of Miko Balazs and Vilmos Foldes.

But with a potential match up against America in the second round, Switzerland will have to seriously raise their game if they are to make any further progress.

The two sides made early mistakes with Foldes and Tschudi, both highly-rated players on the Euro Tour, making surprising gaffes.

The match hung in the balance at 5-5 but Switzerland finally stamped their authority on the match by taking the next two, including a 2-9 combination from Tschudi in the 12th.

Switzerland completed the job in the next as Jungo showed his talent by banking the 1-ball and later downing the 9-ball for an 8-5 win.

Switzerland 8 - 5 Hungary
Finland 8 - 5 Qatar
England 8 - 6 Poland