2014 Betway World Cup of Pool
Germany by a whisker as China and England A coast
Germany 7-6 Canada
England A 7-1 Greece
China 7-0 England B
England A set up a quarter-final clash with old rivals USA by dispatching Greece 7-1 on an evening which also saw China give England B no chances in a 7-0 win. Earlier Canada had gifted Germany victory as the final round two fixtures played out at the Betway World Cup of Pool at the Mountbatten Centre in Portsmouth.
Before the tournament Karl Boyes said he would love the chance to ‘shut Earl Strickland up’, after the pair had a fiery Mosconi Cup singles match in Las Vegas last year. Boyes and his team-mate Darren Appleton booked their match against USA with a confident 7-1 victory over Greece.
Nikos Ekonomopoulos and Alexander Kazakis were sloppy early on but as England A gained momentum the only further chance Greece were allowed came in the sixth rack when Appleton scratched. They took the chance to make the score 5-1 but Kazakis’ subsequent illegal break handed control back to England A, who pounced to reach the hill and then take the match in the following rack.
“We are looking forward to the match with USA now,” said Appleton. “It was in the back of our minds but we weren’t going to look past Greece because they are a great team.
“They didn’t play at their best tonight and we were solid. We broke better tonight and just need to get a better feel of the table now.
“We are here to try and win the tournament and we knew if we beat Greece we would play America. The Ryder Cup is on right now and we really wanted that match. We look forward to beating them tomorrow.”
Boyes added: “They had a couple of chances at the start of the match but the table caught them out. Darren has adapted brilliantly and played two good matches, he was flawless tonight.
“We didn’t break too well in the first match but we have put a lot of hours in since then and figured something out.”
As host nation England are entitled to two teams in the tournament but England B were relegated to near-spectators in their clash with China.
Wang Can and Dang Jinhu were clinical and Chris Melling and Daryl Peach were left frustrated in the wings as their opponents didn’t miss a shot, running out 7-0 winners to earn a quarter-final with Austria.
“We played very well tonight and are very pleased with the result,” commented Can. “With the winner breaks format it means if you play well your opponent sometimes won’t get many chances and that happened tonight.
“We play Austria next and they will be tough opponents. Everybody in the tournament now could win it so we will have to maintain our level and find ways to improve to get past Austria.”
Germany was on the receiving end of a gift from Canada as they booked their place in the quarter-finals and a mouth-watering clash with Holland.
Ralf Souquet and Thorsten Hohmann, winners for Germany in 2011, took a commanding 5-2 lead but when they fouled three times Canada (Alex Pagulayan and John Morra) were awarded rack eight. A break and run closed the deficit to 5-4 and Pagulayan then levelled the scores with a smart 2/9.
Canada moved ahead after Souquet got an attempted 6/8 wrong and looked set to see out the match until Morra missed what looked to be a simple eight ball. The crowd was left stunned but Germany stepped up to finish the job Canada couldn’t and made it hill-hill.
Morra’s error proved the last shot of Canada’s tournament as Germany saw out the deciding rack with a break and run.
“When you are 6-5 down, the opponents are shooting and easy eight ball and the nine wasn’t that hard you think it is over,” said Souquet. “I wasn’t even looking anymore.
“We know Holland well, they are good players and a good team and we have played them many times before.”
Hohmann added: “The ingredients to win a match and the tournament are you need a good break shot, you need shots after the break, you cannot miss easy balls and then you always need a bit of luck. We got that tonight.”
Now in its ninth year, the Betway World Cup of Pool features 32 two-player teams from around the world battling it out for a $250,000 prize fund. The defending champions are the Philippines who will be among the favourites to claim a record-breaking fourth World Cup.
Tomorrow’s quarter-final line-up
China v Austria
Philippines v Finland
Holland v Germany
England A v USA
All tickets are priced at £5 (afternoons) and £10 evenings and are available from the venue or www.seetickets.com
Diamond Billiards are the Official Table of the 2014 World Cup of Pool; the Official Cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith. Predator is the Official Cue of the event.
Luke Riches, Matchroom Sport: email@example.com
Notes: Matchroom Sport are one of the world’s leading producers of televised sport and are responsible for over 1,000 hours of original programming across a range of sports. Based in the UK and chaired by charismatic founder Barry Hearn, the World Cup of Pool is one of a stable of pool events that include the World Pool Masters and the Mosconi Cup.