Philippines 7-3 Great Britain B
Finland 1-7 Netherlands
Slovakia 7-6 Czech Republic
Netherlands fired a warning shot to the rest of the field as they stormed into the quarter-finals of the World Cup of Pool with a near-perfect 7-1 victory over an out-of-sorts Finland.
Slovakia are also through to the last eight having beaten Czech Republic in the tournament’s first hill-hill match, while Great Britain B’s Allison and Kelly Fisher crashed out 7-3 in round one to the Filipino pairing of Jeff De Luna and Roberto Gomez.
Niels Feijen has twice been a World Cup runner up, in 2013 and 2014, both playing alongside Nick van den Berg. Marc Bijsterbosch stepped up in 2017 after Van den Berg retired, and their 7-1 drilling of Petri Makkonen and Casper Matikainen was probably the best performance the new Dutch duo have put in together.
Finland, and particularly their rookie Matikainen, struggled at the table but in contrast the Netherlands were near faultless in booking their place in the quarter-finals.
“We played well, with confidence and we did a good job,” said Bijsterbosch. “We can’t complain today, but we aren’t there, we have to prepare for the next match and we have to keep going.
“We know Finland are a really good team but we looked at our own game and we really, really hit it off today, it was a great match,” said Feijen. “We are really enjoy this, we played a great match and we get some time to enjoy that.
“I felt really good, Marc, if you leave him tough he is still central so that gives me a lot of confidence too. If we keep playing like this, we are dangerous.”
Czech Republic lead 4-2 but with the chance to go 5-3 ahead failed to capitalise when Polach missed the 9; Gavenciak also failing to conclude the rack with a long pot. Koniar took the easy 9 left for him, and Slovakia led for the first time in the match when they went 5-4 up.
The tenth went the way of the Czechs, but Slovakia regained their lead after a dry break to reach the hill at 6-5 up. The next rack was a reversal of its predecessor; this time Slovakia breaking dry and Czech Republic taking advantage to join their opponents on the hill.
Gavenciak was breaking but again came up dry. Polach played safe and though Urban’s reply seemed to have done enough, Koniar played off the side rail to make the 1. It didn’t present his side with the opportunity to clear, though, and at his next visit he scratched on the 2.
The table didn’t look easy and even when Urban missed a straight 4, Czech Republic fell safe. Koniar then benefited from a bit of fortune in making the 4 trying to escape a snooker and this time the roadmap was there, and Slovakia cleared the table for a place in the quarter-finals where either Russia or Japan will await.
The session had opened with a highly-anticipated round one match between Great Britain B and Philippines. The all-female British pairing looked to have settled quickly and took the second rack to keep the scores level early on. However, De Luna and Gomez were breaking well and managed to open up a 5-1 lead before Great Britain B next won a rack. Despite falling further behind, Fisher and Fisher cut the gap to 6-3 but that was to be their last rack as Philippines took the next to close out a 7-3 win.
“We had a great time out there,” said Allison. “it has been a while for me and I really enjoyed it. There were some good shots in there but we never got going. We had a nice start to the match and we were never really frozen out but some of the games were a bit awkward. At this stage for me the most important thing is to have fun out there and I really enjoyed it.”
“We are competitors so we are disappointed, of course,” said Kelly. “In the match we never really got the chance to get going, everything fell a bit awkward. Me and Allison are great friends off the table, we gel well together, and we have loved every moment and had fun.”
Round one concludes on Tuesday evening with USA taking on Australia, Great Britain C in action against South Africa and Great Britain A up against Belarus.
The World Cup of Pool is broadcast live globally including on Sky Sports, DAZN and Matchroom.Live. Full broadcast details can be found at matchroompool.com.
Photos courtesy of Taka Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport’