Slovakia 9-8 Japan
Great Britain 9-1 Netherlands
Great Britain’s Karl Boyes and Darren Appleton rolled back the years with an emphatic 9-1 World Cup quarter-final victory over Netherlands to advance to the semi-finals, where Slovakia lie in wait after a hill-hill win over Japan.
Boyes and Appleton, winners in 2014 when they beat Netherlands in a dramatic final, were late call-ups to the event after Canada suffered from travel issues. After beating South Africa and Greece, the pair originally called Great Britain ‘C’ were the only host nation team remaining.
An enthralling opening-rack safety battle finally ended when an Appleton jump untied the 3 and 8 from the side rail, and Bijsterbosch’s subsequent jump removed both the 1 and the 3. That wasn’t the end, though, and when Feijen missed a bank on the 4, it was Great Britain who were able to clear to take the lead.
A break and run doubled the hosts’ advantage and they moved 3-0 up in the third. Netherlands had a chance in the fourth but when Feijen missed a 4, Great Britain pulled further away. A break and run took them to 5-0, and rack six also went the way of the 2014 champions.
The Dutch returned to the table in rack 7 after Appleton played poor position to the 4, leaving Boyes no option but to go safe. It was Britain’s first error of the match and they were made to pay when Appleton’s next shot, a cut on the 4, failed to find the pocket and Netherlands cleared to finally get on the board.
But that proved to be the only miss of the match from Great Britain, who took the next three racks for an unlikely place in the semi-finals.
“It is unbelievable,” said Boyes. “The deeper these events go, even though it’s been a long time, we have plenty of experience together and you can smell blood.
“We know how well the Dutch have played this week but it’s a quarter-final and they knew how much experience we had. Our game plan and the way we communicated, it was spot on.”
“Except for one rack, I’m absolutely over the moon with the way I played,” added Appleton. “I came into the match with no confidence but because Karl played so well yesterday, I knew I had to pull my weight.
“I am so happy to be here and even though he hasn’t played for four years, I couldn’t pick a better partner. We have perfect chemistry, we gel perfectly together, understand each other’s mind and each other’s game and that’s what it is about in doubles.”
Great Britain will meet Slovakia (Jakub Koniar and Jaroslav Polach) on Friday afternoon after they turned around a 7-3 deficit to defeat Japan (Naoyuki Oi and Masato Yoshioka) 9-8.
The pressure of a World Cup quarter-final was evident from the first rack as Polach and Oi both missed 9s before the confident Koniar concluded the rack. In the second, Oi again showed he hadn’t settled when he missed a 2 after Yoshioka had fluked the one playing a safety, but the rack ended in similar fashion to the first; Polach missed a tough 9, Yoshioka this time guilty for Japan, and again Koniar was able to role it in for a 2-0 lead.
Japan settled and pulled back to 2-2 and despite scratching on the fifth break, were able to take that rack to lead. Slovakia looked sure to level in the sixth but Polach missed another 9 and this time Oi had no problems in making it 4-2.
Oi and Yoshioka were beginning to look much more settled at the table, and extended their lead to 7-3. But then came the Slovakian fightback. They won five consecutive frames to find themselves first to the hill at 8-7.
A failed 1-ball bank brought Japan back to the table and they were able to run the rack to fittingly tie the match at hill-hill for a place in the semi-finals.
It was fist pumps all round before the decisive rack. Oi had the break and the 4 went down, but Yoshioka undercut the 1. Not only that, but he scratched. Koniar took ball in hand. The key ball was the 6, just off the side rail above the middle pocket. Koniar called extension and rolled it to the bottom pocket. Polach took the 7 to the middle and his partner then sent the 8 down table, leaving Polach a 9 from the spot. He made it, and an explosion of relief followed from the Slovakian pair.
The remaining two quarter-finals take place on Thursday evening as Denmark face Germany before Philippines take on Estonia. 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.