Asian Billiards C'ship: Pankaj, Devendra in semifinals

Asian Billiards C'ship: Pankaj, Devendra in semisGoa: In the much awaited clash between two former world billiard champions, Pankaj Advani of India having done a thorough homework before the match, produced a gem of a century break to gain early ascendancy over Peter Gilchrist of Singapore. Continuing in the same vein, Pankaj had good breaks of 54 in the second and 86 in the third games in the process of taking a commanding 3-0 lead.

Gilchrist still not out of the shock due to the defeat suffered at the hands of Thawat last evening, was not able to find his usual rhythmic flow in the first three games. Even so, he did manage to get one back by prevailing over Pankaj in the fourth game.

Knowing fully well that he could not relax his grip at any stage, Pankaj again reached the desired level of concentration for a break of 97 to take the fifth game. Peter, however, a striking a purple patch for once, compiled a break of 99 to close the gap to 2-4.

The seventh saw Peter continuing his good form in the shape of a break of 76. Yet lapsing into errors, he gave a semblance of an opening to Pankaj who promptly got into his full stride unleashing an unbeaten century to clinch the game and match in style.

It was a very Good Friday for the cueists from Thailand at the Clube Tennis De Gaspar Dias Miramar, Goa, on the fifth day of 11th ONGC Asian Billiards Championship. Down by 1-3 games in the best of nine quarter final, former Asian and world billiards champion, Praput Chaithanasukan playing against the defending champion, Alok Kumar from India, grafted a break of 52 in the fifth, clawing back into reckoning by taking the game.

Having gained confidence from his fight back in the earlier game, Praput was in full flow using the top table method of scoring, to advantage, for an unfinished break of 101 drawing level at 3-3. Alok Kumar not to be undone, produced a fine effort of 81 in the seventh, but just when needing only10 points for the game, he went out of position, not being able to control the roll of the balls. Pouncing on the offered chance, Praput made sure that he made no mistake in pocketing this vital game aided by a break of 81.

Making a last ditch attempt, Alok managed a break of 54 in the eighth game, but again not able to control the run of the balls,went out of position. Subsequently, Praput closed the game and match with a break of 65.

In another quarter final between two contenders from India, Devendra Joshi got the better of Rupesh Shah by 5-3 to enter the semi finals along with Pankaj and Praput. Joshi took an early 2-0 lead but Rupesh rallied well to snatch the third. Nevertheless, Joshi who was a picture of all concentration, picked up the fourth and fifth games for an unassailable lead of 4-1.

Rupesh not the one to give in so easily, fought back with a degree of vengeance to take the sixth and seventh games. Even so Joshi struck peak form to score an unfinished break of 101 to complete the tally.
Having surprised Gilchrist in his earlier league encounter, Thawat Sujaritthurakarn from Thailand was steadiness personified in his match with Dhruv Sitwala from India. Dhruv had no clue as to what had hit him in the process of the Thai taking the first three games on a trot. Such was the clinical display of this methodical Thai cueist that Dhruv just about got a single chance in the three games to do anything worthwhile. Keeping his patience some how, Dhruv was able to wrest the fourth game, but that was just about all. Thawat took the fifth game on the run of play giving one chance to Dhruv for a possible comeback in the sixth game. But having collected a break of 94, Dhruv made a colossal error when missing a regulation ‘long loser’ in the left hand side top pocket, the cue ball missing the pocket and the resultant rebound missing the opponents ball too, for a possible resultant cannon, just by a whisker. Thawat displaying an admirable temperament closed the game and match with a superb 51 break.

At the completion of the league stage of the 13th ONGC Asian Under-21 Snooker Championship 2012 five Indian cueists have made the knockout grade of pre-quarter finals. Lalit Dahiya being the only casualty among the six Indian entrants.




By Indian Sports News Network