Finland Billiard Team Survives a Fright

Finland Billiard Team Survives a Fright
The Finland billiards team advanced into the last 16 of the PartyPoker.net 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 authoriy 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 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool.
Their side of Bashar Hussain and Fahad Mohammadi would need to be at their best to defeat the Finnish outfit of former World Champion Mika Immonen and Markus Juva.
There had not been many golden breaks this tournament but Finland instantly took the lead with the first shot of the match as Juva’s break saw the 9-ball get kicked in by the 2-ball as Finland moved 1-0 ahead.
It should have been 1-1 moments later when Qatar, who were helped by a Juva miss, ran through the remainder of the rack before Mohammadi dogged a simple-looking attempt on the 9-ball to gift-wrap an early present for Finland.
With winner-break, Qatar were facing the prospect of a lenghy spell in their chair and they had to sit and watch as the Scandinavians broke and ran through the third for a 3-0 advantage.
After 13 matches, there had not been a whitewash but Finland did not put a foot wrong in the fourth as they went 4-0 in front and half way to an 8-0 triumph.
Juva had recorded a golden break earlier in the match but had no luck in the fifth as he saw the cue ball kicked into the right side pocket by the green 6. That brought Qatar out of their seats for the first time in ten minutes and they took full advantage to get themselves on the scoreboard and avoid the humiliation of an 8-0 loss.
They would have to play well to fight back in this match, but then Hussain produced an exact replica of Mohammadi’s earlier error by leaving a simple 9-ball. Once more, Immonen could not believe his luck as he made it 5-1.
But Finland could not maintain their momentum as Qatar came back to the table and Mohammadi potted a confidence-building 9-ball to make it 2-5. Things got even better for the pair from the Middle East as Mohammadi then banked the 9-ball into the right side pocket for 3-5.
It looked like Finland would win the next after a fine 6-7 combination from Immonen. However, with only two other balls left on the table, Juva produced a poor positional pot that left the cue-ball right in the jaw of the left side pocket.
Immonen did well to hit the 9-ball but had no control of where it would end up and left it perfectly placed for Bashar Hussain to make it 4-5.
The match looked like it was close to being over when Finland led 4-0 but Qatar had fought bravely by winning five of the next six to pull it back to 5-5. With the two 9-balls they had missed, Qatar could have been staring at a 7-3 lead over the tenth seeds.
Finland regained the initiative in the next by edging closer to the target of eight by making it 6-5.
In the 12th, Juva missed the red 3 into the top left pocket but later redeemed himself with a fine bank shot into the right side pocket and then finished off the rack by depositing the 9-ball as Finland moved to the hill.
With the 2-ball hidden behind the 4-ball, Mohammadi had a tricky shot in the 13th but could not rise to the occasion as he clipped the 4-ball to give Finland ball-in-hand and they won the rack to claim a nervous 8-5 success.

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