Team Canada Regain Can-am Snooker Challenge
Team Canada have repeated their success in the first Can-Am Team Snooker Challenge, after winning the third staging of this annual event by narrowly defeating Team USA 11-9 at the Riviera Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.
After the first of the three days of competition played alongside the American CueSports Alliance (ACS) National Pool Championships and organized in partnership with the ACS, the Canadian Billiards Snooker Association and the United States Snooker Association, Team Canada held a 4-3 points advantage but it was Team USA’s Paul Kimura who won the first match point after he deafeated Team Canada’s Pat McCarthy 3-1.
However Team Canada were back on level terms after the first session’s play, as on the other table the reigning United States National Snooker Champion George Lai went down on the final black in the final frame to Team Canada’s Eriks Malderis.
The next two matches of the second session’s play were both shared as Lai, assisted with breaks of 31, 51 and 40, defeated McCarthy 3-1, and the former United States National Snooker Champion Kimura lost 3-2 to Malderis.
Team Canada, the 2008 Can-Am Team Snooker Challenge champions.
(Left to right) Odie Willet, Pat McCarthy, Eriks Malderis and Lester Mianskum
The next session featured a doubles match consisting of Team USA’s Jack Kung and Truman Wu against Team Canada’s Lester Mianskum and Odie Willet, which saw the Canadian pairing take the tie 3-2.
The final two matches of the first day’s play were also shared as Team Canada’s Mianshum defeated Team USA’s Kung 3-0, and Team USA’s Wu clinched a 3-2 success over Team Canada’s Willet.
A doubles match kicked off the second day’s play, and a 3-1 victory for Team USA’s Lai and Kimura over Team Canada’s McCarthy and Malderis got the Americans back on level terms at four match points each.
Though the next two sessions of play saw disaster for Team USA, as they went on a run of four successive match defeats which put a huge dent in their hopes to retain the Challenge trophy.
Team Canada’s Mianshum overwhelmed Team USA’s Wu 3-0 and on the other table Team Canada’s Willet inflicted the same scoreline on Team USA’s Kung, while in the following session Team Canada’s McCarthy and Malderis defeated Team USA’s Kung and Wu, 3-1 and 3-2 respectively.
At 8-4 down in match points going into the second day’s final session of play, Team USA’s Lai and Kimura rescued the situation somewhat by winning their matches over Team Canada’s Mianskum and Willet, 3-2 and 3-1 respectively.
A good start from Team USA on the third and final day’s play would have put the Canadians under real pressure, and Team USA’s Lai got off to a wonderful start for the Americans in the first session as he defeated Team Canada’s Willet 3-0 to close the deficit to one match point. It was victory however for Team Canada’s Mianskum over Team USA’s Kimura that concluded the first session’s play, and draw ever closer to that eleven-point match winning score.
In the next session, Team USA’s Kung had a comprehensive 3-0 success over Team Canada’s Malderis, but that was countered by victory for Team Canada’s McCarthy over Team USA’s Wu on the final colors in the final frame.
In reaching ten match point wins, Team Canada had now secured at least a playoff, but they wanted to claim victory with no need for a tense one-frame shoot-out that can go in anyone’s favor.
The final session’s matches were doubles ties involving Team USA’s Lai and Kimura against Team Canada’s Mianshum and Willet, with the other match consisting of Team USA’s Kung and Wu against Team Canada’s McCarthy and Malderis.
McCarthy and Malderis got the victory Team Canada needed to regain the Challenge trophy as they won 3-0, but it was better news for the Americans in the other doubles tie as Lai and Kimura gained a 3-1 success.
It was again a great conclusion to this year’s event, and the organizers would like to thank Pacific Billiard Sports of San Francisco for the supply and use of the two full-sized BCE Westbury steel-blocked snooker tables.