Dutch Lose Billiards Battle of Lowlands
Giant Killing Belgians Do It Again
The Holland A billiard team, consisting of Niels Feijen and Nick Van Den Berg, went spinning out of the 2008 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool as their neighbours Belgium put in a composed performance to comfortably win their first round match at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam.
8 – 3 was the scoreline as the Belgian duo of the classy Serge Das and gutsy Noel Bruynooghe were always ahead of the game. Both sides had plenty of support but the Dutch duo, looking a little ragged at times, did not perform at their best.
The Belgians came in as late reserves last year and reached the quarter-final, including a victory over a Taiwanese side of 2005 World Champion Wu Chia-ching and Yang Chung-shun.
This victory was all the sweeter as the Dutch and the Belgians have a long-standing rivalry in sporting arenas.
Belgium now meet either Austria or Vietnam in the second quarter-final match on Thursday evening.
The Belgians swiftly moved into a 5-1 lead as they made the most of their chances and Belgium’s Noel Bruynooghe and Serge Das, won the first rack, although Holland backed by a large crowd at the Outland, Rotterdam, claimed the second.
A shock victory was on the cards as Das and Bruynooghe, ranked 32nd and 55th in Europe respectively were in the driving seat against Feijen, the current straight pool World Champion and van den Berg, a former runner-up at the 8-ball World Championships.
Holland got back to the table in the next when Das missed the 1-ball and that soon became 5-2. Feijen attempted a jump shot where he had to clear the 6-ball to hit the three but misjudged it to give Belgium ball in hand and they did the rest to increase the Dutch pain.
Holland kept their hopes alive by winning the tenth for 7-3 but an overcut shot from van den Berg on the red 3 proved to be the hosts last shot of the tournament.
In the second match of the evening, England showed why they are regarded as one of the favourites for this tournament as the side consisting of reigning World Pool Champion Daryl Peach and current European No.1 Mark Gray and both players were on form to record a fine 8-4 victory over Maltese pairing of Tony Drago and Alex Borg.
The English pair, who were wearing matching black shirts that they had purchased prior to their game, looked the better side throughout and at 5-0 the match was effectively over.
Malta had made few mistakes but had been punished for every one as ruthless England, the event’s fifth seeds, were looking like the team to beat.
Peach and Gray continued their fine form in the sixth with both players producing fine shots. However, they unluckily lost position and a safety battle with Malta began before Borg under hit an attempt to leave Peach with a shot on the green six.
The World Champion sunk it and it should have become 6-0 before the first real mistake from England came when Gray missed a pot on the 9-ball and left it hanging over the pocket to gift Malta an easy pot for 5-1.
In the seventh, Gray did well to escape from snooker but could only leave the blue two in an inviting position and Malta won their second rack in a row.
But England regained the initiative by claiming the eighth after a dry break from Malta.
A two-rail escape from Drago was unsuccessful in the next and that gave England ball-in-hand, which they exploited again for 7-2.
Borg, facing a tricky pot, missed his attempt at the brown seven into the side pocket and that looked like being Malta’s last shot in the competition with only the 7-ball, 8-ball and 9-ball left.
But England then missed the 7-ball and that meant Malta could have one more rack in the event.
However, 7-3 became 7-4 seconds later as the break shot left the 9-ball hanging over the pocket with Borg making a 1,2,9 combination, much to the delight of the large crowd at the venue.
However, any hope of a memorable Malta fight back ended in the next rack as Borg left a chance and that proved to be their last shot in the tournament.
In the opening match of the session, the Italian team of Fabio Petroni and Bruno Muratore steam-rollered the overmatched Peruvian duo Jhon Lopez and Juan Vega 8-4.
The Italians went into the lead at 6-1 before the game Peruvians battled back and won three more racks to give the scoreline a veneer of respectability.
Italy now meet Korea who were worthy 8-4 victors over Finland.
Italy 8 – 4 Peru
England 8 – 4 Malta
Belgium 8 – 3 Holland A