Billiards & Snooker
Surin upstages Sethi
By Geet Sethi
MIDDLESBROUGH, NOV. 30. Thailand's Rom Surin, appearing in only his third professional tournament in the UK, maintained his composure to edge me out of the 2001 British Open billiards championship to create the biggest upset of the œ15,000 event.
The 474-409 scoreline over a two-hour match clearly indicates how close the contest was and also provides overwhelming proof of the newfound maturity and coming of age of Surin as a serious and complete professional.
After a morale boosting victory in the recently concluded IBSF World championship in New Zealand earlier in September this year, my confidence was at an all-time high and with the renewed zest for practise (I have been putting in two to three hours of daily work at the Bombay Gymkhana) I came into this event with the hope of continuing the form I rediscovered at Christchurch.
However, the unpredictability of sport surfaced last night with Surin, who took his country into the final of the team billiards championship at the last Asian Games, reducing a 150- point deficit with two superb breaks of 101 and 95 towards the concluding stages of the fiercely contested encounter.
Initially Surin took control with a 100-point advantage and then I managed to convert the arrears into a comfortable 150-point advantage. But competitive sport is all about performing in the arena when the chips are down. And to my opponent's credit he uncorked those two superb breaks to earn a well-deserved victory and a place in the quarterfinal where he now meets Chris Shutt, the World No. 5.
This morning, Mike Russell, wearing a mask of invincibility knocked in a praiseworthy 414 on his 18th visit against Paul Bennett. Surprisingly, the World No. 1 failed to exhibit his characteristic consistency in the match. Neither before that break nor after, could he compile any notable contribution - his highest effort in the opening 17 visits being only 29.
Trailing by 30 points before he launched into that match-winning effort, Russell provided sufficient proof of his greatness to score a 657-442.
Devendra Joshi, India's National billiards champion was unable to find his rhythm against David Causier, ranked 3 behind Russell and Peter Gilchrist. Struggling with his potting, especially into the top pocket (Joshi missed eight red pots into the top pockets), the Indian went down 442-742 to a cueist whose bubbly enthusiasm combined with a uniquely unorthodox style of play can unnerve the best in the profession.
The results (second round):Chris Shutt beat Mark Hirst 987 (305)-327; Roxton Chapman beat Clive Everton 658 (117, 195)- 237; David Causier beat Devendra Joshi 742 (122)-442 (102); Mike Russell beat Paul Bennett 657 (414)-442; Rom Surin beat Geet Sethi 474 (101)-409; Peter Gilchrist beat Peter Sheehan 615 (143)-293.
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