Alex Pagulayan (Canada) 8 – 4 Alex Lely (Holland)
Shane Van Boening (USA) 8 – 2 Daryl Peach (England)
Darren Appleton (England) 8 – 6 Earl Strickland (USA)
THERE WAS MORE first round action at the 25th annual Mansion Bet World Pool Masters and there were wins for Alex Pagulayan, Shane Van Boening and Darren Appleton, who came from behind to beat Earl Strickland in a thrilling encounter.
In the opening match, Alex Pagulayan, a winner in Las Vegas in 2008 beat 1999 champion Alex Lely in a confrontation that saw both players struggle to get to grips with the conditions. With a high level of humidity currently in Gibraltar, the Rasson table was running a little slower than usual. That said, Pagulayan had a little too much for his veteran opponent.
He said, “The table is fine, we just aren’t used to it yet. I was a bit lost at the beginning but towards the end I got the table a little bit. When you make a mistake, you can’t put yourself down, you have to keep fighting hard, keep your composure and do the best that you can.
“I am fortunate to get through because Alex Lely didn’t play his game and I got a few rolls towards the end of the match and a little bit in the middle.”
In the second match, Shane Van Boening, a two-time winner of this event, made light work of England’s Daryl Peach, champion in 1995, back when the tournament was known as the European Pool Masters.
8-2 was the scoreline but Peach didn’t do a whole lot wrong as Van Boening took advantage of the winner breaks format to assert himself.
The final match was the best of the session as Earl Strickland and Darren Appleton faced off for the chance to play Shane Van Boening in the quarter-finals. It was a match of two halves as Earl the Pearl pulled away into a 6-2 lead, rolling back the years with his rapid-fire play.
It unravelled though in the ninth game, when Strickland missed a 5 ball and Appleton took the rack against the head to go 3-6. Not playing his best, ‘Dynamite’ held it together, rode his luck and took the next five racks for the win.
Said Appleton, “Things went against me after the second rack and he was playing really well. I missed an easy 8-ball to go 6-3 down and I thought that was me done. I relaxed a little bit then and started to play well. I got a couple of rolls at the end to get over the line.
“I have been a bit quiet over the last 12 months because of some personal issues, so I haven’t played as much as I would like so I’m not as competitive as I should be. At the end there I was starting to feel it but I held myself to get over the line.
“It is tough playing against Earl. He is a great player but he can be quite intimidating when he gets going – it can be hard to keep up with him.”
Strickland was disappointed to lose from such a strong position, “He is very fortunate. He can talk all he wants about how great I am and how good he played but he had a lot of luck there.
“He is fortunate I missed the 5-ball. But he is a good player. How lucky was he when he left his cue ball down here? He is like a leprechaun. He made some good shots but I can’t believe I missed that match.”
Play continues with the final two first round matches plus the first quarter-final.
2018 Mansion Bet World Pool Masters is sponsored by Rasson Billiards who supplies the Official Table; the cloth is supplied by Iwan Simonis and the Official Balls are Super Aramith by Saluc. Predator is the Official Cue of the event and Ultimate Team Gear provide all World Pool Masters apparel.