South Africa, Singapore, and Kuwait have all reached the Last 16 of the 2022 World Cup of Pool at the Brentwood Centre, Essex live on Sky Sports Arena in the UK, DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland. Matchroom.Live in territories without a broadcaster.
Thailand’s were a late call-up for the World Cup to replace the Philippines and they met two players representing South Africa for the first time in Jason Theron and Kyle Akaloo. The South Africans got off to the better start after Un-Nooh broke dry on the break but it wasn’t without sketchy moments for Akaloo who was also getting used to the conditions on table.
Un-Nooh and Saengkham had their chances at times, two ball in hand opportunities in the fourth rack could’ve given them their opening rack but they failed to make it pay and South Africa led 4-0. South African errors were due to catch up on them and they did as Thailand got two quick racks on the board. At 4-1, Akaloo tried to screw back to break the eight and nine but in the process missed the pink to allow Thailand back to the table who got their second rack to trail by two.
A dry break from South Africa this time gave Thailand the iniative but a foul led to a simple 1-9 combo with ball in hand for Theron to make it 5-2. Akaloo had the opportunity to play the kick on the 7-9 but he ended up blowing the table wide open to give Thailand another rack at 5-3.
The Springboks’ experience in pool did prove to be enough in the end as they wrapped up a 7-3 victory to face Great Britain tomorrow evening.
“We had to enjoy it, most are too serious here! We are passionate. We love it. It’s our debut. I feel we need to be enjoying it. They were short on breaking and jumping. Their potting was quite good. They (Thailand) struggled to adjust to the slide which isn’t on a snooker table. We will look at the positives. We got used to it out there. It’s our debut, it’s a big thing. We go forwards with a positive mindset.” – Akaloo
Singapore’s Aloysius Yapp and Toh Lian Han battled their way past a gutsy Qatar to book their spot in the Last 16 where it could’ve been so different if it wasn’t for a string of missed pots from their opponents.
Qatar took the opener but a wild effort on the five ball in the second rack from Waleed Majid K Alars put Singapore back to the table and they made them pay to level at one apiece. Singapore were grafting hard to avoid a potential upset and they soon led 4-2. A scoreline that flattered the Sinaporeans efforts. Majid and Ali Nasser Al Obaidli were up against it with US Open runner-up Yapp starting to build ahead of steam to steer his side towards victory at 5-2.
The Qataris took to the ninth rack knowing any mistakes would prove to be the end of their tournament and they lived dangerously. Ali Obaidi missed the nine to bring Singapore back to the table only for them to do the same with Han. In the end, Majid settled it to keep Qatar hopes alive. That hope was only brief though as Singapore reached the Last 16 in the following rack with relative ease to ensure a safe passage and face Kuwait next.
Kuwait were the last of the afternoon action as they met a resiliant looking Vietnamise side of Dang Thanh Kien and Duong Quoc Hoang. Thanh Kien and Quoc Hoang took the opener but they came unstuck in the following rack as Bader Al Awadhi tucked the eight behind the nine and the cue ball up table. A foul put Kuwait in for an easy finish to level at 1-1.
Omar Al-Shaheen broke in the third only to scratch off the break fo allow Vietnam in who ran out to take the lead once again. It was a scrappy fourth rack that did swing in Vietnam’s favour and they led 3-1. Kuwait came into the competition looking to make an impact and Al Awadhi was cueing perfectly as they wrestled back control to turn it around to 3-3. Soon, the Kuwaiti’s looked to gather real momentum to make it 5-3 and 6-3 to have won five on the bounce and be on the hill.
Vietnam were not done by any means though, Al Awadhi scratched when making the two in the 10th rack and Vietnam did the rest to pull it to 6-4. An easy break and run in the next from Quoc Hoang and Thanh Kien cut the deficit to one. Kuwait at this stage would’ve been nervy of Vietnam running out the rest of the match but that wasn’t to be as they lost position on the four only to leave the four just over the pocket after jumping. Al-Shaheen and Al Awadhi thanked their lucky stars for that moment to wrap up victory from the clutches of Vietnam.
Action returns from 5pm tonight with the last Round 1 match between Japan and Switzerland before Round 2 begins live on Sky Sports Arena at 11 am as well as live on DAZN in the USA, Canada, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Viaplay in Scandinavia, the Baltics, Netherlands, and Poland. See the full list of broadcasters here including Matchroom.Live if no broadcaster is available.
Japan (7) vs Switzerland
Spain (4) vs Albania (13)
USA (2) vs Poland (15)