Great Britain and Japan Join Chinese-Taipei and China 2 in Semis at the 2012 World Pool Team Championship
By Ted Lerner
(Beijing, China)- With team supremacy and national pride riding on every shot, Great Britain and Japan stared down some heavy pressure and won dramatic sudden death shootouts to advance to the semi-finals of the 2012 World Pool Team Championship in Beijing.
After claiming a thrilling victory over a fancied and loaded China 1 squad, and silencing the hundreds of hometown fans inside the Tongzhou Luhe High School gymnasium, in the Tongzhou district of China’s capital, Great Britain now move onto the semi-finals where they will play red hot Chinese-Taipei in Thursday’s first semi-final.
With their well played shootout victory over the Philippines, Japan will take on China 2 in the other semi-final.
It was a fitting conclusion to Day 4 of the pool world’s biggest team event, as before this point, the best teams in pool were simply biding their time until the little fish were dispensed with and the big boys and girls could finally get at each other.
The day began with 16 teams out of the original 24 facing off for the first time all week in the single elimination format. This was also the first time fans would get to see the dramatic shootout decide who advanced and who went home.
The shootout is unique to team pool and is implemented when the two teams split their six matches against each other at three matches each. The 8 ball is then put in the middle of the table down near the short rail level with the first diamond and the cue ball is placed way down at the other end near the head string. The three men and one woman on each team take turns trying to pot the 8-ball in either far corner. All players play in sequence and the team to score six hits first with a margin of two or more(6-4, 7-5, etc.) wins the match and advances to the next round.
All of the favorites such as Chinese-Taipei, China 1 and 2, the Philippines, Great Britain and Japan advanced into the quarterfinals untouched. But two matches in the round of 16 offered up tasters of what was to come later in the evening. Sweden, which had shown a lot of fortitude to get to this point, ended up tied in their match with another up and coming squad, Indonesia. The Swedes good fortune continued as they won the shootout 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Canada had been quietly doing their thing for the last four days as was South Korea, which featured two time US Open Champion and former World 9-ball champion, Ga Young Kim. The two quality squads battled neck and neck throughout and went to a shootout to decide the victor. Canada prevailed with a 10-8 win.
The quarterfinals in the evening session offered some terrific showdowns at the highest levels of the game. One match though, seemed a formality and indeed Sweden finally ran out of steam against Chinese-Taipei, falling 4-1. With World 8-ball champion Chang Jun Lin, veteran Fu Che Wei, Ko Pin Yi and female top player Chieh Yu Chou, Chinese Taipei has been cruising along untouched and is probably the favorite at this point.
The drama and nerves were reserved for the other three matches and deservedly so. The marquee match of the night saw Great Britain take on China 1. With two current World 9-ball champions in Darren Appleton and Kelly Fisher, along with Daryl Peach, Chris Melling and Mark Gray, the Brits have been fancied as possible champions from the beginning.
But with home court advantage, the China 1 side, featuring the power duo of Li He Wen and Fu Jian Bo, the always tough Liu Haitao, and female superstars Fu Xiaofang and Pan Xiaoting, were probably slightly favored.
This showdown was a rematch of the classic quarterfinal battle between nearly identical teams two years prior in Hanover, Germany at the first World Pool Team Championship. In that match Britain and China went to a shootout which the Brits won by the astounding score of 27-25. Great Britain went on to win the event.
This night China 1 appeared as if they didn’t want to let anything to chance and they were in control throughout. Up 2-1 Read more …