Pool Powerhouses Posied for Showdowns
by Ted Lerner
(Beijing, China)- While the atmosphere here in sultry Beijing amongst pool’s elite has certainly been cordial and relaxed, on the table the heavyweights of the pool world were in no mood for gift giving as all the favorites cruised to emphatic victories on Day 2 of the 2012 World Pool Team Championships.
Surprises in the group stages were as hard to come by as a schoolyard full of blondes in China’s sprawling and teeming capital. Great Britain, China 1 and 2, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan all won their matches for the second straight day and ensured their places in the single elimination round of 16 which begins tomorrow. Germany finally got a win and is looking strong for a place in the final 16. South Korea won again and is probably the leading dark horse in the 24 team competition.
Things will surely explode with tension and drama once the second and third tier teams will be eliminated after today and the big guns get pointed at one another. And with $80,000 going to the winning team, plus plenty of national pride, clearly this $300,000 event is just winding up.
The nation vs. nation format on offer at the Tongzhou Luhe High School, in the Tongzhou district of Beijing is certainly built for fan-friendly showdowns. Obviously the Philippines vs. Estonia doesn’t exactly get the heart racing. But when the Philippines is staring across the table from Great Britain, you have the makings of all-time classics. And that’s because of the format which assures plenty of drama.
In each match between two countries, the teams play each other in a set of six matches, all alternate break; two races in 8 ball, two in 9-ball and two in 10-ball. One 8-ball match is men’s scotch doubles, race to 6. The other 8-ball match is a men’s singles, race to 6. In 9-ball, the teams compete in a women’s singles, race to 8, and a men’s singles race to 8. In 10-ball, the teams play one mixed doubles match(scotch doubles), race to 7, and one men’s singles match race to 7. The female player must play in the 10-ball mixed doubles match, and a 9-ball match. No player is permitted to play more than two matches per session.
Based on makeup and results so far, Great Britain is the odds on favorite to win the event. The Brits, loaded with the likes of current World 9-ball Champions, Darren Appleton, Kelly Fisher and 2007 champion Daryl Peach, have yet to be touched. On Day 2 they delivered their second straight goose egg to their opponent, blanking a game but outgunned Indian squad, 6-0.
China 1 is also one of the favorites here as the team is stacked with talent. On Day 2, Li He Wen and Fu Jianbo, who have twice won the scotch doubles World Cup of Pool, teamed up for the second straight day for an eight ball doubles win as part of China’s 4-2 win over Malaysia.
China 2 has a few names not that well known outside of China but they are nonetheless very strong. Males Dang Jinhu, Dai Yong and Han Haoxiang, teamed up with famous female stars Liu Shasha and Chen Siming to blank Singapore 6-0.
Chinese Taipei, with Chang Jung Lin, Ko Pin Yi, Fu Che Wei and Chieh Yu Chou were dealt a relatively light draw and they’ve made the most of it as they blanked Norway 6-0. After shutting out Mongolia on day 1, the Taiwanese are assured of a seeded spot in the elimination round.