Canada Snuff Belgium’s World Cup Hopes

Canada Snuff Belgium’s World Cup Hopes
The Canadian billiards team moved into the semi-finals of the 2007 World Cup of Pool. The team of Edwin Montal and Alain Martel produced a nervous, error-strewn performance but still did enough to win 9-4 against a Belgian side who looked drained after defeating highly-fancied Taiwan last night.
Belgium were not even in the original line-up of nations but got their chance when Malaysia withdrew. But since then Belgium have grasped the opportunity with both hands and recorded a fine win over Holland B in the opening round.
But that result was put in the shade with an incredible 8-6 victory against Taiwan on Friday evening, a scoreline that shook the world of pool. Canada, the 11th seeds, had been a bit more lucky with their route to the quarter-finals with a comfortable victory against India followed by a somewhat fortunate success against Korea.
It was another partisan crowd as a number of Belgian spectators had made the short journey to Holland and packed out the Outland Nightclub with a fantastic atmosphere.
The crowd soon had something to cheer about as a 3-8 combination from Serge Das helped Belgium clinch the opening rack for an early lead.
Canada had a great opportunity to make it 1-1 but Edwin Montal dogged an attempt on the 9-ball and Noel Bruynooghe could not believe his luck as he made it 2-0, to the delight of the majority of spectators.
It became 2-1 when Das failed to pocket the 4-ball and a combination attempt saw the North Americans clinch their first rack. The Canadians had ball-in-hand after Bruynooghe missed his attempted ball and that led to it moving to 2-2.
Montal had to play safe at the start of the next but drew a mistake out of Bruynooghe as he tried a two-rail escape but clipped the 4-ball, which had been positioned in front of his target of 1-ball.
That gave Canada ball-in-hand and they did the rest to move into the lead for the first time.
Belgium were struggling to recreate their efforts of Friday evening with both Das and Bruynooghe making unforced errors. The crowd were kept quiet as Canada benefited from the mistakes from the Europeans.
They won the next three racks to lead 5-2 in this race to 9. Montal was looking very nervous for the Canadians but was constantly reassured by Martel, who was carrying his team on the way to the last four.
The score moved on to 7-2 as the Belgians looked to have peaked in their previous match, despite the crowd trying to will their side into a memorable comeback.
An overhit positional shot from the tense Montal brought Belgium back to the table and they held their nerve to finally record another rack, after seven in a row from Canada. The scoreline was now 3-7 against the Europeans but they at least would now have the break.
Unbelievably, Belgium wasted the opportunity by producing a dry break at just the worse time possible. It did not matter as increasingly-twitchy Montal failed with the jump cue and left the 1-ball on. The majority of the crowd were rooting for Belgium and they clinched their second rack in a row for 4-7.
A misjudged safety by Das ended the Belgians’ good run and they were looking a completely different side to yesterday. Canada moved to the hill by winning the 12th rack and had a shot in the next. But Martel gave Belgium one more chance by not potting the pink 4.
But the dream was over for Belgium. Canada, who at no stage in any of their three matches have looked at their best, had moved quietly into the semi-finals and a match against either Finland or Switzerland.