So we reach the quarter-finals stage of the Snooker World Cup and what a mouthwatering lineup we have. Wales were first up against Scotland and it really was a tough battle of nip and tuck. Williams stole the first off Higgins but before long Scotland were back in the driving seat and took a two frame advantage, making it 3-1. Williams must be reeling after missing an earlier crucial black and as any match has a turning point this could have been the ball that lost them the match. However the tide seemed not quite ready to change and after bad contact by Higgins on a red in the next Williams was given a chance and cleared up and so it wasn’t long before the frames were tied at 3-3. However after a scrappy start to the match, a dogfight began and Maguire finally put the last nail in the coffin for Wales and ushered them out of the competition, 4-3.
In the second clash Belgium took on the China B team with China dominating the match. Belgium were able to capture one frame but the running was all in China B’s direction with it not being long before they had captured a 2-1 advantage. However snooker can be a cruel game and an amazing cut on a red by Liang Wenbo sealed the match 4-2 and now march onto the semi- finals. You have to hand it to the Belgian team of Brecel/Mertens for their very exciting and skilful run through the tournament. Look out for Ben Mertens as a snooker star of the future!
Following on from this, came a clash between England and Thailand. Thailand got the first chance but a red to the middle evaded them and so England were let in with an open pack of reds, not far off a practice session set up. However a missed black by Jack Lisowski set up another of those play safe frames. Un-Nooh got the advantage but missed a poor pink. A catalogue of errors followed by both sides but Thailand eventually seized the bull by the horns and clinched the first frame. The second frame seemed to go on for an eternity with both players struggling with a newly covered table. However with Thailand having the frame in their grasp, they just couldn’t get over the winning line and Wilson brought it back to a re-spotted Black. An excellent cross double shot by Wilson sunk the black into the middle pocket.
In the next, after lots of twists and turns in the doubles frame, England had their chances but couldn’t get to the winning line and Thailand finally finished the frame to lead 2-1. A fluked red in the next by Lisowski captured the fourth frame making it even stevens at 2-2. A dramatic next frame then followed with nip and tuck by both sides and it all came down to the last two colours with Thailand sinking both. With Thailand 3-2 up the sixth frame was crucial as Thailand could win it and England could take it to a decider. Another fluke by Wilson on the pink in this frame took the match to a decider, 3-3. England took the frame and the match and progress to the semi-finals.
Meanwhile in the other match Hong Kong didn’t turn up on the day and were subjected to a 4-0 loss to China A. China were just superb in this game and didn’t let Hong Kong have many chances. For me, China A are the best team and could if they don’t find any pitfalls on the way raise the silverware in the final but as we know snooker is a very unpredictable game and the drama will continue until that final ball is potted!
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