Finland Billiard Team Finishes off England
Team England has crashed out of the 2007 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool. The Finnish duo of Mika Immonen and Markus Juva fought back from 3-1 and won five racks in a row on their way to an 8-5 victory.
They will now meet 15th seeds Switzerland, surprise winners over USA earlier in the evening, in the quarter-finals on Saturday evening, while Daryl Peach and Imran Majid will be on their way home.
Immonen won the lag for Finland but with no clear shot on the 1-ball after the break, Juva was forced to play safe.
However, England soon got themselves in a good position and the team of Majid and Peach moved 1-0 ahead as Majid sunk the 9-ball for a fine start for the English side.
It got even better for them as they raced through the second rack with the Finnish duo remaining glued to their seats. Peach and Majid had not put a foot wrong so far and deservedly led 2-0.
Peach got a stroke of luck in the third as a misjudged safety left the 2-ball on the side rail, but the cue-ball rolled well for England and ended tight behind the 5-ball. That forced a mistake from Markus Juva and he left a tough, but makeable 2-4 combination.
Majid decided to attack and attempt the combination but it went wrong to give Immonen a straight-forward 2-ball into the right side pocket. That led to Finland recording their first rack of this match.
There was a good piece of sportsmanship from Immonen in the fourth as he was aiming for the 2-ball but instantly got up and admitted he had clipped the 9-ball before hitting the blue 2.
Television replays showed the slightest of contact on the 9-ball but Immonen deserves some credit for his honesty. However, it did his team no favours as England went on to win the rack and reclaim a two-rack advantage at 3-1.
Finland’s Markus Juva looked to be attempting to play safe in the next with the 1-ball near the top rail, close to the 9-ball. But Juva made a heavy contact on the 1-ball and the cue-ball cannoned into the 9-ball, which then crept down table and disappeared into the bottom left pocket.
It looked like a massive stroke of luck, but it was a shot that Juva later claimed had been fully intentional.
England had done little wrong, but Finland ran out the next to make it 3-3, in a contest that could go either way.
Finland took the lead for the first time by winning the seventh. Juva had given England an opportunity when his rolled shot on the blue 2 hit the knuckle of the left side pocket. Peach tried to bank the same ball into the right side pocket but was unsuccessful as Finland took advantage for their third rack in a row.
The decisive moment in the eighth came when Majid, attempting to play a kick shot off the bottom rail to hit the blue 2, got his effort completely wrong as he was left shaking his head in disbelief with Finalnd gaining ball-in hand.
Finland did the rest and the match had completely turned from 3-1 in England’s favour to 5-3 to the men from Northern Europe. That soon became 6-3 as Finland ran out for their fifth rack in a row as shell-shocked England were left praying for another chance.
It came. And England gratefully grasped their opportunity by winning the tenth as Majid sunk the 9-ball, but the English still had a lot of work to do if they were to win this match.
But they were keeping it interesting as now it was the Finland players’ turn to stay sitting down. Majid and Peach ran through the next to pull it back to 5-6 with good position in the next.
That counted for nothing though as Peach lost the cue-ball going from the 6 to the 7 and that forced Majid to get the jump cue out. He cleared the problem 8-ball but failed to sink the 7, which was left on for their opponents who then moved to the hill at 7-5.
Just when they needed it, Finland got another huge slice of good fortune. Juva, with the cue ball tight on the side rail, watched his attempt at the 2-ball miss its original target of the top left pocket, but then slide into the right side pocket.
That was it, the game was effectively over and former World Champion Immonen did the business to send the 9-ball down and England out of the World Cup.