Replacements Send Holland B Home
The Belgum billiards team, who only secured a spot in the 2007 PartyPoker.net World Cup of Pool due to the withdrawal of Malaysia, produced a magnificent performance to eliminate Holland B. Malaysia had been due to play the Dutch B team but dropped out due to financial reasons and that gave Belgium, the first reserves, the opportunity to play in this prestigious event.
They grasped their opportunity as Serge Das and Noel Bruynooghe dumped the 14th seeded pairing of Rico Diks and Alex Lely out of the tournament by a convincing 8-2 scoreline.
The Holland B side had been hoping to follow in the footsteps of the Dutch A team who won their first round match yesterday.
Niels Feijen and Nick Van Den Berg are already into the last 16 after beating Indonesia 8-5 on Tuesday and Rico Diks and Alex Lely were aiming to join them in the latter stages of the competition.
Once again a large crowd was in attendance at the Outland Nightclub in Rotterdam and they were in good voice as the hosts edged a scrappy opening frame.
However, an error from Diks, who had made a nervous start in front of his home fans, gifted Belgium ball-in-hand with only two balls remaining on the table to make it 1-1.
With the winner-break format, the match could easily swing in another direction and Belgium quickly secured the next two racks for a 3-1 lead.
The Dutch players were rooted to their chairs and waiting for another chance. It did not come in the fifth as Belgium broke and ran out the rack for a 4-1 lead.
In the first 11 matches of the tournament, five seeded sides had been eliminated, including Germany and Vietnam, the fourth and sixth seeds respectively, and Holland B were hoping they were not another early big name casualty.
When Bruynooghe missed a long-range 1-ball it brought the Dutch side back in the game. But it was proving to be a day to forget for Rico Diks as he firstly missed an attempt to roll the 6-ball along the left-hand rail and then failed with a pot on the 9-ball that would have reduced the deficit to two.
Instead, Belgium sunk the 9-ball to win the rack and moved 5-1 in front. Another Diks error was not costly as he once more gave Belgium another opportunity in the seventh but they themselves then ran out of position.
But when Diks then failed to convert another attempt, this time on the 5-ball, it was punished as his side fell 6-1 behind and looked to be heading out at the first hurdle.
Belgium then moved to the hill by winning the next and with a shot on the one it looked like being just a formality as they were only three balls away from winning the match.
Then Das failed to sink the brown 7 to give Holland B one last chance. They did the rest in the rack to cling on to their tournament hopes for at least one more rack.
Any hope of this triggering a stunning fightback was quickly ended as Lely scratched into the right side pocket and Belgium, with ball-in-hand, sealed the victory by an 8-2 scoreline.