Fisher and Osborne Thrill in China at Taobao World Mixed Doubles

Hangzhou, China – Team England’s Allison Fisher and Craig Osborne fought their way from death to overcome pre-tournament favorite China en route to a semi-final birth at the Taobao.com World Mixed Doubles. England fell behind at the end of the match, but a crucial miss from China gave a small window of opportunity that led to a final game showdown. The victory from England gave them the momentum to win their next match and reach the semi-finals.

With the score at 7-5 in favor of China’s #1 men’s player Liu Haitao and his partner the 2010 World Champion Fu Xiaofang, England looked in dire straits. A missed ball by Liu gave UK a small chance which they took. At 7-6, Fu was closing the door with only 3 balls on the table and an easy 7Ball straight in. She inexplicably missed to the gasp of the Chinese fans watching. Fisher and Osborne took the rack to make the match goto the deciding game at 7-7. In the final game, there were many dramatic moments with great offenses and defense by both teams. On the 1Ball alone, there were 6 innings. Finally England had ball in hand and took both their time extensions to decide on what to do. After only 2 made balls, Fisher was forced to play safe. Liu made a tremendous 2 rail kick and re-safed England. Osborne played safe again. Fu made an incredible long jump shot flying over 2 balls to play another safe. Eventually Osborne had a shot, but very tough, jacked up cutshot on the 4ball to the side pocket. He made it and the team looked home free. But Osborne went from the hero to villain when he missed position for Fisher on the 7ball with only 4 balls remaining. Fisher was forced to play a safety instead of going for the win. Liu went for a jumpshot and the 7ball went straight to the corner pocket and bobbled at the last moment. Osborne was faced with a table length , long draw shot which would unnerve any player at first. With little time left on the shotclock, he screwed the cueball back successfully across the entire length after potting the 7ball. Allison made the 8ball but Osborne missed position on the final 10ball and left Fisher with an awkward cutshot which she could not reach. With no time out or extensions left, she called for the bridge and lined up the final 10-ball. The referee counted aloud the finals seconds with a “5, 4, 3, …” and Fisher fired off the shot with a second remaining and the 10-ball went straight into the pocket! Osborne and Fisher emotionally embraced after the shot to the cheer and applause of the entire audience.

Osborne says playing with Fisher is one of the biggest honors of his career.

“That was such a huge match, I couldn’t help getting emotional. I was thinking after the match, that was the same shot I missed with the bridge last year at the finals of the World 9-Ball in China. I’m glad I didn’t think about that before the shot”, said Allison. “Playing with Craig has been great. He really is a good partner and we really started to mesh well together. He doesn’t have a big ego where he won’t listen to me, and he also had some really good mental things he passed onto me. Our first match was shaky, but it’s been a good partnership since then.”

allison fisher mixed Fisher and Osborne Thrill in China at Taobao World Mixed Doubles

Team England's Fisher and Osborne fought their way from death to overcome pre-tournament favorite China en route to a semi-final birth at the Taobao.com World Mixed Doubles.

“Playing with Allison is absolutely amazing! I just feel like she is never going to miss. And my faith in her is absolute. But I really felt that I had to prove to her that she can trust me,too. That’s why that match was so crucial. And, I know to ensure my invite next year I need to win this tournament!”, said Craig.

Allison says Craig has been a wonderful partner and great at giving and receiving instructions.

“I know Allison very well and what kind of person she is. And I got a good idea of the level of respect and admiration Craig already had of her before they started their first match. In an interview I predicted them to be one of the teams I thought would make the final four. I knew it was going to be a good partnership”, said Charlie Williams, the event producer.

Both players went onto meet fellow United Kingdom players Kelly Fisher and Tommy Donlon who were undefeated. In a very close match at the start, the two teams stood at 5-5 before Read more ...